The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards of 2017

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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.

Featured Airline Miles Credit Card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Current Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: Ticket prices to Europe have been the lowest we have seen in decades. If you're willing to travel during the off season (October - April) you can easily find tickets for less than $500 apiece. Why spend a ton of hard earned airline miles when you could cover this cost with just the opening of this World Arrival card. Take a break from a dreary February New York and hop on a flight with the airline of your choice to beautiful Barcelona. Walking La Rambla is the perfect cure for the summertime blues!

What Additional Perks Would I Get? Most US based cards are using chip and signature, but the World Arrival has a Chip Plus pin that will allow use overseas at unmanned kiosks. Couple this with no foreign transaction fees and it’s the perfect card for international travel.

$89 / waived first year
Annual Fee

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Current Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: Delta is a great airline for those located in its Atlanta or JFK hubs. What makes their frequent flyer program tricky though is that they no longer publish an award chart. This means to find the lowest mileage dates to travel takes a bit of trial and error. However, if you are willing to put in the effort there are some great deals. Flights from Atlanta to Montreal can be found for as low as 18,000 miles round trip. So put 6k on this card, get the bonus and you and a buddy can be on your way to grubbing on some Poutine washed down by a pint of Labatt Blue. Good times, eh?

What Additional Perks Would I Get? Earn extra miles for purchases you make with your card— from everyday purchases on things like gas, groceries, to restaurants. You'll also get your first checked bag free and priority boarding!

Annual Fee

Citi® / AAdvantage®
Platinum Select®
World Elite™ MasterCard®

Current Offer: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: If you are tired of the dry, dusty scenery of Phoenix, take advantage (get it?) of this Citi bonus offer to flip the script. You will quickly change your latitude and if Jimmy Buffet proves correct, also your attitude, by cashing these 50,000 miles in for 2 round-trip MileSAAver tickets to explore the jungles of Belize. With a flight time of roughly 4 hours from Phoenix, Belize is a perfect option for a quick getaway!

What Additional Perks Would I Get? First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation. Also enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines domestic flights.

$95 / waived first year
Annual Fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card

Current Offer: Earn 50,000 Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: Did you know that Southwest points give you a fixed value towards flights? What this means is, if Southwest is running one of their great sales, you also pay a lower number of points. If you shop around you could easily parlay these 60,000 points into 4 round trip tickets from a city like Boston over to Las Vegas. You'll soon escape the snow drifts of Boston and find yourself on the sunny strip of Vegas... how 'bout them apples? Also remember you can turn each point into 1.5 cents (1,000 points = $15) to use toward the flight of your choice!

What Additional Perks Would I Get? This bonus gets you more than half way to the 110,00 points needed for the infamous Southwest Airlines companion pass.

Annual Fee

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card

Current Offer: 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days.

What This Bonus Could Do for Me: This is a great card for those that have hard time meeting big spend requirements. As you may guess from their name, Alaska Airlines has the most routes into "The Last Frontier." Better yet, their frequent flyer program allows a stop-over for no additional miles. So these 30,000 bonus miles could make this itinerary happen: Dallas to Seattle, stop for a few days to see a fish thrown at Pikes Place or explore the Space Needle and then continue on to Anchorage. Stay as many days as you would like and then fly back to Dallas all on the same award ticket! So if both you and your significant other sign up for this card, Sara Palin could be showing you Russia from her backyard before ya know it!

What Additional Perks Would I Get? Free checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation, annual companion fare from $121 after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening, earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, cargo, and inflight purchases. Also earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Annual Fee

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Last Edited: April 21, 2017 @ 9:55 pmThe content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Michael Pruser

After spending a ton of money to go to the private University of Miami, Michael now enjoys spending time at home, writing personal finance articles for the world to read. His journey out of debt continues 500 words at a time.