One of the best ways to ensure that you collect and utilize your frequent flyer airline miles or points is through the use of an Airline credit card that automatically records and tallies those benefits whenever you book a flight. These cards will of course also allow you to accumulate points through other purchases, and those points can equally be used to defray your travel costs when the time comes to book those expensive tickets.
There are a number of rewards credit cards that offer new cardholders bonus miles and points for signing up, which will get you to your goal that much faster. We have assembled a list of the nine top airline credit cards that offer such bonus miles, usually on the condition that you purchase a certain amount with the card in a defined period following your sign-up. Without further ado, here they are.
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card provides cardholders with 40,000 bonus points that are worth $500 in travel rewards, provided that you spend $4,000 during the first three months that you hold the card. Once you add the first authorized user, and make a purchase during the first three months, you will be given an additional 5,000 bonus points.
When you make travel purchases through Chase’s online mall, or make restaurant purchases, Chase will provide two points for every dollar spent. These points will not expire, and they are unlimited. When the time comes to redeem them, they can be used at any airline, or for hotels or other purchases, and they can also be redeemed for cash. A highly valuable feature is that there are no blackout dates or travel restrictions imposed when you redeem. There is an annual fee of $95, but it is waived for the first year.
This BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5 points for every dollar you spend using it. No limit is imposed on the total points you can earn, and the points will never expire. You can redeem the points for statement credit toward travel bookings made with the card. The card imposes no foreign transaction fees, which is obviously a plus for overseas travelers, and there is no annual fee.
The introductory 0% APR period lasts for twelve billing cycles, and after that, a variable 14.99% – 22.99% rate applies. Bank of America customers who maintain a bank account with BofA receive a 10% customer points bonus on all purchases. And if you apply online, you’ll get 10,000 bonus points once you use the card to purchase $500 in goods or services during the first 90 days that you own it.
3. Capital One’s Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Venture Rewards Card offered by Capital One allows you to earn a 40,000 mile bonus, worth $400 in travel, provided you spend $3,000 on purchases during the first 90 days that you own the card. You will also receive two miles per dollar spent on any purchase, allowing you to increase your mileage at twice the rate!
Many of the Visa Signature privileges are also available with this card, including advanced ticket sales for events in major venues, a concierge service that is never closed, and others. While there is an annual fee of $59, the fee is waived for the first year.
4. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card allows you to collect points on all of your purchases. The Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card also provides new cardholders with the chance to earn 50,000 points for two round-trip tickets, provided they purchase $2,000 in goods and services within the first 90 days after obtaining the card. Because they know you like to travel, the card imposes no foreign transaction fees.
You will also get two points for every dollar you spend on direct travel purchases made with Southwest, and on every dollar spent on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. Beyond that, you receive one point per dollar for all other purchases. The points are redeemable as travel credit against bookings with airlines as well as hotels, vacations, car rentals, and cruises, or if you prefer, you can redeem them for gift cards. The points never expire, and you will also receive 6,000 more points each year following your first card anniversary. Happy Anniversary! These powerful benefits, however, do come at the cost of an annual fee of $99,
5. British Airways Visa Signature Card
British Airways has gotten in on the Airline-sponsored card business with its British Airways Visa Signature Card offering. This card provides a generous 50,000 bonus points to new cardholders, provided they use it to make $2,000 in purchases during the three-month period after obtaining the card. And when you book a flight on British Airways, you will earn 2.5 points for each dollar you spend. Any other purchase made with the card earns you 1.25 points per dollar.
Once you have reached $30,000 in purchases within any calendar year, you will receive a Travel Together Ticket for a companion, usable within two years of booking. And once you get to that overseas destination, there will be no foreign transaction fees on your card usages.
An added plus is that this is a Visa card that incorporates smart chip technology, allowing you to make purchases in Europe, which has widely adopted such technology. There is an annual fee of $95, but the fee is waived for your first year.
6. United MileagePlus Explorer Card
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card, which provides 30,000 bonus miles, provided that you make purchases in the amount of $1,000 during the first three months. Cardholders are also eligible to receive up to 10,000 bonus miles per years, provided that they spend over $25,000 annually on the card. An additional 5,000 miles will show up on your account when you add an authorized user and make a purchase during the first three months.
When it comes to collecting miles for making purchases, the MileagePlus Explorer Card enables you to earn double miles for each dollar spent on a direct ticket purchase from United, and one mile for every dollar you spend on all other purchases with the card. The miles don’t expire, and they are unlimited. You can also redeem them for air tickets, car rentals, or hotel bookings. The cherry on top of all this is two complimentary one-time passes to the United Club, the airline’s airport lounge, per year, letting you dip your toe in travel the way it’s experienced by the upper crust. Probably even more valuable is that you will have your first bag checked in for free.
7. Citi’s AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard.
American Airlines travelers may be particularly interested in Citibank’s AAdvantage Plantinum Select MasterCard, which, for a limited time, will let you earn 50,000 American Airline AAdvantage bonus miles, provided that you spend $3,000 on the card during the first three months of card ownership. You will also collect double AAdvantage miles for each dollar spent on purchases, provided they are eligible purchases from American Airlines, and one AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on other purchases.
After you redeem your miles, you will be allowed to earn back 10% of those redeemed miles up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles per calendar year. The card also allows you to check your first bag for free when you fly with American Airlines. The card does charge an annual fee of $95, waived for the first twelve months, but when you add up all its advantages, that cost may well be worth it.
8. Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard.
Hawaiian Airlines has waded into the card business with its World Elite Mastercard. This card, which was designed with Hawaiian Air frequent flyers in mind, allows you to earn 35,000 bonus miles provided you spend $1,000 with the card during your first 90 days of account ownership. If you spend $10,000 or more within a year, you will earn 5,000 bonus points, and you will also earn one mile for every dollar you spend with the card, and two miles for every dollar spent on direct Hawaiian Air purchases.
The card comes with an annual fee of $89, and the variable APR is 15.99% to 24.99% on purchases and on balance transfers.
9. Wells Fargo Propel World American Express Card.
The Wells Fargo Propel World American Express Card provides solid rewards on airline bookings, regardless of what airline you select. Cardholders get 40,000 points once they have spent $3,000 during the first three months of card ownership, and they earn three points for each dollar of airline purchases. Hotel bookings earn two points per dollar spent, and all other purchases get one point per dollar.
The card allows you to get reimbursed up to $100 on airline charges including baggage, lounges, and in-flight purchases. Discounts are also available at the major car rental agencies of up to 25%, and you can get up to $100 off of certain vacation packages. Points are unlimited, and never expire. And because it’s for travelers, no foreign transaction fees are imposed.
An additional advantage of this card is that its owners, when renting cars, receive auto rental collision and liability insurance and trip cancellation coverage. The card offers an introductory 0% APR rate on purchases and balance transfers for twelve months, and after that a variable APR of between 13.99% and 21.99% will apply. The cardholders with stronger credit will receive the lower rates. The annual fee is a hefty $175, but it is waived for the first year.