Best Credit Cards for Miles and Cash — Free Flights/Free Money

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best credit cards for miles

LAST UPDATE:

Welcome to the ONLY CREDIT CARD LIST ON THE WEB that doesn’t waste your time with lousy offers and where you’ll find the very best credit card bonuses.

Please keep in mind:

  1. Don’t apply for cards with small bonuses! Nowadays, most issuers are limiting your ability to get a credit card based on your application history. Be stingy with your credit card applications. 
  2. My threshold for a good credit card bonus is $400. Normally, I won’t apply for less. However, if you already “collect” certain currencies, like American Express MR or Chase UR points, do go for a lesser bonus from another credit card to top up your points.
  3. Know the rules. Check the Credit Card Rules section at the bottom of this page, but still… YMMV.

I only post best publicly available offers unless it’s easy to get a targeted or a non-public offer.

THE BIG THREE

American Airlines

Attention: Citi will deny bonus miles if you’ve already had a corresponding AA credit card (Personal, Executive or Business) bonus within the last 48 months.

If any of the links below stop working, check the Wiki and latest posts from this thread.

Citibank American Airlines AAdvantage 60,000 Miles Personal Card

best credit cards for miles Citi AAdvantage

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $99 waived for the first year.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and up to 4 travel companions.
  • 25% off inflight food and beverage purchases

Citibank American Airlines AAdvantage 65,000 Miles Business Card

best credit cards for miles Citi AAdvantage Business

  • Spending requirement: $4,000/4mths.
  • Annual fee: $99 waived for the first year.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and up to 4 travel companions.
  • 25% off inflight F&B and WiFi purchases

Citi American Airlines AAdvantage Executive 60,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Citi AAdvantage Executive

  • Spending requirement: $6,000/3mths.
  • Admiral Club Membership (authorized users also get access with up to 2 guests even when traveling without the primary cardholder).
  • Enhanced Airport Experience: Priority check in, security screening (where available) and boarding privileges for you and up to 8 travel companions (authorized users also get the benefit even when traveling without the primary cardholder).
  • Annual fee: $450.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and up to 8 travel companions.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ Application Fee Credit.
  • Earn EQDs

Barclaycard American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator Red 60,000 Milesbest credit cards for miles Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator

  • No spending necessary: get the bonus after your first purchase made within 90 days
  • Annual fee: $99, not waived
  • 2 Companion Certificates at $99 plus taxes/fees (Introductory and Anniversary, after spending $20,000)
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and up to 4 travel companions.
  • 25% off inflight food and beverage purchases
  • Up to $25 statement credit for using inflight WiFi

Attention: Barclaycard’s approval process is weird. There are no hard rules, but they’ll likely deny you for having too many accounts in the last 24 months (including authorized users) and/or excessive number of recent hard pulls. 

Barclaycard American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator Business 75,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Barclaycard Aviator Business American Airlines AAdvantage

  • Get 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 within 90 days.
  • Get additional 10,000 miles after your employee makes the first purchase.
  • Annual Fee: $95, not waived.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and up to 4 travel companions.
  • Anniversary Companion Certificate at $99 plus taxes/fees after spending $30,000.
  • 25% off inflight food and beverage purchases
  • Earn EQDs

Please note that Citi AA links often go dead while new ones get uncovered, so check the thread above.

United Airlines

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Personal 50,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Chase MileagePlus Explorer United

  • 50,000 miles after spending $3,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $95.

Chase United Business 75,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Chase MileagePlus Explorer United Business

  • Spending requirement: $5,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $95 waived for the first year.

