Free Flights: The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards & Programs

Top of the List
By: Jimmy Rhoades | Victor Padilla Posted: 1:06 PM, Apr 15, 2019

If you’re planning a vacation, you know how expensive it can get. So why not save money free flights, or close to free? Daryn Kagan and her “Miles Husband” Trent Swanson know a thing or two about travel deals. Their secret is credit card rewards programs. And the great thing about Miles Husband is that Trent and Daryn have zero affiliations – so their advice on how to play the game is the honest truth. Read on for three ways to help determine the best airline miles credit cards for you.

 

1. Types of Airline Miles Credit Cards

 

The first way to get the most out of airline miles credit cards is the learn the types out there: cash back and fixed value cards.

 

Cash Back

 

Cash back is exactly what it sounds like. “Everything you put on the card earns up to two percent cash back,” explains Trent. “No tracking, no tracing, no worrying about where you’re spending it. Easy two percent.” Sounds easy enough!

 

Fixed Value

 

Fixes value refers to points for every dollar spent, which you can put toward tickets and free flights.

 

“These two types of cards typically have no annual fee, there’s no blackout, and they usually give you a sign-on bonus. Great for people just starting out,” adds Trent. To get the sign-on bonus, you’ve gotta spend a chunk of money in a certain amount of time. And you can’t typically turn points into cash.

 

2. Free Flights with Foreign Carrier Programs

 

Next, earn free flights with airline miles credit cards offered through foreign carrier programs – which can help you with domestic travel. “Let’s say people maybe you want to go to Hawaii, and you want to go in business class,” offers Trent. “Korean Air has a currency and a credit card that if you earn those points, you can fly on Delta, fly on Alaska, fly on Hawaiian Airlines – all with that single card.” You can also use points from non-airline partners! “You can actually top off your Korean Air account with those additional Marriott Miles if you need to hit a certain target,” adds Trent. Reward inventory for these types of cards is restricted, so you may have to plan trips way in advance to get the flights you want.

 

3. Domestic Programs for International Travel

 

Our last tip for getting the best airline miles credit cards? Considering getting free flights through domestic programs for international travel . “There are a lot of these types of credit cards available, both from Chase and from American Express,” informs Trent. You’ll need a top-tier card, excellent credit, and expect higher annual fees, which will only be worth it if you use the miles. Points tend to go further on international travel – but you can earn ’em through domestic rewards programs. “You also need to look at the Barclay and Citi products, who partner with American Airlines,” Trent advises. “American has relationships with really three of the most luxurious carriers, and that is Etihad, and Qatar, and Cathay Pacific. So if you want to fly luxury around the world, you need to look at those card issuers.” The payoff? Trips you’ll remember forever!

 

And now you’ve got three ways to rewarding yourself with airline miles credit cards and free flights.

 

Tune in to The List weekdays for everything that’s new, now and next! Check your local listings here.