Winner: Scotiabank*gold American Expresscard
TheScotiabank®*Gold American Express®Card offers a great return on spending. Earn five Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on groceries, restaurant, food delivery and entertainment purchases. Get three Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on gas, daily transit purchases and select streaming services and earn one Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent everywhere else.
Cardholders pay no foreign transaction fees on foreign currency purchases, typically around 2.5%. Only the exchange rate applies. Plus, access discounts through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service and get a wide range of travel insurance through the card.
According to our Best of Finance methodology, the average Canadian would earn around $1,244 in rewards in the first year.
- Earn 5,000 Scotia Rewards points when you make your first purchase on the card.
Offer expiry date: November 21, 2021
- Earn one Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent on the card.
- Earn 5% cash back on the cost of your trip booked through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service.
Reward Flights Are Limited So You’ll Have To Be Flexible Around When You Travel
The availability of reward flights is much more limited than when paying for flights normally, so you’ll have to go quick and be as flexible as possible.
Tactically, the ideal time to start checking is around a year before this is when seats start to be released . Though keep checking, as sometimes there are no seats available when a flight’s launched, but extra seats are released later.
If you want to fly at peak times such as Christmas or school holidays, booking well in advance is usually essential. Use British Airways’ search and book page to check for availability , or Virgin’s reward flights calendar.
– 0.75 points per £1 spent
– Free companion ticket/upgrade on £20,000+ annual spend – No fee
– Fail to repay fully and it’s 22.9% rep APR interest
Top fee-free Virgin Atlantic card: earn ongoing Virgin points, plus a free companion ticket or upgrade for high spenders.
Plus, if you’ll spend over £20,000/yr on the card you’ll get a free Flying Club tier reward. If you’re at its lowest ‘red’ tier, you can choose a free upgrade , a companion ticket in economy or premium though you’ll both pay taxes and charges or a Virgin Clubhouse pass.
American Express The Platinum Card
The unique selling feature for The Platinum Card from American Express is the access to a variety of lounges across the American Express Global Lounge Collection. These include Priority Pass, Amexs own Centurion Lounge, Plaza Premium Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs . This top-tier card offers unlimited access to the widest range of airport lounges, which are included with your annual fee. As a frequent lounge visitor, I can say American Express Centurion Lounge Collection runs circles around its competition with seasonal and locally inspired menus, curated wine pairings and refreshing showers.
The Platinum Card comes at a steep $699 annual fee, but along with it comes a suite of benefits, including hotel status, enhanced lounge options, premium insurance coverage and a $200 annual travel creditwhich really brings the annual fee down to $499. If you know youll leverage the benefits , this is a worthwhile option.
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Best No Fee Travel Credit Card
- 1x Aeroplan points on gas, groceries, and Air Canada purchases
- Aeroplan preferred pricing on Air Canada flights
- Minimum income: $15,000 personal or household
- Annual fee: $0
If you prefer to avoid paying annual fees, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card is the way to go. The card awards 10,000 Aeroplan points upon first purchase. Theres no easier or cheaper way to get started towards your travel dreams, and even students can qualify for the card.
That said, you might not earn points as quickly as you would with a premium card. Instead, it might be better to apply for a higher-tier card with a first-year annual fee waiver offer and a larger bonus, and later downgrade to this card.
The biggest benefit of the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card is the preferred pricing benefit: just by holding onto this no-fee card, youll unlock an 815% discount for Aeroplan flight rewards on Air Canada flights.
Also, as long as you remain a cardholder, your Aeroplan points wont expire. If you have a big points balance but no travel plans on the horizon, its a great way to avoid other more costly methods of keeping your account active.
Cons Of An Airline Credit Card
- Points can be difficult to redeem. Airlines sometimes will restrict the number of seats available per flight for those booking with rewards. Blackout dates also restrict exactly when travelers can redeem points for travel, particularly during peak travel periods.
- Loyalty can be limiting. If you have an airline-branded card, you are limited to that particular carrier and its network of partner airlines. Thats why its so important to choose an airline that is convenient for you to fly.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card The Best Credit Card For Booking Flights
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best credit cards for booking flights.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card currently has an offer of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Cardholders also earn 5x points on Lyft rides, through March 2022.
