Q: What would be the best credit card for me for airline miles? I have established credit with my car loan, and this would be my first credit card.
A: That depends on where you live, where you fly, and whether you have a strong airline preference. Thanks to your auto loan, you've established a track record and let's assume you have a good to excellent credit score. Travel rewards cards offer great value for the money, if you're trying to save up for a specific trip or if you want to make your routine flights more enjoyable. Answer three questions to find the right card:
Do you live in a "hub" or on a "spoke?"
Airline credit cards only pay off if you're able to convert your frequent flier miles into free tickets on a regular basis. Living in a hub city for a major carrier makes your choice easier. For instance, in Philadelphia, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard from Barclays Bank Delaware can help you enjoy some of the widest selections of seats. Atlanta residents may fare better with a Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, since Atlanta is a Delta hub. Living near a "spoke" airport will limit your flight and seat choices considerably.
Do you prefer a traditional airline or a discount carrier?
Dallas has two dominant airlines, American and Southwest. They've got very different frequent flier programs that match their brands. Frugal travelers may prefer a Southwest Rapid Rewards card from Chase.
Do you cash in last minute travel deals on discount websites?
Editor's Note: These offers have expired and are not available.
These days, it's likely that you're shopping online for discount fares instead of proclaiming loyalty to a single carrier. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card which let's you earn virtual "miles" with every purchase that you can use toward any travel expense on your statement. That way, you can redeem rewards for airfare, hotel nights, and car rental fees and more. Fly any airline with no blackout dates.
If I had to pick one travel credit card for your situation, I'd probably suggest the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. It's going to give you the most flexibility with no annual fee. Let us know how you make out by posting your results to our CardRatings Forum.