Best Airline Miles Credit Cards of 2024

The best airline miles credit cards enable you to earn frequent flyer miles with every purchase. Many of the credit cards listed below come with bonus points that allow you to earn a free plane ticket very quickly.

We organize the offers into two categories. First, we list those all-purpose travel cards that offer excellent rewards. With these cards, you can use points or miles on any airline. Then we list airline-specific cards. These are ideal if you frequently fly on the same airline.

Best Airline Miles Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor’s Pick: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns top honors for an all-purpose travel rewards card. Its 5x points for every $1 spent on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3x dining at restaurants worldwide. Plus the bonus points for new cardmembers who meet the spend requirement lead the pack in the travel category.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x points on all other purchases
2x points
Travel
2x points on all other travel purchases
3x points
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 3x points on online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
3x points
Streaming services
Earn 3x points on select streaming services
3x points
Dining
3x points on dining
5x points
Travel
5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel(SM)

Welcome Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $95

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved08/03/2023
872
Not Provided
$19,500
Approved04/19/2023
737
Equifax
$16,000
Approved04/19/2023
747
Experian
$16,000
Approved04/19/2023
747
TransUnion
$16,000
Approved11/11/2023
800
Not Provided
$16,800
Approved04/18/2023
790
Experian
$17,300
Approved05/21/2023
703
Experian
$17,300
Approved04/04/2023
735
Equifax
$17,300
Approved04/04/2023
825
Experian
$17,300
Approved07/06/2023
735
Experian
$5,000
Approved07/06/2023
745
Equifax
$5,000
Approved07/06/2023
755
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved05/02/2024
797
Experian
$22,500
Approved05/02/2024
848
TransUnion
$22,500
Approved10/19/2023
720
Not Provided
$19,500
Approved03/04/2024
590
Not Provided
$5,000
Approved06/14/2023
759
Experian
$6,000
Approved04/06/2023
897
Not Provided
$23,800
Approved04/14/2023
765
Experian
$7,200
Approved04/14/2023
777
Equifax
$7,200
Approved04/14/2023
777
TransUnion
$7,200
Approved10/23/2023
745
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved10/03/2023
761
Equifax
$18,000
Approved10/03/2023
767
Experian
$18,000
Approved10/03/2023
774
TransUnion
$18,000

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent choice for travelers who want a card that earns a good rewards rate on all purchases. You can transfer your miles to more than 15 travel rewards partners, which maximizes their value and gets you further down the road (tarmac?) to a free flight.

Rewards:  

2x miles
All eligible purchases
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
5x miles
Hotels
5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
                             

Welcome Bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $95  

Approval Odds

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved07/11/2023
686
TransUnion
$5,000
Approved07/11/2023
688
Equifax
$5,000
Approved07/11/2023
691
Experian
$5,000
Approved04/19/2024
783
Experian
$3,000
Approved04/19/2024
803
Equifax
$3,000

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card 

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a premium travel rewards card, so if you want access to airport lounges, this is a card worth considering. The annual fee is high, but if you take advantage of the $300 travel credit for bookings through Capital One Travel and the 10,000 anniversary miles you get each year (worth about $100), the fee is wiped out.

Rewards:  

2x miles
On all other eligible purchases
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
5x miles
Airfare
5 Miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel
10x miles
Hotels
10 Miles per dollar on hotels booked through Capital One Travel
10x miles
Rental Cars
10 Miles per dollar on rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

