The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards of 2021
We cover the best airline miles credit cards of 2021. You’ll find airline-specific cards and offers that can be used with any airline. Our top pick offers up to a $625 signup bonus.
The cost of flying is going up. Airlines continue to add a variety of fees to compensate for keeping fare prices low to compete with each other. 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. They are also 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. Even less frequent travelers will still be able to save money. If you own a card, not on this list, leave a comment and tell us why you love it.
Editor’s Choice For The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred®️ Card
New cardholders for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can qualify for 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This makes it the most valuable card for airline travel available today.
Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, and 2x on all other travel purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more. The card has no foreign transaction fee plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
There is a $95 annual fee.
>>Learn More About This Credit Card Offer<<
Other Top Airline Credit Card Offers
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
With the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. These bonus miles are worth $750 when redeemed for travel. You’ll also earn two miles for every $1 in purchases charged to the card. There is a $0 intro annual fee the first year, but $95 annual fee thereafter.
For a limited time, Capital One is offering a killer promotion when you book through hotels.com. Using the Hotels.com/Venture link, you’ll earn 10 miles for every dollar spent!
There are no foreign transaction fees associated with any Capital One product but there is also no intro APR to speak of.
>>Learn More About This Credit Card Offer<<
This offer is no longer valid.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
You earn 70,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first three months of card membership.
- 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 $99. (Terms and conditions apply.)
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express REVIEW
This offer for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is no longer valid.
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.
I stick with Alaska Airlines because the miles don’t expire. I don’t travel much, so I need the extra time to accumulate miles. Yes, there is an annual fee.
Have any of your readers had a problem with their JetBlue AMEX card accounts regarding the 10K miles for signing up and 10K miles when you spend $500 in the first three months? I signed up for this promo and received the first 10K miles two months in but still have yet to receive the second 10K miles and its been 5 months since activation and I fulfilled the requirements. I contacted AMEX and they say they don’t have any record of such a promotion. I went on a discussion forum on JetBlue and it seems many people have had the same issue where AMEX refuses to give them the miles they are entitled. What have your readers done to get what is rightfully theirs? I spoke with customer service at both AMEX and JetBlue and was told no one could help me. Its quite frustrating.
Just signed up for the Jet Blue Amex card, since they were running a special: 10,000 points for signing up, and 10,000 points when you spend $500 in 3 months. I was planning on just paying my car insurance bill with the card, getting the points, and then canceling. Does anyone know if bills count as ‘eligible purchases’?
SW Visa just underwent a major change to their rewards system. Not sure if I like it or not but they’re still my preferred airline.
Thanks for the information, everyone. I will update the article shortly.
The miles that you earn with the Amex Delta Platinum card are not MQM miles. They’re just regular miles, but you can earn bundles of MQM miles when you hit spending tiers – 10k MQM for $25k in annual spending, and another 10k MQM when you hit $50k in annual spending.
Your analysis of the AAdvantage card is also incorrect. It carries an $85 annual fee that is waived the first year. Also, there are 75K bonuses that are available out there.
Free intercontinental trips start at 25K for the MileSaver trips (limited schedules and you need to book WAY in advance).
Are you looking at the Gold or the Platinum. The Gold card has a $50 fee (waived for the first year) as the article states. The Platinum has the $85 fee you’re mentioning. There is a 75,000 mile bonus expiring at the end of the month for AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Select, and AAdvantage AmEx, but not the Gold Card, requiring purchases of $4,000 in the first six months. That sounds like it’s worth checking out.
Flexo: Yes, the platinum…which is the pic of the card that you have in the article. Hence my confusion! The 75000 promo is great! They often do waive the fee on the platinum card too. AND, if you apply for the Visa & Amex on the same day you can often get both (computer glitch) and get 150,000 miles!
Also another thing to note…even if there is an annual fee, if you call and threaten to cancel at the end of the year they’ll usually waive the fee and give you some more miles.
OK, silly me…you have the MC in the pic…which looks identical to the Visa and Amex (platinum). Clearly, I need to go back to bed.
I second the SPG card. Your analysis of the Jet Blue card is misleading–10,000 points does not automatically get you a round trip ticket, unless you want to go to Rochester or want to fly at odd times. Most flights require 10,000+ points for a one-way ticket.
That’s the case with all mileage awards across all cards — while 5,000 will qualify you for a one-way ticket and 10,000 will get you a round-trip fare, the minimum amounts are usually not where you want to go. The article above is still accurate.
I didn’t say it was inaccurate–I said it was misleading. Which it is. Actually, just including that one sentence you just wrote would have improved this article greatly.
You should consider listing American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card. You can transfer miles from the hotel program to 20+ airline programs, and you get bonus miles for transfers over 20,000 points. So you can earn 1 point per $1 spent, and get 1.25 miles after transfer. Just someting to consider, to list here.
I own the SPG Amex and I am about to switch. Some of the airline mile transfers (Continental/United for example) are transferred at a 2:1 ratio, so when I tranferred 80,000 Starpoints I only received 40,000 miles. To top it off, the transfer can take up to 4-6 weeks. I’m praying that the flight I want to redeem them for is still available by then. Things they fail to tell you make light of when joining this card…
Since the merger of United and continental, you can double down by getting both cards and receive the rewards from each card.