Did you know that 2/3rds of the world’s population lives within 8 hours and 1/3rd within 4 hours of the UAE (Source: Gulf News)? With an expat population of close to 80%, travel is not a luxury but indeed a necessity for all UAE residents. Thus, it is not surprising that travel credit cards are very popular among UAE residents. These cards are usually loaded with benefits such as complimentary airport lounge access, marhaba meet & greet services, travel insurance, hotel discounts, free flight tickets and many more features.

Travel reward credit cards give you miles or travel points based on your card usage. The benefits don’t end there as free checked bags or airline fee credits may also be a part of the rewards package. There are broadly two types of travel credit cards:

a. Co-branded Travel cards: generally these are linked with a specific airline and offer value miles which can be redeemed with a specific airline. For e.g. Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest Airmiles and so on.
b. Bank-specific Airmiles cards: As a unique proposition offered by some banks where customers earn airmiles on their credit card spend which can then be redeemed with multiple airlines (based on the bank’s agreement with these airlines). The redemption rates may vary from one airline to another.

What are the key points to consider while choosing an Airmiles or a Travel Card?

a. Earn rate: In simple terms find out how much your spend is going to be rewarded in airmiles. For example, every USD of spend could earn you 1 Air mile.

b. Burn rate: How many miles do you need to spend to avail a free ticket or an upgrade? This might vary from bank to bank and might also include black out zones for booking with airlines.

c. Now the interesting question-do you get a joining bonus offer? There are several banks which offer irresistible joining bonus miles offers most of the time.

d. Is there a validity for these miles? In other words, do they expire if not redeemed within a specific period?

e. Benefits and Features: Does the card offer you benefits such as complimentary airport lounge access, airport pickup and drop, travel insurance, travel insurance certificates and so on. Do your research, compare all these options on the Soulwallet Credit Cards page and then make an informed decision.

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