If you’ve flown in the past several months, you know the drill. Usually, but not always, towards the end of the flight, the flight attendant will come over the PA system for an announcement. While most announcements are alerting passengers of turbulence or the need to store your laptop computers, this one is different. This announcement is a sales pitch, and there’s no way to avoid it.
Airlines and their employees take different approaches. Some, like American, usually start with some phony pretense like, “We’ve had several passengers ask us during the flight how they can earn more miles!”
While some of the employees play it a little fast and loose with the details about what you’ll get with those miles, you have to wonder if it actually might be a good deal?
Come on, now. It’s the ultimate car salesman pitch of, “Once you leave the lot, this offer’s not good anymore.” If you can only sign up on the plane, you’re a captive audience with a limited timeframe to make a decision. I think this is why they wait for the end of the flight to make the pitch. If they do it too early, and the flight has WiFi, you could look up to see if it’s a good offer. They don’t want you to do that.
But these can be offers that are better than the ones available to the general public. On our recent flight on Frontier, they were offering the Frontier credit card. Barclays and Frontier revamped this card in 2018 and I considered it for a second. The problem is Frontier miles aren’t worth a whole lot.
The normal offer for the card is 40,000 miles but there’s a limited-time increase of 50,000 miles if you spend $500 in the first 90 days. The offer on-board was even better. You could get the 50,000 miles after your first purchase. That’s right, no spending requirement at all. If you were thinking about getting the card, this was a great offer.
Other airlines also offer increased signup bonuses while on board. I’ve seen up to 10,000 extra miles, lower spending requirements or cashback bonuses. Not all bonuses are good. The worst one was a flight where if you signed up on board, you’d get 500 extra miles. Woo-hoo!
I guess my advice would be if you’re going to be flying with an airline and were thinking about getting their co-brand credit card, check out the current bonus before you get onboard. That way you’ll know if the offer you’re getting is worthwhile signing up for on the plane. Now, I know that some people would be leery about filling out a paper application with your financial information on it but with all the information hacks and data breaches happening nowadays, does it seem like pen and paper is any less safe?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary