What Credit Card Gives The Best Flight Points
Our research shows that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card has the best rewards program for earning flight points and miles. Out of all the credit card rewards programs, Chase Ultimate Rewards provides the best transfer options. You can move your miles at a 1:1 ratio to any of the 10+ airline partners including Southwest, United and Singapore Airlines. In addition, your points are worth even more when you book travel through the Chase travel portal. If you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents per point.
Top Credit Cards For Airline Miles 2021
Best for Delta Airlines
Best for Southwest Airlines
Selecting a credit card based on your expenses and travel needs is essential to maximizing the airline miles credit card you choose. Each airline offers one or more credit cards that offer ways to earn points and miles with their respective loyalty program. Some cards even offer exclusive perks, such as statement credits, free checked bags and early boarding. The best airline card for you depends on where your loyalty lies and if youll travel enough to use the benefits provided by the card.
Chase Freedom Flex: Best For Rotating Categories
The Chase Freedom Flex card requires a little more planning, but if you can maximize the cards rotating bonus categories, you can use it to earn some great cash back or even travel rewards.
With the Freedom Flex, youll earn 5% cash back in bonus categories that rotate each quarter, on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. The categories typically range from grocery stores to Amazon, which should make it easy to earn as much as $75 in bonus cash back each quarter.
But the Chase Freedom Flex also features the same three permanent bonus categories as the Chase Freedom Unlimited: 5% on travel purchases made through Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and 3% at drugstores, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. So even if you cant take advantage of the rotating categories in a given quarter, youll still be earning extra cash back in other categories.
The Chase Freedom Flex also comes with purchase protection and extended warranty protection, plus a 0% introductory APR on all purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from when you first open the account . So it can be helpful if you need to carry a balance for a while.
Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 in bonus cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months after opening the account.
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What Is The Best Airline In Canada
Choosing the best airline in Canada is subjective as it depends on whats important to you. Air Canada is the biggest airline in Canada, but if you live in Alberta or British Columbia, you may prefer WestJet. Theres also Porter which is known for its service, but they only fly to a few airports and have no credit card. Alternatively, Canada now has two ultra low cost carriers in Swoop and Flair. Youll also notice that the best airline credit cards in Canada allow you to earn points on carriers such as Cathay Pacific, Delta, British Airways, and more. Although theyre not Canadian, they fly to Canada.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best For Businesses
If youre looking for a business credit card, you cant go wrong with the Ink Business Preferred. The card earns 3 points for every dollar you spend on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account year for some of the most popular business categories:
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases made through social media sites or search engines
Youll also have access to a unique cell phone protection benefit that covers your phone against damage or theft when you pay your entire cell phone bill with your Ink Business Preferred card. Youre then covered starting with your second billing cycle and can submit up to three claims every 12 months, up to $600 per incident with a $100 deductible per claim. It even covers everyone listed on your cell phone bill, including employees or family members.
Plus, the Ink Business Preferred has a relatively robust set of travel and purchase protections, including trip insurance, trip delay protection, primary car rental insurance and purchase protection, which covers the items you buy with the card against damage or theft for 120 days after the purchase is made, up to $10,000 per claim, with a maximum of $50,000 per year.
Sign-up offer: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months after you open the card.
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How To Maximize Your Airline Credit Cards
The simplest way to make the most of your airline credit card is to study all the perks and benefits that come with these products and then use them. If you check luggage on flights, you can save $60 round-trip with the free checked bag that typically comes with these cards or even more if you have travel companions.
If the card comes with statement credits, complete the spending required to get them. Use fee credits to cover expenses such as airport lounge access, seat upgrades or inflight food and beverage purchases.
For those chasing airline elite status, see if your credit card offers a way to help achieve it. If it does, consider doing the spending required to get it but remember the TPG Golden Rule of paying off your credit cards every month to get the maximum benefit.
You should also take advantage of free companion certificates to take a friend or loved one on a trip with you.
Finally, dont overlook benefits such as extended warranty coverage and purchase and return protection.
Southwest Priority Card: Best For Southwest Flyers
If Southwest is your airline of choice, having one of the five Southwest credit cards in your wallet is a great way to increase your point balance, reap some cool flight perks and even potentially earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.
Although the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is the most expensive of the Southwest personal credit cards at $149 each year, we like it the most because it comes with the most benefits, and you can easily come out ahead with the card year after year. Plus, right now, you can earn up to 100,000 bonus points 50,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open, plus 50,000 more points after spending $12,000 total in the first 12 months.
Youll also get a $75 Southwest travel credit each year with the Southwest Priority card, which can be used for Southwest flights, along with four upgraded boarding positions annually, 7,500 bonus points each anniversary year starting with your second year as a card holder, 20% back on inflight drinks and Wi-Fi and no foreign transaction fees.
Since Southwest points are worth about 1.4 cents each, the annual 7,500 bonus points on the Southwest Priority are worth $105. Add that to the $75 in travel credits and your $149 annual fee is more than covered for each year starting with your second year and thats before even considering all of the cards other benefits.