Welcome Bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $395

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/28/2024
791
Experian
$30,000
Approved04/08/2023
730
Not Provided
---
Approved04/25/2024
634
Not Provided
$3,000
Approved04/25/2024
650
Not Provided
$3,000
Approved04/25/2024
666
Not Provided
$3,000
Approved10/11/2023
820
Equifax
$20,000
Approved10/11/2023
828
TransUnion
$20,000
Approved10/11/2023
830
Experian
$20,000
Approved10/03/2023
800
Not Provided
$20,000
Approved04/11/2024
696
TransUnion
$15,000
Approved04/11/2024
702
Equifax
$15,000
Approved04/11/2024
728
Experian
$15,000
Approved05/27/2024
820
Experian
$30,000
Approved07/12/2023
677
Not Provided
$10,000
Approved08/08/2023
735
Experian
$10,000
Approved08/08/2023
739
TransUnion
$10,000
Approved08/08/2023
741
Equifax
$10,000
Approved11/04/2023
715
TransUnion
$20,000
Approved11/04/2023
717
Experian
$20,000
Approved09/18/2023
813
Not Provided
$20,000
Approved03/06/2023
720
Experian
$20,000
Approved03/06/2023
732
Equifax
$20,000
Approved03/06/2023
735
TransUnion
$20,000
Approved05/09/2024
758
Not Provided
$10,000
Approved09/13/2023
719
Not Provided
$15,000
Approved01/23/2024
822
TransUnion
$30,000
Approved01/23/2024
827
Experian
$30,000
Approved12/03/2023
734
Equifax
$20,000
Approved12/03/2023
744
TransUnion
$20,000
Approved12/03/2023
758
Experian
$20,000
Approved09/27/2023
741
Not Provided
$10,000
Approved12/14/2023
750
Experian
$10,000
Approved10/19/2023
776
Not Provided
$20,000
Approved04/10/2024
705
Experian
$30,000
Denied04/23/2024
815
Not Provided
---
Denied09/12/2023
761
Experian
---
Denied09/12/2023
776
Equifax
---
Denied09/12/2023
787
TransUnion
---
Denied12/31/2023
741
TransUnion
---
Denied12/31/2023
775
Equifax
---
Denied12/05/2023
754
TransUnion
---
Denied12/05/2023
769
Experian
---
Denied12/05/2023
777
Equifax
---
Denied04/03/2024
760
Not Provided
---

American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card offers excellent rewards and a generous welcome offer. Points are flexible and can be transferred to over 20 travel reward partners. The only downside is the hefty annual fee, but some travelers can justify it if they use all the benefits.

 Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x points on all other eligible purchases
3x points
Airfare
3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
4x points
U.S. supermarkets
4x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year.
4x points
Dining
4x points at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $250

*Terms Apply

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved06/13/2023
699
TransUnion
$1,750
Approved02/03/2024
688
Equifax
---
Approved02/03/2024
690
Experian
---
Approved02/03/2024
731
TransUnion
---
Approved02/27/2023
700
Experian
---

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are among the most valuable travel rewards points available. Why? They can easily be transferred to 11 airlines and three different hotel partners, and even if you take them as a statement credit, they’re still more valuable than most. And the welcome bonus is 50% more valuable when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
3x points
Dining
Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
5x points
Travel
Earn 5x points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Travel(SM) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
10x points
Travel
10x on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel(SM) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $550

Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/08/2023
720
Not Provided
$10,000
Approved05/08/2023
830
Experian
$27,000
Approved02/06/2023
677
Experian
$10,700
Approved04/19/2023
806
Experian
$18,600
Approved04/19/2023
810
Equifax
$18,600
Approved04/19/2023
823
TransUnion
$18,600
Approved08/03/2023
700
TransUnion
$15,000
Approved09/30/2023
698
Experian
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
730
TransUnion
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
733
Equifax
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
766
Equifax
$25,500
Approved12/14/2023
750
Experian
$10,000
Approved03/22/2023
719
Equifax
$21,700
Approved03/22/2023
752
TransUnion
$21,700
Approved03/22/2023
789
Experian
$21,700
Approved01/07/2023
821
Experian
$25,000
Approved01/07/2023
828
TransUnion
$25,000
Approved01/07/2023
838
Equifax
$25,000
Approved10/23/2023
751
Experian
$10,000
Approved10/23/2023
785
TransUnion
$10,000
Denied10/19/2023
749
TransUnion
---
Denied10/19/2023
765
Experian
---

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers one of the highest welcome offers in the industry, and those points can easily be transferred to partner airlines and hotels so that you can maximize their value. It also comes with plenty of credits including a $200 Uber Cash (Terms Apply), and a $200 airline fee credit. You will need to use at least some of those credits to justify the annual fee.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x on other purchases
5x points
Airfare
5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases each calendar year
5x points
Hotels
5x points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com

Welcome Offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $695

*Terms Apply

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/28/2023
812
Equifax
---
Approved04/28/2023
820
TransUnion
---
Approved04/28/2023
825
Experian
---
Approved08/16/2023
698
Equifax
$25,000
Approved08/16/2023
709
Experian
$25,000
Approved08/16/2023
728
TransUnion
$25,000
Approved01/04/2023
696
Not Provided
---
Approved01/23/2023
675
Not Provided
$6,000

Best Airline-Specific Miles Cards

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is perfect for travelers who want a few Delta perks and don’t want to pay an annual fee. You get a small welcome offer and 20% off inflight purchases.

