Best Credit Card Miles Programs

by TK on March 25, 2021

Credit card companies are giving out points in record numbers as they are trying to find alternative sources of income post-recession.  If you have good credit and have money to spend, you could be getting quite a deal by signing up with credit cards that give out rewards, especially mileage.  But once you redeem your points you can use your miles for airline tickets or other travel perks such as hotel reservations.  Point accumulation on these reward cards depend on how what and where you spend your card.   Normal purchases can be 1 point per $1 but if you spend on restaurants, travel, and airfare, the points usually double, triple, or even quadruple for every $1 spent.  Here are some of the more popular credit card reward cards.

Best Credit Card Miles Programs

Alaska Airlines is offering 25,000 free miles upon sign up and 1,000 miles  every time you use book through their site.  An extra perk of the card is the partner ticket that you get every year.  You also get a companion ticket every year.  That means once a year, someone can fly anywhere with you for just $99, as long as you pay the full price for your ticket.  There is an annual fee to the card though; $75.  Well worth if if you are a frequent traveller.

Chase Sapphire.  JP Morgan Chase is offering the Chase Sapphire card with 40,000 points (WSJ says 75,000 are offered to some).  The value of the 40,000 points is somewhere around $500.  You get extra points every year as a percentage of the poitns you have earned throughout the year.  The do have an annual fee but the $95 annual fee is waived the first year.  They offer 2 points per $1 on hotel and airfare booking but up to 10 points per $1 spent if you use the Chase Sapphire card at one of the more than 300 top retail partners.

Citi ThankYou Premier purportedly offered some potential customers 80,000 miles, worth slightly over $1,000.  However, the usual offer is around 30,000 miles.  The card comes with 15% discount on all air travel, bonus points at retail outlets, anniversary bonuses.  You also get a free companion pass once year.  That means someone cay fly with you free once a year, provided that you paid for your ticket with the Citi ThankYou premier card.

United Mileage Plus offers potential customers up to 40,000 free miles.  Upon sign up, customers are given 25,000 free miles.  You get another 5,000 miles for adding someone else onto your card and another 10,000 miles if you spend at least $25,000 per year on the card.  You get private boarding and two free passes to the United Club VIP Lounge every year.  Like other cards, you get double the miles for spending on travel.  The $95 fee is waived the first year.


Caveat About Mileage Rewards Cards

To make the cards worth your while, you should really be using your rewards card most of the time instead of using your debit card or checking account.  This is because it actually cost quite a bit to accrue the points for a free flight.  For instance, to get a free flight to California cost me a bit over 30,000 miles on my Alaska Airlines card.  So aside from everyday spending, look for other opportunities to pay with your credit card, such as utility bills, phone bills, even rent and auto loans.  The important thing is to pay off the balance every month.

Most, if not all reward credit cards have a minimum spending requirement before you can redeem your points.  Furthermore, some cards have an expiration date if you do not  redeem the points by a certain date.  And like I discussed before, they do have annual fees. What you will find when you are shopping around for credit cards with rewards is that there can be a plethora of different offers for the same card.  The most free points can be attained by having a strong credit history.  Also, offers sent through direct mail (also called snail mail) seem to advertise the highest amount of free points whereas internet offers only advertise a fraction of the points.


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