The Beginner’s Guide to Airline & Miles Credit Cards

The Beginner’s Guide to Airline & Miles Credit Cards

Travel isn’t free, that much is obvious. But there are ways to improve both the quality and the quantity of your travel once you know a few tricks. In this guide, we’ll go through the basics of earning miles and points, and give you all the information you need to upgrade your travel and cover top airline credit cards to help you fly in international premium cabins for pennies on the dollar.

How Airline & Miles Credit Cards Work

Those who travel by air—plus anyone who would like to receive discounted airfares simply by using their credit cards—are perfect candidates for airline credit cards. These are essentially award or reward credit cards that let the cardholder rack up airline miles, points, or similar value which can then be converted into a ticket to fly to a favorite destination.


Some of the best airline credit cards will often provide special features and amenities in addition to the miles that are specifically tailored to the needs and preferences of travelers. Other travel rewards include tickets for a fellow passenger, preferential rates on hotels and rental cars, double rewards points for dining, entertaining, and coupons that provide access to airline VIP lounges inside airports.

The real difference here is in the possibilities that are created by leveraging airline miles.

  • Some people want to spend less on travel.
  • Others want to upgrade to business class (or even first-class).
  • Hotel perks
  • Some people want to take more trips each year or be able to visit places around the globe that are otherwise out of reach

Things to Consider

Most airline credit cards have interest rates comparable to other credit cards, but many also charge an annual fee that might range anywhere from $0 – $550. You should examine the pros and cons of each card, comparing their benefits and features against their fees to calculate which one is the best fit and offers the most flexibility. Be sure to keep in mind that while some of these cards let you transfer your points or accumulated rewards to any airline, others restrict you to one or two specific air carriers. Your free miles might have a “catch” to them. Choose a flexible card that lets you apply your awards to any air carrier or one that will help you earn airline miles and perks.

  • Annual fees are likely to apply
  • Limited awards availability
  • Inflexible rules

Is this credit card right for you?

There has never been a better time to start learning the ins and outs of the points and miles game, especially because so much of it can be done from the comfort of your own home. And let’s be honest, many of us are looking to pick up a new hobby right now. Then, when the world starts to open up again, you’ll be well on your way to knowing everything there is about travel and there is a good chance that the points and miles you earned may be the key to getting you back out there.

So, while you might not be traveling now, start dreaming of your next trip, fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride. You are about to become the smartest traveler you know.

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