Best Credit Card for Airline Mileage ??

Old Aug 28th, 2004, 09:57 AM
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Best Credit Card for Airline Mileage ??

Hi,

I am thinking of closing my US Airways Visa in case the airline goes bankrupt, etc.

I would like a credit card that allows you to use your "points" on any airline -- or that at least has a few choices. Other important things are ratio of dollars spent to points earned, good redemption program (25,000 for domestic, 30-35,000 for Caribbean, 50,000 Europe is fine). Capital one has a 90% of cost of ticket redemption policy, which could be good and bad....?? The annual fee is a consideration too...

Any ideas, experiences, recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

PS As we pay our balance each month, the APR is not important.
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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I'm no expert on what you're talking about, but when you use one of those "any airline" cards are you able to take 15,000 miles and turn it over to an airline and combine it with 10,000 from another source to get a ticket, or do you have to have all the miles from that credit card to get an award certificate from them?

I love my AA Advantage Card because it goes right into my American account and I'm always able to use my miles to take AA flights. I've never had a reason to think about trying to get an award with another airline, because American flies everywhere I want to go -- and I know the system for claiming awards. Meanwhile the miles from them combines with all my other AA miles from various other sources, so they add up quickly. They've waived my fee since the first year as I charge a lot (and yes, I also pay off full balance each month). In addition they start with a big bonus of miles --5,000 to 7,500 for just signing up.
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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We have the Capital One Visa. We also pay off the balance monthly. We charge everything from groceries, pharmacy, dentist visits, furniture, etc. (only have to write one check per month!) In the several years I've had the card I've taken at least 3 domestic trips and bought one for my mom w/25k miles ea. It honestly was as easy as one phone call. They say that there are no blackout dates, but I've never tested that.

Contrast that with our AMEX card that we use for our business. We accumulate the miles in our AMEX account, then can transfer them into their several partner airlines. It's really a pain to find out which airline has the best schedule, then call to see if they FF seats available--if not, back to square one, if so reserve the seats-- then transfer your miles from Amex to that airline, then book the flights. There are also plenty of blackout dates, unless you use miles for 1st Class.

I hope USAIR lasts thru Thanksgiving, because we have 4 1st class tickets booked using our AMEX miles!

By the way Celiaanne, how was your time in Redondo Beach?

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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 11:56 AM
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This topic has been discussed a few times. Read through this thread for more info http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=1,
and be sure to check out www.flyertalk.com for more detailed discussions.
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 11:58 AM
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Marsdhall & Ilsley Bank in Milwaukee has such a card, and you can combine points earned using both a debit card and a credit card.
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 01:45 PM
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I just cancelled my AA Advantage Citibank card. AA's FF program has gotten too restrictive for me in the last few years. I used to be able to fly from the west coast to the east coast fairly easily on AA with only 20,000 miles. Now it's pretty near impossible even with 25,000 miles. So the annual fee makes the AA program not worth it any longer.

Plus, to fly cross-country with AA I either have to fly through Chicago or Dallas and I've had headaches in Chicago too many times in the last few years and don't want to deal with that anymore. Continental, United, and Alaska all have flights that fly across the country and completely bypass the midwest weather hassles, so I'll be choosing one of those airlines if any.

I have enough AA miles for a first-class ticket so I canceled my AA card. I'll be moving to a different card soon. I am considering one of the "points" cards like Capital One's that you can use with any airline, but I've heard mixed things about it. Capital One isn't known to have great customer service (I've dealt with them a few times - this is true), and I like to be able to combine actual miles from flying with the credit card "miles," something you can't do with the Capital One card.

Andrew
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 03:01 PM
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Andrew, annual fee? I had my Citibank Aadvantage card just one year -- probably now about 10 years ago when I called when I got my first annual fee renewal and said I wanted it dropped. They did and I never paid one again.

