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2020

Best Airline Credit Cards

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Do you travel often? Whether it's for business or pleasure, are you enjoying your trips as much as you could be? What about the price tag? Are you missing out on deals and discounts that could save money or get you more for your buck? Airline credit cards to the rescue!

Best Airline Credit Cards
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Our Selection Criteria

  • Reasonable annual fee: Most airline cards have annual fees, so you want to make sure you’re getting more out of the card than it costs.
  • Good rewards program: The standard is 2X miles per dollar for most cards, although some offer more than that.
  • Valuable travel benefits: The best airline credit cards offer credits for travel purchases and other cost-saving benefits that will lighten the load on your wallet.
  • Airport lounge access: Some airline cards provide complimentary or limited access to airport lounges, with all the amenities that come with them.
  • Free checked bags: You should usually expect to get your first checked bag free, although it’s not always true for airline cards with no annual fee.
  • Priority boarding: You can typically board the plane before non-cardholders — but again, not always for cards without annual fees.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Airline cards, like other travel cards, shouldn’t charge for purchases in foreign currency.
Is an Airline Card Right for You?
Best Airline Credit Cards
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Is an Airline Card Right for You?

Do you travel by plane every year? Are you planning a big trip?

If so, chances are good that you could save some money and access valuable travel perks with an airline credit card. You’re already planning on spending the money, so why not take advantage of a great card offer?

An airline card, if it’s right for you, should fit neatly into your current or projected spending habits. As long as you use it responsibly, and pay the statement balance in full each month, you can get a variety of benefits without paying a dime of interest.

Many big airlines provide co-branded credit cards, and you can probably find one to suit your needs. They come with perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, discounts on in-flight purchases, and access to airport lounges. You may be able to transfer miles to other loyalty programs.

The more you travel, the more value you’ll get out of an airline card.

In many cases there are no blackout dates when redeeming the frequent flyer miles you earn. This isn’t always true for general travel credit cards.

Ask yourself some questions to help figure out which airline card (or cards) you should apply for:

  • What’s my favorite airline?
  • Which airline do I use (or plan to use) the most?
  • Do I want to build a relationship with a specific airline to gain a higher status?
  • Are there any airport hubs nearby that focus on particular airlines?

If you don’t fly with a specific airline somewhat regularly, a co-branded card probably won’t be very valuable for you. Instead, look into a general travel rewards card like those above, which you can use with any airline.

Our Selection Criteria
BEST PICK FOR

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $75
Regular APR 17.24%–25.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card is one of the more popular airline cards thanks to the yearly Companion Fare, which can completely offset the annual fee and make this card basically free to use.

In fact, as long as you avoid interest and other fees, you’re effectively getting paid to use this card as long as you always take advantage of the Companion Fare.

This is also one of the best credit cards for earning airline miles, offering 3X miles for flight purchases when most airline cards only provide 2X, along with extra miles at some restaurants.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X miles per dollar for Alaska Airlines purchases
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 40,000 bonus miles and a Companion Fare for spending $2,000 in the first 90 days
  • Annual Companion Fare credit: A yearly Companion Fare credit ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22)
  • Additional mile-earning opportunities: Use Alaska Airlines’ shopping portal to earn bonus miles at select retailers.
  • First checked bag free on Alaska Airlines flights: For you and up to six other travelers on the same reservation
  • 20% in-flight purchase discount: 20% back on all Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases
  • Alaska Lounge discount: Get 50% off day passes at the Alaska Lounge.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $75

Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card

  • 3X miles per dollar for purchases made directly from Alaska Airlines
  • 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account
  • First checked bag free on Alaska Airlines flights: For you and up to six other travelers on the same reservation
  • 20% in-flight purchase discount: 20% back on all Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases
  • Alaska Lounge discount: Get 50% off day passes at the Alaska Lounge.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $50 for the company and $25 per card
View card details
  • NEW – 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ Offer.
  • Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Save with a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation.
  • Get Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ every year! EACH YEAR on your account anniversary get a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com.
  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Get exclusive access to discounted redemption levels when you redeem miles for hotel stays at over 400,000 properties using Alaska Airlines Hotels.
  • Earn unlimited miles and travel with no blackout dates and no foreign transaction fees.
BEST PICK FOR

American Airlines

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit level Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $450
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (Review) is the premier card for flying American Airlines, with a hefty price tag of $450 per year. But if you’re already spending a lot of money and time with the airline, this card’s benefits, particularly the Admirals Club airport lounge membership, could make your life quite a bit more comfortable.

