Having to choose a card for travel miles when there are dozens upon dozens of options can be intimidating, so today I want to pick out what I believe are the top current cards on the market. These cards are highly ranked by experts, have great bonuses, and good overall value for the price. As a quick note, I do not make any commission whatsoever from promoting these cards, it’s just my opinion.

If you haven’t read up on what travel mile cards or “airline cards” can do for you, they are essentiallyways to get cheaper if not FREE airline tickets. They can also come loaded with perks that will help you skip ahead lines, upgrade your flying class, and much more. If you want to learn more about these cards, you can check out this article here that I published a few months ago.

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Chase Sapphire Prefferred has an APR of 15.99% and has an annual fee of $95 per year.

2. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card:

  • Get 25,000 points for 1 Roundtrip Flight after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.
  • Get 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran® Airways purchases made directly with the airlines and on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem points for gift cards, car rentals, cruises, hotel stays, and international flights to over 800 Destinations on 50+ global carriers.
  • No foreign transaction fees

What I think is really cool about this card is that you gain 6,000 points after your anniversary with this card. The card has an APR of 15.99% and an annual fee of $99.

3. Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases – Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • Redeem your miles for travel statement credits – redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward travel purchases made in the last 120 days
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers

The Barclay Arrival Plus card has an APR of of 14.99% or 18.99% and has an annual fee of $89 per year, but the first year is waved.

4. US Airways Premier World MasterCard:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee*
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights
  • One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights
  • Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
  • Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

The US Airways Premier has an APR of 15.99%, 19.99%, or 24.99% and an annual fee of $89.

5. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card:

  • 25,000 bonus miles upon approval
  • Coach Companion Fare every year from $118(USD) ($99, plus taxes and fees from $19)
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 on Alaska Airlines purchases, and 1 mile per $1 spent anywhere else
  • Earn up to 5 miles per $1 spent using Mileage Plan Dining
  • No limit to the number of miles earned
  • Redeem miles for flights, discounts, and upgrades on more than a dozen airlines including Delta, American Airlines™, British Airways, and Aeromexico
  • Award tickets starting at 7,500 miles
  • The benefits above apply to Visa Signature® accounts only and different benefits apply to Platinum Plus® and Preferred accounts. Card type is determined by assigned credit line.

The Alaska Airlines Visa card has an APR of 14.24% and an annual fee of $75.

6. Frontier Airlines World MasterCard:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases in the first 90 days
  • Earn up to 10,000 bonus miles on balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) in the first 90 days
  • Earn double miles on purchases at FlyFrontier.com and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates! Book any roundtrip award flight on Frontier starting at 20,000 miles (subject to fees/taxes from $5)
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After that, a variable APR, currently 15.99% or 24.99% based on creditworthiness
  • $69 Annual Fee. Please see Terms and Conditions for complete details.

The Frontier Airline card has an APR of 15.99% or 24.99% and an annual fee of $69.

7. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier World MasterCard:

  • Get 25,000 points for 1 Roundtrip Flight after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.
  • Get 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran® Airways purchases made directly with the airlines and on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem points for gift cards, car rentals, cruises, hotel stays, and international flights to over 800 Destinations on 50+ global carriers.
  • No foreign transaction fees

Rapid Rewards has an APR of 15.99% and an annual fee of $99.

8. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card:

  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want—no blackout dates
  • Miles don’t expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • 100% free Capital One® Credit Tracker—see your monthly credit score anytime and get automatic alerts

The Venture Rewards card comes with an APR of 13.9% (the lowest on this list) to 20.9% and has an annual fee of only $50, the first year is waved.

There are a lot of good cards out there. You have to pick the right one for you. This article on the best travel credit cards is pretty comprehensive and can help you pick the right one and how to best maximize rewards.

A good card can get you much cheaper if not completely free flight to anywhere in the world. Sure, you may have to pay an annual fee, but paying $89 per year in order to get hundreds – if not thousands – off of your next vacation(s) is worth it. Unless you don’t like saving of course!

I’ve used a few different cards between Barclays and Capital One and have found that they are worth well more than their annual fees. Barclays overall seems to have better service and the customer support was very thorough with making sure that I was happy, but Capital One wasn’t far behind them.

Do you have any of these cards or do you suggest cards that should be put on this list instead? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

10 COMMENTS

  1. Great list, Clay! I have the Barclaycard and love it. It’s become my everyday card for racking up miles. I’m getting ready for my next round of apps and was thinking about the Chase Sapphire as one of them. Thanks for the recommendations – I’ll have to check some of these out.

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