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What Is The Best Airline Credit Card

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Important Things To Know About Travel Insurance

What are the BEST AIRLINE CREDIT CARDS? (2017)

To get the most out of your credit card travel insurance, its vital to read the fine print. Theres an array of exclusions, eligibility requirements and compensation amounts. Here are some key points:

  • For the insurance to kick in, requirements vary. Youll usually need to charge anywhere from 75% to 100% of the cost of your trip to your card.
  • As noted above, coverage only lasts for a specific number of days depending on your age. Those 65 and older are usually only offered very limited coverage. Youll need to pay out of pocket for extra travel days.
  • Most credit card insurance plans will cover not only the policyholder but also eligible travel companions like a spouse and dependent children. Check with your provider who is covered and for what specific monetary amounts.
  • Time can be crucial when making a claim. For example, many companies insist on being alerted beforehand of any medical procedures like major surgeries. Many also have a set period in which a claim must be made, such as within three months of the event, or coverage will be forfeit.

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Other Cards To Consider

Travel enthusiasts have multiple options besides airline cards, notably general travel credit cards. These cards provide travel rewards without tying you to a single airline. Their rewards usually apply to a wide range of travel-related expenses. And general travel cards tend to be simpler than airline-specific credit cards. So if you spread your flying among several airlines or dont fly that much, a general travel card may be a better choice than an airline card.

You might not need a travel card at all, if a different kind of rewards credit card is a better fit. Indeed, a 2016 NerdWallet study found that most people including many travelers would get more in rewards with a cash-back card than with any travel credit card.

Finally, if you fly different airlines but prefer a particular hotel chain or if you would just prefer free nights to free flights consider getting a hotel credit card.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, see this page.To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, see this page.To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, see this page.

Best For United Travelers

The United Business MileagePlus card is perfect for businesses who prefer flying United. When you sign up, you can earn up to 150,000 bonus miles — 75 000 when you spend $5000 in the first three months, and the other 75 000 when you spend $20 000 in your first six months.

There are plenty of ways to earn miles with the United card, including:

  • 2X miles for purchases from United, including tickets, inflight food and beverage, Wi-Fi, and more
  • 2X miles for spending on dining and food delivery services
  • 2X miles for spending at gas stations, office supply stores, and local transit and commuting
  • 1X miles for all other purchases

The card comes with plenty of other travel benefits, including a free checked bag, United travel credits, priority boarding, United Club passes, no foreign transaction fees, and more.

This card comes with an annual fee of $99 per year and a variable interest rate ranging from 16.49% to 23.49%, depending on your creditworthiness.

Pros:

  • Extra travel perks like lounge access and free checked bags
  • Add employee cards at no extra cost

Cons:

  • Lower miles rewards than many competitors on airline spending
  • Signup bonus must be earned in two separate parts
  • Starting APR is higher than some competitors

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Winner: Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite* Card

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite* Card wins big points in our books because it offers a lot of perks without a hefty annual fee. For starters, its got a great welcome bonus. Upon sign-up, you can earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year . Plus, no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards and 5X Scotia Rewards points on Travel for the first 3 months .

Aside from the generous sign-up bonus, with this credit card, youll also earn:

  • 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and daily transit purchases .
  • 1 Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on everything else.

The Scotia Rewards points you earn are excellent since you can redeem them for any type of travel you book on your card.

What really makes this card shine is that it comes with no foreign transaction fees and lounge access with 6 free annual passes. The travel insurance with this card is also impressive. You get travel medical, trip cancellation/interruption, flight delay, delayed/lost baggage, rental car, hotel burglary, and travel accident insurance.

Whether youre planning a summer staycation or jet-setting around the world on the regular, this is a fantastic card for anyone who wants to earn rewards from their everyday spending.

The Details

Mbna Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard*

What are the BEST AIRLINE CREDIT CARDS? (2017)

If you want the opportunity to earn travel rewards but dont want to pay an annual fee, we recommend the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard. As a new cardholder, you earn MBNA Points Earn 4 points for every $1 spent on groceries and restaurants and 2 points per $1 spent on other categories, up to $10,000 spent, after which the earn rate becomes 1 point per $1. This is a great opportunity to beef up your points cache, particularly with these frequently used earnings categories. Be aware that these rewards are capped annually at a maximum of $5,000 in each category. Spends over this amount will be rewarded at the regular 1 point per $1 rate.

Theres a 10,000-point bonus with this no fee card, which works out to about $100 in travel. Another major benefit to this card is that when you book travel with your MBNA points, you can book with any airline you wish. In addition to the usual purchase protection and extended warranty, car rentals with Avis or Budget may be discounted. Unfortunately, the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard doesnt have travel emergency coverage.