Chase United Club 50,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles United MileagePlus Club United

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths
  • United Club Membership
  • Annual fee: $450

Delta Airlines 

Amex Delta Gold SkyMiles Card 50,000 Miles

(My Referral — Better Than the Public Offer)

best credit cards for miles American Express Delta SkyMiles

  • $0 Introductory annual fee for the First Year, thereafter $95
  • Spending requirement: $1,000/3mths
  • Open in Incognito mode if you don’t see 50,000 miles

Delta Amex Platinum Personal Card 70,000 Miles: GONE for now

Expired

best credit cards for miles American Express Delta Platinum

  • $195 annual fee NOT WAIVED for the First Year
  • Spending requirement: $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Also 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after meeting the spend above

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card 70,000 Miles: GONE

  • $450 annual fee NOT WAIVED for the First Year
  • Spending requirement: $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • Also 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after meeting the spend above
  • Access to Delta SkyClubs when flying on Delta

OTHER U.S. AIRLINES

Southwest Airlines 

Chase Southwest Plus 75,000 Points

or

Chase Southwest Premier 75,000 Points

or

Chase Southwest Priority 75,000 Points

  • 40,000 for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months and 35,000 for spending $5,000 within your first 6 months.
  • Plus/Premier/Priority: 3,000/6,000/7,500 anniversary points.
  • Priority only: $75 Southwest annual travel credit.
  • Priority only: 4 Upgraded Boardings per year.
  • Priority only: 20% back on inflight drinks and WiFi.
  • $69/$99/$149 annual fee.

Chase Business Southwest Airlines Premier Business 60,000 Points

best credit cards for miles Chase southwest premier business

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $99 (not waived).
  • 6,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary.

Chase Business Southwest Airlines Performance Business 70,000 Points

  • Spending requirement: $5,000/3mths.
  • 9,000 anniversary points.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year.
  • Inflight WiFi credits (up to 365 $8 inflight Wi-Fi purchases)
  • Annual fee: $199 (not waived).

Hawaiian Airlines

Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines Personal 60,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines

  • Spending requirement: $2k/3mths.
  • You can share miles for free with friends and family.
  • Annual fee: $99 NOT waived.
  • First checked bag free
  • 50% off Companion Discount
  • $100 off Anniversary Companion Discount

Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines Business 70,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Barclaycard Hawaiian Business

  • Get 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 within 90 days.
  • Get additional 10,000 miles after your employee makes the first purchase.
  • 50% Off Companion Discount for roundtrip coach flight between Hawaii and North America
  • Share miles with family and friends for free
  • Annual fee: $99 NOT waived.

JetBlue

JetBlue Plus 40,000 Miles 

best credit cards for miles JetBlue Card

  • The bonus is up from 30,000 points.
  • $99 annual fee, not waived.
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.

JetBlue 40,000 Points Business Card 

best credit cards for miles Barclaycard JetBlue Business

  • The bonus is up from 30,000 points, limited time (6.29.18). UPDATE 2.7.18: Seems still valid
  • $99 annual fee, not waived.
  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.

Alaska Airlines

BoA 30,000 Miles + $100 Statement Credi + 2 Companion Fares

best credit cards for miles Bank of America Alaska Mileage Plan

  • Spending requirement: $1,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $75 NOT waived.
  • One free Companion Fare and One $99 Companion Fare.
  • Make money on this one! 

If the link above stops working, check my post to find out how to apply for the card.

BoA Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card 32,500 Miles: GONE

BoA Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card 30,000 Miles

  • Spending requirement: $1,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $75 NOT waived.

Frontier Airlines

This card has been revamped in June 2018

Barclaycard Frontier Airlines 40,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Barclaycard Frontier

  • Spending requirement: $500/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $79 NOT waived.
  • $100 voucher after spending $2,500 within your cardmember year.
  • Family mile-pooling
  • No redemption fee when pay taxes with the card.

Spirit Airlines

BoA Spirit Airlines 30,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Bank of America Spirit

  • Spending requirement: 15,000 after the 1st purchase and 15,000 after spending $500/3mths.
  • Annual fee: Waived for the 1st Year.
  • 15K miles are good for up to 3 RT flights. Read my series on Spirit Airlines HERE

FOREIGN AIRLINES

The Chase credit card for British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia have identical terms for the welcome bonuses.

British Airways

Chase British Airways 50,000-100,000 Avios

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths for 50,000 and $10,000 in 12 months for 75,000 Avios.
  • Annual fee: $95, not waived.

Chase Aer Lingus 50,000 to 100,000 Avios

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths for 50,000; $10,000 in 12 months for 75,000 Avios; and $20,000 in 12 months for 100,000 points.
  • Annual fee: $95, not waived.

