Every (Other) Co-Branded Airline Credit Card

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Every (Other) Co-Branded Airline Credit Card

Category : Uncategorized

After the launch of the Cathay Pacific credit card from Synchrony, I thought I’d put together a list of all the other co-branded airline credit cards (of which there are many).

Here are the parameters for what’s included in the list:

  • Current and/or best offer
  • Some analysis on the worthiness of the card
  • Many of the benefits
  • Link (no commission)
  • Credit bureau or other credit related information

The major co-branded airline credit cards, which many will already be familiar with and receive a lot of attention in the points/miles blog space:

  • Alaska Airlines (Bank of America)
  • American Airlines (Citi and Barclaycard)
  • Delta Airlines (American Express)
  • Hawaiian Airlines (Barclaycard)
  • JetBlue (Barclaycard)
  • Lufthansa Miles and More (Barclaycard)
  • Southwest Airlines (Chase)
  • Spirit Airlines (Bank of America)
  • United Airlines (Chase)
  • Virgin Atlantic (Bank of America)

Aeromexico Visa Card – U.S Bank

  • 15,000 Club Premier Miles after first purchase
  • 2x Club Premier Miles per dollar spent on gas and groceries
  • 1x Club Premier Mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • One companion ticket (must be booked in M/B/Y fare class – the higher and more expensive fare classes) for travel between the U.S. and Mexico on Aeromexico only
  • Buy three full fare tickets, get a fourth free

Aeromexico has a very solid award chart – in theory. In practice they pass on fuel surcharges on all flights. Aeromexico is also a transfer partner of AMEX Membership Rewards.

Thee companion ticket and “buy three, get a fourth free”  sound like they could be useful benefits; however, the restrictions that they be booked into higher/full fare classes will be cost prohibitive more most.

Aeroplan Visa Credit Card – TD Bank

Aeroplan is the frequent flyer program of Air Canada.

  • 25,000 Aeroplan miles after spending $1,000 within three months of account opening
  • 2x Aeroplan miles per dollar on Air Canada purchase
  • 1x Aeroplan mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • Annual fee is waived the first year, then $95

For TD Bank, this is a pretty solid product. It’s nice that the annual fee is waived for the first year with a low spending requirement, too. Aeroplan miles have lots of great uses (particularly to Europe) and you can transfer from AMEX Membership rewards to top off your account. I’d only go for this if I was out of options, but it’s something to consider.

TD pulls from Experian.

Allegiant World MasterCard – Bank of America

  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months of card opening
  • 3x points per dollar spent on Allegiant purchase
  • 2x points per dollar spent on dining purchases
  • 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Priority boarding and one free beverage every time you fly Allegiant (and show your card)
  • Annual fee $59, not waived

Allegiant points are worth 1 cent per point, so the sign-up of 15,000 points is worth $150 in travel.

There is one additional benefit:

Buy One, Get One Free (Air Ticket) when purchasing a vacation package

This may make the card worthwhile for some; however, there are several other Bank of America cards that I’d recommend before getting this (Asiana, Alaska Airlines).

ANA – First National Bank of Omaha

ANA, one of the two major carriers in Japan, is a member of the Star Alliance. ANA Mileage Club is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards. They have a really solid award chart (but require all travel to be booked as roundtrips). It’s unfortunate this card offer is so bad…

  • 5,000 miles after first purchase
  • 25% bonus miles on revenue tickets operated by ANA
  • 10% off in-flight purchases and 10% off duty-free shops
  • 1x mile per dollar spent on any other purchase
  • Annual fee of $70 not waived

Yeah, skip this…

First National Bank of Omaha pulls from different credit bureaus depending on where you live.

Asiana Visa Signature Credit Card – Bank of America

Asiana Airlines is a Star Alliance (the same alliance as United) member based out of South Korea.

  • 30,000 Asiana miles after spending $3,000 within three months of card opening
  • 3x miles per dollar spent on purchases with Asiana Airlines
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on gas and groceries purchases
  • 1x mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Every year you receive two Asiana Airline lounge invitations (passes) and 10,000 bonus miles
  • Annual fee $99, not waived

The yearly 10,000 bonus miles is intriguing, but the assumption is, is that you need to keep the card open for a full year before they’re awarded.

In any event, the sign-up is solid (if not with a steep minimum spending requirement). Best of all? This card is issued by Bank of America, meaning it’s possible to get several of these per year (or at a time).

Avianca LifeMiles Vida / Vuela Visa Card – Banco Popular

There are two versions of this card, the ‘Vida’ being the inferior offer and ‘Vuela’ offering the higher sign-up bonus. I’ve covered this card in some detail here, but to recap, here are the benefits:

Vida

  • 20,000 point sign-up after first purchase
  • 2x miles per dollar on Avianca purchases, 1x miles per dollar on all others
  • Annual fee not waived, $59

Vuela

  • 40,000 point sign-up after first purchase
  • 3x miles on Avianca purchases, 2x miles per dollar on gas and groceries, and 1x miles per dollar on all others
  • Annual fee not waived, $149

Considering the no minimum spend requirements, the ‘Vuela’ flavor is not such a bad offering, but the annual fee of $149 is pretty steep. Be sure to use code AVSPWE on your application for an additional 20,000 LifeMiles.

