Credit cards offer the biggest rewards out there for miles and points but they also require excellent credit. For many people with good or very good credit they cannot enjoy the benefits of all of these perks. There are other options and they will still reward you for purchases you are making everyday anyway.
Unfortunately, many banks are discontinuing these options. For example, the American Airlines debit card from Citi isn’t available anymore. The United card from Bank of America is being discontinued in September of this year. I have this one so this is a disappointment for me but just means I will have to use credit more often.
Debit Card Travel Rewards
Delta Visa Debit Card- Suntrust
From the source:
Enjoy 5,000 bonus miles after your first PIN Point of Sale or signature-based purchase. Additionally, you will earn one mile for every eligible dollar spent on your card and two miles for every eligible dollar spent on Delta purchases like: tickets, in-flight purchases, Delta Sky Club memberships and more.
• Earn 1 mile/$1 on signature-based and PIN Point-of-Sale purchases
• Earn 2 miles/$1 on direct Delta purchases
• $75 Annual Fee (the Business check card is $120/year)
These annual fees are a little steep for a debit card. Considering you will receive 30,000 miles when AmEx approves your Delta card. However, if you really want a Debit card that earns you miles this is a good option.
It says the card is only available in certain states but my state (MN) was not listed and I opened an account no problem. I simply transferred money from my other bank account and used the SunTrust card on groceries, gas, and bills. Easy as that. This is certainly not convenient but I wanted to test it out and for a few hundred extra miles a month that can really add up. You could use it to pay all of your bills, food, and gas and probably earn enough for a free domestic flight in one year
More info from Delta here.
Alaska Airlines Debit Card- Bank of America
- Earn one Mileage Plan mile for every $2 in purchases.
- Earn one Mileage Plan mile for every dollar in purchases on Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air flights and vacation packages.
- Receive 3,000 bonus miles with your first purchase.
What I really like about this card it the low annual fee of just $30. That is what a debit card’s fee really should be. Banks these days, especially Bank of America, are already charging excessive fees but I can live with $30. You may be thinking Alaska Airlines, really? But Alaska Airlines has a great reputation and they are part of the SkyTeam which includes Delta, KLM, AirFrance and many other airlines all over the world.
More info from Bank of America here.
You aren’t going to rack up any serious points with these cards but it’s better than letting all of those debit card purchases go to waste. Or you can make this debit card account your bill pay account. Designate this card for bills and bills only. It will require some effort on your end but if it leads to “free” travel or cheaper travel it’s a solid option.
I only hope banks will offer more of these but it seems like they are going in the opposite direction at this point with United and American pulling their debit cards. If you only want to deal with one card make it a credit card from your airline of choice.