We all collect miles in order to avoid paying for airfare whenever it makes sense. However, there are times when we’re short or airfare is so cheap that it doesn’t make sense to redeem miles. In those instances, you’ll want to maximize your purchase by charging airfare to a credit card that pays out a category bonus.
Below are my top five picks of the best credit cards to charge your airfare.
1. Citi Prestige
The Citi Prestige Card pays out 5x points per $1 on airfare, which is one of the highest bonuses you can get. Personally, I prefer 5 ThankYou points over 5 Ultimate Rewards points. There’s no transfer fee and the partner list is pretty similar to Amex’s. Plus, Citi Prestige cardholders get an annual $250 credit towards any travel charge. That makes it a great way to earn points and offset some of your travel expenses.
2. Chase Sapphire Reserve
The 3x travel category bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve makes it great for airfare purchases. Additionally, the card comes with a $300 travel credit, which can be applied to any travel purchase, including airfare. Chase Ultimate Rewards are hands down the best rewards currency out there. They’re easy to redeem, flexible, and valuable. You can get a ton of value out of redeeming points through their own travel portal or transferring them to one of the many great Chase transfer partners.
3. Amex Platinum
The American Express Platinum card earns 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or Amex Travel. There are lots of great ways to redeem Membership Rewards points for maximum value. So stocking up on Membership Rewards points can be a good thing. Another bonus? Amex frequently runs travel promotions through Amex Offers. These consist of statement credits as well as bonus points for specific spending at certain airlines or via AmexTravel. Definitely check your Offers before booking airfare with the Amex Platinum Card.
The Amex Business Platinum card also offers 5x on airfare, though the bonus is restricted to flights booked on AmexTravel. That might not be the cheapest place to book, so I’d compare airfares before booking through this portal for the 5x bonus.
4. Barclay Arrival Plus
Before my Barclay shut-down, the Barclay Arrival Plus card was my go-to travel card. I charged everything on the card, including airfare, then used points to cover those charges. It saved me at least 50% on travel expenses. If you want to earn 2x points and offset your travel expenses, the Barclay Arrival Plus card is a solid choice. Keep in mind that airfare must be at least $100 to qualify for travel redemptions.
5. Airline Credit Cards
There’s virtually no benefit to charging airfare to airline credit cards, which pay out 2 miles per $1 spent. Unless it’s the only credit card you have that pays out any type of category bonus on airfare.
What are your picks?
[Image Source: Shutterstock]