Chase Iberia 50,000 to 100,000 Avios

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths for 50,000; $10,000 in 12 months for 75,000 Avios; and $20,000 in 12 months for 100,000 points.
  • Annual fee: $95, not waived.

Virgin Atlantic

BoA Virgin Atlantic 25,000 – 90,000 Miles

best credit cards for miles Bank of America Virgin Atlantic

    • 20,000 Flying Club bonus miles after your first purchase.
    • 5,000 miles for adding 2 authorized users
    • 50,000 miles after you spend at least $12,000 in qualifying purchases within the first 6 months
  • 15,000 miles for spending $25,000 within the first year

I don’t like this offer for high spending requirements, but it’s been the only Virgin Atlantic credit card bonus in quite a while.

Lufthansa

Barclaycard Lufthansa 60,000 Miles

Scroll down to T&C to see the bonus

best credit cards for miles Barclaycard Miles & More Lufthansa

  • 20,000 miles after 1st purchase
  • 40,000 miles after spending $5,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $89 NOT waived.

Avianca

Banco Popular Avianca Vuela 60,000 Miles

(choose the “Vuela” on the right and DO NOT FORGET to enter the promo code LM17WB)

I applied and received 60,000 miles with the above code

best credit cards for miles Banco Popular Avianca LifeMiles Vuela

  • First purchase within 90 days
  • Annual fee: $149

Cathay Pacific

Synchrony Cathay Pacific 40,000 Miles
best credit cards for miles Synchrony Cathay Pacific

    • Limited time (until 10.31.18) increased bonus: 40,000 miles up from 35,000.
  • Spending requirement: $2,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Annual fee: $95.
  • Read my story about the monkey-business credit line they “extended” to me and think twice!

Finally, here is an increased offer for Amtrak (not an airline, I know)

Update: Gone, back to 20,000

    • 30,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
    • Free companion coupon, 1 upgrade and 1 lounge pass
  • 3x on Amtrak and 2x on travel

OTHER CREDIT CARDS

You can transfer points from some hotel and general credit card programs to airline frequent flyer programs, redeem them for free flights, gift cards or cash. 

Note, some of these are referral links. They’re not affiliate links, but I will get points if you apply for them via my links. If you would like to support me, please consider using these links. And yes, they’re still offering BEST PUBLICLY AVAILABLE bonuses (to the best of my knowledge).

American Express Membership Rewards Cards

The American Express Membership Rewards program encompasses several Platinum and Gold cards. Some of them are as follows:

AMEX Platinum 60,000 MR Points

best credit cards for miles American Express Platinum Card

AMEX Platinum Charles Schwab 60,000 MR Points 

Must have or open a $1,000 Charles Schwab account

best credit cards for miles american express platinum charles schwab

Benefits for all American Express Platinum cards:

  • Spending requirement: 5,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $550 (NOT waived).
  • Transfer points to multiple airlines and hotels.
  • Lots of other goodies

There is also a 75,000-point Business Platinum offer with a mammoth $25,000 spending requirement — not recommended.

AMEX Business Gold 50,000 Points

  • Spending requirement: 5,000/3mths.
  • 4x points on the 2 categories of your choice
  • Annual fee: $295 (not waived).

AMEX Gold Ameriprise 25,000 MR Points

best credit cards for miles american express ameriprise

  • Spending requirement: 1,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $160 (waived for the first year).
  • Apply only if you’re already collecting MR points

AMEX SPG Personal and Business Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card with 75,000-points bonus

(Weak bonus, I recommend to wait)

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $450.
  • $300 SPG or Marriott Rewards statement credit.
  • Free Night Award (up to 50,000 points).
  • Priority Pass Access.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card 75,000 Points

best credit cards for miles AMEX SPG Card

  • Spending requirement: $3,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived for the first year).

