Like to travel? With MoneySupermarket's selection of the best airline credit cards, you could earn reward points or flying miles that you can redeem against future flights. Some come with two cards or bonus miles on approval so you can earn even more while you spend.
What is an airline credit card?
An airline credit card works a bit like a cashback credit card, but you don’t earn cash every time you spend, you earn miles or points that can be converted into miles. When you have collected enough miles, they can be put towards free flights anywhere in the world.
The most well-known airline reward scheme used to be Airmiles from British Airways. However, in November 2011 the Airmiles scheme chnaged to Avios which is broadly similar.
BMI, Easyjet, Flybe, Ryanair and Virgin also offer airline credit cards that allow you to collect miles as you spend. The reward schemes vary according to each airline, but you could typically expect to spend £6000 to earn a free flight to Paris. However, not all flights are free. You should read the small print of your reward scheme because you often have to pay taxes and other charges on reward flights.
Most companies allow you to top up your miles with cash if you haven’t saved up enough to reach your chosen destination. You can also normally add miles from other relevant reward schemes, such as the Tesco Clubcard.
It helps if you can be flexible about when you travel because there is often limited availability and restrictions on reward flights. You also have to redeem your miles or points within a set period, often one year. If you pass the deadline, you will be unable to claim your reward.
You can compare airline credit cards with MoneySupermarket’s free, independent service. It’s easy to use and can help you to get the best deal.
What are the advantages of airline credit cards?
If you spend regularly on your airline credit card, it won’t be long before you have saved up enough miles for a free flight. Some cards also offer free companion flights, as well as extra benefits such as access to an airport lounge.
You might be able to earn bonus miles when you sign up with a card, or if you qualify for a promotional offer, so keep your eye out for special deals.
Are there any disadvantages?
Many airline credit cards charge an annual fee, which can be as high as £150. The fee might be worth paying if the reward scheme is particularly attractive, but make sure you do the sums before you apply for the card.
You should only take out an airline credit card if you can afford to pay off the balance in full each month. The typical annual percentage rate (APR) on an airline credit card is about 19%, so any interest you pay will quickly outweigh the value of any miles you collect.
Remember too that airline credit cards are aimed at frequent flyers. There’s not much point in collecting miles if you are never going to claim your reward.
Are there any alternatives to an airline credit card?
If you use your credit card frequently, a cashback card is a more flexible alternative to an airline card because you earn a percentage of your spending back as cash, to do with as you wish.
But bear in mind that the same rule applies and you should only consider a cashback card if you can pay off the balance in full each month.
Your personalised chance of approval
We’ve taken the details you gave, and used them to show you personalised scores to tell you the chance that your application for each card would be successful.
Why is this important?
Every time you apply for a credit card, a mark is left on your credit score. That means it’s better to get it right first time. Your scores help you understand which cards you have the strongest chance of getting.
The higher the score, the stronger chance you have of getting the card. If you see a very low score, you’ve probably better off choosing a different card.
- Consider a different card
- Not eligible
- Your chances are good
- You've been pre approved
If you see a high score, you can be fairly confident. The scores aren’t a guarantee, as acceptance of your application is at the sole discretion of the card issuer, but they should help guide your choice.
In some cases, we will not be able to display a score for a product because we do not have enough information about the card issuer’s acceptance criteria or we have not been able to match your details at the credit bureau.
We work closely with our partners to improve our eligibility scores for all products that are of interest to you.
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