If youre looking for a travel credit card with the Visa badge on it and want a rewards program thats extremely easy to understand and flexible, consider the TD First Class Visa Infinite.

With the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite, youll get 3 TD Rewards points for every $1 you spend on everyday purchases. Even better, you get 9 points per $1 when booking travel on ExpediaforTD.com and charging it to your account.

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What Are Airline Miles Worth

Average mile value data can help you gauge whether or not an airline card bonus is actually a good deal.

Our point valuations may be more realistic for you than other website valuations.Theres more than one way to use airline miles to save on air travel, so we included more than one type of flight in our value calculations. Our average per-mile value data includes one-way economy and first-class ticket prices for domestic and international flights from 18 airlines. The flights follow popular routes for each airline, with departures one to five months out to account for trip planners and last minute flight shoppers. We do not factor in fuel surcharges when determining value.

Here’s our analysis of average airline-mile value for major U.S. carriers:

  • United Airlines : 2.19 cents
  • American Airlines : 2.26 cents
  • Delta Air Lines : 1.54 cents
  • Southwest : 1.45 cents
  • JetBlue : 1.43 cents
  • Alaska Airlines : 0.85 cents

Clark Says: Dont Be Fooled By Points Bonuses

You may look at that advice above and say, But there are great welcome bonuses attached to the airline card that I want.

Clark has been consistent in his stance that credit card welcome bonuses should be a low priority when choosing a long-term card for your wallet. He says a short-term gain can be a long-term loss if the cards ongoing perks are lacking.

This holds true for airline credit cards, as they often offer miles or points within their rewards programs as the main welcome bonus. Clark says the ever-changing value of a point when compared to the cost of a flight makes this a hard bonus to evaluate.

The number of points you have to have before those cards really benefit you in terms of travel is crazy, Clark says. Sometimes an airline will say something like, A domestic trip starts at 20,000 points, but you have to pay attention. Starts at is the key term there. Its usually much more than that these days, because the airlines have inflated how many points it takes to earn a free trip.

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How Can You Maximize Airline Card Rewards

Each rewards program has its own rules, but to maximize airline card rewards overall, follow these tips:

  • Dont make reservations through a third-party agent or website. Book all flights directly with the airline or rewards portal.
  • Airline miles are usually most valuable when used to book flights or other travel reservations. You may see options to redeem rewards for merchandise or gift cards, but they are often a worse value.
  • Watch for loyalty program opportunities to earn extra miles or score discounted flight tickets.
  • Pair with another card that earns rewards on everyday expenses if the airline card lacks earning options.
  • Book travel companions on your reservation so they can enjoy many of the airline benefits you do.
  • Connect your frequent-flyer account to your card to access all loyalty perks.
  • American Express Cobalt Card

    Which Credit Card Is Best For Airline Employees?
    • $12.99 Monthly fee
    • 2,500 monthly Membership Rewards points after charging $500 in purchases each month for a year
    • 20,000 additional Membership Rewards points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of cardmembership
    • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks
    • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services
    • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
    • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Comprehensive travel insurance package included
    • Mobile device insurance
    • American Express Invites access
    • Free supplementary cards

    At first glance, the American Express Cobalt Card may seem like an odd choice when it comes to the best airline credit cards in Canada, but it comes down to the transfer partners. With American Express Membership Rewards, you can transfer your points to Aeroplan, Avios, Delta SkyMiles, and Asia Miles. Most Canadians will find Aeroplan to be the most useful partner since its the airline loyalty program of Air Canada.

    When you look at the earn rate of the Cobalt Card, youll quickly realize how quickly you can earn points. Youll get 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services 2 points per $1 spent on travel and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. I personally value 1 Aeroplan point at 2 cents each, so youre getting a lot of value out of this card.

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    Card Benefits At A Glance

    Here’s a quick summary of the benefits you can expect from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card:

    • You’ll earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 during the first three months from account opening.
    • Cardholders will get 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, as well as 5 miles per dollar on hotel andrental carpurchases made through Capital One Travel.
    • You’ll receive up to a $100 credit toward the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every four years.
    • Flexible redemption: You can redeem miles by booking travel with your card, then requesting a statement credit,booking travelthrough Capital One or by transferring them to one of the bank’s 15+ airline and hotel partners.

    What Is The Difference Between An Airline Credit Card And A General Travel Credit Card

    There can be clear differences between an airline card and a general-purpose travel card, such as: For starters, an airline card offers rewards for loyalty to one specific carrier or alliance whereas a general-purpose travel card partners with multiple airline brands. If your closest airport happens to be a designated hub for a particular airline, you might find that airlines branded credit card to be the most convenient.

