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Some people like credit cards for their extra perks like travel credits, free airport lounge access, or anniversary hotel nights. But you might primarily use credit cards for travel miles and those other extra benefits as a second reward. If you want to earn more travel miles, here are the 7 best credit cards to do so.
When you want to quickly rack up the travel miles, go with these credit cards first.
-Best Flexible Travel Miles: Chase Sapphire Reserve
-Best for Airline Miles: Platinum Card from American Express
-Best Business Credit Card: Chase Ink Business Preferred
-Best Airline Credit Card Signup Bonus: British Airways Credit Card
-Best Hotel Credit Card: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
-Best Flat Rate Miles: Barclaycard Arrival Plus
-Best No Annual Fee Travel Miles: Wells Fargo Propel
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the best credit card for flexible travel miles. Its 50% travel redemption bonus makes the ongoing 50,000-point signup bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first 90 days) worth $750 because each point is worth 1.5 cents each. This is one of the highest redemption values for credit card rewards points.
Plus you earn unlimited 3x points on travel and dining making it one of the .
The 50% bonus is great, but you might find more value with the 1:1 Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners like United, Southwest Airlines, and Aer Lingus. These airlines offer low-priced award flights and they don’t charge crazy fuel surcharge fees that other carriers tack onto “free” award tickets.
When your points are worth more than 1.5 cents each by transferring them to the carrier, pursue this option.
Besides getting more mileage from each reward point, you can also save money with the annual $300 travel credit, free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and Priority Pass Select membership. These are just some of the many perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Platinum Card from American Express
Like hotel credit cards, you would think that co-brand airline credit cards pay the most travel miles for airfare purchases. That’s not the case.
The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 miles per $1 spent on airfare you purchase directly from the airline or through Amex Travel. That’s double the standard rewards rate of 2 miles per $1 spent.
You also earn 5x points on hotels booked on AmexTravel.com. You have a wide variety of 1:1 airline transfer partners including Delta, Aer Lingus, Emirates, Etihad, and Singapore Airlines.
Don’t forget that you can also earn a 60,000-point welcome offer worth $600 in award travel with this premium credit card. Spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening will earn you this bonus. Plus, you get a few other premium travel perks like a $200 air travel credit, $200 in Uber credits, and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Chase Ink Business Preferred
The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card holds the honor for having the most valuable Ultimate Rewards signup bonus and being one of the .
Its signup bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points is worth $1,000 in award travel after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days. The second most valuable bonus offer (Sapphire Reserve) is only worth $750 in award travel.
Additionally, you also have full access to the Chase 1:1 airline and hotel transfer partners.
You earn 3x points on the first $150,000 in combined spending for travel purchases and select business purchases like online advertising, telecommunications, and office supply stores.
British Airways Visa Signature Card
The is known for its massive limited-time bonus offers. Their latest offer lets you earn up to 120,000 Avios by earning 4 bonus Avios on the first $30,000 spent during your first year.
Usually, their enhanced bonus is for 100,000 Avios. The extra 20,000 bonus Avios can help you book another long-distance flight like the U.S. west coast to Hawaii for 12,500 Avios each way on Alaska or American Airlines. Or, you can book short-haul flights within the U.S., Europe, or Asia starting at 4,500 each way.
Spending $30,000 in a year also lets you get the Travel Together ticket. With this perk, your travel companion gets a free seat in the same cabin when you pay with points. You will still have to pay fees and taxes on this complimentary seat.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus
It’s easy to overlook flat rate rewards cards in favor of tiered rewards cards that maximize your largest purchase categories. But you might benefit more from flat rate rewards cards like Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®.
You earn 2x miles on every dollar spent regardless of the purchase type. New cardmembers also have the opportunity to earn 70,000 bonus miles worth $700 in award travel by spending $5,000 in the first 90 days.
Your most valuable redemption option is travel statement credits. You get 5% of your redeemed points back with this option. If you redeem the 70,000 bonus miles for a travel statement credit, you get 3,500 miles back for your next redemption. It’s also one of the best credit cards for international travel.
Wells Fargo Propel (Expired)
The Wells Fargo Propel is value-packed for not charging an annual fee or foreign transaction fee. You don’t get as many add-on benefits like airline point transfers or airport lounge access that credit cards with an annual fee charge.
But the Propel does a good job of earning bonus points on your lifestyle purchases and squeezing more value when redeeming them for award travel.
The 30,000 point signup bonus is worth $300 after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days. And you earn unlimited 3x points on these purchases:
- Gas, rideshares, and transit
- Popular streaming services
All remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
Although you can’t transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs, your points can be worth 1.5 cents each when redeeming your points for travel on the Wells Fargo travel portal. This is similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve 50% travel redemption bonus without the annual fee.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
On average, airline miles are usually worth more than hotel points when it comes to redeeming travel miles. The can be an exception because of its hotel and air travel perks.
The limited-time welcome bonus is 100,000 Bonvoy points that are worth up to 20 free hotel nights. You can also redeem them for award flights.
At its core, the Bonvoy Brilliant is a hotel rewards card. But you can also redeem your points for award flights and transfer your points to 40 airline loyalty programs.
Free Marriott Bonvoy hotel nights start at 5,000 points. Try to redeem your rewards points for at least one cent each to get an equal redemption value as most flexible travel credit cards.
Most airline transfer partners have a 3 Bonvoy points to 1 airline mile transfer ratio. This isn’t the best transfer ration, but when you transfer at least 60,000 Bonvoy points at once you get a 5,000 point bonus which means you get 25,000 airline miles. That’s enough miles to book a roundtrip domestic flight on United in the main cabin.
This is a premium travel rewards card that is part of Marriott’s lineup. Each year, you get, these travel benefits:
- $300 Marriot Bonvoy statement credit
- One free anniversary night award at properties that cost 50,000 points or less
- Earn 6x points on Marriott Bonvoy purchases
- Earn 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines and U.S. restaurants
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
The enhanced 100,000-point welcome offer ends April 24, 2019. You will need to apply before this date and spend $5,000 in the first 90 days to receive the bonus.
You should always try to redeem your travel miles when each point is worth at least one cent each. Getting a travel redemption bonus or having the ability to transfer travel miles directly to a loyalty program is a common trait of the best credit cards for travel miles.
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