The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

What’s the Best Credit Card for Airline Miles?

Whats The Best Credit Card For Airline Miles

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Updated: May 15, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

If you’re a frequent flyer, or anyone who just likes to travel on the cheap, you may be wondering, “What’s the best credit card for airline miles?” Identifying this can deliver some serious benefits in the long run. These cards provide the opportunity to fly around the world for little to no money, with perks like priority boarding, airport lounge access, free checked baggage, and in-flight wifi.

Air miles work just like rewards points on other credit cards: points accumulate by making purchases, and the points can be redeemed for free or discounted products and services. In this case, your points go toward travel rewards like free flights and hotel stays. Read on for our picks for some of the best credit cards for airline miles on the market today. We’ll also offer some tips on how to rack up those miles.

Best Credit Cards with Airline Miles

We reviewed some of the best air miles and travel credit cards currently available and chose our top picks based on the rewards earning potential, APR, annual fees, and overall benefits to you.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover will automatically match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles.  There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
  • Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.
  • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 14 months
10.99% Intro APR for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening – which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time, and no expiration on points
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees while earning points to use for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Introductory 0% APR offer on purchases, then a variable APR applies
  • Preferred Rewards members earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend, everywhere, every time.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% APR for 12 billing cycles
N/A
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

3 Ways to Rack Up Airline Miles

Once you’ve found your preferred credit card for airline miles, it’s important to know how to use the card to get the most out of those high-flying benefits. There are a few ways consumers can really maximize perks and fly off into the sunset sooner than later.

1. Take Advantage of Bonuses

Cards with big sign-up bonuses are an easy way to accumulate a lot of points quickly. By spending a certain amount within an allotted time frame — usually 3 months or so — you can earn as many as 50,000 bonus miles.

2. Look for Special Offers

Sometimes issuers offer extra miles for using your card at certain times like holidays or for making purchases at places like gas stations or supermarkets. Some issuers even offer air mile bonuses for adding an authorized user to the account. Opt in to the credit company’s newsletter so you’ll know about the offers when to take advantage of them.

3. Utilize Partnership Deals

Many issuers have partnerships with companies and will reward you with points if you utilize their services. This includes insurance quotes, car rentals, hotel stays, monthly subscriptions like magazines, newspapers, and even Netflix. Check with your issuer to see which companies they partner with so you can earn bonus miles on things you may already be paying for or need.

The perks of each card vary, so choosing the best credit card for airline miles is really up to you. Evaluate the rewards and match them to your spending and travel habits. You can then choose the right card for your needs.

The Bottom Line

Airline miles credit cards — and really any type of rewards cards — are best for consumers who are able to pay their bill in full each month and not carry a balance. Otherwise, the interest you’re paying can make it so that the earned rewards might as well have been paid for.

Other than that, it’s easy: use the card, pay the bill, earn rewards, and enjoy the free ride.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.