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card 100,000 Points

best credit cards for miles AMEX SPG Business Card

  • Spending requirement: $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived for the first year)

Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards 

UPDATE: DEAD Note: now you’re only eligible for a bonus from Chase Sapphire cards once in 48 months! However, check creditcards.com/cardmatch. The Sapphire offer I received from Chase still states 24 months, not 48. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve 50,000 UR Points 

best credit cards for miles chase sapphire reserve

  • Spending requirement: $4,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $450.
  • $300 annual travel credit.
  • Transfer points to several airlines and hotels.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 UR Points  

best credit cards for miles chase sapphire preferred

  • Spending requirement: 4,000/3mths for 50,000 points.
  • Annual fee: $95 waived for the 1st year.
  • Transfer points to several airlines and hotels

Chase Business Preferred 80,000 UR Points (on the right)

best credit cards for miles chase business preferred ink

  • Spending requirement: 5,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $95 not waived.
  • Transfer points to several airlines and hotels.

Chase Ink Business Cash $500/50,000 points

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths.
  • No annual fee.
  • Can transfer to airlines and hotels if you have a premium UR card

Chase Ink Unlimited $500/50,000 points

  • Spending requirement: $3,000/3mths.
  • 1.5X on everything
  • No annual fee.
  • Can transfer to airlines and hotels if you have a premium UR card

Citi ThankYou Cards

Better Citi ThankYou Premier 60,000-point Offer

Citi ThankYou Premier Card 50,000 Points

UPDATE 10.16.18: Gone

best credit cards for miles citi thankyou premier

  • Spending requirement: 4,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: Waived for the 1st year, $95 thereafter.

Citi ThankYou Prestige Card 75,000 Points Offer

  • Spending requirement: 7,500/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $450, not waived.
  • Too many goodies to list.

Barclays

Barclays Arrival + New 60,000 Points Offer

  • Spending requirement: 5,000/3mths.
  • Annual fee: $89, not waived.
  • Earn 2X on all purchases

US BANK

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Card 26,667 bonus points

Wait for the next Olympic Games.

  • 26,667 bonus FlexPoints are redeemable for up to $400 in airline or hotel booking fees
  • Spending requirement: $2,000 in first 4 months.
  • Annual fee: $49 (waived first year).
  • You are likely to earn additional bonus points during the next Olympic game (so wait for it)

US Bank FlexPerks Gold 30,000 Points

Pick the card in the middle. You can redeem 30,000 points for a flight or a hotel up to $450.

best credit cards for miles us bank flex perks gold

  • Spending requirement: $2,000 in first 4 months.
  • Annual fee: $85 (Not waived).
  • Redeem for travel at the 1:1.5 ratio

US Bank Altitude Reserve 50,000 Points

You can apply online only if you’ve had a prior relationship with US Bank for at least 35 days. Otherwise, apply in the branch.

best credit cards for miles us bank altitude reserve

  • Redeemable for up to $750 in travel purchases.
  • Spending requirement: $2,000 in first 4 months.
  • Annual fee: $400 (Not waived).
  • Lots of other goodies

UBS Visa Infinite 50,000 Points (must call: 888-762-1232)

UBS Visa Infinite

  • 50,000 miles (good for up to a $900 flight ) after spending $3,000 in first 3 months.
  • $495 annual fee.
  • Lots of other goodies.

Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card $500

Must be a banking customer for 12 months prior or read this DOC post on maximizing Wells Fargo bonuses

  • $500 miles after spending $5,000 in first 3 months.
  • No annual fee.

Capital One Venture Rewards 50,000 Miles

Don’t be confused by the “miles” thing. You can redeem them for any kind of travel at 1: 100.

  • Spending requirement: $3,000 in first 3 months.
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived first year).

Capital One Savor $500 bonus

  • Spending requirement: 3,000/3mths.
  • $95 annual fee waived for the first year.
  • 4X on dining and entertainment, 2X on groceries.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business 50,000 miles

  • Spending requirement: $4,500 in first 3 months.
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived first year).

Capital One Spark Cash for Business $500

  • Spending requirement: $4,500 in first 3 months.
  • Annual fee: $59 (waived first year).

