Loyalty is an excellent and rare trait but if you’re not careful, it can also be an expensive one. Limiting yourself to one airline when you fly can cause you to be restricted in the time you have to depart and arrive as well as the possibility of losing out on cheaper flights elsewhere. However if you’re absolutely certain your airline of choice is the best around, owning an airline miles credit card is an absolute must.
The best airline miles credit cards can be found from the most popular of airlines and credit card issuers. Whether you fly American, Continental, Delta, Southwest, etc. you’ll be able to save even more money by owning one of the cards below. Be careful though, because if these cards are used simply for making everyday purchases, you won’t be maximizing your savings.
PT’s Pick For Best Airline Miles Credit Card
Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard - THE card for American flyers, the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard dishes out 30,000 bonus miles after $1,000 is made in purchases during the first three months. When flying, your first checked back is always free and a 25% discount is given on in-flight purchases. Every year you renew the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard, a $100 American Airlines flight discount is awarded. Double AAdvantage miles are earned on American flights and single AAdvantage miles are earned on everything else. When you redeem your AAdvantage Miles, a bonus 10% is returned back to you (up to 10,000 extra miles annually) and while this card does have a $95 annual fee; it’s waived the first year.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express - The only Delta card on our list, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express awards 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,00 in the first three months from account opening, which is a good for a free flight. Earn As You Spend: Get 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles for all other eligible dollars spent. Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – that’s a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four. You also get Premium Travel Perks: Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding, and enjoy the skies with 20% in-flight savings to use toward meals, beverages, and movies awarded as a statement credit. There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
British Airways Visa Signature Card – 50,000 bonus Avios are earned after you make $2,000 in purchases during the first three months of becoming a new British Airways Visa Signature Card. Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa Card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years. The rewards program is better than most, offering 2.5 Avios per dollar spent on all British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios per dollar spent on everything else. There’s a 15.24% variable APR attached to the British Airways Visa Signature Card, as well as a $95 annual fee.
US Airways Premier World MasterCard – An easy bonus to hit right away, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard gives away 30,000 bonus miles after just one purchase for new cardholders. An additional 10,000 bonus miles can awarded after making a qualifying balance transfer in the first 90 days (you earn 1 mile for every $1 transferred, up to 10,000). Unlike other cards on this list, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard includes a 0% into APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, and a 15.99% or 24.99% variable APR after that (depending on your credit worthiness). Two miles per dollar spent are earned on US Airways purchases and one mile per dollar spent is given on everything else. First class check in and Zone two boarding is included on all US Airways flights, as is an $89 annual fee.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card – The only airline miles credit card I own (because I always find myself flying Southwest), the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card offers 6,000 bonus points every year you remain a cardholder. Also now, for a limited time, new cardmembers can earn a roundtrip flight (25,000 points) after spending just $1,000 in the first three months of card ownership. Double points are earned on all Southwest and AirTran purchases and one point is earned on every dollar spent on all other purchases. Using the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card internationally exchange fee free but there is a $99 annual fee attached.
United Mileage Plus Club Card – At the bottom of the list because of the annual fee ($395 … ouch), the United MileagePlus Club Card has a litany of benefits that you may find to outweigh the costs. At the very top, new cardholders will receive a $100 statement credit after purchase #1. When flying United, every first and second checked back is free ( for one companion as well); which for a frequent flyer can add on savings in the thousands. There’s also a 50% mileage bonus attached, meaning 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and two miles per dollar spent on United flights. And then to wrap things up, cardholders receive a United Club Membership each and every year. This allows travelers to relax at the airport in style, receiving complementary drinks and snacks pre-flight.