Banco Popular pulls from Transunion.

Cathay Pacific – Synchrony Bank

See here.

JAL – First National Bank of Omaha

Japanese Airlines (JAL), also a member of the Oneworld alliance has a solid award chart. It doesn’t get much attention primarily because you can easily book award flights using partner miles (American AAdvantage miles on JAL). More importantly, JAL Mileage Bank miles only transfer form Starwood.

The above is the standard earning on the card.

The sign-up bonus is 5,000 miles, but you’d have to fly on JAL internationally in order to receive the bonus.

First National Bank of Omaha pulls from different credit bureaus depending on where you live.

Korean Skypass – U.S. Bank

Korean Skypass, a Skyteam member, has an excellent credit card from U.S. Bank. It doesn’t get much love because the standard sign-up bonus is small; sometimes U.S. Bank sends out targeted bonuses of 30,000 miles. If you get that offer, this card may make sense for you.

There are actually five (!) versions of this card. The best are the Visa Signature or Business versions. Here’s the comparison chart from U.S. Bank’s site:

 

With the exception of the SkyBlue version, they all have an annual fee. For 15,000 miles (Visa Signature), I’d skip, but for 30,000 it’s worth considering. Outside of the bonus, there’s nothing else exciting about this product.

Korean Skypass miles are also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, providing an easy way to add to you Skypass balance.

LANPASS Visa Signature – U.S. Bank

LANPASS is the frequent flyer program of LATAM Airlines, based in Chile. They are a member of the Oneworld Alliance.

  • Up to* 20,000 miles after first credit card use
  • 1x LATAM Pass Mile per dollar spent
  • 2x LATAM Pass Miles per dollar spent on LATAM Airline ticket purchases
  • 4,000 miles after card renewal each year
  • 25% mileage bonus on paid flights, after spending $15,000 in a calendar year

While the mileage bonus for being a card member is nice (especially if you fly on revenue fairs often), it’s a bit odd that there is a spending requirement to activate this benefit.

The award chart is distance based and there are some decent offers to be had. I don’t think this card gets much attention, but it is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest and transfers at a 1:1.5 ratio. There are some solid short-haul redemptions to be had like 10,000 LANPASS kilometers for a flight from New York to Chicago on American Airlines. See here for a great write up on best uses.

*With U.S. Bank, if you’re not approved for the Visa Signature card, but are approved for a standard Visa, you’ll receive an inferior sign-up bonus of 15,000 miles.

Virgin America – Comenity

With the merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, it’s anyones guess what will happen to this card. In the meantime, the only reason I’d suggest getting this card is to transfer your miles from the sign-up to Alaska for the conversion of 1 Virgin America Elevate mile to 1.3 Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

There are two versions of this card:

Virgin America Visa Signature Card

  • 10,000 Elevate miles after spending $1,000 in three months
  • $150 off a companion ticket every year
  • 3 additional Elevate miles per dollar spent on Virgin America flights (on top of the standard 5x per dollar)
  • 1x Virgin Elevate miles per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Free checked bag for you and companion traveling on the same itinerary
  • Priority boarding
  • Annual fee $49, not waived

Virgin America Premium Visa Signature Card

  • 15,000 Elevate miles after spending $1,000 in three months
  • No change or cancellation fees – you just pay the difference (if any) in fare
  • $150 off a companion ticket every year
  • 3 additional Elevate miles per dollar spent on Virgin America flights (on top of the standard 5x per dollar)
  • 1x Virgin Elevate miles per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Free checked bag for you and companion traveling on the same itinerary
  • Priority boarding
  • Annual fee $149, not waived

The Premium Visa is the superior offer, but both carry an annual fee (the second being pretty hefty). One of the more interesting benefits of the Premium Visa is the waiver of cancellation and change fees. If you fly Virgin America enough, that annual fee of $149 would be covered if you had to change your flight twice. Without this benefit, it would cost you $100 – $150 per change or cancellation on non-refundable tickets.

No word on when/what will happen to these cards, so if you were thinking about getting one, now would be the time.

It appears that Comenity favors pulling from Equifax or Transunion.

Bottom line

When I conceptualized this list, I thought it would a lot of garbage offers. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there are some solid non-major co-branded airline cards out there. Some of my top picks for consideration would be the Avianca Vuela Visa, Korean Skypass Visa, or the TD Aeroplan Visa.

Co-branded credit cards are big business for all parties involved. Though this is pure conjecture, I think a waiver on annual fees for the first year OR more lucrative sign-up bonuses would go a long way to securing new customers.

Did I leave any co-branded airline cards out? 

-The Miner

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.


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