Bank of America

Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card 50,000 points

  • Spending requirement: 3,000/3mths.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • $100 incidental airline credit per calendar year.
  • Other goodies

Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard $350

  • Spending requirement: 3,000/3mths.
  • No annual fee.
  • 3X on gas and office supply, 2X on restaurants.
  • If you’re a Business Advantage Relationship Rewards client, you can get an additional 25% – 75% 
  • The bonus is slightly lower than my $400 threshold, but it’s an easy card with great earning potential

Navy Federal Credit Union

The Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Card 50,000-point offer

  • 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 90 days
  • 3x on travel, 2x on everything else
  • $49 annual fee waived in the first year
  • Must qualify for NFCU

City National Bank

Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card 75,000-point offer

  • Annual fee is $400, no fee for authorized users
  • Increased 75,000 points after spending $5,000 in 3 months ((from 50,000 until 12.17.18)
  • The points are worth 1.0X-1.3X when redeemed for travel
  • $250 annual airline incidental credit for cardholder and up to 3 AU users (up to 4 according to Reddit users)
  • $100 airfare companion discount
  • Too many other goodies to list
  • Apply in branch or over the phone only:  CA, DC, DE, GA, NY, NV, TN
  • They verify income and assets

Credit Card Rules

Please read carefully before applying for any credit card

CHASE:

You can’t get most Chase cards if you have received more than 4 cards from any issuers within the last 2 years (that’s including AU cards, although you might be able to remove AU cards from your credit report or during the reconsideration call). Notable exceptions:

        • British Airways
        • Iberia
        • Aer Lingus
        • Marriott Business
        • Ritz Carlton
        • IHG
        • Hyatt

You can still apply for these cards even if you’re 5/24 or more. Most business cards don’t count, even Chase’s own business cards.

AMERICAN EXPRESS

You can’t get a sign-up bonus for the same card if you have received it in the past. Exceptions:

        • Targeted offers that don’t carry this policy language.
        • There is some leeway about products that are “same/different.” For example, I’ve gotten the bonuses from the regular Platinum and Platinum for Mercedes Benz cards.
        • A lot of time has passed. Some suggest 4-7 years.

There are suggestions that AMEX won’t allow you to have more than 4-5 credit cards at the same time (charge cards don’t count). I know I’ve had 6 AMEX credit cards at the same time, but it doesn’t mean that this datapoint is not accurate. YMMV.

Another datapoint indicates that you can’t get more than 2 credit cards in 90 days (again, charge cards don’t count). I can report that I have applied and received up to 4 credit cards in 3 months — although, once again, you might want to stay within the suggested parameters.

CITI

You can’t get a sign-up bonus for the card from the same “family” if you’ve opened or closed the card within the last 24 months. For example, you can’t get the bonus for the Premier card if you’ve had the Prestige card, and you can’t get a bonus for the Executive AAdvantage card, if you’ve opened or closed the regular AAdvantage card within the last 24 months. Exceptions:

        • Occasional public and targeted offers that don’t have this policy language.

You can open 2 Citi cards within 60 days and one business Citi card within 90 days. Add 2-3 days to this count to be on the safe side.

BANK OF AMERICA

        • You can get 2 BoA cards within 60 days
        • 3 cards within 12 months
        • 4 cards within 24 months

Business cards don’t count (supposedly).

BARCLAYS

There are conflicting reports regarding Barclays. Sometimes, they deny applications following 6/24 rules almost like Chase. But there are many reports contradicting these data points. In general, Barclays doesn’t like too many inquiries in the last 2 years and they don’t like it when you put their cards in a sock after getting the bonus. Keep it in mind if you are preparing to apply for a Barclays card. My applications have consistently been denied in the last 2-3 months, so I don’t even bother anymore.

CAPITAL ONE

You can get one card only (personal or business) within 6 months. My applications have been denied multiple times during the last several years.

US BANK

It used to help when you froze the reports from 2 minor CRAs: Sage Stream and ARS before applying for a US Bank card. Not the case anymore, so don’t. Other than that, they don’t like too many recent inquiries, and they can shut down all your accounts if they determine (in their sole discretion, of course) that you’re abusing the program. Meaning — be very, very, very careful buying gift cards with a US Bank card.

Photo by 贝莉儿 NG on Unsplash

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