The Types of Travel Reward Credit Card Redemption Programs


There are two types of redemption methods for travel reward credit cards.  There are pro’s and con’s to both.

Statement Credit Redemptions


Statement credits are as the name implies a credit issued to your credit card statement once redeemed.  You make a purchase using the credit card and then apply reward points to the purchase and are credited on your credit card account.  You must make a purchase in a certain category to qualify for a statement credit.  For example a travel rewards credit card will require you make a purchase on the credit card that is coded as a travel purchase.

For example if 10,000 points equals $100 in a travel reward program and you book a $200 flight on this credit card, you can apply the 10,000 points towards the purchase and receive $100 off the $200 flight.


– Easy to use and easy to redeem.  Everything can be done online very quickly and the only thing you have to do is make sure your purchase is coded as the appropriate category to receive credit.

– No blackout dates

– Many statement credit programs are low to no annual fee credit cards. 


– Statement credit reward programs are not as valuable as transferring them to frequent flyer programs.  Typically they work out to no more than one cent per mile.  With frequent flyer programs you can see a return at two cents or more per mile.

Loyalty Program Redemptions


The other type of credit card redemption program allows you to use the loyalty programs of the companies you are using.  There are two types of way to use loyalty programs.  You may use company branded cards such as using using a United branded card to accrue United points.  You may also use other branded cards and transfer them into the loyalty program.  In this example you would be using a Chase branded credit card and them transferring the points into United’s loyalty program.


  • You see a higher rate of return.  The cent’s per mile is higher using loyalty programs in most cases.  This is especially true if you want to use them on business or first class flights.
  • You can attain status with the loyalty programs you use.  Airlines will provide perks such as lounge access, free checked bags, and priority boarding. 


  • More difficult to use than statement credits.  You may have to transfer points and you might have to call in to redeem loyalty points instead of online.
  • Not as flexible as statement credits.  You have a limited number of ways to use them
  • Subject to availability.  Most loyalty programs have blackout dates or only sell a certain amount of award flights.


For more information on travel reward credit cards see our complete guide on conquering travel reward credit cards.

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