 Rewards:  

1x miles
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
2x miles
Delta Purchases
Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases
2x miles
Dining
Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

Welcome Offer: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $0

*Terms Apply

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved09/28/2020
685
Experian
$1,000
Approved09/28/2020
762
Experian
$1,000
Approved03/14/2022
665
Experian
$1,000
Approved05/14/2020
670
Experian
$1,000
Denied01/29/2018
627
Experian
---

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers travel benefits a tier above the Delta SkyMiles Blue card. With this card, you get a more generous welcome offer, plus perks such as a free checked bag, priority boarding, and a $200 Delta Flight credit to use for future travel. The annual fee is $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.

Rewards:

1x miles
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
2x miles
U.S. supermarkets
Earn 2X Miles at U.S. Supermarkets.
2x miles
Delta Purchases
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases.
2x miles
Dining
Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.

Welcome Offer: Earn 65,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150. 

*Terms Apply

Approval Odds: 

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved09/20/2023
702
Experian
$10,000
Approved12/09/2023
678
TransUnion
$10,000
Approved12/09/2023
695
Experian
$10,000
Approved12/09/2023
698
Equifax
$10,000

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

British Airways Visa Signature® Card is a great choice for big spenders who prefer to fly British Airways. In addition to the generous welcome offer and rewards, every calendar year you spend more than $30,000 on your card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket, good for two years. This lets a companion fly free with the cardholder.

 Rewards:  

1Avios
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
2Avios
Hotels
Earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel.
3Avios
Airfare
Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL.

Welcome Offer: Limited time offer! Earn 85,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $95

Read our British Airways Visa Signature® Card Review


Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Editor’s Pick: My favorite airline card is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. It gets my vote for three reasons. It offers an excellent signup bonus and the annual fee is a reasonable $99. And it’s a great airline to fly.

You will also enjoy 6,000 bonus points a year on your cardmember anniversary. Southwest allows two free checked bags per customer, even if you don’t have a credit card.

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1x point on everyday purchases.
2x points
Streaming services
Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
2x points
Transit
Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
3x points
Southwest Purchases
Earn 3x points on Southwest® purchases.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $99

Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Review

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved08/06/2022
680
Experian
$9,600

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is a step up from the Premier and earns you the same welcome bonus but more anniversary points, plus a $75 travel credit that can be used on Southwest. This effectively halves the annual fee.         

Rewards:

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1x point for each $1 spent on all other purchases.
2x points
Streaming services
Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
2x points
Transit
Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
3x points
Southwest Purchases
Earn 3X points on Southwest(R) purchases.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $149

Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Review

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved02/24/2022
781
Not Provided
$10,700
Approved08/18/2022
731
Experian
$3,400
Denied03/16/2022
701
Experian
---

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is Southwest’s entry-level credit card. It does have a foreign transaction fee, so if you frequently travel internationally, you’ll want to choose a different card.

Rewards:  

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
2x points
Hotels
Earn 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel partners.
2x points
Rental Cars
Earn 2x on Rapid Rewards car rental partners.
2x points
Southwest Purchases
Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
2x points
Streaming services
Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
2x points
Transit
Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.

Welcome Bonus: Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Annual Fee: $69

Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Review

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved02/11/2022
715
Not Provided
$20,000
Approved08/06/2022
680
Experian
$9,600
Approved05/22/2022
802
Experian
$12,800
Approved02/24/2022
760
Equifax
$10,700

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card offers you a free checked bag, worth up to $140 per roundtrip (Terms Apply). This perk more than offsets the annual fee (waived for the first year), plus you get some other rewards, such as up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS fee credit and priority boarding. If you often fly United, this card is a good addition to your wallet.

Rewards:  

1x miles
On all other eligible purchases
1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases
2x miles
Airfare
2x miles on United purchases, including tickets, Economy Plus, and inflight purchases
2x miles
Hotels
2x miles per dollar spent on hotel accommodations
2x miles
Dining
2x miles per dollar spent on dining, including eligible delivery services

Welcome Bonus: Limited-time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Annual Fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

Read our United℠ Explorer Card Review

Approval Odds:

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/11/2023
767
Not Provided
$13,700
Approved02/03/2023
819
Experian
$5,000
Approved06/28/2023
735
Experian
$7,200
Approved06/28/2023
745
Equifax
$7,200
Approved06/28/2023
755
TransUnion
$7,200
Denied05/18/2023
770
Not Provided
---

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® 

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a good choice if you prefer to fly American Airlines and you want airport lounge access. You’ll also get priority boarding, and your first checked bag is free, as well as the first bag of eight of your companions flying on the same reservation.   

