As airlines continue to add a variety of fees to compensate for keeping fare prices low to complete with each other, the overall cost to fly is increasing. Adding to the base cost of a flight are fees like fuel surcharges, checked baggage fees, and in-flight fees for food, drinks, headphones and pillows. Some airlines are now even charging for carry-on luggage. Some of the best airline miles credit cards allow customers to waive a few of these excessive fees and are accompanied by a quality rewards program. These features help customers save money on fees as well as apply discounts to fares.
These are the best airline miles credit cards available to consumers today. If you fly frequently on any of the below airlines, you could save thousands of dollars in airfare every year, but even less frequent travelers will still be able to save money. If you own a card not found on this list and consider the card to be valuable, please leave a comment with the card information and I will add it to the list.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: New card holders for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can qualify for 50,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months of card ownership. These points can be redeemed for $625 in travel rewards when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, making this the most valuable card for airline travel available today. The card also includes a reward program, with 2X points for every dollar spent for travel expenses and dining at restaurants. As well as offering the standard 1X point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. The card has no foreign transaction fee plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
Other Top Airline Credit Card Offers
Discover it® Miles: With the Discover it Miles card, 50,000 miles can turn into 100,000 miles with Discover Match. For new card members, Discover will double the miles earned at the end of the first year. Discover pays 1.5x miles for every dollar spent on the card. Miles can be redeemed as a statement credit on travel purchases. Card members get an automatic $30 credit each year for inflight wifi charges. There is no annual fee.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is one of the premier travel reward cards. Earn 40,000 miles when you send $3,000 in the first 90 days. The bonus miles are worth $400 in statement credit on travel. You also earn 2x miles on all purchases. And when you redeem your miles, you get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: With the Venture card you can earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. These bonus miles are worth $400 when redeemed for travel. You’ll also earn 2 miles for every $1 in purchases charged to the card. There is a $0 intro annual fee the first year, but $59 annual fee thereafter.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card: This is the no annual fee version of the Venture card. In exchange for avoiding the annual fee, the benefits are bit lower. You can earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months. And for every $1 charged to the card, you earn 1.25 miles.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express: The Starwood Preferred Amex is ideal for those who frequently stay at Starwood properties. You’ll receive 35,000 bonus Starpoints after you use the card to make $3,000 in purchases in the first three months and an additional $2,000 in purchases during the first six months. There are no foreign transaction fees, and get free nights at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: You earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first three months of cardmembership. Additionally, you can earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first three months.
- With the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, you earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.
- Earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
- Take advantage of premium travel perks such as priority boarding when you book a flight with and fly Delta.
- 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.
This card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year. After that, the annual fee is $95. (Terms and conditions apply.)
With the fees on some of the airline miles cards, becoming a member may not be worthwhile unless you pay your bill in full every month and fly frequently for the points to be more worthwhile than a cash back card. Many cards have fees, so consider whether you will use the card enough to take advantage of discounts and fee waivers exceeding the amount of those annual fees. Using an airline miles card also ties you into using a specific airline. If you fly the same route frequently, you may already have that level of loyalty.
Important Note! The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that offers change frequently. Therefore, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit or charge card prior to applying.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.
Leave a comment if you are a fan of other airline miles credit cards.
Updated February 22, 2017 and originally published February 4, 2011.