Also, enjoy new Chase Sapphire benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
But you can get even more value if you transfer your Sapphire Preferred points out to an Ultimate Rewards travel partner. Your points can be redeemed for award travel or as 1:1 point transfers to multiple airline and hotel partners. Points are worth 1.25 cents more when using their points to pay for all or part of a flight with a qualifying airline booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card Business Credit Card For Flights
If you want an affordable business rewards card, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card costs $95 per year and earns up to three points on travel purchases, including every airline ticket purchase.
You will earn 3 points per $1 in combined annual spending on these purchases:
- Cable, Internet, and Phone services
- Search Engine and Social Media advertising purchases
All bonus category purchases exceeding the $150,000 spending amount will continue to earn 1 point per $1 until your next card anniversary. This is a great deal for purchasing flight tickets.
Your Ink Business Preferred Credit Card purchases earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for award travel through Chase. Or, you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to any Ultimate Rewards travel partner too.
Cardholders can redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel, and more. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Points dont expire.
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The Difference Between Airline And Travel Credit Cards
We included two travel credit cards the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture in our list because of their flexibility. Both of these cards are great for beginners, but luxury travelers who want to maximize airfare purchases should consider a card such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers 5x on airfare booked directly with the airline that 5x for airfare is capped at $500,000 per calendar year. The card has a 10% return on spending according to our valuations.
As a rule, get you a better return on spending. They dont usually have airline-specific perks or a way to earn elite status on airlines, but they do allow you to transfer points to a specific carriers loyalty program.
Delta Skymiles Gold American Express Card
Welcome offer: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first three months of card membership.
Rewards: 2x on eligible Delta purchases, on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and 1x on all other eligible purchases
Why its the best airline card for occasional Delta flyers: The Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex card is the airlines entry-level premium card, with an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 . With this card, youll get a free checked bag, priority boarding on Delta flights, no foreign transaction fees and 20% in savings on inflight purchases on Delta flights.
Youll also earn a $100 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 in a calendar year. If youre an occasional Delta flyer who wants a way to earn bonus miles while enjoying a few elite-status-like perks, this might be the card for you.
Annual fee: Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99
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How To Choose The Right Airline Credit Card
An airline credit card can be a great way to make travel more affordable. The best card for you will fit your travel habits and your budget. Getting an airline credit card can be an exciting thing, but asking yourself the right questions about a card is important.
To be sure an airline credit card is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
How Do You Earn Airline Miles+
In the past, airline credit cards were likely to limit how you could earn boosted rewards, including limiting categories, but that is changing. To accommodate the traveler who might be staying close to home for now, everyday spending is increasingly being rewarded by these cards. Here are categories you might see.
- Airline ticket purchases and inflight purchases
- Purchases through partners
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Airline Credit Cards With No Annual Fee
The best airline credit cards offer a panoply of perks that save travelers time, money and stress.
Those incentives typically include free checked bags, some measure of priority in the boarding process, the ability to earn multiple miles per dollar on airfare and other purchases. Youll even find airport lounge access and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application-fee reimbursements at the higher echelons. However, the airline credit cards that offer these advantages often charge annual fees ranging from $95-$450.
Sensing an opportunity to attract younger customers or those who might just be getting started with credit, as well as customers who prefer earning miles over elite-style benefits, several airlines have introduced new no-annual-fee credit cards with pared-down perks.
These cards may not offer the same rewards as their more expensive counterparts, but they are worth considering in some cases. For example, if you want to hang onto a credit card for several years without having to shell out an annual fee each year, a no-annual-fee card can be a good solution.
The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
With so many credit cards to choose from, which ones do you pick? Well, the short answer is all of them. Grab as many as you can. Why put a limit on how many points you can get?
But the longer answer is dont get more than you can manage. Build it all up slowly. Here is a list of my favorite travel credit cards:
A longer list of my favorite credit cards along with all their sign-up details and perks can be found by clicking here.
