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In recent years airlines have been looking to grow their co-brand credit card portfolios. On way they reached out to new markets was the introduction of no annual fee cards with full mileage earning.
It used to be that a no annual fee card might be a ‘downgrade product,’ something the bank offered to customers who didn’t want to keep their airline card at renewal time. But that frequently meant earning just one mile per two dollars of spend, which isn’t very attractive.
- Citibank has the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card which offers 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in purchases within the first three months after account opening, and which offers 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases and at grocery stores and 1 mile per dollar everywhere else.
- American Express has the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card which lets you earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases in your first 3 months and earns 2X with Delta and at restaurants.
Chase had the United TravelBank card. United and Chase extended their co-brand agreement in February and with that has meant new and improved cards.
Their new no annual fee card is the United GatewaySM Card. It has an offer to earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Even without an annual fee, ongoing earn is generous at two miles per dollar on United Airlines purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting. They’re also offering three miles per dollar on grocery store purchases up to $1,500 per month through September 30, 2021. It also has no foreign transaction fees, which is great for a no annual fee rewards card.
No annual fee products are likely more important now than ever,
- In an uncertain economy card fees is where some consumers may look to save
- If someone’s spend is reduced, they may prefer a no annual fee product (or if they aren’t traveling as much)
- People traveling now skew more towards younger leisure travelers than in the past who may feel more confident taking a no annual fee card.
Chase is consolidating their card portfolios, so worth knowing that existing United TravelBank and legacy no annual fee United MileagePlus cardmembers will be transitioned to the new United GatewaySM Card.