Rewards: 

1x miles
All eligible purchases
Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage(R) mile earned from purchases.
4x miles
American Airline Purchases
Earn 4 miles for every dollar spend on American Airlines purchases
10x miles
Hotels
Earn 10x AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent on eligible hotels booked aa.com/hotels
10x miles
Rental Cars
Earn 10x AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent on car rentals booked through aa.com/cars
    

Welcome Bonus: Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.       

Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 

Annual Fee: $595    

Approval Odds: 

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved02/06/2023
785
TransUnion
$21,900
Approved12/28/2023
850
Not Provided
$37,000
Approved12/28/2023
872
Experian
$37,000
Approved12/28/2023
893
Equifax
$37,000

 


Full List of Travel Credit Cards from Our Database

Rewards
1x to 9x points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1% - 5%
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
0 - 1.5%
Annual Fee
$250‡
Rewards
1% to 5%
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x points
Annual Fee
$195
Rewards
1.5%
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x points
Annual Fee
$995
Rewards
1% to 4% cash back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 3x points
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1% to 3%
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 3x points
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x - 4x points
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1% to 4% cash back
Annual Fee
$0 (requires Costco membership)
Rewards
1% to 3% cash back
Annual Fee
$0 the first year, $450 thereafter
Rewards
1.5% - 10% cash back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1.25x - 5x miles
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 4x miles
Annual Fee
$525
Rewards
1x to 3x miles
Annual Fee
$250
Rewards
1x - 2x Miles
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x - 3x Avios
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1 to 3 Avios
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1x to 3x Avios
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1% - 5% cash back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 6x points
Annual Fee
$99
Rewards
1x - 8x points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1.5% to 5% cash back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1.5% - 5%
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
2x to 5x miles
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards
1% - 1.5% cash back, or 5x points, or 1x miles
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1% to 5% cash back
Annual Fee
$49
Rewards
2x - 6x points
Annual Fee
$650
Rewards
1x - 3x miles
Annual Fee
$650
Rewards
2x - 6x points
Annual Fee
$250
Rewards
1x - 2x points
Annual Fee
$69
Rewards
2 to 3 points
Annual Fee
$149
Rewards
2x - 18.5x points
Annual Fee
$250
Rewards
1x - 3x miles
Annual Fee
$350
Rewards
1x - 5x points
Annual Fee
$695
Rewards
2x to 17x points
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1.5x to 2x points
Annual Fee
$550
Rewards
1x - 2x miles
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150
Rewards
1x - 2x miles
Annual Fee
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99
Rewards
2x - 10x
Annual Fee
$395
Rewards
1x to 2x Miles
Annual Fee
$99, waived for first 12 months
Rewards
3x to 7x points
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 3x Points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1x to 2x miles
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $150.
Rewards
1x-4x
Annual Fee
$250
Rewards
1x - 10x
Annual Fee
$550
Rewards
1x - 5x points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1.5x to 2x miles
Annual Fee
$450
Rewards
1x to 2x miles
Annual Fee
$99, waived for first 12 months
Rewards
2x to 6x points
Annual Fee
$125
Rewards
1x to 3x points
Annual Fee
$150
Rewards
1x - 5x points
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 3x points
Annual Fee
$195
Rewards
1x to 3x points
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 2x miles
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 5x Points
Annual Fee
$695
Rewards
3x to 14x points
Annual Fee
$550
Rewards
1x - 2x points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1x to 2x miles
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
3x to 26x points
Annual Fee
$99
Rewards
3x - 26x points
Annual Fee
$99
Rewards
3x to 12x points
Annual Fee
$150
Rewards
3x to 12x points
Annual Fee
$195
Rewards
1-3x points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1x - 2x Miles
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x - 14x points
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1% to 5% cash back
Annual Fee
$0 intro annual fee the first year, $95 thereafter
Rewards
1% to 2%
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
2%-5%
Annual Fee
$195
Rewards
1% to 5% cash back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1.5% to 2%
Annual Fee
$495
Rewards
1.5X - 2X Points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1x to 5x points
Annual Fee
$0 for the first year, $95 per year thereafter
Rewards
1x - 9x points
Annual Fee
$199
Rewards
1x to 10x points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1x - 5x points
Annual Fee
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95/year thereafter.
Rewards
1.5x to 4x points
Annual Fee
$95 Waived for existing Honors Advantage Members
Rewards
1x to 5x points
Annual Fee
$400
Rewards
1x to 3x miles
Annual Fee
$70 per company, $25 per card
Rewards
1.25x miles to 5x miles
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1x to 2x miles
Annual Fee
$0 Introductory Annual fee for the first year, $49 after that
Rewards
2x - 10x miles
Annual Fee
$395
Rewards
1x to 3x points
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1% - 5% Cash Back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1% - 5%
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards
1.5% to 6% cash back
Annual Fee
$0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards
1% - 5%
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1% to 3% cash back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1% to 3%
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
1% to 5% cash back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
2% to 5%
Annual Fee
$150
Rewards
1.5% or 1x points
Annual Fee
$0 first year, and then $125
Rewards
1% to 5% cash back
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards
3x to 6x points
Annual Fee
$0

