Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Airlines Offering No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards

In our continuing short series (see our previous posts about sign-up bonus miles for U.S. and international airlines’ frequent flyer credit cards), here is a current list of airlines that offer a no-annual-fee card. This is different from a card that promises no annual fees for the first year, but then (unless you cancel the card) institutes an annual fee thereafter. As we’ve said before, we don’t think that we’ll ever again chose to pay an annual fee for a credit card, but you should decide for yourself. Some of the cards listed below may even offer a sign-up mileage bonus (less than that offered for the annual-fee cards), and most will only earn miles at 1 mile per $2 spending (vs. 1-to-1 for the fee cards). Still, these cards may be useful depending on how often you fly an airline, or if you just want to occasionally charge something to the card to keep a mileage balance current. You might also consider acquiring the annual-fee card for the first year (if it’s offered free that first year), and then calling to switch to the no-fee card just before your first year is up – we’ve had success doing this with both United and USAir (as we wanted to keep a card for those airlines).

Also note that with the state of the airline industry, some of these card offerings (and some of the airlines themselves) may disappear. For example, we know that some time ago Continental offered a no-fee card, but we’re not able to find that offer anymore. And as we write this, Frontier is in bankruptcy but still flying. If they go under, you can kiss goodbye any miles acquired from any source – including from the credit card.

Airlines offering no-annual-fee credit cards:

  • American
  • United
  • USAir
  • Midwest
  • AirTran
  • Frontier
  • IcelandAir
  • China Air
  • Korean Air