Does my card make flying easier?
If any of your credit cards is branded by an airline, you're in luck. Those cards are loaded with valuable perks that can make travel easier.
For example, most airline credit cards will give you free checked bags, which can save you a lot of money, especially if the whole family is in tow. Some can also make your travel smoother, offering priority boarding, discounts on in-flight purchases and flight discounts.
And the more you fly or spend on your card, the faster you climb toward elite status. Many cards give elite qualifying miles when you spend a certain amount within a certain time frame. Elite status can smooth out kinks in your travel plans, such as securing accommodations for you when flights are canceled and giving access to spacious airport lounges. With a certain status, you can qualify for free upgrades when they're available; those cushier seats with more legroom can make all the difference on a long flight.
If you don't have a favorite airline, Kelly recommends signing up for a program with transferable points. "These programs help you transfer points to a number of different airlines," he says. "It's the same fundamentals as your retirement account. You don't want to put all of your retirement in one stock."