And I guess you finally answered that other question of mine. I agree that only being able to use the miles from the single credit card is too restrictive for me. About half the miles I cash in are from the card, the other half are from various other things -- partner hotels, rental cars, FTD orders, long distance carriers, as well as the mileage on an actual airline. I'd never be able to get the "expensive" awards I claim just using the credit card miles.

Of course, having a single airline account doesn't work so well if their service isn't great for you, but with my choice of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, or Ft. Myers to fly from -- American gives me a better selection than anybody else I can think of -- particularly between Miami and Europe, which is what I cash in my awards for.
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 03:23 PM
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The major difference with these bank reward cards as Patrick mentioned is that you can't combine the miles you earn from spending with miles you earn from flying or other sources. That's one reason I don't have one of these cards. The other reason is the inability to redeem any premium (business/first) class tickets. I understand that there's a $ cap for each award category and you can always pay the difference, but there's no way to get a free business class ticket.

On the other hand, redemption seems to be easier since the bank is simply buying you an airline ticket when you go to redeem your miles. There isn't any limitation as long as the published fare for your ticket falls within their cap (or you're willing to pay the difference). I think these cards work well for someone who earns the majority of their miles through credit card spending and plans to redeem economy awards.
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 07:31 PM
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Well, Patrick, when I called to cancel my AA Citibank card last week, an "account specialist" got on the line and asked me why I wanted to cancel. I said I didn't think it was worth the annual fee any longer given how AA's program has gone down hill. The specialist offered to switch me to a different card with no annual fee (some sort of Citbank "points" card) which I declined. He never offered to waive my fee - he just canceled my card. I never thought to ask. I guess I figured they would have offered such to keep my business, but apparently not.

Andrew
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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 08:37 PM
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Thanks to all for the information. I will check out flyertalk.com. Capital One is the one we are considering .... It's VERY confusing.

We also charge EVERYTHING possible, including at one time, our daughter's college tuition. So, the miles add up quickly -- I'm going to France on Thursday and to the Cayman Islands in January using US Airways FF points -- mostly from credit card purchases. So, we are very anxious to get another card that will work out as well.

lvk: We all had a GREAT time in Redondo Beach (paid for that ticket since it was only $198)! We took a bus tour one day, took a TV studio tour (Universal?), went to the Jay Leno show, Aquarium in Long Beach, enjoyed the scenery/weather/water, and lots of restaurants!

Thanks for asking!

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Old Aug 28th, 2004, 08:50 PM
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We love our Capital One card. The only shortcomings is that there's a ceiling of miles you can earn per month (10,000 I believe, which sounds like a lot, but not if you're paying for college tuition!), and the flights you earn must be round trip--no open jaw. Besides that, it's very easy to redeem your miles.
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Old Aug 29th, 2004, 05:23 AM
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That's good news about Capital One! We have the card and I have enough on it to get at least one ticket, but I wondered whether there would be lots of hassle when I eventually decide where/how we want to use it. Also have enough on Midwest Express for one flight - tho I dropped the card, partly cuz of the $60 fee (never thought to ask to have it waived. What a novel idea!). For the past year or two, we've used the Priority Club Visa - not a great way to earn miles, since 10,000 points ($) will only buy you 2,500 miles. But it has gotten us some free hotel nites. Just the other day, I looked into Northwest Airlines' credit card, thinking it'd be a good way to boost us up to ticket eligibility, but was surprised they only give a 3,000 mile sign-up bonus. Pikers!
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Old Aug 29th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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You can always negotiate with the card issuer for an annual fee reduction or waiver or ask for bonus miles. I've found that they're more likely to offer bonus miles or a partial credit rather than a complete fee waiver but it doesn't hurt to ask. I usually ask for the retention department when I call.
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Old Aug 29th, 2004, 05:05 PM
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I use both the AA card and a card from MNBA for miles and awards. Had to cancel the United card as they were so "security" conscious they were turning down simple charges until I "confirmed" them. It just got to be a hassle to use the card. I pay all charges each month on time and run a large amount each month. Never could figure out the problem with United.
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