What Is an Airline Mile?

Airline miles are a reward system issued by credit card companies and airlines. You can earn reward miles when flying with a specific airline and by spending money on your credit card. You can redeem miles for discounted flights, seat upgrades, and even free flights.

The original concept is a mile flown is a mile earned. However, you can now earn “miles” for filling your car at the pump, dining out, or making your everyday purchases. It can be easier to think of them as points rather than miles.

How Do Airline Miles Work?

You don’t need a credit card to earn miles (points) with a specific airline. You can sign up for an airline loyalty program and earn points every time you fly with it or with one of its partner airlines. There are three major airline alliances: Star Alliance, Oneworld, and Sky Team.

Oneworld includes American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, and 12 other airlines. Star Alliance has United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and 23 other member airlines. Sky Team members include Delta, Air France, and 16 other airlines. These airline alliances let you accumulate points with any partner airline, so you don’t have to join multiple loyalty programs.

With a travel credit card or an airline credit card, you can earn miles every time you make a purchase. To redeem your points, you can transfer them to a specific airline or use them for cash back and merchandise. Keep in mind that points are worth the most money when you exchange them for airfare.

How to Choose an Airline Credit Card

The best airline credit card is the card that’s best for you. First, ask yourself if you prefer one particular airline. Do you always choose Southwest if you have a choice? If so, getting that airline’s credit card might be a perfect fit for you.

Compare Your Options: Southwest Credit Cards: Which One Is Right for You?

A general travel card might work better for you if you don’t have a preference. Find out if there’s an annual fee and then weigh the fee against the card’s benefits. If you travel internationally often, also look for a card with no foreign transaction fees.

Many general travel cards offer substantial welcome bonuses, which could get you closer to a free flight, but you have to spend a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time. If you don’t already spend that much money monthly, or can’t pay the balance off right away, it’s probably not worth it.

Airline Miles Cards vs. Travel Rewards Credit Cards

An airline card is co-branded with one specific airline (and their alliance partners). The rewards for that airline are generous, but they only apply to airfare and maybe a few other travel perks, like a free checked bag or airport lounge access. A travel reward card offers a broader selection of benefits. You can transfer your points to get benefits like free airfare, and hotel stays, or even take them as a statement credit (although they’ll be worth a lot less if you do). One is not necessarily better than the other: it depends on how you travel and what you want to do with your points.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the easiest airline credit card to get?

Most airline credit cards require a good credit score. If your credit score isn’t above 690 or so, you can still apply, but your approval isn’t guaranteed. Try to find a card with no annual fee, and see if you can do a preapproval first. That way, your credit score won’t get dinged in case they turn you down.

Should you buy airline miles?

Probably not. The only time it makes sense to buy airline miles is if you’re a few short of getting a free flight and you’re booking it right away. Many airlines offer deals on miles, but you have to weigh the cost vs. the value (like you should do for everything). In most cases, you’d be better off earning them through purchases.

How do you redeem airline miles on a credit card?

Each airline will be different, but in most cases, you have to create an account with that specific airline’s miles program and link your credit card to that account. That way, your miles will be deposited into your account automatically. From there, you can book travel on the specific airline’s website and choose to use miles for your ticket instead of buying it outright.

Final Thoughts

The best airline credit card for you is the one that fits your lifestyle. If you live near a specific airline hub or if you prefer to fly with a particular airline, check out those credit cards first. Weigh the benefits against a general travel credit card and decide which benefits you’ll take advantage of most. Remember, if you travel internationally often, you’ll also want to choose a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Finally, credit cards with annual fees usually offer greater benefits but it’s not worth it unless you know you’ll take full advantage of all the perks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *