Whether you’re flying economy or first class, we’ve got the best airmile rewards credit cards for frequent flyers out there! Business travelers and bag-checkers, loyalty flyers and bargain hunters will find a credit card that gets them airborne. A branded airline credit card has its perks – priority boarding, waived bag fees, and so on – while a more general travel credit card offers higher earning potential and greater flexibility. Let’s break down the pros and cons of various airline cards to help you find the one that best suits your needs.
Best Overall Frequent Flyer Miles Card: Capital One® Venture℠ Rewards Card
Capital One® Venture℠ Rewards Credit Card has a lot to offer any traveler and is our favorite card for earning travel rewards fast. It earns double miles per $1 spent, substantially more lucrative than most airline cards, where the standard is 2 miles only on airline spending and 1 the rest of the time.
More, the card pays out in No Hassle Miles rather than airline-specific miles. No Hassle Miles are redeemed as a statement credit against any travel expense – gas, airfare, baggage fees, hotel stays, you name it. This means you won’t be hit by blackout dates, your miles’ value won’t be diluted by taxes and fees, and you can book on any airline through any service. Plus, it has no foreign transaction fee, which’ll save you a pretty penny if you travel abroad. Finally, there is a $59 annual fee, waived the first year and offset by a 10,000 Capital One No Hassle Miles signup bonus. If you fly on a number of different airlines or are a bargain hunter, there’s no better airline card.
Only other similar card is Capital One’s VentureOne Rewards Card. The main difference between the two cards is that the Capital One Venture Rewards gives you 2 miles for every dollar spent and has a $59 annual fee, while the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card gives you 1.25 miles for every dollar spent but has no annual fee.
Best Airline Branded Credit Cards:
1) – Delta Airlines Skymiles Card
Delta, the largest airline in the world with over 163 million passengers carried in 2011 has perhaps the best airline specific credit card. Gold Delta Skymiles Credit Card from American Express offers you 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in 3 months. When making purchases with this card, you earn 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases and 1 miles for all other purchases. Miles never expire. When traveling on Delta, the first bag you check in is free as long as your ticket is purchased with your card (save up to $50 per person round-trip), and this extends to up to 9 people on the same reservation. This card has an annual fee of $95, which you don’t have to pay the first year.
2) – American Airlines Credit Card
Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® Card gives you 30,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months, enough miles for a round-trip flight within the US. This Citibank (NYSE:C) card gives you 2 miles for each dollar you spend on American Airlines, and 1 mile for every other dollar you spend. When redeeming your miles each month, you will receive an extra 10% of the miles you redeem, up to 10,000 bonus miles each year just by redeeming your everyday miles. There’s no limit to the miles you can earn. When flying with American Airlines, your first checked bag will be free. You will receive $100 statement credit yearly when you spend a minimum of $30,000 on purchases. There is a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year.
Honorable Mention: American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
This is a high-end charge card that gives you 3 points for each dollar you spend on airfare purchases and when shopping at their online mall, 2 points for every dollar you spend on gas at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and groceries at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, and 1 point for every dollar on all other eligible purchases. You get to earn unlimited points that don’t expire. Plus, you get to earn 15,000 points each year once your annual purchases exceed $30,000 with the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. No pre-set spending limit. Bonus: Earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 during the first three months. Annual fee of $175 is waived the first year.