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Get (at least) one round-trip ticket with a new mileage credit card

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With the right card your family may board its next flight a little faster.
This is the second post in the “Fit more travel into your family’s new year” series this month. If you missed the first post, you can check it out here. 
Would an extra round-trip ticket (or possibly two) help your family take flight this year? Even if you already have a frequent flyer credit card that earns you miles for each dollar spent, you might want to consider taking out a new mileage card this yearit could earn you a bonus worth as much as a free round-trip flight, or possibly even two.
My friendly advice? Don’t take out a mileage credit card that won’t give you at least one round-trip ticket as a bonus for using the card—visit your favorite airline’s website, subscribe to their member emails, and watch your mailbox (and don’t miss the current offers below). Occasionally, airlines such as Southwest or American Airlines will even offer new card bonuses worth two domestic round trips to mileage members on their mailing lists.
Don’t believe me? In 2011, I saw an offer from British Airways offering the equivalent of two overseas flights for new mileage cardholders—which I just missed (argh!), though I managed to refer several others to in time. (Better luck to us all in 2012 – I will be watching!)
Here are some of the best mileage credit card offers going right now:
Southwest Airlines is offering a “free roundtrip flight” with the equivalent of a 25,000 bonus points after your first purchase with their RapidRewards Visa card (see details
United is offering a MileagePlus Explorer Visa card also with a 25,000 mile bonus after first use, with 5,000 more miles for adding a second cardholder. If you charge 25,000 miles to it in a calendar year, you’ll get an extra 10,000 miles. Plus, cardholders and “a companion” can each get a free first checked suitcase on United and Continental flights (see details here). 
American Airlines is offering a Visa card with 30,000 miles for $750 spent in the first 4 months, and 10,000 more if you charge $5,000 within the first 6 months. Better yet, you’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar charged to it within the first year (see details here).  
US Airways is offering a MasterCard with a 30,000 mile bonus after your first use, and up to 10,000 bonus miles for a balance transfer to the new account (1 mile per $1 – see details here)  
Delta is offering a SkyMiles Gold American Express card with a 30,000 mile bonus after charging $500 to it in your first 3 months, and they’ll give you a $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase with it during those first 3 months. Additionally, card members get a free first checked bag for up to nine people in their reservation! (Big families see details here.)
British Airways is offering a Visa card with 25,000 miles (called “Avios”) after your first purchase, plus another 25,000 miles if you charge $2500 to the card in the first 90 days (see details here). 
One final note: Always read the fine print before you apply for any credit card, use it responsibly, and don’t forget to cancel a prior mileage card if you won’t need it anymore. Not only will you want to avoid any future annual fees for holding the card, but the company might offer you a generous mileage bonus for changing your mind and keeping it!
Do you use a mileage credit card? 
Is there one you recommend?
Click comments below to share your thoughts (email subscribers click here for the blog online).
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Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby

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