Get cards, get miles, travel the world, repeat.
Frequent Flyer programs began in the early 1980s as a way to encourage loyalty to one airline. Since then, they’ve exploded—every major airline, hotel, and even car rental company has a program you can join. Along the way, something changed: banks entered the picture, creating co-branded credit cards together with the travel companies.
To incentivize consumers to accept their cards, they offered signing bonuses of 25,000 miles and up. Airlines operate the programs as a profit center, selling miles to banks and knowing that most miles will never be redeemed. It’s free money for them… and it can be free travel for you.