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Jet credit cards for private travel
You could earn up to a 4% rewards rate on jet travel.
If you use a credit card to spend considerably on jet travel, you might wonder if your purchases can help you earn bonus rewards. While the answer is yes they can, consider looking beyond travel credit cards to maximize your rewards.
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Is there a credit card with bonus rewards on jet travel?
Credit cards don’t offer accelerated rewards on jet travel. However, some offer strong rewards no matter the purchase. You may want to consider such credit cards as your top choices for jet spending.
Why don’t credit cards offer bonus rewards on jet travel?
To reward you with points, miles or cash back, card providers must know what type of purchases you make. This is why purchases are coded under certain categories. For example, flights are coded as travel purchases and movie tickets as entertainment purchases.
Jet spending typically isn’t coded as travel, a typical bonus category. Instead, it’s usually classified as a non-bonus purchase, earning the base rewards rate.
What is the base rewards rate?
This is the lowest rewards rate your credit card offers. For example, your card might offer 2 points per dollar spent on travel — or “2x points” for short — and 1x points on all other purchases. The latter is your base rewards rate.
To get the best rate for jet travel, you typically want to look for cards that offer some type of point accelerator. We’ll talk about these in this guide.
How to get the best rewards on jet travel
Since jet spending usually doesn’t fall under travel purchases, consider cards that offer at least one of the following:
- A base rewards rate higher than 1%.
- A rewards boost to make your cash, points or miles worth more.
- Transfers to travel partners, which could increase the value of your rewards in their respective loyalty programs.
Jet credit cards with the highest rewards
In this table, you’ll find cards with the best effective rewards rates on jet travel. You can calculate rates yourself with some simple math.
|Credit card||Rewards on jet travel||Rewards can be worth up to…||Effective maximum value of rewards|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||2x points on up to $50,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 1x points||2 cents each if you transfer to travel partners||4% on up to $50,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 2%|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.||2 cents each if you transfer through an Ultimate Rewards card||3%|
|Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card||1x base points or up to 1.5x points if you use your card at least 30 times in a month||2 cents each if you transfer to travel partners||3%|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||2x miles||1.5 cents each if you transfer to travel partners||3%|
|Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card||3% cash back for the first year, then 2.5%||1 cent each||3% for the first year, then 2.5%|
|Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card||Effective 3x miles during the first year after the Cashback Match, then 1.5x miles||1 cent each||3% for the first year, then 1.5%|
|Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card||1.5x base points or up to 2.625x points as a Platinum Honors member in BoA Preferred Rewards||1 cent each||2.625%|
Effective value of rewards is based on our calculations of the highest redemption value. Values should be used only as a general guide.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
For example, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. If you can squeeze 2 cents from each point after a transfer, your points are effectively worth 3%.
- Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
- $150 bonus after you make $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.
- No annual fee.
- To get the best rate, you’ll need an Ultimate Rewards card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Transfer your points to select travel partners.
- No bonus categories.
Chase markets the Chase Freedom Unlimited® as a cashback product, but you’ll receive your rewards as points. You can redeem these points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
You might earn better rewards with another card if you spend more than $50,000 a year on private jet travel.
After you reach that purchase amount, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express offers just 1x points for the rest of the year. This greatly reduces the rewards you’ll earn on jet spending.
- Excellent flat-rate rewards on the first $50,000 spent each year.
- No annual fee (see rates & fees).
- You must transfer points to get the best rewards rate.
- Each year, you can earn 2x points only on up to $50,000. After that, you’ll earn just 1x points.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card can be useful outside of jet travel, too, as it offers accelerated rewards at US supermarkets and US gas stations.
- Accelerated rewards at US supermarkets and US gas stations.
- You must transfer points to get the best rewards rate.
- $95 annual fee.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
- 2x miles on every purchase.
- $0 intro annual fee for the first card year, then $95.
- You must transfer miles to get the best rewards rate.
- $95 annual fee starting the second card year.
Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card
- 3% cash back on all purchases during your first card year. After that, earn 2.5% cash back on all purchases.
- You don’t have to transfer rewards to get max value.
- Annual fee waived for the first card year.
- Cash back drops to 2.5% on all purchases starting your second card year.
- $99 annual fee starting your second card year.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
- 2x points on travel and dining. 1.5x points on all other purchases.
- $95 annual fee.
- You must be a Platinum Honors member to get the highest rewards rate.
How we chose our best credit cards for jet travel
We looked for cards with the highest rewards on jet travel, taking into account the possibility of boosting reward value through transfers. We listed cards with the highest effective rewards rates.
What’s changed in 2019
For several months, Chase revamped the Chase Freedom Unlimited®‘s signup bonus to accelerated cash back for the first card year. However, it reverted the offer in October 2019 to a traditional bonus after you spend a certain amount on your card.
Compare jet credit cards for private travel
How can I use a jet credit card?
Pay for your jet fare with your credit card, and you’ll automatically receive your rewards within a period specified by your card provider.
If necessary, make enough purchases each month to get a rewards boost — such as with the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.
If you must redeem points or miles to get the highest value, it’s time to research your options. The following guides will help you find the highest-value transfer partners:
- Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for best value
- How to redeem American Express Membership Rewards points for best value
- Guide to Capital One Rewards program
Earning accelerated rewards for jet travel isn’t a cut-and-dry process, as this spending usually isn’t coded under bonus categories. But you can earn stellar rewards from non-travel credit cards.
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