With United States economy still on very shaky ground, more and more consumers are looking to get the most out of rewards programs, especially travel rewards programs.

Consumers are turning to their air miles for family vacations and businesses are using the perks to make business travel more affordable.

Airline rewards and perks are now offered by large numbers of credit card issuers and savvy consumers are using this to their advantage. While the economy is floundering, consumers want to get more for their spending. Vice President of Loyalty Programs for credit card giants Capital One, Mr Troy Jamieson spoke on the issue recently saying that,

The current economic landscape is weighing on consumers’ minds. Maximizing credit card rewards is one way consumers can offset the impact on their wallets.

One of the easiest way to start racking up those air miles is to apply for a credit card which is co-branded with a major airline. All of the major U.S. Carriers have branded travel rewards credit cards and most of them will offer a fairly substantial sign up bonus and a reward for reaching a minimum spend within an allotted time frame.

This is a fantastic way to get a good base of miles to build on with your every day spending. Even though the cards are branded to the airline, many will allow the miles to be redeemed with a partner airline. The cards often come with a package of additional benefits and perks including airport lounge access or free checked bags.

Some branded airline credit cards also offer additional bonus reward points when you convert your saved points from other credit card rewards programs into miles with their own card. Travel blogger Daraius Dubash says,

Sometimes you’ll earn more points if you use a generic travel reward card, and then transfer your points to your preferred airline, instead of using your preferred airline’s credit card.

With competition for customers at an all time high, credit card issuers are offering great deals at every opportunity. Carriers will very often run promotional events via their websites and many of the larger hotel chains and car rental companies will offer bonuses and discounts for completing surveys or watching videos.

There are also a growing number of linked promotions where airmiles can be exchanged not only for flights but also for accommodation at partner hotels or car rental with named providers.