What Is An Airline Credit Card
An airline credit card is a rewards card that allows you to earn miles or reward points from purchases you make. Over time, cardholders can save up miles to redeem their miles or reward points towards flights, hotel stays, and other travel rewards. Airline credit cards allow you to earn points at a higher rate for travel expenses and offer more perks related to travel and airfare when compared to general credit cards.
Are Air Miles Credit Cards A Good Option For Business Travelers
If you travel frequently for business, an air miles credit card may be the way to go. Chances are you have an airline or two that youre loyal to. If this is the case, find an air mile credit card that can allow you to earn free flights from this airline. Not only will these airline-specific cards ensure you get great perks, but they may also increase the number of airline miles you earn.
These cards can make your business trips more affordable and comfortable. Depending on the card you select, you may enjoy perks like free baggage check, priority seating, and airport lounge memberships. All of these conveniences can make work travel far more appealing.
Some of our favorite air miles credit cards for business travelers include the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Business Platinum Card® from American Express, and the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card.
Are Credit Card Miles The Same As Regular Airline Miles
In most cases, yes. You can redeem credit card miles in the same account and they have the same value. One exception is that some airlines calculate credit card spending differently in terms of elite status.
Additionally, some credit cards earn miles that are part of the credit cards rewards program, like Capital One Venture Miles. These miles arent airline miles, but they can be redeemed for flights and even transferred to airline partners. Other types of credit cards earn points that can be transferred to airline miles.
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Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card Best Airline Miles Credit Card
Two annual benefits the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card gives you are a $75 Southwest travel credit and four Upgraded Bookings.
Cardholders earn unlimited:
- 3x points on Southwest® purchases
- 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
- 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases
New cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, now enjoy more benefits and more ways to earn.
Each card anniversary, you also earn 7,500 bonus points.
One of the best Southwest credit card options, this card can get you even closer to a coveted Southwest Companion Pass®. Also, remember that Southwest offers all passengers to enjoy the first two checked bags for free.
Who Should Use An Airline Miles Credit Card
Whether you only fly once a year or your work sends you around the world weekly, all types of travelers can benefit from an airline miles credit card. These cards allow you to earn rewards on everyday purchases, so no matter how you spend, you can be working toward free travel.
Many airline-branded credit cards also provide additional perks, including seat upgrades and early boarding when you fly with that specific airline, making the overall travel experience more enjoyable.
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Best For United Airlines
Who’s this for? For those who prefer flying United, the United Explorer Card offers a variety of impressive benefits with its rewards program.
Cardholders earn 2X miles per $1 spent on United purchases 2X miles per $1 spent on dining and at hotels 1X miles earned on every $1 spent on all other purchases. The welcome bonus is: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
It is one of the few airline travel cards that comes with some lounge access: you can take advantage of two United Club one-time passes per year. That’s a value of over $100 per year and helps offset some of the cost of the annual fee .
There are a host of nice perks for travelers: Users can get a 25% rebate on all in-flight purchases, their first bag is checked for free and priority boarding. There’s also an auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and trip delay reimbursement.
Perhaps the best perk offered by the United Explorer Card is you can get up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. While this is becoming a standard benefit of many travel rewards cards, it’s not something frequently offered by airlines.
What Is The 5/24 Rule For Credit Cards
Chase may automatically decline your credit card application if youve opened five or more personal credit cards in the last 24 months, which is generally referred to as the “5/24 Rule”. The rule is not official and has not been announced by Chase instead, everything we know about it comes from multiple user reports. Keep in mind that this is just one factor in a credit decision you may be declined for a credit card if you don’t meet the minimum credit score, credit history or income requirements.
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Can Travel Rewards Credit Cards Be Used For Free Hotel Stays
Yes, you can redeem miles and points for hotel stays. If your goal is to save money on hotel accommodations instead of airfare, many of the major hotel chains, including Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott, offer their own co-branded rewards credit cards that will help you earn the most points.
If youre still set on an airline credit card, not to worry many airlines maintain partnerships that allow the exchange of points across their affiliates for significant discounts.
What Are Blackout Dates
Blackout dates are dates when you cant use travel rewards. In most cases, they fall on or around major holidays or other peak travel times. So if you want to book a Christmas vacation with your miles or points, you may not be able to.
This could be problematic if your work or personal schedule only allows you to travel during these time frames. The good news is some credit cards dont have blackout dates. With the Capital One® Venture cards, for instance, you can book travel with your miles at any time.