Authorized users of this card have no cost and actually get Admirals Club access as well, a rare feature on premium travel cards like this. Up to ten authorized users can be added.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X miles per dollar for American Airlines purchases
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club membership: You and up to ten authorized users have access to the Admirals Club airport lounge.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application credit: Get a credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) once every five years.
  • Elite Qualifying Miles: Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 on purchases in a given year.
  • Reduced Mileage Awards: Get discounted travel for round trip (7,500 miles off) and one-way flights (3,750 miles off).
  • Enhanced Airport Experience: Including priority check-in, screening, and boarding privileges
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases on AA flights: The 25% discount will be applied to in-flight purchases of food and beverages only.
  • First checked bag free on AA flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on:
    • American Airlines
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Preferred Boarding, 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99, waived for first 12 months
View card details

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at American Airlines
  • 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 60,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a Companion Certificate for 1 guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) after making a purchase in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Preferred Boarding, 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases, $25 annual credit for in-flight WiFi
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99
View card details

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

  • 2X AAdvantage Miles per dollar on:
    • Eligible American Airlines purchases
    • Grocery Stores
  • 1X AAdvantage Mile per dollar for everything else
  • 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Business Mastercard®

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar at:
    • American Airlines
    • Telecom merchants
    • Office supply merchants
    • Car rental merchants
  • 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 65,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days; 10,000 bonus miles after a purchase on an employee card
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Preferred Boarding, 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases, 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on:
    • American Airlines
    • Cable and satellite providers
    • Gas stations
    • Select telecommunications merchants
    • Car rentals
  • 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Preferred Boarding, 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99, waived for first 12 months
View card details
1 5
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage®bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% – 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

BEST PICK FOR

Delta Air Lines

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Excellent
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $550
Regular APR 15.74% - 24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Review) is expensive, but it comes with quite a few valuable benefits. You get complimentary Delta Sky Club access and two free one-time Sky Club guest passes (guests are $39 after that), plus complimentary access to Centurion Lounges (where guests will cost $50).

Other perks include an annual Companion Certificate and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
  • 1X SkyMile per eligible dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access: Get complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs, with up to two guests at $39 each, plus complimentary access to Centurion Lounges, with up to two guests at $50 each. Includes two free Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes.
  • Annual Companion Certificate: A certificate for a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip flight
  • Status Boost: Earn 15,000 MQMs for spending $30,000, up to four times per calendar year.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights: For you and up to eight traveling companions
  • Priority Boarding on Delta flights: Get on the plane more quickly with Zone 1 priority boarding
  • Complimentary upgrades: If you don’t have Medallion status you can still get some upgrades for free.
  • 20% in-flight discount on Delta flights: A 20% discount on eligible in-flight purchases, like food, beverages, movies, and audio headsets
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • 3X SkyMiles per dollar for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta
    • Hotels
  • 2X SkyMiles per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for all other purchases
  • 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Lounge access: You and two guests can enter Delta Sky Club lounges for $39 per person.
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Priority Boarding, Annual companion certificate, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $250
View card details

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for all other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Priority Boarding, 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee (Rates & Fees)
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
View card details

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

  • 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • Restaurants
  • 1X SkyMile per eligible dollar spent for every other purchase
  • 10,000 bonus miles for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Perks: 20% back on in-flight purchases, ShopRunner membership
  • No foreign transaction fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

  • 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • Restaurants
  • 1X SkyMile per eligible dollar spent for every other purchase
  • 45,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Priority Boarding, Annual companion certificate, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $550
View card details

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

  • 3X SkyMiles per dollar for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta
    • Hotels
  • 1.5X SkyMiles per dollar for purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 50,000 miles per year
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for all other purchases
  • 70,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Priority Boarding, Annual companion certificate, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $250
View card details

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

  • 2X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
    • U.S. Shipping
    • U.S. Advertising in select media
    • Restaurants
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 60,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: First checked bag free, Priority Boarding, 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee (Rates & Fees)
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
View card details
1 6
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • NEW! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • NEW! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs® for you when travelling on a Delta flight.
  • NEW! Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book your Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
BEST PICK FOR

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $79
Regular APR 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard (Review) is one of the less expensive cards on this list, but it offers miles at a relatively high rate and has a good signup bonus, too. Frontier miles usually aren’t valued very highly, however, typically coming in around 1 cent each.

