How do credit card miles work?

Answered on December 10, 2017
Updated on December 10, 2017
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.
Amy Miller Amy Miller
First thing you need to know that there are two types of miles credit cards - general travel rewards credit cards and airline co-branded cards. Co-branded cards are tied to particular airlines, like United credit card, Delta credit card and other. This type of cards usually have increased rewards on this airline purchases and standard 1x rewards on all other purchases. What is more, these cards come with generous sign-up bonuses for spending a certain amount within given period of time. Often these bonuses are enough for a free ticket. However, you may find several drawback. Firstly, these cards are tied to airlines, meaning you are limited in how you spend earned miles. Secondly, there can be blackout dates and no available seats. Finally, if is hard to predict how many miles you need for your flight as often this miles amound depends on distance, cost of the ticket, flight class and other factors. General travel rewards credit cards work a bit different. They have flexible redemption options - you may redeem miles for flights with any airline and for other travel expenses. They have a fixed rewards value - like 1.5 or 2 miles earned on all purchases. There are no restrictions on seat availability or blackout dates. And the main thing, you always understand how many miles you need for your flight. All in all, before applying for a credit card, you should evaluate what are your needs and preferences to choose the best travel card for you.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

User Comments about This Question


What is the best credit card for you depends on your travel habits and needs. You should consider several things before you apply for a travel credit card. Firstly, if you often fly with one airline, airline co-branded credit card may be a good choice. On the one hand, this type of cards often comes with travel benefits like lounge access, free checked bag and more. On the other, airline cards often have limited redemption options - you may redeem earned miles on this airline and its partners (if it has any). Travel rewards credit cards offer more flexible redemption optins - you can...
You are right, the Allegiant credit card comes with $59 annual fee. However, they no longer charge the foreign transaction fee. If you want to have a credit card that you can use for miles earning for Allegiant Air flights, you should consider travel rewards credit cards that are not tied to any airline. These cards allow you to earn rewards on all purchases and redeem them for any flights you wish. You can also consider credit cards with no foreign transaction fees to see if there is the right credit card for you.
A foreign transaction fee is a fee that you are charged every time you use your card to make a purchase in another country. Usually this fee is charged as a percentage of the purchase - common it is 2%-3%. If you are a frequent traveler and shop abroad, it's better to apply for a credit card with a no foreign transaction fee. What is more, even if you're using your credit card to pay at a non-U.S. retailer, you may be charged a fee. Many credit card issuers don't add foreign transaction fees to their credit cards.

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There is a credit card for any credit and for any purpose. Whether you want to start building your credit from scratch or earn rewards on purchases, save on gas or travel for free, you can find a good credit card offer for that.