Q: I pay off my bill every month. I really want miles for travel. What card is best for that without blackout dates?
A: I think it's time you looked at some upstart carriers who can help you earn free travel faster than your traditional travel rewards credit card offers.
If you plan your travel a little more precisely, you can redeem your miles for airfare from a handful of discount airlines. You won't always have access to the same comprehensive route map as United, American Airlines, or US Airways. But, you will get to take off more often if you can funnel your routine expenses through these airline credit cards:
JetBlue Card from American Express. I'm an unashamed fan of JetBlue, even though their pilots and flight attendants sometimes get a little stressed out in public. Awkward YouTube incidents aside, you can earn up to 8 TrueBlue points for each dollar of eligible purchases with JetBlue. To earn those 8 TrueBlue points here's the breakdown: 3 points from JetBlue as a member of the TrueBlue program, 3 points from JetBlue for booking on jetblue.com, and an additional 2 points for using your Card.
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card. I fell in love with Southwest when I watched their customer antics on A&E's "Airline." If you don't mind the quirky company on board, this Chase card offers you a way to earn points which can be redeemed for gift cards, car rentals, hotel stays, cruises and international flights to over 800 destinations on 50 plus global carriers. Earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways purchases made directly with the airline, and one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
Virgin America Visa Signature Card from Barclays Bank Delaware. Editors note: This offer expired and is no longer available. Richard Branson is gradually expanding the footprint of his American airline, disrupting the competition with absurdly great customer service. Earn a one-way ticket with no blackout dates for as few as 2,500 rewards points. Qualifying travel purchases earn up to 3 points per dollar, with 1 point for every dollar in everyday purchases.
Try to pick an airline credit card from a carrier that uses your city's airport as a hub. That way, you'll maximize your opportunities for free travel without having to book as many connecting flights. Bon voyage!