Airline credit cards offer significant bonuses for signing up, one of the most notable was the Citi Executive AAdvantage card that gave a 100,000 mile bonus (expired now). The bonuses are great to earn, but there are two different cards that actually provide great mile bonuses after the sign-up bonus.
Credit Cards With More Miles Than Meet the Eye
Disclaimer: I do not receive a commission for any of these cards but the US Airways credit card
Of course, there are cards that offer spending threshold bonuses. These bonuses are given out when the cardholder spends a certain amount of money (high amount) in a calendar year. Three such cards are:
- Delta Platinum American Express (consumer and business) – 10,000 elite and bonus miles after spending $25,000 in a calendar year
- Delta Reserve American Express (consumer and business) – 15,000 elite and bonus miles after spending $30,000 in a calendar year
- United MileagePlus Explorer – (consumer and business) – 10,000 bonus miles after spending $25,000 in a calendar year
But, there are other cards that offer mileage bonuses that are actually rebates. These rebates are not offered as part of the sign-up bonus and sometimes, people forget that their card has that perk. Here are the two cards that offer rebates on miles used.
Citi Platinum AAdvantage Credit Card
Application Link – Citi Platinum AAdvantage card
This card comes with a strong offer – earn 50,000 AA miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Not only that, but the annual fee is waived for the first year. A very strong offer for sure!
The part that adds quite a bit to the miles earned is the fact that you can earn a 10% rebate on miles earned (up to 10,000 per calendar year). This can be really useful! For starters, if you only spend the miles earned from this bonus, you will get an extra 5,000 mile rebate. If you had picked up the 100,000 mile card, you can earn a maximum of a 10,000 mile rebate from those miles you spend. The great part is that this is per calendar year. So you can get a 10,000 mile rebate this year and next year – before you have to pay the annual fee! That is like pocketing an extra 20,000 mile bonus!
Sure, you have to spend the miles to get the rebate, but if you have this card and one card from the 100,000 mile offer, you will receive a total of 15,000 miles back in your account (if spread between this year and next year). That is a great plus to the card where it is essentially giving you extra miles by you using the ones you have.
One of the good things about the rebate is that it kicks in on any award redemption – so it will work with partner flights as well as AA flights! Another good thing is that you can do something similar to how I used mine last year. I had booked a business class flight on Cathay Pacific and received the rebate (5,500 miles). After I got the rebate, I actually upgraded my award ticket to first class and the rebate helped to bridge the 12,500 mile gap between business and first.
US Airways Premier Credit Card
Application Link – US Airways Premier Credit Card
This card offers 40,000 miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee. While the annual fee is a bummer, it is basically allowing you to purchase the 40,000 miles for only $89.
This one is structured a little different – you will receive a discount of 5,000 miles on your award tickets if you hold this card. And it can be done for multiple people on the same reservation as well (as long as the award is booked from the cardholder’s account). Also, it is not capped! This allows your award reservations to essentially be 5,000 miles fewer.
The nice part about this is that you do not have to have the full miles for the award in your account (for example, a roundtrip ticket in the US is 25,000 miles – if you have the card, you only need to have 20,000 miles in your account). This can be a saver on many awards that you may book and it has helped us quite a bit. Essentially, it is like getting several 5,000 mile bonuses over and over again. Note: This benefit is going away in 2015 to be replaced by a similar 10% rebate to the AA card above.
The bad part is that this rebate only works for US Airway flights (even AA flights are not included). So, as far as international destinations, it might be a little harder to take advantage of than for domestic flights (given the smaller amount of destinations that US Airways has outside of the US).
So, while these are not actual mile bonuses, they can help your mileage balance quite significantly. Not only that, but unlike the other airline cards that require you to spend money to get a bonus, these cards simply require that you spend miles to get these rebates or discounts. Not bad at all and certainly something to remember about with these cards.