Take note that your Frontier miles will expire unless there is some activity in your Frontier Miles account at least once every six months. Any purchase will qualify as account activity, so you can just buy a pack of gum to keep your miles active.

This is quite a bit more strict than other airline programs, which either give you a longer period or have miles that don’t expire. We recommend setting alerts or notifications of some kind so you don’t forget.

Spending Rewards
  • 5X miles per dollar spent on purchases from Frontier Airlines
  • 3X miles per dollar at Restaurants
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 50,000 bonus miles after paying the annual fee and spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • Award redemption fee waiver: A fee waiver when you pay for flights using Frontier miles, starting at $5.60 for one-way tickets
  • $100 Frontier Flight Voucher: Get a $100 Flight Voucher after your account anniversary for every year that you spend at least $2,500.
  • Fast track to Elite Status: Earn 1 Qualifying Mile for every $1 spent on purchases.
  • Priority Boarding on Frontier flights: Zone 2 priority boarding privileges
  • Purchase APR: 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 billing cycles (for transfers completed within 45 days of account opening), then 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $79
  • 5X miles per dollar spent on purchases from Frontier Airlines
  • 3X miles per dollar spent at restaurants
  • Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after spending $500 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening and payment of the annual fee
  • No award redemption fee when you book an award ticket using your Frontier Airlines World Mastercard to pay the related taxes and fees, starting from $5.60 for a one-way ticket
  • $100 Frontier Airlines flight discount voucher after your account anniversary, after spending $2,500 on purchases in a given year
  • Use your Frontier Airlines Mastercard for at least one purchase every six months to keep your miles from expiring
  • 0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles (for transfers completed within 45 days of account opening) on balance transfers, and then your rate will be 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% Variable
  • View your FICO® Score online – with no charge and no hidden fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $79 Annual Fee
BEST PICK FOR

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee first year, then $99
Regular APR 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% variable Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® (Review) is your only consumer card option for flying Hawaiian Airlines.

The spending rewards are about average for an airline card, but it has a valuable annual companion discount that can completely offset the $99 annual fee.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X HawaiianMiles per dollar spent at Hawaiian Airlines
  • 2X HawaiianMiles per dollar spent on:
    • Gas
    • Dining
    • Groceries
  • 1X HawaiianMile per dollar spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • $100 annual companion ticket discount: Each year you’ll get a $100 discount on a companion ticket for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America.
  • One-time 50% companion ticket discount: Eligible for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America
  • Free first checked bag on Hawaiian Airlines flights: For the primary cardholder only
  • Discounted award prices for Hawaiian Airlines flights
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0 intro annual fee first year, then $99

Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®

  • 3X HawaiianMiles per dollar spent on purchases from Hawaiian Airlines
  • 2X HawaiianMiles per dollar spent on:
    • Gas
    • Dining
    • Office supplies
  • 1X HawaiianMile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 60,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days; 10,000 bonus miles if a purchase is made on an employee card in the first 90 days
  • Perks: One time 50% off companion discount, up to 40,000 annual bonus miles, discounted award flights
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99
View card details
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags for the primary cardmember when you use your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines
  • One-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines
  • Earn 3X miles on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2x miles on gas, dining and grocery store purchases
  • Earn 1X miles on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees means you don’t pay additional transaction fees on international purchases
  • Receive an annual $100 companion discount for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines after each account anniversary
  • Share Miles allows you to send and receive miles from family and friends through HawaiianAirlines.com, without a fee
  • No blackout dates
BEST PICK FOR

JetBlue

JetBlue Plus Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $99
Regular APR 18.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The JetBlue Plus Card is one of three rewards cards available through JetBlue. It offers more points than your average airline card, along with an excellent discount rate on in-flight purchases.

