At a Glance

When choosing a travel credit card, many people are faced with deciding whether to opt for a card that offers miles or points. Both options can provide significant benefits for travelers, but understanding the differences between the two is essential in making an informed choice. Let’s delve into the disparities between miles and points, discuss when to use each card type, and provide guidance on which option might best suit your travel goals.

In this article, you’ll learn:



The estimated number of people that have earned at least 1,000,000 frequent flyer miles in their respective rewards programs.

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Know your travel goals before deciding between miles or points

Before delving into the specifics of miles and points, it is crucial to identify your travel goals. Determine the destinations you wish to visit, the airlines or hotel chains you prefer, and the frequency of your travels. Understanding your travel habits and aspirations will help you make a more informed decision when choosing between a miles or points credit card.

Miles vs. points

1. Points

Points are a form of currency that can be earned and redeemed with various travel rewards programs. They are often associated with credit cards with flexible redemption options, allowing cardholders to use points for travel-related expenses, such as flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. Points are typically earned based on the amount spent on the credit card, and their value can vary depending on the rewards program.

2. Miles

Miles, on the other hand, are typically associated with airline-specific credit cards. They are earned based on the distance traveled or the number of flights taken with a particular airline or its partner airlines. Miles are often used to redeem free or discounted flights, seat upgrades, and other flight-related perks. While some airline credit cards offer the flexibility to use miles for non-flight rewards, their primary focus is air travel benefits.

When should you use a points credit card?

A points credit card is suitable for individuals who value flexibility and enjoy having options when redeeming their rewards. If you prefer to have the freedom to choose from a wide range of airlines, hotels, and other travel-related services, a points credit card can provide greater versatility. Additionally, if your travel plans involve a mix of airlines or hotels, a points credit card allows you to accumulate rewards across multiple brands.

When to use a miles-earning card?

If you are a frequent traveler who prefers to stick with a specific airline or hotel chain, a miles-earning credit card aligned with that brand might be the better choice. Using a miles-earning card, you can accumulate rewards tailored to your preferred airline or hotel, maximizing benefits such as free flights, upgrades, priority boarding, and more. However, it’s important to note that the value of miles can vary depending on the airline’s redemption policies and the availability of flights.

Miles vs. points – which type of credit card is right for traveling?

Determining which type of credit card is right for your travel needs ultimately depends on your preferences and travel habits. Consider the following pointers:

1. Miles

  • Choose a miles-earning credit card if you primarily fly with one airline or its partner airlines.
  • Enjoy free flights, seat upgrades, priority boarding, and lounge access.
  • Benefit from airline-specific rewards programs and partnerships.
  • Make use of travel benefits, such as checked baggage allowances and travel insurance.

2. Points

  • Opt for a points credit card if you value flexibility and prefer to choose from various airlines and hotels.
  • Enjoy the freedom to use your points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses.
  • Benefit from transferring points to airline and hotel loyalty programs for increased redemption value.
  • Maximize rewards by taking advantage of promotional offers and bonus point categories.

Things to consider before you start collecting points or miles

Before diving headfirst into the world of points and miles, it’s important to consider the following factors:

1. Know your credit score

Credit card rewards programs often require a good credit score for approval. Before applying for a travel credit card, check your credit score and ensure it meets the card requirements you wish to obtain. Maintaining a good credit score is also essential for future financial endeavors.

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2. Pay the full amount of the bill

To fully benefit from credit card rewards, paying the full balance on time each month is crucial. Carrying a balance and paying interest on a credit card can quickly negate the value of any rewards earned.

3. Limit cash usage

Using a travel credit card for everyday expenses allows you to earn rewards faster. Use your credit card instead of cash for purchases to accumulate points or miles more efficiently whenever possible.


The choice between points and miles depends on your travel preferences and goals. Points offer more flexibility and can be used across various airlines and hotels, while miles are ideal for individuals loyal to a specific airline or hotel brand.

Sometimes, paying with credit card points does not earn additional miles. However, it’s essential to review the specific terms and conditions of your credit card and rewards program for accurate information.

Yes, using credit card points can be worth it, especially if you frequently travel and take advantage of the rewards program’s benefits. However, it’s important to consider the redemption value and associated fees when using points.

A miles card offers airline-specific benefits, including free or discounted flights, seat upgrades, priority boarding, and access to airline lounges. It caters to individuals who prefer a particular airline or its partner airlines.