03/13/2016

Love to Travel? Credit Cards That Will Make You Airborne in 2016

Credit cards with miles

Credit cards provide a wealth of different types of reward programs. One of the most popular types of credit cards for those who frequently travel are cards that award purchases with miles. If you spend a great deal of time in the air, these miles can add up rather quickly, resulting in free flights and other travel perks that make your time away from home a little more comfortable. If you travel often, make sure you get the most for your money with the best credit card for miles available.

Jump to section with your favorite cards:

Co-Branded Airline Rewards

If you frequently fly, you likely have a specific airline you prefer. In these cases, you can earn the most miles with a co-branded airline card specifically designed for your favorite airline. These cards typically include a number of extra benefits with the airline to enhance your experience at the airport and on the plane. Some of the best airline rewards credit cards include the following:

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
good credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.24 - 23.24% (V)
intro BT APR 16.24% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1-2 miles/$1 +50,000 sign-up bonus
  • 2x points on Southwest purchases and on Southwest Hotel and car rental programs partners purchases
  • get 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • +6,000 miles every account anniversary

 

$99 annual fee

2x on Southwest purchases

50,000 miles bonus

read review

As one of the most popular airlines known for its affordable flights, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card is often considered one of the best airline credit cards available. This card has a $99 annual fee and a variable APR for purchases and balance transfers of 16.24%. You get 2 points for each dollar spent at Southwest Airlines, and 1 point for each dollar spent on other purchases. This card also includes a number of additional benefits including 25,000 bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases with the card within your first 3 months opening the account. Other benefits include first checked bag free and a 6,000 points bonus each year on your anniversary.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
excellent
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR15.24 - 19.24% (V)
intro BT APR 15.24-19.24% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1-2 miles/$1 +30,000 bonus miles
  • get 30,000 miles bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • get $50 statement credit if you make Delta purchase in the first 3 months
  • 2x miles on Delta purchases
  • 1 mile for $1 on other purchases

Gold: $95 annual fee, waived for the first year

Platinum: $195 fee

Reserve: $450 fee

Delta benefits

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The Delta SkyMiles line of credit cards from American Express are some of the most popular and valuable credit cards for earning miles available. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card carries an annual fee of $95, which is waived your first year, and a variable APR of 15.49% to 19.49%. You get 2 miles for each dollar spent on Delta Airlines purchases and 1 mile for each dollar on all other purchases. The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card also includes a sign-up bonus of 35,000 miles if you make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months, plus a $50 statement credit after you make your first Delta purchase within the same period. This card comes with many travel benefits such as first checked bag free, priority boarding, and discounted access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
excellent
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR15.24 - 15.24% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1-2x/$1 +50,000
  • get 50,000 miles and 2 Admirals Club One Day Passes after spending $3,000 in 3 months
  • earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases

 

$95 annual fee, waived for the first year

50,000 miles bonus

2 Admirals Club passes bonus

2x miles on AAirlines purchases

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If you are a fan of American Airlines, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is one of the best credit cards for earning miles. This card has an annual fee of $95 waived the first 12 months and variable APR of 14.24% to 22.24%. You earn 2 miles for each dollar spent with American Airlines, and 1 mile on all other purchases. It also includes first checked bag free, Group 1 boarding, and a 10% miles redemption bonus up to 10,000 miles, each calendar year.  Plus, new cardholders get a 30,000 AAdvantage miles bonus after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

You can find more of our favorite airline rewards credit cards here.

General Rewards Cards for Earning Miles

If you are frequently in the air but aren’t loyal to a particular airline, the best credit card for miles may be the general travel rewards type that award purchases but can be redeemed for various travel-related expenses. These cards allow you a bit more freedom in choosing the brands you fly with and allow you to earn miles or points that can be used for not just airfare, but also hotels, cruises, and other types of travel.

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
good credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR13.24 - 23.24% (V)
intro BT APR 13.24-23.24% no BT fee
rewards 2% per dollar +40,000 miles bonus
  • earn 2x miles on all purchases
  • get 40,000 miles bonus after spending $3,000 on a card in the first 3 months
  • redeem easily as a statement credit towards any travel expenses

no first-year annual fee, $59 after

40,000 miles welcome bonus

2x miles on everything

Visa Signature status

read review

This card awards 2 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases, without any specific spending categories. You can then redeem your miles for statement credit against travel purchases such as flights, hotel stays, cruises, taxi fare, and many others. This card has an annual fee of $59, which is waived the first year and variable APR of 13.24% to 23.24%. New cardholders can receive a bonus of 40,000 miles when you make $3,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months. This bonus can be used to redeem for $400 in travel purchases. 

read card review Apply Now
at issuer’s secured site
good credit
intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.24 - 23.24% (V)
intro BT APR no 16.24%
rewards 1x-2x points on $1 +50,000 bonus
  • earn 2x points on travel and dining out 
  • get 50,000 bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • get 5,000 bonus miles after adding authorized user in 3 months after account opening
  • only 10,000 points for spending $500 in the first 3 months for a basic no annual fee Sapphire card
  • 20% off for travel related expences

 

$95 annual fee, waived for the first year

or no annual fee for basic Sapphire card

2x points on travel and dining

1 point per dollar on all other purchases as usual

card is made of metal

read review

You can earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point for each dollar on all other purchases, which you can redeem for travel, cash back, or gift cards. You can also transfer points at a ratio of one for one with travel programs such as United MileagePlus, Marriott Rewards, British Airways, and many others. The annual fee is $95, but it is waived the first year. The APR for purchases and balance transfers is 16.24% to 23.24%. Further, if you spend $4,000 with your card within the first 3 months, you can get a bonus of 50,000 points, which can be worth $625 in travel rewards with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

 



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