Cashing in your airline miles for award seats can be an aggravating experience. Common issues include flights with unreasonable point demands, huge fuel surcharges, and limited availability.
That last part — limited availability — is often what sends people over the edge. Even if you do everything right, some airline loyalty programs make it difficult to find a flight that works with your schedule, or a flight with more than one open award seat available.
If you’re tired of earning airline miles that are hard to use, consider getting a card with a more flexible airline or opting for a travel rewards card that lets you use points in a variety of travel programs. The short list below includes co-branded airline cards that make their rewards programs especially easy to redeem, as well as flexible cards that let you use points in several ways. (See also: Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with This Guide)
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card awards 1.5 point per dollar spent on all purchases, which you can redeem for statement credit for most types of travel purchases, ranging from rental cars to airline tickets. New cardholders can earn 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. This bonus can be worth $200 in travel statement credit. You can also earn a 10% customer points bonus if you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account. Plus, there is no annual fee for this card.
Click here to learn more and apply for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card today!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can either be transferred to a variety of partner programs at a 1:1 ratio, or used to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, which would include a 25% discount. And if you don’t have enough points, you can just pay the difference.
Now is a great time to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Once you do, you can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you use your card for $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. The $95 annual fee on this card is also waived the first year.
Click here to learn more and apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card today!
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is another flexible travel credit card that works splendidly for earning free airfare. Your miles are redeemable for many types of travel purchases at a rate of one cent per mile. You simply charge the travel expense to your card, then redeem your miles as statement credit, and get 5% miles back when you redeem. It’s as simple as that.
Earn 40,000 miles worth $400 in travel after you use your card for $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. You’ll also earn a flat 2x miles for each dollar you spend on all your purchases. The flat rate is a great way to earn miles fast if you don’t have large regular expenses in particular categories. The card’s $89 annual fee is waived the first year.
Click here to learn more and apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® today!
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 2x miles for every dollar you spend, and lets you redeem your points for a statement credit for travel purchases.
At the moment, you can earn 50,000 miles after you use your card for $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Each mile is worth one cent, which means your signup bonus alone can be worth $500 in travel. If you plan to use your miles for airfare, you can shop among different airlines and portals to find the best deal, then charge the purchase to your card, and use your miles to wipe it away. There’s no need to sort through complex award charts, search for award availability, or fly at inconvenient times to use your points.
Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card today!
With the JetBlue Plus card, you get 6x TrueBlue points for each dollar you spend on JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1x points on other purchases. You can redeem your points for JetBlue award flights. You also get 10% of your points back when you redeem, and a statement credit of $100 if you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with the card. This card also offers 5,000 bonus points each year after your account anniversary and benefits such as a 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases. As a new cardholder, you can earn a bonus of 30,000 points after you spend $1,000 with your card within the first 90 days. The annual fee for this card is $99.
Click here to learn more and apply for the JetBlue Plus card today!
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a hero among co-branded airline credit cards. Why? Because the Southwest Rapid Rewards program is seamless, easy-to-use, and more flexible than competing programs.
You’ll earn 1x points per dollar spent on all purchases, plus 2x points on purchases made with the airline as well as with hotel and car rental partners. New cardmembers can earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Make note, however, that the card does come with a $99 annual fee, which is not waived the first year.
Southwest stands out among its competitors for a few reasons. First, it offers an unusual fare-based rewards program, meaning cheaper flights cost fewer points. Second, Southwest doesn’t limit award availability on any of its flights. If you find an open seat on a Southwest flight and have the points handy, it’s yours to book. What’s more, Southwest Airlines never charges a fee for your first two checked bags, whether you pay in miles or cash.
Finally, if you fly Southwest a lot, you may qualify for a one-year companion pass. You need to accrue 110,000 Rapid Reward points in a single year to qualify. With that 40,000 signup bonus, you’re almost there.
Info about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card from Chase has been collected independently by Wise Bread. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.