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Compare our best air miles credit cards

Airline credit cards

Turn your monthly spending into free flights and holidays - compare airline credit cards from our list of companies below.

Compare air miles credit cards

Get tailored results by answering a few questions about yourself first to find our best air miles credit card for you
Uswitch.com is rated Excellent | by 22,693 people
Fact checker
Last updated
December 1, 2023
6 results found, sorted by popularity.
Award Winner

British Airways Premium Plus Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
113.1%APR
Account fee
£250
Rewards
Avios
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 31% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 113.1% (variable).£250 annual fee.
More Information
Additional information
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. New Cardmembers Only. Terms Apply.
  • 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent; 3 Avios for every £1 spent directly with British Airways.
  • Companion voucher when you spend £10,000 in one year.
Eligibility
  • be 18 or older
  • have a current UK bank or building society account
  • have a permanent UK home address
  • have no county court judgements
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Award Winner

British Airways Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
31%APR
Account fee
£0
Rewards
Avios
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 31% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 31% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. New Cardmembers Only. Terms Apply.
  • Companion voucher when you spend £12,000 in one year
  • 1 Avios point for every £1 spent
Eligibility
  • be 18 or older
  • have a current UK bank or building society account
  • have a permanent UK home address
  • have no County Court Judgements
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply

Barclaycard Avios Card

Representative APR (variable)
29.9%APR
Account fee
£0
Rewards
Avios
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 28.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 28.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • You’ll collect a welcome bonus of 5,000 Avios if you spend £1,000 in your first three months. New customers only. T&Cs apply.
  • If you’re new to Barclaycard, you’ll collect 5,000 Avios if you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months.
  • Collect 1 Avios for every £1 spent on eligible purchases to put towards flights, hotels, car hire and more.
  • British Airways cabin upgrade voucher if you spend £20,000 in a card year. T&Cs apply.
Eligibility
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • be 21 years or over
  • not have had any Individual Voluntary arrangements, County Court Judgements and must not have been declared bankrupt
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply

Barclaycard Avios Plus Card

Representative APR (variable)
80.1%APR
Account fee
£20a month
Rewards
Avios
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 28.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 78.9% (variable).£20 monthly fee.
More Information
Additional information
  • You’ll collect a welcome bonus of 25,000 Avios if you spend £3,000 in your first three months. New customers only. T&Cs apply.
  • If you’re new to Barclaycard, you’ll collect 25,000 Avios if you spend £3,000 in your first three months. Collect 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on eligible purchases to put towards flights, hotels, car hire and more. T&Cs apply.
  • £20 monthly fee
  • Collect 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent on eligible purchases to put towards flights, hotels, car hire and more.
  • British Airways cabin upgrade voucher if you spend £10,000 in a card year. T&Cs apply.
Eligibility
  • be a permanent UK resident
  • be 21 years or over
  • not have had any Individual Voluntary arrangements, County Court Judgements and must not have been declared bankrupt
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
69.7%APR
Account fee
£160
Rewards
Virgin Points
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 26.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 69.7% (variable).£160 annual fee.
More Information
Additional information
  • Get 15,000 bonus Virgin Points if you make a purchase using your Reward+ Credit Card in the first 90 days. There’s no minimum spend. If you apply between the 5th February and 4th March 2024, you will get double points on card purchases you make up to £5,000. The double points offer will end on Sunday 14 April 2024, or when you have spent £5,000 – whichever happens first. T&Cs apply.

Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card

Representative APR (variable)
26.9%APR
Account fee
£0
Rewards
Virgin Points
Representative example:
The standard interest rate on purchases is 26.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 26.9% (variable).
More Information
Additional information
  • Virgin Money Cashback offers cardholders the ability to earn cashback on their credit card spend at participating retailers when they are enrolled in the programme via the mobile app'.
  • Earn 0.75 Virgin Points for every £1 you spend on everyday card purchases. And 1.5 points for every £1 you spend with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays.
  • Choose from an upgrade to Premium or a Companion ticket when you spend £20,000 in a year.
  • 0% for 6 months on balance and money transfers (you'll pay a 3% fee).
Eligibility
  • be a UK resident
  • be aged 18 or over
  • have a UK bank or building society account
  • have good credit history
  • have a income of at least £7,000
  • have not applied for another Virgin Money credit card in the last 6 months
  • additional criteria for acceptance from the lender may apply
Uswitch Limited is a credit broker, not a lender, for consumer credit.
Our services are provided at no cost to you. We may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to, but this does not affect what you will pay for the product you choose.

