How Do Credit Card Miles Work?

Whether you travel frequently or book flights every now and then, having a credit card that earns you miles can be a helpful addition to your wallet. But how do you use those miles you’ve earned? Keep reading to learn how credit card miles work and how to find the right rewards card for you.

How Do You Earn Credit Card Miles?

Credit card miles are earned by making purchases with a general travel rewards credit card or a credit card co-branded with an airline, hotel or other affiliated partner. 

You’ll generally earn a set number of miles for every dollar you spend, although every card has different rules. Some cards, for example, may offer additional miles for spending categories such as groceries, dining out or gas. Other cards may offer miles as a sign-up bonus when you’re approved for the card and spend a certain number of dollars within a given period. 

Once you’ve earned your credit card miles, you can redeem them for awards   with a card issuer’s or an airline’s rewards program.

How Can You Redeem Credit Card Miles?

Depending on the card, you can redeem miles across various categories, including flights, seat upgrades, in-flight purchases, car rentals, hotel bookings and other items. Remember that each card works differently and may have its own rules for how and when you can redeem your miles, so research your card’s benefits and restrictions before you sign up. 

It’s important to note that a credit card co-branded with an airline rewards   program may only allow you to redeem miles for award travel with that airline or its affiliated partners.  

Find the Right Travel Rewards Credit Card

When considering your options for a travel rewards credit card, think about what’s most important to you. Is it earning a specific number of miles on daily purchases? Is it the potential extra perks and rewards that come with earning miles? 

If you are very loyal to one airline when you travel, consider getting an airline miles credit card, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card or the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® Mastercard® Credit Card. That way, you can take advantage of the miles you earn and any other travel-related perks the card might offer

Disclosure: This article is for educational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and is not a substitute for professional advice. It does not indicate the availability of any Citi product or service. For advice about your specific circumstances, you should consult a qualified professional.

Additional Resources

  • Utilize these resources to help you assess your current finances & plan for the future.

  • Learn how FICO® Scores are determined, why they matter and more.

  • Review financial terms & definitions to help you better understand credit & finances.