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How Much Is An Airline Mile Worth
The value of an airline mile will depend on the type of airline mile. Not all miles are created equal. Southwest Rapid Rewards and JetBlue TrueBlue points are worth about 1.5 cents per point. Other airline miles values will vary with each booking. For instance, if a flight costs 50,000 miles and the flight is $500, youre getting 1 cent per mile in value. If the flight costs $1,000 for the same 50,000, youre getting 2 cents per mile. The value of an airline mile will vary with each redemption.
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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Mbna Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard
- 30,000 Signup miles after charging $1,000 in purchases
- Earn 3 Alaska miles per $1 spent on airfare and vacation packages from Alaska Airlines
- Earn 1 Alaska mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Receive an annual round-trip companion voucher for US $121
Alaska Airlines doesnt get much attention in Canada, but if you live in British Columbia they can be an appealing airline since they serve the western part of the U.S. The MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard gives you 30,000 miles after charging $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of cardmembership. Your earn rate is 3 Alaska miles per $1 spent on airfare and vacation packages from Alaska Airlines and Virgin America which is great if you fly those airlines often, but you only get 1 Alaska mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. The annual round-trip companion voucher for $121 USD is also a decent benefit.
Alaska Airlines recently joined Oneworld, so you can now use your points to redeem flights on any carrier in that network. Some airlines that are part of Oneworld include American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qatar, and more.
Is An Airline Credit Card Right For You+
There are a few points that make an airline credit card a good option for you, and there are times when its not the best card for a consumer. Here are 5 things to look at.
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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.
Survey: 32% Of Americans Plan To Fly Again In 2020
As the COVID-19 crisis has changed the way many consumers travel, a recent ValuePenguin survey found that 47% of travel credit card holders are collecting more travel rewards in 2021. 57% of Americans said they have a trip planned for 2021, and 16% have booked a trip upon the announcement of the first vaccine doses. As travel is looking much more optimistic for the rest of the year, now’s the perfect time to apply for that airline credit card to lock in that stash of miles for your next trip.
Air travelers want to feel safe, as evidenced by the 57% of respondents who think vaccines should be required for passengers. Read more about our travel survey findings
Below are some of the most common questions our readers have when applying for a new credit card. Check back often, as we’re continually adding and updating our FAQs.
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Account For A Cards Transfer Partners
Many general purpose travel credit cards let you transfer your points to partnering airlines. Review their list of current partners to see if theyre in line with your travel habits. Transferring points is often a great way to get a bit more bang for your buck. Learn other ways to maximize credit card rewards.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Airline Miles Credit Cards
The biggest benefit of using an airline miles credit card is that you can travel more at a lower cost. By using one of these cards for everyday expenses, youre always working toward free travel, even if youre staying put at home.
If youre able to subtract the cost of airfare from your travel budget, that savings can be used to treat yourself on the trip or explore more destinations around the globe.
Another major benefit of airline miles credit cards is the added perks that can make flying on your favorite airline that much more comfortable. Whether you want to secure some extra legroom with a seat upgrade or ensure first crack at the overhead bins with early boarding, you have more options available as an airline cardholder.
Cardholders may receive special benefits that include priority boarding, free in-flight WiFi, and Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursements, among other perks.
Airport lounge access is also a benefit you may enjoy if you dislike waiting at the gate. Youll get to relax in comfortable chairs with free WiFi, food, beverages, and more.
We cant forget about travel insurance and discounts on in-flight food and drink purchases. Before you move forward with a card, ensure it offers the benefits that are most important to you.
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Identify Your Carrier Of Choice
If you do fly frequently, consider next whether you tend to do so on the same carrier. If so, that brands airline credit card could help you earn award flights more quickly, qualify for elite status and receive perks that let you travel in style. If youre more likely to fly on a variety of carriers throughout the year or you like to comparison-shop for deals across travel providers, consider a general purpose travel credit card. Were partial to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which offers 2X miles on general purchases and lets you redeem rewards as statement credits for a wide variety of travel expenses.
Ihg Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Best For Reward Stays
IHG includes many familiar hotel brands, such as Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton, Crowne Plaza and high-end Intercontinental Hotels, just to name a few. So the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a card that might be worth having in your purse or wallet.
The card is currently offering a 125,000-point bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. With IHG points worth about 0.5 cents apiece according to The Points Guy, this offer is worth $625 toward IHG stays. Although thats not nearly as much value as some other Chase sign-up bonuses on our list, the cards benefits will allow you to get even more from it.
For instance, one of the best perks of the IHG Premier is that, starting 12 months after you first open the card, you get a reward night certificate every year that can be used for a one-night stay at any IHG property that costs up to 40,000 points per night based on IHGs rewards nights chart.
Some notable properties that fall into that category include the InterContinental Hotel Lisbon, the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba and the Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar, just to name a few. Often, these certificates can even be used during peak times when hotels are quite pricey, making the cards annual fee well worth it.
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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.