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When you’re new miles & points, the lingo can be confusing. Especially because there are cards that advertise earning “miles” that are NOT airline miles. Like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card that earns Barclaycard Arrival miles, and the Discover it Miles card.
And although the miles you earn with these types of cards do NOT transfer to airlines, they can still be very useful.
I’ll show you examples of cards that earn miles that are NOT airline miles, and cards that earn transferable miles & points.
Cards That Earn Miles Are NOT Created Equal
But you can NOT transfer the miles you earn with these cards to airlines.
That said, they can still be great cards, because you can use the miles you earn to offset the cost of things like hotel stays, airline tickets, taxi rides, and cruises. Without having to worry about blackout dates, finding award seats, or looking through award charts!
Barclaycard Arrival Plus
With the highest offer ever for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, you can earn 50,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles after meeting minimum spending requirements. That’s worth $525 in statement credits towards travel purchases of $100 or more, because you’ll get 5% of your miles back when you redeem them for travel.
That’s a great sign-up bonus for a card that waives the annual fee the first year!
With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card, your miles are worth 1 cent each, and you’ll get 5% of your miles back when you redeem them for travel.
This effectively makes the card a 2.1% back card when you redeem miles for travel. The minimum redemption amount is $100 (10,000 miles).
Million Mile Secrets team member Jasmin recently got this card. She plans to use it for an upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic because it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees!
Discover it Miles
Link: Discover it Miles
The Discover it Miles card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but it doesn’t have an annual fee either.
And you’ll get 1.5 miles per $1 you spend (1.5% back) on all purchases.
If you’re a new cardmember, Discover will match the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year on your credit card. Here’s my review of the card.
Capital One Venture
Link: Capital One Venture
That’s a decent deal for a card with no annual fee the first 12 months!
Flexible Points That DO Transfer to Airlines
There are also other flexible points that transfer directly to airlines, like:
Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program because you can transfer points to great travel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt for Big Travel. And they’re relatively easy to earn.
A nice perk of using Starwood points is that for each transfer of 20,000 Starwood points to airlines with a 1:1 transfer ratio, you’ll earn an extra 5,000 airline miles. That’s like getting a 25% bonus!
Note: Transfers of Starwood points to airlines can take up to 4 weeks! But in my experience, it usually takes ~2 to ~12 days.
Just keep in mind, once you transfer your points to airlines, you can NOT transfer them back.
Cards That Earn Flexible Points
These cards offer incredibly valuable sign-up bonuses and earn (my favorite!) Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Plus, I always recommend applying for any Chase cards you want first because of their stricter application rules.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Expresscards both earn Starwood points. The normal sign-up bonus for the personal card is 25,000 Starwood points after meeting minimum spending requirements.
There are certain rewards cards, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Capital One Venture card, that earn “miles” that can NOT be transferred to airlines. But they’re still a great choice for folks who want to book award tickets without having to worry about blackout dates!