One of the reasons that many people sign up for rewards programs is to save money on travel – especially air travel. Airline miles credit cards can help you rack up the points for travel, and even enjoy free airfare, or upgrades when you fly.
If you’re looking for some of the best airline miles credit cards and perks, here are a few cards to consider:
Best Airline Miles Credit Cards
Blue Sky Preferred Card from American Express
The main draw for this airline miles credit card is that you can use your points on any airline. Many airline cards require you to choose an airline, and then stick with it. With the Blue Sky Preferred from American Express, you can choose which airline you prefer.
You receive one point for each dollar you spend, although you can enjoy double points on certain dining, hotel, and rentals. There are no blackout dates, expirations, or caps.
The card comes with 7,500 bonus points up front. There is a $75 annual fee, but if you plan your spending right, your free flights can easily offset the fee.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express
The biggest perk of the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card is that you can start off with enough points to get a free flight. There is a 30,000 miles bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months. Your SkyMiles rewards are in conjunction with the Delta rewards program, so they are only good on that airline and its partners. However, there are no blackout dates, and there are no seat restrictions.
When you have the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, you always get to check one bag for free, and receive Priority Boarding. The $95 fee is waived for the first year.
Related: Frequent Flyer Miles Programs
United Mileage Plus Explorer Visa Card
For those who fly United Airlines, the Mileage Plus Explorer card can be a good choice. Your first year offers you the chance to earn up to 40,000 bonus miles by completing different actions. Additionally, you receive 10,000 bonus miles each year that you spend $25,000 on your card.
One of the trends in airline miles credit cards is to allow you to check at least one bag for free, and that is the case with the Mileage Plus Explorer Visa credit card. You can also receive passes to the United Club, which includes complementary snacks, WiFi, and more. There is a $95 annual fee after the first year.
Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature Card
American Airlines flyers can receive 30,000 bonus miles by making $1,000 in purchases during the first three months with the card. On top of that, you can earn 10% of your redeemed miles back (there is a cap of 10,000 miles) each year, and get 25% off many in-flight purchases. First bag checked is free, and you receive Priority Boarding.
There are no caps on the AAdvantage miles you can earn each year, and you get double miles for American Airlines purchases with the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature credit card. You also enjoy a $100 flight discount each year that you are a card member. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
British Airways Visa Signature Card
If you are a serious spender with your credit card, and you fly British Airways, this credit card from Chase can be a good choice. Your first purchase gets you 50,000 bonus points. Plus, in your first year, you can earn 25,000 bonus points for $10,000 in purchases – as well as another 25,000 if you use your card to reach $20,000 in purchases. On top of that, each year after that, you can get a free Travel Together Ticket when you spend $30,000 on your card. If you use your card for all your expenses, and pay it off each month, this can be an amazing deal.
The British Airways Visa Signature is best for those who travel abroad a great deal. There are no foreign transaction fees, and you can make chip-based purchases throughout Europe and in other countries that use the technology. You get 1.25 points for most purchases, and 2.5 points for each British Airways purchase. With this generous program, it’s not hard to make up for the $95 annual fee.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card from Visa
The Southwest Airlines credit card comes with a generous rewards program that can be used with the popular Southwest Rapid Rewards program. You can receive enough points for a free flight after your very first purchase, and you also receive 3,000 anniversary points that can be used toward different airfares.
The program provides you with two points for each dollar spent on Southwest, and one point for each dollar on other purchases. First and second checked bags are free, and you don’t have to worry about flight change fees or point expiration and blackout dates. There are also opportunities to redeem points at partner hotels and theme parks. For those who travel Southwest, this can be a great card, even with the $69 annual fee.
JetBlue TrueBlue Card from American Express
JetBlue is known for its discount travel, and stripped-down, simple rewards program called TrueBlue rewards. You can get the advantages of this program with the JetBlue TrueBlue credit card from American Express. One-way fares start at 5,000 points, and you can start out with many more points.
Your first purchase nets you 10,000 bonus points, and when you spend $500 in the first three months, you get another 10,000 bonus points. That’s enough for two round trip flights at some fare levels.
You also get extra points just for using your credit card when you spend money at jetblue.com. There are other ways to earn bonus points. However, JetBlue doesn’t have partners that can provide you with opportunities to redeem points for hotels.
But, if you fly a lot, the card can be of benefit when you use JetBlue. The annual fee for this card is $40, the lowest fee on this list of best airline rewards credit cards.