Spending Rewards
  • 6X points per dollar for JetBlue purchases
  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores
  • 1X point per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 40,000 bonus points for paying the annual fee and spending $1,000 on purchases in 90 days
  • 10% point redemption bonus
  • 5,000 annual bonus points: Get 5,000 bonus points every year on your account anniversary.
  • First checked bag is free on JetBlue flights: For you and up to three traveling companions
  • 50% discount on in-flight purchases on JetBlue flights: 50% off eligible in-flight purchases, like food and cocktails
  • Fast track to TrueBlue Mosaic status: Spend $50,000 on purchases in a given year to get TrueBlue Mosaic status for a year.
  • $100 vacation package credit: Get a $100 statement credit every year that you buy a vacation package of $100 or more.
  • Purchase APR: 18.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months (for balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening), then 18.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99

JetBlue Card

  • 3X points per dollar at JetBlue
  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Perk: 50% discount on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

JetBlue Business Mastercard®

  • 6X points per dollar for JetBlue purchases
  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores
  • 1X point per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days; 10,000 bonus points for adding an employee card within 30 days and making a purchase with that card within 90 days
  • Perks: 50% discount on in-flight purchases, free first checked bags, TrueBlue Mosaic boost, vacation package benefits
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99
View card details
1 2
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days.
  • Earn 6X points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2X points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1X point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year automatically after your account anniversary.
  • Get 10% of your points back every time you redeem.
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights.
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to three traveling companions.
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food.
  • Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card.
  • Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $99 annual fee.
BEST PICK FOR

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $149
Regular APR 15.99% - 22.99% Variable

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (Review) is the newest entry in Southwest’s line of credit cards, offering an annual flight credit to help offset the annual fee.

Read more about how you can fly for free with Southwest Airlines credit cards.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 1X point per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 7,500 annual bonus points: You’ll receive 7,500 bonus points every year on your account anniversary.
  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit: An automatic statement credit every year for Southwest purchases, excluding upgraded boardings and in-flight purchases
  • Upgraded Boardings: Get four upgraded boardings per year (reimbursed as a statement credit at the end of the year).
  • Tier Qualifying Points: Every $10,000 spent earns 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List status, up to $100,000 spent.
  • 20% discount on in-flight purchases on Southwest flights: 20% off eligible in-flight purchases, like food, drinks, and WiFi
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $149

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Perks: Anniversary bonus points, earn tier qualifying points
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99
View card details

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Annual fee: $69
View card details

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

  • 3X points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • 2X points per dollar spent on:
    • Social Media and Search Engine Advertising
    • Internet
    • Cable
    • Phone Services
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 70,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months; 30,000 points for spending $25,000 in the first 6 months
  • Perks: Four upgraded boardings per year, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, in-flight WiFi credits, anniversary bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $199
View card details

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 60,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Earn tier qualifying points, anniversary bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99
View card details
1 4
BEST PICK FOR

United Airlines

United Club℠ Infinite Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $525, $0 first year
Regular APR 16.49% - 23.49% Variable

Compared to the other United co-branded credit cards available, the United Club℠ Infinite Card (Review) is expensive ($525, $0 first year), but it comes with several perks to help make your time spent at airports and hotels more enjoyable.

Spending Rewards
  • 4X miles per dollar spent on United purchases
  • 2X miles per dollar spent for:
    • Restaurants
    • Travel
  • 1X mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • United Club membership: Complimentary membership to the United Club airport lounge, with free access for you and two guests
  • Premier Access airport travel services: Includes priority check-in and security screening, and boarding/baggage handling privileges
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit: Get a $100 credit for the application fee of Global Entry, or $85 for TSA PreCheck, once every four years.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Hotel perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, and room upgrades when available
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status: A 10% point bonus, room upgrades, and other benefits at Hyatt properties
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle Elite Status: Get a 25% point bonus, upgrades, and exclusive offers at Hertz.
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United award flights: MileagePlus Premier members can get award ticket upgrades when available.
  • Free first and second checked bags: For you and one traveling companion
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $525, $0 first year

United℠ Explorer Card

  • 2X MileagePlus miles per dollar spent:
    • United Airlines
    • Hotel accommodations made directly with the hotel
    • Restaurants
  • 1X MileagePlus mile per dollar spent on other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Two United Club passes, priority boarding, first checked bag free, 25% in-flight discount, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
View card details