    With an airline credit card, you can often earn boosted rewards on travel and in-flight purchases. A general-purpose travel credit card tends to reward for a variety of categories, sometimes even offering rewards for all purchases. More recently, airline credit cards have begun to reward for everyday spending in categories such as groceries, although it isnt nearly as common as with general-purpose cards. General travel cards also offer benefits such as Global Entry or TSA Precheck credits, while airline cards might offer complimentary checked baggage, seating upgrades and lounge access.

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    Pair Airline Cards With General Travel Cards

    Lets say you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. Because Southwest is a Chase travel partner, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. This way, you can rack up points to use for Southwest flights between both cards, but you arent stuck redeeming with Southwest if you find a better award price for your Ultimate Rewards points elsewhere.

    Pairing an airline card with a complementary rewards card is oftentimes the best way to squeeze value out of your new travel companion. The right combination of credit cards can help you avoid rewards limitations that may come along with an airline card.

    How To Redeem Travel Rewards

    Best Airline Credit Cards

    It really depends on the rewards program attached to your credit card. Some exchange dollars spent into points or miles , while others allow you to directly cash in points to make a purchase.

    The process of redeeming points varies too. For instance, with the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite* Card, you login to their website and apply any number of accumulated points to offset any travel cost charged onto your credit card. Other credit cards have a travel portal for redemptions. With Aeroplan or AIR MILES, you login to their website and redeem your points directly for a specific travel reward. Either way is fine the key is to choose a travel credit card that has a redemption process that isnt overly complicated.

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    Citi / Aadvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: Best For American Flyers

    For the occasional American Airlines flyer, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum is a great card to have, especially since theres no annual fee for the first year, then only $95 per year thereafter. While it isnt the best card to use on everyday spending, you can save money on baggage fees and even be privy to discounted award flights just by having it.

    All Citi AAdvantage Platinum card holders get a free checked bag on domestic American flights for not only themselves, but up to four additional companions on the same reservation. With baggage fees starting at $30 per bag, a family of four can easily save $240 roundtrip by flying just one flight per year, making the annual fee well worth it.

    Also, throughout the year, American offers reduced mileage awards exclusively to its credit card holders, which provide up to a 7,500-mile discount on round-trip award flights. Typically, the airline releases a four-month calendar in advance listing which select routes throughout North America receive the discount. While this is a nice added perk if you happen to be booking an eligible route, this benefit is going away on September 30, 2021, so you only have a limited time to utilize this discount.

    Understanding Reward Redemption Values

    Every travel rewards program makes its own rules about the earn rate, value and redemption process for your points. No wonder its confusing to even try to compare them. There are a few things to keep in mind.

    In almost all programs, however, travel rewards offer a better value when you redeem points for flights or hotel stays rather than, say, for merchandise or a statement credit . You can also use points toward gift cards, but do your homework and go for the options with the highest returns. For example, if you can redeem 5,000 points for a $10 gift card from a retailer or $8 in statement credits, you may want to opt for gift cards since they offer more value.

    While travel might not be the top imperative in your life right now, in most programs, points dont expire, so you can save them for future travel.

    If youre not much of a traveller, consider a cash back credit card instead.

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    Really Important Things To Look For In A Travel Rewards Credit Card

    To get the ball rolling, heres a quick video on how to pick a credit card:

    Comparing credit cards can be a little overwhelming. To help you stay focused and ensure you get the best card for you and your goals, here are the six things I look for in a new card:

    1. A huge welcome offer The best travel cards will all offer you a sizable introductory offer. Youll need to meet a minimum spending requirement but it will be these welcome points that jump-start your mileage account and get you closer to a free flight or hotel stay.

    Sometimes these offers are even big enough to get you a few free flights right off the bat! Dont sign up for a card unless it offers a high welcome offer.

    As a general guide, welcome offers work like this: in order to receive the large introductory offer, you must make either a single purchase or meet a minimum spending threshold in a certain time frame. After that, depending on the card, you can earn 1-5x points per dollar spent.

    Typical travel credit card welcome offers range between 40,000 to 60,000 points, though sometimes they can be as high as 100,000. Thats why cards are so greatyou get an instant balance of thousands of points for very little work.

    If youre not sure youll be able to make the minimum threshold for the welcome offer, ask around to see if any friends or family are planning a large purchase. If theyll let you put it on your card you can easily meet the minimum spend threshold to earn your welcome points.

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