Getting a travel credit card is simple and easy to do when you follow the steps above. Once you know your goal, you can easily find the card that matches the goal and the perks you want. Dont leave money on the table! Get a card, collect points, save money when you travel, and learn to travel for free!
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Know There Is No Perfect Card
The first thing you need to know is that there is no perfect travel card. Every card offers different benefits that will fit different lifestyles, budgets, and travel goals.
I use an AMEX card for booking flights , Chase Sapphire Reserve for my everyday spending, a different Chase card for my phone bills , and a Chase Ink for my business expenses! I have friends who only want cash back and others who only want United miles.
There is no perfect card. There is only the perfect card for YOU!
Start off by asking yourself what is your goal?
Are you interested in loyalty to a brand, free rewards, or avoiding fees? Do you want to milk the rewards and welcome offers to get free flights or do you just want a card that wont charge you a fee for using it at that restaurant in Brazil?
Is elite status the most important perk for you? Do you want points you can use for anything, like cash?
If you just want points to spend wherever you choose, get the Chase or American Express cards because you can use their points with a variety of travel companies. They each have their own rewards programs , and points can be transferred to multiple airlines or hotel partners and used to book travel directly through their sites.
Just want free hotel rooms? Sign up for hotel cards.
Want points that can be used like cash? Get a Capital One Venture Card.
I dislike Hilton and never fly United so I dont waste time getting their points.
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.
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United Club Infinite Card
Sign-up offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Bonus valuation: $1,210.
Annual fee: $525.
Reasons to get it: As its name implies, United Club Infinite cardholders enjoy United Club membership, including access for two guests or one adult and dependent children under the age of 21 .
While it has previously offered no welcome bonus in exchange for $0 intro annual fee the first year, that has changed. The card now offers 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. TPG values United miles at 1.21 cents each, so the 100,000 bonus miles are well worth the $525 annual fee, especially when factoring in the lounge access.
It also offers the first and second checked bag free for the primary cardholder and one companion traveling on the same reservation on United-operated flights when they are purchased with the card. Other perks include an up to $100 TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit every four years, Premier Access travel services, expanded award availability and lower average award prices.
Last but not least, those who care about elite status can be well-served with the United Club Infinite Card. The card has the same earning potential for United PQPs as the new Quest Card up to 3,000 per year in 500 point increments for each $12,000 put on the card.
See TPGs full United Club Infinite Card review for more details.
Eligibility Criteria For Airline Credit Cards
Each credit card issuer sets different eligibility criteria to apply for credit cards. Mentioned below are the basic eligibility requirements to apply for an airline credit card:
- You have to be an Indian citizen
- You should be salaried/self-employed professional/self-employed business-holder
- You should have a good credit history.
- You should be between 21 years and 60 years.
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When Do I Receive My Points On A Travel Credit Card
Co-branded cards wont show credit card rewards in your loyalty account until after your monthly statement generates, or a few days later. Meanwhile, with most issuers, in-house rewards show up a day or two after each transaction posts to your account, although you might not receive the bonus points until later.
United Quest Card: Best For Statement Credits
New credit cards can be exciting, and the United Quest Card is an option that was introduced last year with a strong sign-up bonus. Right now, when you get the card, you can earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in the first three months after opening the account. Since The Points Guy values United miles at 1.21 cents apiece, 70,000 miles are worth $847 in United travel.
The United Quest Card does come with a $250 annual fee, putting it between the $95 yearly cost of the United Explorer Card after the first year and the $525 annual fee of the United Club Infinite Card. But there are a number of benefits that can help offset a good chunk of the fee.
The best perk of the United Quest Card is the up to $125 in statement credits you can get for United purchases charged to your credit card. This is a yearly benefit available every 12 months from the date you first open the card and if you can use all $125 in credits each year, youre effectively knocking off half of the $250 annual fee and paying only $125 per year.
Also, starting at your first anniversary as a card holder meaning one year after you were approved for the card and each year thereafter, youll get 5,000 United miles back when you redeem your miles for a United or United Express-operated flight, regardless of the number of miles redeemed. You can even earn this mileage rebate twice per year.
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