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Air miles credit cards

Compare credit cards offering air miles [1]

  • Our results table helps you find details of each card's benefits and shows how you earn miles
  • Use smart search to find the cards you're likely to be accepted for before you apply

What are air miles?

Air miles are a reward point that you earn when you use a special type of credit card. They don’t relate to any distance you’ve travelled but instead you collect them as you spend.

These reward points can be redeemed against all sorts of travel-related services and experiences.

The cost of air travel can really add up but using air miles can help you to get free or discounted flights and money off your travel expenses.

Child looking out of airport window at plane

What is an airline miles credit card?

An airline miles credit card is one that’s partnered with an air miles reward point scheme, like Avios.

Letting you collect points every time you use your card, you can use the air miles you build up to get money off flights and things like hotels and car hire.

An airline miles credit card is ideal for people who travel a lot and who can benefit from the discounts and perks that air miles offer.

What do air miles credit cards offer?

There are several air miles cards to choose from and each comes with a different rewards and fee structure.

Some air miles credit cards can offer:

  • Introductory bonus points with a minimum spend in the first three months
  • One point for every £1 spent on the card
  • Bonus points if you refer a friend
  • Rewards like a companion ticket if you spend £10,000 or more per year
  • The ability to spend your points on a network of airline partners
  • Discounts on experiences like concerts, tours and theme parks
  • Priority boarding and access to airport lounges

How do air miles credit cards work?

For every pound you spend when you use your card - which could be anything from paying for your weekly grocery shopping to buying a TV - you’ll earn air miles.

Sometimes you can get bonus points if you buy flights with your card.

Depending on how many air miles you build up, you can use them to get free or discounted flights and holidays.

You can also access other travel perks like flight upgrades and airport lounge access, as well as using your points to pay for hotels, car hire and duty-free items.

Some air miles credit cards have annual fees that you’ll need to pay - these cards offer more air miles and benefits than standard cards. Of course, you’ll need to decide whether the rewards and benefits you receive are worth the annual fee.

  • Advantages of air miles credit cards

    They come with a range of benefits, including:

    • Air miles can save you money on flights and travel and help you access handy perks
    • Most cards will offer you introductory bonus points when you sign up
    • Adding supplementary cardholders allows you to pool your air miles
    • You can earn extra air miles when you buy flights with your card
    • You can usually convert points from other reward schemes into air mile points
    • Some cards offer free companion vouchers to provide two-for-one airline travel
  • Disadvantages of air miles credit cards

    Consider the following before applying:

    • If you’re not a frequent traveller, this type of card definitely isn’t worth it
    • They usually charge an annual fee
    • You may be tied to a certain airline or network of airlines, which means you could be missing out on good flight deals
    • There may be a high interest rate, so you’d need to pay the balance off in full each month
    • Air miles can usually only be used on travel-related spending, rather than reward points which can be used on everyday spending

How to choose the best air miles credit card for you

It can be hard to decide which card might work best for you, so before you make a decision read our hints and tips.

  1. Check where you can use your card

    These cards work best when you use them often and for everyday purchases, so check which retailers will accept your card

  2. Consider the airlines you’re most likely to use

    Each card is linked to a network of airlines, so make sure your card is connected to an airline you’re likely to use

  3. Compare the introductory bonus

    This can vary widely between cards, so make sure you compare cards and keep a lookout for promotional offers

  4. Decide where you’d like to travel

    Points between cards aren’t always worth the same amount, so if you’ve got a destination in mind check how far the air miles will get you

  5. Make sure you pay the balance off each month

    If you don’t pay the balance in full each month, the interest you’ll pay will cancel out the value of the points you’ve earned

  6. Consider supplementary cardholders

    They can help you collect points when they use the card, although you’ll still be responsible for paying off the balance on the account

  7. Look at the annual percentage rate (APR) and annual fee

    Be aware of what the card might cost you and how much you’d need to pay back if you incur interest

Alternatives to airline credit cards

Reward cards

Earn reward points and vouchers just by using your card for everyday spending

Cashback credit cards

A cashback card will pay you back between around 1% and 5% of what you spend on the card

Travel credit cards

Designed for spending money abroad, a travel credit card makes it cheaper to use your card when you’re overseas

Balance transfer credit cards

These allow you to consolidate your debts from different credit cards onto one card, with reduced interest to pay for a time

0% purchase credit cards

If you want to spread the cost of a large purchase, these cards will let you borrow money with no interest for a set period

How to compare air miles credit cards

  1. Select type of card

    Choose the type of card that will suit your needs best

  2. Your details

    Provide some personal details, like your name and age

  3. Property details

    Let us know where you live and the type of property you live in

  4. Details about your finances

    Tell us about any debts and credit cards you may have

  5. Browse cards

    Compare cards to find the right one

"This type of card is great if you're a frequent flyer and a high spender,"

"Choose your plastic wisely and make it work for you. Remember to play the credit card game - don't miss a payment, and, if possible, pay the balance at the end of every month, or you'll end up paying more money in interest payments. One slip up could damage your credit score.

"Using these cards to pay for your long-haul flights is a great idea if used in the right way, but if you aren't a big spender and don't use your card that frequently, these cards might not be the right ones for you.

"Paying an annual fee might wipe out any value you earn on them. But if you're using a credit card every day and are often jetting off, give one of them a go - you might only have to pay airport taxes and charges to secure the holiday of a lifetime!"

[1]6 of 167 credit cards offer Air Miles (Defaqto, checked 12/04/2022 (Barclaycard Avios Card, Barclaycard Avios Plus Card, British Airways Credit Card, British Airways Premium Plus Credit Card, Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card; Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card)