Top 3 Airline Miles Earning Credit Cards

Airline credit cards can be effective ways to rack up points for your next trip to an exotic location, or to take the family to see the in-laws.   But, they may not always be the best card for you.   You should use BestCashCow's credit card maximizer tool to review the best travel rewards cards for your spend profile.   You should also check out BestCashCow's list of the top travel rewards credit cards for spend and our list of the top 10 travel rewards credit card sign-up bonuses.

Here are our 3 favorites among the airline cards:

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

The British Airways Visa credit card ranks highly on our list of the best airline mile-earning credit cards because of the flexibility of the British Airways Avios program, which allows redemption for flights on OneWorld partner carriers, including American Airlines, Qantas, Iberia and Cathay Pacific.  While fees and taxes for booking travel on British Airways itself from the US to Europe are ridiculous, BA's distance based reward chart creates outstanding reward opportunities on short haul American Airlines flights, such as 9,000 miles for a round trip from New York to Toronto or Montreal, or 15,000 miles for a round trip from the East Coast to Chicago.  

Key features are as follows:

  • Card members receive 50,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Card members receive an additional 50,000 Avios after spending a total of $20,000 within the first year of account opening.
  • Every calendar year in which you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Companion Ticket good for two year.
  • No foreign transaction fees; Smart chip with Signature Technology allows you to use your card in Europe.
  • Members earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases, 2 Avios for every $1 spent directly at hotels, 1 Avios per dollar spent on all other purchase.

Citibank® American Airlines AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Card

The Citibank® American Airlines AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Card  offers 50,000 miles after promotional spend of $2,500 in your first 3 months.   45,000 American miles can be redeemed for a low season round trip coach class ticket to Europe.

Key features are as follows:

  • 50,000 Bonus AA Miles after you spend $2,500 in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2x AA Miles on purchases at American Airlines and at restaurants and gas stations.   Earn 1x AA Miles everywhere else.
  • First bag checked free.
  • $99 annual fee, waived for the first year.

United Mileage Plus Explorer Card®

The United Mileage Plus Explorer Card offers 40,000 United points after you spend $2,000 with your first 3 months of card membership, plus an additional 25,000 United points if you spend a total of $10,000 in your first 6 months of card membership.   You are eligible for this card as long as you have not received the same bonus in the prior 24 months, and if you have not opened more than 5 credit cards in the previous 24 months.  

Key features are as follows:

  • 40,000 Mileage Plus Miles after you spend $2,000 within 3 months of account opening, plus an additional 25,000 Mileage Plus Miles after you spend a total of $10,000 within 6 months of acocunt opening.   
  • 50,000 miles is enough for a free reduced award Business Class RT ticket from the East Coast to California. 
  • Free first checked bag on United.  
  • Earn 2x points for purchases on United, at restaurants and on hotel purchases when made directly.   Earn 1x on all other spend. 
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee, waived for the first year.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

User Generated Content Disclosure: Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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