1-minute guide to Airmile Credit Cards


Airmile Credit Cards

Want to save for your next holiday whilst doing your weekly shop?

If you are sure you can pay off your balance in full each month then have a look at the best credit cards online for airmiles

These credit cards accumulate points for every pound spent that you can then put towards the price of a flight or even upgrade to travel in style!

Need to know

  • Spending on these credit cards earns you airmiles. These miles can be put towards flights with the provider or any of their partner airlines. You can also spend them on other treats like Spa days
  • Before you pick your credit card online have a look at what you need to spend to acquire the miles. The American Express BA and Virgin cards offer 1 mile for every pound spent, although the Visa Virgin card only offers 1 mile for every £2
  • Unfortunately an airmile doesn’t correspond directly to a mile of travel. London to New York will set you back 20,000 Avios miles whilst it’s only actually 3471 miles. You may need to pay taxes as well. With Virgin that flight to New York will cost 17500 miles and £197.33 in taxes. But these credit cards will still help you save for those long haul flights
  • You will generally earn more miles when you spend money with the provider- any money spent on your Virgin Atlantic credit card on a Virgin holiday will earn you double the amount of miles
  • Check you don’t have to do anything else to start earning your airmiles. With the Virgin Flying Club Miles you need to call MBNA and give them your membership number to be eligible for the miles, it DOES NOT happen automatically
  • When you reach certain targets most airmile credit cards will offer rewards. To gain the ‘opening offer’ of 3000 Avios points for the BA card you need to have spent £500 on the card in the first three months
  • Airmiles will be added to your account monthly and once you have accumulated enough you will be able to spend them on your online account
  • You can earn a companion voucher from Avios by spending £20,000 in your first year. This will give you a free seat on a flight you are on and are valid for a year. Virgin also do complimentary companion flights but only when you renew Gold Membership status
  • Buy EVERYTHING you can on these cards and pay them back promptly to earn maximum miles. DON’T pick these cards if you are worried about debt or making your repayments, have a look instead at the Balance Transfer and Purchase credit cards with 0% interest

Airmile Credit Cards

These credit cards accumulate points for every pound spent that you can then put towards the price of a flight or even upgrade to travel in style!

Watch out! Four rules for all credit cards

  • Don’t use your credit card to withdraw cash unless you have to. Your credit card is VERY likely to have a high interest rate on any cash that you take out which you will start getting charged from the moment you withdraw it. There is also likely to be a withdrawal fee (we’ve only found a couple with no fees at all). These rates won’t be affected by another deal you might have
  • Look out for annual fees. The fees tend to be charged so you can access higher rates of cashback, airmiles or similar. If you’re not getting a superb deal that makes up for the fee then the cards are not worth applying for
  • Be careful! A lot of 0% or low interest credit cards will automatically set your direct debit amount very low each month so that at the end of the interest free period you end up with a large outstanding balance
  • If you don’t make the minimum monthly repayment then you may lose your deal

The inside track

  • Don’t assume air miles cards will be good cards to use abroad, most will still charge a fee for overseas spending. If using your card abroad for free is your priority have a look at the best credit cards online for overseas spending
  • Keep an eye on your accounts, although Avios don’t expire if you do nothing on your Avios account for 3 years (collect/transfer/spend miles) you will lose all the miles you’ve collected!
  • You can convert your Tesco Clubcard points to Avios airmiles at a great rate. £2.50 of clubcard vouchers will buy you 600 miles
  • You can use Nectar points to help with the cost of easyjet flights every 500 points will give you £2.50 off
  • The Natwest cards with YourPoints rewards also allow you to spend your points on easyjet and through ebookers- a site that covers flights, car rental and hotels
  • These credit cards are for nice airlines, if you are more likely to go short haul you may find that combining a cashback credit card with low price airlines is actually a better option
  • The big air mile cards are all tied to American Express. Not all retailers will accept Amex due to the charges that come with it. Most big stores will now accept it but to give you an idea there is an unofficial site called whoacceptsamex that lists places you’ll be able to use your card
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Sarah Willingham
Sarah Willingham is a serial entrepreneur, business investor and leading consumer expert. She has received a number of accolades for her contribution to business including The Sunday Times 500 Most Influential People in Britain 2016, The Times 35 Most Successful Women Under 35, Business Weekly’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Courvoisier Top 500 and an entry into the Who’s Who of British Business Leaders. She holds three business degrees including an MBA from Cranfield School of Management, where she is also an advisory board member.