Best Airline Mile Credit Card Bonuses | March 2011

View the April 2011 best airlines credit card bonus list.

The fastest way to earn airline points is by signing up for airlines credit cards.  In this monthly roundup, I’ll introduce you to the card I would get if I were on the market for a new card (which I think I always am).

You might want to read this before getting a new card: How does applying for multiple credit cards impact your credit score?

001_225I would also suggest you sign up for a free credit report via Credit Sesame.  This way you can keep up with how the cards are impacting your credit score.  I never recommend signing up for credit cards for points if you have credit card debt.  Instead, I’d suggest you check out this guide for getting out of credit card debt

This month, American Airlines CitiCard drops off the list.  Unless they extend their 75,000 bonus mile promotion, I’d hold off getting that card.  I’ve added a United card and British Airways card to the list.

The Top Four Airline Mile Credit Cards

Continental OnePass Card: 50,000 Bonus Points

This was a top credit card choice in Feb and is a top choice once again.

Here’s what you get with the Continental OnePass Airlines credit card:

    • 50,000 bonus miles after your first purchase — enough for two round-trip reward tickets within the U.S. (excluding Hawaii) and Canada.
    • A waiver of the $85 annual fee for your first year.
    • 10,000 bonus miles annually when you spend $25,000 on your Card.
    • Two miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased directly from Continental.
    • One mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • Redeem miles for car rental and hotel rewards in addition to flights — a Cardmember exclusive.

In addition, you get to enjoy these benefits:

    • First checked bag free every time you fly when you purchase your tickets with your Card for flights operated by Continental only (a savings of up to $50 per round trip).
    • Two Presidents Club® passes ($100 value) every Cardmember anniversary.

If you conservatively estimate the value of each point at 1%, then this is a $500 sign up bonus.  Remember, if you’re married, each person can get a card.

Also, be sure that you first sign up for Continental’s mile promotion starting Feb 1st, 2011 to get extra bonuses when you sign up for the card.

You can apply for the card or get full details here.

Another option is to get 30,000 bonus miles and $50 cash back with the Continental OnePass Card. Get those details here.

Southwest Airlines: Get Two Free Flights

This promotion is not longer available.  I check as for March 8th, 7:00 p.m. EST and could not find it.

You can still get one free roundtrip flight with the Southwest credit card.

I reviewed the card here.  It’s a great way to get your hands on a free flight (that you can easily redeem), but you’ll need to be prepared to pay the $59 annual fee.  Also, be aware that Southwest recently changed its point system.

United Mileage Plus Visa Signature Card: Up to 30,000 Points and $50 Cash back + More

While the United offer still lags behind the Southwest and Continental offer, it is a solid offer with some newly added benefits (as of Feb 25th, 2011).

The new benefits include:

  • $50 back after your first purchase!
  • Receive a one-way upgrade certificate

That is in addition to the current benefits:

  • First Year Free, then $60
  • 30,000 miles is more than enough for a round-trip saver award ticket to anywhere in the continental United States.
  • Receive 25,000 bonus miles after your very first purchase.
  • Receive an additional 5,000 bonus miles by adding an authorized user to your account.
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 in purchases charged on your United Mileage Plus card.
  • There is no limit to the miles you can earn.

To get the card now, click here.

British Airways Visa: Up to 50,000 points.

British Airways Visa – Earn 25,000 bonus BA Miles after your first purchase, plus an additional 25,000 bonus BA Miles when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days.

There are two reasons why this card isn’t higher on the list.

  1. British Airways has had some very lucrative bonuses this year.  While 50,000 is good, they might top it.
  2. BA is known to have high taxes and fees associated with award travel.  That obviously devalues their points.

Comments

  1. Denise says

    Hi Craig,
    I’m a One-Pass member & have never had an airline credit card but these deals seem too good to pass up! I would still be doubtful but I’ve come to trust your advice, & you’ve diminished my fears re credit cards (I always pay monthly).

    You’ve probably mentioned this in an introductory blog, but does it make sense to apply for these cards solely for the reward trip miles, even tho’ I have no intentions of using it more than the required ‘first time’?

    Plus, since we live abroad like you do, any idea of a time limit for use of the Continental Reward miles within Can./US?

    Many thanks!

    • Craig says

      Denise,
      You’re right – this is a great time to go for a airline credit card. Just so you know I never pay the annual fee. Just get the miles and go! Sometimes I do only make on purchase on a card. Some cards do have a mandatory amount you must spend so be sure to read the terms and conditions.
      For most of these offers you will need to maintain a US residency. Continental miles don’t expires so there is not time limit. Continental will be merging with United at the end of this year so the miles will actually be subject to United’s expiration policy which is an expiration after 18 months of inactivity. However, you can do lots of little things to keep you account active.

  2. says

    Hello!

    Just wanted to drop in and say thanks for sharing Credit Karma with your readers!

    We strive to provide the best tools and information to help consumers monitor their credit healthy daily, and always totally for free.

    Also, would like to add that Credit Karma provides a free credit score, not report. However, our Credit Report Card, which grades your credit with an A-F letter grade, is a great snapshot of the main components of your credit report to help you better understand your credit situation.

    If readers are thinking about scoring a new credit card, Craig is totally right. Make sure you keep up with your credit score so you are aware of your credit range and what types of credit cards you may be approved of. Many hard inquiries from several applications can hit your credit score hard, so choose what you apply for wisely!

    Thanks again, and please contact me at blog@creditkarma.com for any additional question or feedback.

    Cheers,
    Justine of The Credit Karma Team

  3. says

    Craig, thanks for sharing all this great credit card information.

    What are your thoughts on the Capital One Adventure program for airline rewards? I heard it is one of the best cards for airline miles.

    • Craig says

      Thanks for your comment. I’m always happy to help.
      I’m assuming you mean the Venture Rewards by Capital One? I have a full review here – http://www.helpmetravelcheap.com/capital-one-venture-rewards-value-analysis/.
      I’m not sure that there is any one program that is ‘the best’ for everyone. Depending on your spending this program, Ultimate Rewards, Starwood AMEX, or AMEX rewards often fight it out for the top spot depending on a persons spending and rewards preferences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *