“Fake” frequent flyer credit cards

The unaffiliated, generic mileage cards are a bad deal for most consumers.

    Credit cards that aren’t affiliated with any airline’s frequent-flier program — but which promise users the ability to earn free trips on a variety of carriers — have been around since the mid-1990s. Known as “fake” cards to the frequent-flier cognoscenti, they’re marketed primarily to infrequent travelers who aren’t loyal to any single carrier but who would like to earn a free flight every couple of years.

They provide domestic coach tickets with values usually capped at about $400 and points can’t be combined with other mileage earning opportunities (like flying, telephone, hotel stays, etc.). So they don’t provide earning power or redemption power.

They aren’t going to get you into that business class cabin to Sydney, which is enough to tell me that they’re a poor value proposition.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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