I thought it would be helpful to list out the best bonus mile offers available for each airline’s credit cards. Here we go:
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
25,000 miles after first purchase
Pro: $99 companion certificate good on any fare, including first class; miles can also be used on American and Delta
Cons: 25,000 miles is kinda weak; $75 annual fee not waived
American Airlines Amex, Visa and Business Visa
50,000 miles for each card after $2,500 in 4 months
Pro: 150,000 miles after $7,500 in spend; churnable after 18 months (biz card apparently more frequently)
Con: Nothing major. Let’s see – you’ll have to pay foreign transaction fees. This is generally the card combo I tell first-time credit card bonus hounds to get. It’s a (relatively) quick win and before you know it, you’ve got 150,000 miles.
Continental/United MileagePlus Explorer
Up to 40,000 miles (25k on first use + 5k for adding a user + 10k for spending $25k). If you log in to your Continental or United account, you may have an offer there for up to 60k miles.
Pro: First year fee waived; Elite-type benefits, including free checked bag and early boarding
Con: It’s a pretty weak offer, especially the 10k bonus after $25k spend; Silver Elites are annoyed that United is basically giving others the same benefits for just having the card.
Delta Gold Skymiles Business Amex
55,000 miles (25,000 with first purchase; 30k after spending $10k in 6 months)
Pro: First bag free; priority boarding
Con: Good luck using those miles
Hawaiian Airlines B of A card; B of Hawaii card
35,000 miles (20,000 miles on first purchase, 15k after $1000 spend)
Pro: You can get both cards; can combine points with spouse into 1 account; can transfer to Hilton at 1:2
Con: $79 annual fee for each card
JetBlue American Express
10,000 True Blue points on first purchase
Pro: Ummmmmm, let’s see. Hm. There’s gotta be something, but I have no idea what it might be.
Con: Seriously? Someone tell me why they have this card.
Southwest Airlines Visa
50,000 Rapid Rewards Points after first purchase
Pro: Points can be transferred into gift cards from a bunch of retailers; some people like that the 50k points are worth $833 or so in travel.
Con: $69 annual fee; if you don’t live in a city served by Southwest it’s pretty worthless for travel
US Airways Premier World Mastercard
40,000 miles after first purchase
Pro: The most generous no-annual-fee/no-minimum-spend bonus out there.
Con: Perhaps that it’s not 50,000 miles after first purchase?