Is It Time for Me to Get an Airline Credit Card?

Since I fly every other month or so.

Photo credit: Richard Ericksson, CC BY 2.0.

So every time I’ve been on an Alaska flight, which is pretty much every flight I’ve been on recently, they do the thing where they invite you to apply for their credit card and get a bunch of extra miles.

And every time I get a little closer to actually doing it.

I already know that the Alaska Airlines credit card is a pretty good deal, as far as credit cards go. More importantly, I know that I have been accruing thousands of miles with Alaska, and those miles could have been tripled if I had applied for the credit card last year, and I probably would have gotten at least one free flight plus a free companion flight plus free checked bags.

I’ve done the airline credit card game before. It worked out really well, during the period of time when I was able to pay off the card in full every month. I got some free flights and felt very proud of myself. Then my financial situation changed, but I kept putting money on the card because I could get free flights, and then I wasn’t able to pay the card off in full every month, and… yeah, less proud of that.

Now that I’m out of debt and financially stable, I’m starting to think about things like airline credit cards again—and if I’m going to do the airline credit card thing, then I should probably combine it with a hotel rewards program and maybe a hotel credit card, and of course they all have apps, and I just downloaded another coupon app after a friend tipped me off to How To Do Better At Coupons (more on that later this week), and the whole point is that I could be saving a lot more money than I am saving, if I just worked at it a little harder.

Should I Be Putting More Effort Into Finding Coupons?

I like video games just enough to understand that this could be fun, too. Instead of tending strawberries in Stardew Valley, I could tend my apps. Open them each morning and see what they yield. Go online and study other players’ experiences to get a higher score.

The Economics of Stardew Valley

I told you I would spend this week thinking about how to save money on household expenses, and although flights and hotels are more like leaving-the-household expenses, I’m still circling around this idea that I have to start choosing a few brands and racking up those loyalty rewards.

(Also, buying in advance and buying in bulk. More on that later this week.)

I’m not scheduled to fly again until August, but it’ll be on Alaska, and maybe by then I’ll have decided whether I want an Alaska credit card.

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