Add the new AAdvantage MileUp Card from Citibank to the (very) short list of no-fee credit cards that earn airline miles. It offers one American Airlines mile per dollar charged, plus double miles for purchases at grocery stores or with American Airlines.
The MileUp Card, launching July 22, will offer a signup bonus of 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 within three months of opening an account. This no-fee card is straightforward in its points-earning power—no checked bags or other American Airlines perks come with it.
Similar no-fee cards that earn miles are the Delta Blue Skymiles Card from American Express, which earns one Delta mile per dollar charged. There’s also the Amex EveryDay Card, which earns one AmEx point per dollar that can be converted to a mile on a bunch of airlines.
Most other cards that earn airline miles—or credit that can be exchanged for airline miles—entail an annual fee of at least $70 a year. It may be waived the first year, but the fee kicks in after that.
My position on cards that earn airline miles is: Go for airline miles if you use them for upgrades and premium travel awards, and use the airline on which you would earn the most miles by flying. But if you more often fly coach, you’re better off with a card that earns up to two cents per dollar on all purchases—use cash to buy your air tickets, and regard any miles you earn as an extra benefit.
More from SmarterTravel:
- How to Fly for (Almost) Free Using Credit Card Points
- Visa, MasterCard, or American Express: Does It Matter?
- The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2017
Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuses every day at SmarterTravel.