Airline Credit Card Rewards for the Holidays

November 11, 2010

Airline credit card rewards are one way to help ease the cost of travel over the holiday season.  The next two months are the busiest air travel time of the year and a lot of travel cards are offering promotions and free flights to help sweeten the deal.

My sister is flying in over the holidays and already had a tough time getting a good price on an airline ticket so the earlier you book the better.  If you’re looking for some solid choices for airline rewards, here are some credit cards that might fit the bill:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

One of the great things about this credit card is that you can start out with a huge bonus if you spend enough on the card in the first three months. You can use this card for Christmas shopping, and make your travel reservations with this card to earn a free flight for later. (Just make sure that you pay off your balance before any interest has a chance to pile up.)

Other features include using 20% fewer points when you book travel through Ultimate Rewards, a 7% annual points dividend, and 2x points on airfare and hotel on bookings through Ultimate Rewards. The Chase Sapphire card has an annual fee but it’s waived for the first year. – More Info

Southwest Airlines Rapids Rewards Card

I recently wrote about the Southwest Airlines rewards card and the great deal we got on Southwest.  You start out with enough for a roundtrip flight, and you can earn two rewards dollars for every dollar you spend on Southwest flights and through Rapids Rewards partners. – More Info

Blue Sky Preferred Card from American Express

This card comes with 7,500 bonus points, which can be redeemed for a $100 statement credit. It also offers $100 in an annual Airline Allowance that can help you cover the fees (such as baggage and in-flight purchases) that come with flying. There are no blackout dates and travel restrictions on points redemption. The Blue Sky Preferred card has a $75 annual fee (offset if you use the $100 allowance for travel fees) and a 12 month 0% intro rate. – More Info

Travel Cards

If you’re traveling to the in-laws for the holidays you might not be excited about the idea of sleeping on their lumpy hide-a-bed and listening to them snore all night.  If you’re thinking about staying in a hotel, here are a couple of travel credit cards with some serious rewards.

The Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express is great for those looking to stay at certain hotels. You can earn enough for two free nights at a category 5 hotel when you start using your card. You can get a third night free when you stay two nights at Sheraton hotels. You get extra points for dollars spent at Starwood Preferred hotels. The Starwood Preferred Guest card has a $65 annual fee (waived the first year). – More Info

The Marriott Rewards Premier card from Chase provides 30,000 points after your purchase, resulting in a free stay. You can receive a free night’s stay every year, and you get extra points for money spent on travel (including airline and rental car purchases). You get 3 points for every $1 spent at Marriott locations and 1 point for every dollar for all other purchases.  The Marriott Rewards card has a $30 annual fee that’s waived the first year. – More Info


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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3 Responses to Airline Credit Card Rewards for the Holidays

  • Debt Free Daniel

    It is always fun to travel especially during holiday season because despite of the heavy airline reservation there are lots of credit card promos that everybody will enjoy.

  • Ben

    Lisa, if you’re going to carry a balance and pay interest on the card then using an airline rewards card isn’t worth it. The interest charges will outweigh the rewards you earn from the card so it would be better to just pay cash for the ticket.

    If you have to use a card and are going to carry a balance then a card with a 0% interest offer would be a good choice, like the current Blue Sky Preferred offer. Keep in mind that only gives you 6 months to pay it off. If it will take longer than that you’d be best going with a low interest credit card.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for posting the positives of these cards and airline mileage. I always worry about the interest side of things when it comes to the credit cards that earn you miles. I think that is why I usually stick with Southwest. Helpful post.