What is an air miles credit card?

A woman is holding her credit card and phone and she has a packed bag next to her

An air miles credit card is a type of rewards card. Air miles cards give you travel points and perks in return for your spending. The more you spend, the more points you get.

You can swap your points for discounted plane tickets, seat upgrades, hotel stays or experiences. That’s why they’re often referred to as air miles credit cards.

There are different points schemes, such as Avios, Virgin Atlantic and Amex (American Express).

Sainsbury's also lets you swap your Nectar points for Avios and vice versa. You can turn your Tesco Clubcard vouchers into Virgin Points too.

You can use Avios and other points for more than just flying. Redeem them on holidays and hotel stays, or use them on gig tickets or car hire.

Some cards charge you an annual fee, though the card provider might waive it for the first year.

Air miles can be spent on more than just plane tickets.”

Watch: Air miles credit cards explained

Air miles cards are different to travel credit cards and airline rewards cards

Travel cards aim to give you the best deals on spending abroad. Plus, you’ll have the added protection of using a credit card.

You could save a lot of money on your overseas trips by using both an air miles card and a travel card.

Some airlines, like British Airways, also provide credit cards. These are sometimes called rewards cards or airline credit cards.

Airline cards give customers points and rewards based on every pound they spend with that airline. You can also get points for other spending on the card.

Plus, you can earn points if you book holidays and arrange car hire through the airline.

Travel cards save you cash when abroad, air miles cards get you there for less.”

Pros and cons of an air miles credit card

Pros

Cheaper flights and seat upgrades
Travel perks like airport lounge access and priority boarding
Companion flights - allowing someone else to travel with you

Cons

Annual fees on some cards
Higher than normal interest rates
Only work on some airlines, which might not have the cheapest flights or all destinations
Interest rates on different types of cards compared
The average interest charged by different types of UK credit card.

Source: Defaqto and Uswitch data, correct as of December 19, 2022

How do air miles credit cards work?

A suitcase is open and shows a credit card, wallet, clothes and a camera

When you use your air miles card to make purchases, you build up points.

Extra Avios points can also be collected via stores such as Sainsbury's by converting your Nectar points, The Wine Flyer and The Bicester Collection.

There are five different Avios schemes, and these all let you accumulate Avios points:

  • British Airways Executive Club

  • Aer Lingus AerClub

  • Vueling Club

  • Iberia Plus

  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club

You can join all five schemes and shift your points between them. You can also add to your Avios points by converting your Nectar points.

You then ‘spend’ your points on flights and travel, in the same way as you’d spend money.

If you don’t have enough points for a return flight, you could use your points to go one way. You’d then need to pay by cash or card for the return journey.

Remember, you still have to pay the taxes and charges, so your points flight won’t be completely free.

You can often upgrade your flight using your points, so you could pay for an economy flight but use your points to fly business class. For frequent flyers, this is a decent perk.

Some cards are dedicated to a single airline like British Airways credit cards or Virgin Atlantic cards.”

What is the best air miles credit card?

There are lots of different schemes and reward plans from air miles credit cards. You can compare deals using our comparison service.

The best air miles credit card is the one that fits your spending and lifestyle. Some air miles credit cards give you:

  • Air miles or points to use on airline travel and packages

  • Cheaper flights and holidays

  • Discounts on gig tickets, theme parks and other days out

So, ask yourself if you want to use your points for gigs and day trips as well as flying. Or are you a frequent flyer who’d get the most benefit from the perks of an airline credit card?

Remember, when you do book a flight with your points, availability is likely to be more limited than if you were paying normally as not all seats will be bookable in this way and you will be limited to the airlines your points work on. You also still have to pay taxes.

Think about when and how you would use your points. If you don’t think you’ll use them much on flights or holidays, you might be better off opting for a cashback or other reward card instead.

Look out for sign-up bonuses. For example, extra membership rewards when you sign up or if you spend more than £3,000 in your first three months.”

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How do I collect air miles?

