What’s the Best Credit Card for Airline Miles?

By: Ashley Dull • 11/6/2015

Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

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If you’re a frequent flyer, or anyone who just likes to travel on the cheap, the right air miles credit card is a necessity. These cards provide the opportunity to fly around the world for little to no money, with perks like priority boarding, free checked baggage and in-flight Wi-Fi.

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 stuff. In this case, your points go toward travel rewards like free flights and hotel stays.

5 Best Credit Cards with Airline Miles

We reviewed some of the best air miles and travel credit cards currently available and chose our top 5 based on the rewards earning potential, APR, annual fees and overall benefits to you.

3 Ways to Rack Up Airline Miles

There are a few ways to 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.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull is the Editor-in-Chief of CardRates.com and BadCredit.org, where she works closely with industry leaders in all sectors of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles read by millions of Americans. Her expertise lies in credit cards and rewards programs as well as credit reports and how credit scores affect all aspects of consumerism. She is often asked to serve as an expert source on financial topics for national media outlets, such as CNN Money, MarketWatch, Money Matters, ABC News, and NBC News, and has recurring contributions to several leading finance websites. Connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn.