Airline Debit Cards: Who’s Left In 2013?

Posted by CreditCardGuru

airline debit card with "X" over itThanks to the Dodd-Frank Act that went into effect in late 2011, debit cards with airline miles have been going the way of the wooly mammoth. So who’s left and who’s been axed? Here’s a rundown for your reference, which I’ve updated for 2013…

AAdvantage Debit Card – Issued by Citibank, the $25 version = 1 AAdvantage mile per 2 dollars spent. The “premium” $65 version = 1 AAdvantage mile per 1 dollar spent.

Dead or Alive? Unfortunately both of the American Airline debit cards have been axed and they’re not coming back. Not even the existing cardholders got to keep ‘em – they’ve been issued regular ol’ debit cards as replacements.


Alaska Airlines Debit Card – A Bank of America product, for $30 the account earns 1 mile per $2 in purchase and for spending on flights and vacation packages from Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, it’s 1 mile per $1.

Dead or Alive? This one is still around. To get it you will need to have a Bank of America checking account. You have to press “credit” when you swipe it in order to earn rewards. If you enter your pin, there won’t be any miles given.

Continental Airlines Debit Card – Run by the folks at Chase, for a $25 annual fee = 1 OnePass mile per 2 dollars spent.

Dead or Alive? This was actually one of the first airline debit cards to be cut. Chase terminated the program a few months before the new legislation went into effect. Regardless, something had to change with this card anyway, due to the United-Continental merger.

Delta Skymiles Debit Card –  Offered through SunTrust Bank, the consumer version is $75/year and gives 1 SkyMile per dollar. There are double miles earned on spending with Delta.

Dead or Alive? This is one the best airline debit cards because it gives 1 mile per dollar and fortunately, it’s still alive. To get it though you will need to have a checking account with SunTrust. The bad news is that they jacked the annual fee up from $25 in 2012 to $75 in 2013.

United Airlines Debit Card – Like the Continental card, this gave 1 mile per $2 for a $25 annual fee.

Dead or Alive? Chase nixed this one at the same time they killed the one for Continental.

US Airways Debit Card – Bank of America checking accountholders could request this optional card which offers 1 Dividend mile for each $2 in purchases, except for spending with US Airways which was $1 mile per dollar. The fee was $30 per year.

Dead or Alive? Sadly this one died in Sept 2012.

2013′s best alternatives?

Being that most air mileage debit card reward programs are no longer in existence, if you still want to earn miles on purchases, you might have to switch to using the carrier’s credit card instead. You can see a list of them here. My favorite is the one from Delta…Remember if you pay your balance in full, there won’t be any interest to pay. But if you’re a compulsive spender who will rake up debt, admittedly it is best to avoid credit cards altogether despite.

If you’re opposed to credit because it interferes with your budgeting, then going with a debit card will probably be the best alternative. However in 2013 unfortunately it won’t be possible to earn cash back through a debit card.

14 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. ann February 26, 2014 at 4:40PM

    yep– Alaska air miles on my BOA card will no longer be valid as of 4/1

  2. Reyes November 19, 2013 at 9:20PM

    As Bruce has already stated, the Alaska debit card has been discontinued. I received a notification by B of A yesterday. I thought it was just junk mail, but was compelled to open it before throwing it away. Sure enough, they said that last day to accumulate miles is May 31 2014.

    I guess I’ll be apply for the Alaska Signature or Platinum card then.

    • Bob March 10, 2014 at 7:01PM

      Reyes – Is the Alaska Signature or Platinum cards debit or credit?? I want a debit card that offers milage as I a also with BOA at this time.

  3. Teresa November 18, 2013 at 12:09AM

    This is terrible, I’ve been saving my miles since earning them and will use them in the next couple years. Does anyone know of other banks that have debit cards that earn miles? Thanks

    • Reyes November 19, 2013 at 9:18PM

      Sorry, but Delta is now the only one. Alaska no longer offers theirs – just the credit card.

  4. Bruce November 16, 2013 at 3:52PM

    The axe has fallen on the AK Airline BofA debit card too!! The last day to earn miles with the card is May 31, 2014. RIP!!! I have used this card since 2001 and I have taken several trips as a result, hate to see it go. I will no longer have a reason to bank at BofA.

  5. Jeffro September 13, 2012 at 9:23AM

    I HATE Bank of America, but I’ve been with them for the last 5 years just because of the miles card and have racked a little over 50,000 miles just on paying bills, groceries, buying gifts, etc… The way I figure it, if you are going to use a debit card anyway, why not get something for it?
    It comes down to this:

    Alaska charges $27.50 to buy 1,000 miles where BoA charges $30.00 a year
    With your BoA debit you need to spend $2000 ($2013) to get the same
    Take a look at your bank statement for the last 12 months or so and see how much you spent using your debit card… If your like me, you probably spent way more than $2k. So if you ever travel and spend over 2k on your debit a month it might be worth it to you to pick one up.

  6. kathy August 19, 2012 at 7:22PM

    The bank of america usairways debit card will no long be offered by boa as of September 30,2012. if you have a bank of america us airways debit card you can use it until then.

  7. jeff June 26, 2012 at 10:33AM

    BOA USAir card will be killed in Sept…make sure to thank Sen Durbin.

  8. Keith June 9, 2012 at 8:46PM

    With the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan debit card from Bank of America you can also use your earned miles for award travel on their partners; which include Delta and American. Just because one is on the East Coast does not mean this card is still not valuable.

    With recent changes to the SunTrust Delta card, the Alaska card may be the only viable option left for many.

    • Jennell July 2, 2012 at 11:27PM

      Keith it does matter. When I am Gold and have 249,000 miles in my AA account which covers all OneWorld carriers. And my US AIrways account I have 163,000 miles and that covers all Star Alliance carriers. Why on earth would I want to open an Alaska account. Since I use my miles for International business class so we are talking minimum 100,000 miles for a ticket. At one AS mile for every 2 USD spent I would have to spend over 200,000 USD just for a free ticket. Yeah that is not happening any time soon.

      • aaron February 10, 2013 at 3:00AM

        Can someone say douche?

  9. Barb April 20, 2012 at 10:31AM

    I have used the BOA Alaska Airlines debit card for several years and it’s terrific. I was looking for one for United – but it looks like that is cancelled.

    Hope Alaska keeps its card with BOA – as it has been a great choice for me and their online banking/mobile banking is easy.

  10. Christina March 29, 2012 at 6:07AM

    I have had the us airways BofA debit card for almost two years and love it. I can’t get a credit card because of bad credit choices in college, but with smart spending and using the visa card I get at least 1 free ticket a year. I opened the account just for that reason.

    Just received a letter from BofA yesterday that the card will be cancelled August 2012. They’ve removed it from their website as an option for debit cards. The fee of 30.00/year will be returned at a pro-rate of 2.50/month, my renewal date was in February so I will receive a refund for August 2012-February 2013. Alaska airlines is still up so I might try switching to that I travel mostly from Pennsylvania to California, but alaska has a regular flight from Washington DC to LAX so i might take short flights to Washington DC then get to LAX.

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