Unless youre very flexible with your travel dates, its worthwhile to find a card that is free of blackout dates. Otherwise, you may have a tough time using your miles toward trips.
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Is An Airline Credit Card Worth It
An airline credit card is generally worth an application if:
- You plan to use the partnering airline regularly and avail the benefits that the card offers.
- You’ll get an attractive introductory package .
- There’s no annual fee, or you expect to get back in benefits more than you pay in fees.
- You have good to excellent credit, which can qualify you for a lower interest rate.
If you don’t plan to fly with a particular airline or use the card benefits enough to compensate for the annual fee, or its introductory package is underwhelming, you may want to forgo one of these cards.
A good credit score translates to a FICO score of 670 to 799 excellent credit refers to a FICO credit score of 800 to 850.
How Do You Earn Airline Miles
With an airline credit card, you earn miles for each dollar you spend in your monthly billing cycle. In addition, many airlines offer a significant number of miles as a signup bonus when you spend a certain amount within the first few months of opening the card. In some cases, these bonuses are enough for a free flight right off the bat.
Because using an airline credit card allows you to accumulate miles on everyday purchases like groceries, gas, and clothes, you dont have to be a frequent flyer to earn free flights. As is typically the case, each dollar you spend earns you one frequent flyer mile. However, you often earn more miles per dollar when buying airfare on the same airline as the one that sponsors your credit card.
Some cards also provide bonus miles for the money you spend at certain retailers, restaurants, hotels, or car rental companies. You can check out the earnings rates of popular premium travel rewards cards below:
Check your account online to learn more about additional reward options. Some may require you to opt-in before you can start earning the benefits, and since such bonus reward categories can change periodically or every quarter, its important to check back frequently to see which options are available.
Many times, you can even earn bonus miles and exclusive cardholder discounts by shopping through the credit cards online portal.
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British Airways Executive Club
OneWorld partner British Airways can eat up your miles, called Avios, but the experience is superior. There is a feature called Reward Flight Savers, advertised as the best value reward flights, which is available on return flights in Europe and southern Africa. Like other loyalty programs, you can use Avios to upgrade, for a hotel stay or getting a rental car. Avios points are, on average, worth 1.5 cents each*.
Which Eligible Purchases Count Toward Air Mile Rewards
If youd like to make the most out of an air miles credit card, consider the cards list of eligible purchases. This way youll know what purchases count and will earn you the most miles.
With the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, for example, youll get the same number of miles on every purchase. This means no matter what you use your credit card for, youll receive rewards you can later use toward flights. Other cards arent as flexible as their eligible purchases are more specific.
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What To Watch Out For
This card previously gave discounted entrance into Delta Sky Clubs. However, once the portfolio of Delta credit cards was refreshed, that benefit has now been removed. If youre an avid traveler looking to relax in Delta Sky Clubs between flights, only the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card includes Delta Sky Club and American Express Centurion Lounge access.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.
Why Transfer Credit Card Points
With airline miles credit cards like the Capital One Venture and Chase Sapphire Preferred, its easy to redeem accumulated miles for travel. Each card has a system for essentially erasing travel-related purchases from your monthly statement. So why would you want to transfer credit card points to your airline miles account?
The short answer is that doing so can often make your points go further. This is because it requires fewer points to book a flight. Obviously, if you would rather erase tour packages or Airbnb bookings, points and miles arent going to be very helpful on a frequent flyer account. Whether to transfer or not depends on what you want to do with the points you have.
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Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card: Best For Alaska Airlines
Why we picked it: This airline credit card comes fully-loaded with a decent rewards return rate and plenty of extras, including a free checked bag for you and up to six companions on the same reservation.
Pros: Theres a doubly rewarding sign-up bonus that lets you earn 40,000 miles and the Alaska Airlines companion fare from $121 after spending $2,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. Youll receive that companion fare each year on your account anniversary, too.
Cons: The card carries a $75 annual fee, so be sure you fly Alaska Airlines enough for the long haul to justify adding it to your wallet.
Who should apply? If you fly Alaska Airlines with a companion even once or twice a year, youre likely to appreciate this cards benefits.
Who should skip? If you frequent a different airline or your travel patterns are more varied, consider a different travel credit card.
Read our full Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card review or jump back to this cards offer details.
