The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards in AmericaAdvertiser Disclosure by Jason Steele
There are many kinds of travel rewards credit cards available today, but most people still think about airline miles cards with their tempting offers of a “free flight.” Over time, the value of these reward flights have generally decreased as airlines continue to increase the number of points or miles needed, as well as the surcharges imposed when you redeem your miles. Nevertheless, there are still some good values offered by the latest airline credit cards.
How to Pick the Best Airline Credit Card
There are now two different types of credit cards that offer airline miles. The traditional kind are those that are co-branded with the airline and offer miles in their program. The rewards that these cards offer are only as strong as the frequent-flier program they are attached to, so it’s important to understand exactly how easy it is to use the miles before you decide to earn them. But in addition, traditional airline credit cards can also offer benefits such as free checked bags, credit towards elite status and discounts on in-flight purchases.
The other type of credit cards that offers airline miles are the ones that offer points that can later be transferred to airline miles in one of several different programs. Many credit card users gravitate towards these kind of credit cards so that they can redeem their miles with different airlines depending on their travel needs.
Which Type of Card Should You Pick?
If you are loyal to a single airline and want to earn the most possible miles with that carrier, then you will probably want a traditional airline mileage credit card. This can also be a good choice for infrequent travelers who are looking for additional benefits on that carrier.
But if you are looking avoid being tied to the terms of a single frequent-flier program, you should consider a card that offers points that can be transferred to multiple different airlines. This is also a great option for sophisticated award travel enthusiasts who know how to find the best deals among the numerous airline partners that participate in these programs.
Before you start narrowing the field to pick an airline miles credit card, you should check your credit, because you generally need a good score to qualify for some of these rewards cards’ benefits. You can view two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com. Also, read the terms and conditions within the fine print of the card’s agreement so you know what you’re signing up for.
We sorted and ranked a group of airline miles credit cards and picked the best based on rewards value, annual fee, interest rates and more. Here are the Best Airline Miles Credit Cards in America.
The Winner: The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card From American Express
Why It Won: This card rewards you with additional Membership Rewards points when you use it throughout the month.
The Rewards: This card offers American Express Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to 17 different frequent-flier programs, as well as valuable bonuses for spending. Cardholders can earn triple points for up to $6,000 of annual spending at U.S. supermarkets, double points at U.S. gas stations, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Furthermore, American Express offers cardholders 50% more points when they make at least 30 purchases during a single statement period (less returns and credits), which means that cardholders can receive as much as 4.5 points per dollar spent at supermarkets, three points per dollar at U.S. gas stations and 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. Finally, American Express points that can be transferred to frequent-flier miles with some airlines.
The Costs: There is a $95 annual fee for this card and a 2.7% foreign transaction fee imposed on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
1st Runner-Up: JetBlue Plus Card From Barclaycard
The Rewards: This new card offers double points for purchases from grocery stores and restaurants, 6x points for JetBlue purchases and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Benefits include a free checked bag, 50% off of all in-flight purchases and the ability to earn Mosaic elite status after spending $50,000 on your card in a calendar year. Points can be pooled between family members and you even get a 10% rebate on the points you redeem and a 5,000-point bonus every year on your account anniversary.
The Costs: There’s a $99 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
2nd Runner-Up: Starwood Preferred Guest Card From American Express
The Rewards: The Starwood Preferred Guest card offers reward points in the loyalty program of Starwood hotels, but you can transfer these points to miles with more than 30 frequent-flier programs. Cardholders earn just one point per dollar spent on all purchases, with additional bonuses for spending at Starwood properties, which include Westins, Sheratons and other brands. This program also offers a 5,000-mile bonus when members transfer 20,000 points at once so the effective rate of return is 1.25 miles per dollar spent. In addition, points can also be redeemed for free nights at Starwood hotels.
The Costs: There is a $95 annual fee for this card, which is currently waived the first year, and new this year are no foreign transaction fees.
At publishing time, the The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card From American Express, JetBlue Plus card from Barclaycard and Starwood Preferred Guest Card From American Express cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly