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credit & debt

6 Top Airline Rewards Credit Cards

You can benefit from these cards if you travel a lot with one airline.

If you’re loyal to a single airline, using a card affiliated with that carrier can make sense. Some give you a free checked bag on each flight, which could quickly cover the annual fee in savings. Rewards may expire, and you usually pay taxes and fees on reward flights.

BEST REWARDS CARDS BY CATEGORY: Cash-Back | Travel | Gas/Retail | Airline

British Airways Visa Signature

www.britishairways.com

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Annual fee/Interest rate: $95/15.24%

Miles per dollar: 2.5 for British Airways transactions; 1.25 for others

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months

Miles for a round-trip ticket: 40,000 for New York to London

Perks: Bring a companion with you on a rewards flight without spending additional points on his or her ticket if you spend $30,000 on the card annually; no foreign transaction fee.

Gold Delta Skymiles

www.americanexpress.com

Annual fee/Interest rate: $95 (waived the first year)/15.24% to 19.24%

Miles per dollar: 2 for Delta transactions; 1 for others

Sign-up bonus: 30,000 miles if you spend $500 in the first three months

Miles for a round-trip ticket: 25,000 minimum for a domestic flight

Perks: One free checked bag and priority boarding on each flight for up to nine travelers on your reservation; 20% discount for onboard purchases.

United MileagePlus Explorer

www.chase.com

Annual fee/Interest rate: $95 (waived the first year)/15.24%

Miles per dollar: 2 for United transactions; 1 for others

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Sign-up bonus: 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months

Miles for a round-trip ticket: 20,000 minimum for a domestic flight

Perks: One free checked bag for you and a companion on each trip; priority boarding for travelers on your reservation; 10,000 annual bonus miles for spending at least $25,000.

Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage Visa Signature

www.citi.com

Annual fee/Interest rate: $95 (waived the first year)/15.24%

Miles per dollar: 2 for American Airlines transactions; 1 for others

Sign-up bonus: 30,000 miles if you spend $1,000 in the first three months

Miles for a round-trip ticket: 25,000 minimum for a domestic flight

Perks: One free checked bag for you and up to four companions on each trip; priority boarding; 10% bonus on redeemed miles.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus

www.chase.com

Annual fee/Interest rate: $69/15.24%

Points per dollar: 2 for Southwest and AirTran transactions; 1 for others

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 points for spending $1,000, and up to 10,000 points for balance transfers within the first three months

Points for a round-trip ticket: 24,000 points for a $400 Wanna Get Away ticket

Perks: 3,000 bonus points on annual cardmember anniversary.

US Airways Premier World MasterCard

www.barclaycardus.com

Annual fee/Interest rate: $89/15.99% or 24.99%

Miles per dollar: 2 for US Airways transactions; 1 for others

Sign-up bonus: 30,000 miles after first purchase; up to 10,000 miles for balance transfers in the first three months

Miles for a round-trip ticket: 25,000 minimum for a domestic ticket

Perks: First-class check-in; two annual $99 tickets for companions; 5,000-mile discount when redeeming rewards.

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