You Actually Would Be Willing To Pay A Significant Premium For Better Classes Of Service
One of the advantages of frequent flier and travel points programs is their ability to discount higher classes of service heavily. Often the premium for a business class flight is 4-5x the economy fare. When using miles and travel points programs. The premium is generally about 2x. If you would be willing to pay that premium for a higher class of service, then the travel points programs are a good choice for you.
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How To Choose The Best Airline Credit Card For International Travel
In addition, consider the features of the card such as sign-up bonuses and annual fees when picking the best credit card for airline miles. And don’t overlook the value of benefits like baggage fee waivers and airport lounge access, which can easily justify a card’s annual fee. With all of these factors considered, you may be able to find one or more credit card options that work for your travel needs. For our full list of best airline credit cards for international travel,
Should You Consider A No
The three biggest domestic airlines all offer credit cards with no annual fee:
American: American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card.
Delta: Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card.
United: United TravelBank Card.
No-annual-fee airline cards are best for people who don’t travel regularly but still want to earn airline miles those who get a psychological boost from “getting closer to a trip” with each purchase. NerdWallet doesn’t recommend no-annual-fee airline cards for frequent flyers because while they earn miles and sometimes entitle you to a discount on in-flight food and entertainment, they lack the most valuable benefits of carrying an airline card:
For hardcore travelers, top-of-the-line cards with annual fees in the $450 range may offer all of the above plus VIP service, access to the airline’s airport lounges and other luxury perks.
If you fly a single airline a couple of times a year and you regularly check bags, you’ll easily save more money with an annual-fee card than with a no-annual-fee option. But if you’re dead-set against paying annual fees in any case, consider skipping an airline card entirely. Consider a no-annual-fee general-purpose travel credit card whose rewards can be used on any airline , or get a good cash-back credit card and save your cash rewards for your next trip.
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How Do You Maximize Your Airline Miles
To maximize your airline miles, carefully consider your spending habits. If you know youre responsible with debt and will pay off your entire balance each month, put every expense you can on the card. Carrying a balance and paying interest only cuts into the benefits of the rewards.
Also, examine whether your card allows you to earn bonus miles through other avenues like dining at certain restaurants, shopping at specific retailers, or using the credit cards online shopping portal.
Though your airline miles certainly help you save money, treat the travel process as if you were still searching for the best deal. Monitor the price of flights online and book in advance to ensure you get the seats you want without having to eat up extra miles by paying a premium fare.
Cibc Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
- $139 annual fee First year free
- Earn 10,000 Aeroplan points after your first purchase
- Additional 10,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass when you spend $1,000 in the first 4 months
- Earn 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and Air Canada purchases
- Earn 1 Aeroplan point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- First bag checked free on Air Canada flights
The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is the best airline credit card when it comes to Air Canada since you earn Aeroplan points. The standard welcome bonus is often 10,000 Aeroplan points after your first purchase. You would then get an additional 10,000 15,000 points, plus a Buddy Pass depending on what the current promotion is.
The earn rate of 1.5 miles per $1 spent on grocery, gas, and aircanada.com, plus 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases is respectable and is a quick way to earn Aeroplan Miles. This card also gives you your first checked bag free, so you can save quite a bit if youre a frequent flyer. Remember, with Aeroplan, you can now book any available seat with your points.
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Should I Get A Credit Card With Travel Rewards
Whether you can make the necessary budget to charge the amount required on a frequent flyer credit card for rewards to earn rewards, if your travel history enables you to justify a fee on any annual basis and if you can avoid payment of any monthly debt with a rewards credit card could all determine your fate
When Should I Transfer Travel Points To Airline Miles
You should opt to transfer credit card points to a participating air miles partner when the flight you want to book costs fewer miles when paid for with frequent flyer points than credit card points. Or when the credit card company offers additional miles when you transfer, exemplified in this Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
Often, credit card points or miles are worth 1 cent apiece. However, when transferred they sometimes get a boost if airlines value miles at something closer to 1.5 or 2 cents per mile. The deciding factor should be how many miles the flight costs with each method. If a domestic round-trip flight requires 25,000 Delta SkyMiles but would only cost $150 , you would be wasting miles if you transfer them first. On the flip side, if that same flight costs a whopping $395 , youd be silly not to transfer and book through the airline.
It is important to keep in mind, however, each of the best credit cards for travel miles offers and bonuses to make sure youre not cheating yourself out of earning additional points or miles.