One of the best-known ways to earn air miles such as Avios is to make regular flights with the airlines that are part of the scheme. 

Airline credit cards are another great way to get air miles as you can earn points from your regular spending whenever you make an eligible purchase on your card.

You’ll earn a set number of points depending on what you spend. For example, you might earn one Avios point for every £1 you spend on the card.

Avios points needed for a free flight upgrade[1]
20,000

Most airline credit cards will allow you to earn air miles for virtually any purchase on your card. The standard exceptions include foreign exchange and any spending over your credit limit.

Some airline credit cards offer you bonus miles when you activate the card or make your first purchase.

You can also earn bonus Avios points for hitting certain spending triggers - for example, if you spend £3,000 in your first three months of card use. If that’s the case, an airline credit card may only be right for you if you spend a lot.

Some airline reward schemes also let you earn air miles by opening a linked current account. 

Finally, some store reward cards allow you to convert your loyalty points into air miles (for example, Sainsbury's Nectar).

How to turn reward points into travel savings

A man is sat at a desk with a laptop, holding a credit card and phone

When you fly or spend money on your air miles card, you accumulate loyalty points. You can then combine these to put towards a flight, hotel or something else.

Some credit cards give you different points that you can exchange or convert to air miles.

For example, the Sainsbury's Nectar scheme lets you exchange your Nectar points for Avios. There’s even an automatic setting so you don’t have to manually convert the points. 

Every 400 Nectar points is worth 250 Avios, while every 300 Avios is worth 400 Nectar points. 

If you’re a member of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club loyalty scheme, you can swap your Tesco Clubcard points for Virgin Points. You can turn every Clubcard point into two Virgin Points, so £1.50 of Clubcard vouchers is equivalent to 300 Virgin Points. 

For £5 in Tesco vouchers you can get £10 to spend via Hotels.com, while American Express Membership Rewards points can be swapped for Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points on a 1:1 basis.

Because it takes a lot to build up points, these cards are well suited to big spenders.”

Air miles credit card FAQs

Are air miles cards worth it?

You should only get an air miles credit card if you know you’ll be able to pay off the balance in full every month. This is because they charge relatively high interest rates on your balance.

Some cards also come with hefty annual fees of up to £250, though these cards normally offer higher rates of reward.

If you’re looking to borrow money and pay it off slowly, you’ll be better off getting a credit card with a low interest rate. See our list of top 0% purchase credit cards.

How does an Avios credit card work?

Avios is a rewards scheme that is linked to airline frequent flyer clubs. Avios credit cards work in a very similar way to supermarket loyalty cards, such as Nectar and Tesco Clubcard.

The value of your Avios points varies depending on how and where you spend them. They don't have a fixed value. Sometimes they’re worth more if you’re taking advantage of a special promotion.

You can move or combine Avios points from different sources in order to build up enough to exchange for flights, holidays and other things.

How Uswitch compares credit cards

What does ‘most popular’ and ‘popularity’ mean?

When we use the term ‘most popular or ‘popularity’ on Uswitch in reference to credit cards, these cards are ranked by the number of clicks they have received on the site in the past 30 days.

The most clicked on cards are at the top, with the least at the bottom. This reflects how popular they are with visitors to Uswitch.com. Consequently, this is a good table to look at if you’re interested in seeing which cards most people think are worth getting.

Does Uswitch compare all the credit cards on the market?

We compare over 100 credit cards from all of the major banks and credit card providers.

However, we do not compare all the credit cards that are available in the UK.

This is because some credit card providers have offers that are only available exclusively through their own website or branch, or through other comparison websites - in the same way some credit cards are exclusively available through Uswitch.

There are also many credit cards that are only available to people in member organisations and clubs.

Credit card guides

Find out more about how credit cards work with our in-depth guides
How many credit cards can you have?
How many credit cards can you have?
How to use a credit card
How to use a credit card
What are the differences between credit and debit card?
What are the differences between credit and debit card?

About the author

James Andrews
James has spent the past 20 years writing about and editing personal finance articles and guides in the UK. His driving mission has been to help people make better decisions with their money.

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References

1. British Airways: Example for a peak one-way upgrade from London to New York, upgrading from premium economy (World Traveller Plus) to business (Club World)