When You Should(n’t) Use Airline Co-Brand Credit Cards To Pay For Airfare

All of the larger airlines in the U.S. offer co-brand credit cards. These cards, which provide extra benefits to cardholders, range from ones with no annual fee to premium cards costing up to $450 per year. While you’d think that using a co-branded card would be the best choice for earning points with your flight purchase, that’s usually not the case. For most airlines, you don’t earn any extra points for airfare purchases for having a more expensive card either.

In most cases, instead of using a co-brand card, it’s better to use a card that earns flexible points like Membership Rewards, Thank You Points or Ultimate Rewards. These cards provide the opportunity to earn more points as well as the flexibility to use points on multiple airlines. You’re able to transfer points from these programs into your airline mileage account when you need them.

Here are the earnings multiples on airfare for the main flexible points cards from each bank:

American Express (Membership Rewards)

  • Platinum card ($550 annual fee) – 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • Gold card ($250 annual fee) – 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel

Chase (Ultimate Rewards)

  • Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee) – 3x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)
  • Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) – 2x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)

Citi (Thank You Points)

  • Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee) – 5x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies
  • Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) – 3x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies

The AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige both offer 5x on airfare but the AMEX card only counts purchases direct from the airline or their website. When I had both cards, I used the Citi Prestige because I valued the additional travel insurance coverage but I know people would rather earn Membership Rewards than Thank You points. Of the $95 cards, the Citi Premier earns the most points on airline purchases at 3x.

So how many miles will you earn by using an airline co-brand card to purchase airfare and when does it make sense to do so? I’ve indicated which airlines are partners of one (or all) of the flexible currency cards so you can compare earnings potential between cards.

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I Used Points From All Three Banks And We’re Flying To Germany On Singapore Airlines!

It’s not often that I get excited about a flight. Remember, I’m the person who proudly wrote how we’re over flying in business class “just because we can.” However when all of the puzzle pieces fell into place and allowed me to book a flight I had my eyes set on for forever, I had to pull the trigger.

Here’s the post I wrote about how I wanted to book a flight on Singapore Airlines from New York – JFK to Frankfurt. I had the flight on waitlist for saver space but I kept checking to see if anything opened up. Saver space never showed up but one day when I logged in, I saw that tickets were available to book at the Advantage level.

Under the new Singapore Airlines chart, a flight from the East Coast to Europe costs 72,000 KrisFlyer Miles at the Saver level and 85,000 miles at the Advantage level. If I was willing to pay 72,000 miles for a ticket, what’s an extra 13,000 miles a ticket, really?

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A Super Easy Way to Earn Up To 875 Marriott Rewards Points

WHOA! This has got to be THE easiest way to earn up to 875 Marriott Rewards points. And they’re FREE! If you are already registered in the Marriotts Rewards programs, you’re good to go. If not, just click here to sign up and then get started:

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Earning An Easy 10,000 Points, Disney Grand Opening At MCO, SouthWest Is Matching Status Again, & More…

Happy Sunday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.

Continue reading “Earning An Easy 10,000 Points, Disney Grand Opening At MCO, SouthWest Is Matching Status Again, & More…”