United Gateway℠ Card

  • 3X United miles per dollar for Grocery store purchases (up to $1,500 spent per quarter, through 9/30/21)
  • 2X United miles per dollar for:
    • United purchases
    • Local transit and commuting
    • Gas
  • 1X United mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perk: 25% in-flight discount
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

United Club℠ Business Card

  • 2X MileagePlus miles per dollar spent on United Airlines
  • 1.5X MileagePlus miles per dollar spent on other purchases
  • 100,000 bonus miles for spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Perks: United Club membership, Premier Access travel services, first and second checked bags free, 25% in-flight discount
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450
View card details

United℠ Business Card

  • 2X miles per dollar for:
    • United Airlines
    • Local transit, commuting, and rideshare services
    • Gas stations
    • Office supply stores
    • Restaurants
  • 1X mile per dollar on every other purchase
  • 75,000 bonus miles for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perk: Two United Club passes, priority boarding, first checked bag free, 25% in-flight discount, $100 credit after seven United flights over $100
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99
View card details
1 4
BEST PICK FOR

Various Airlines

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $550
Regular APR See Pay Over Time APR
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Maybe you don’t have a favorite airline, or you tend to take whatever flight will work best for you. If that’s the case, a general travel rewards card will probably be more useful than a co-branded airline card.

General travel cards can be used to earn points anywhere, no matter which airline you’re taking. And they provide points for other travel purchases as well, like hotels, car rentals, and taxis.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) is a great example, with a 5X point category for airlines and some great transfer partners.

Airline and hotel transfer partners give you a way to move your points to your favorite loyalty programs, where they’ll often be worth more. So, if you’re planning a trip and you’ve got a bunch of points ready and waiting, you can transfer them to the airline you’re booking and look for a great redemption value.

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar (starting 1/1/21, on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year) on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Global Lounge Collection: Complimentary access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • Streaming & wireless telephone credit: Get up to $320 in statement credits when you use your card to purchase select streaming and wireless telephone services from U.S. providers (up to $20 per month each, until 12/31/20).
  • $200 annual airline fee credit: Good for incidental costs like baggage fees and in-flight food (not flight tickets) at your selected airline.
  • Uber VIP status and $200 annual Uber credit: $15 in statement credits for Uber rides each month, except for December which gets $35.
  • $100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years).
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: Daily breakfast for two, room upgrades when available, amenities valued at $100, and more at eligible properties.
  • Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
  • Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides (through 3/31/22)
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Travel (after using the full travel credit)
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Reward point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Perks: $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, Lyft Pink membership, DoorDash membership and credits, point transfer partners
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550
View card details

Citi Prestige® Card

  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Air travel
    • Restaurants
    • Online, cable, and streaming purchases (through 12/31/20)
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Hotels
    • Cruise lines
  • 1X ThankYou point per dollar spent on everything else
  • 50,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • Perks: 4th night free on hotel stays, Priority Pass Select membership, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, point transfer partners, $250 travel credit (Due to the impact of COVID-19, from 5/1/20 through 12/31/20, the $250 travel credit benefit will be expanded to include purchases made at supermarkets and restaurants)
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $495
View card details

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants worldwide
    • U.S. Supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
    • Flights booked through Amex Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for every other purchase
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
  • Perks: $100 flight credit, $120 dining credit, The Hotel Collection, point transfer partners
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250
View card details

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Lyft rides (through 3/31/22)
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Travel
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Reward point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 80,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: 25% redemption bonus, DoorDash membership, Shop through Chase/Chase Offers, primary auto rental collision damage waiver, point transfer partners
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • 5X miles per dollar with Uber Eats (through 1/31/21)
  • 2X miles per dollar on all other purchases
  • 100,000 bonus miles for spending $20,000 in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, Luxury Hotel Collection, point transfer partners
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on:
    • Flights on Amex Travel
    • Prepaid hotels on Amex Travel
  • 1.5X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million extra points per year)
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $15,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Up to $200 in airline fee statement credits annually; Global Lounge Collection airport lounge access; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit; Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • No foreign transaction fee (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $595
View card details
1 6
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more when you select one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Other Airline Credit Cards

Best for Card & Rewards Annual Fee
Allegiant Air Allegiant World Mastercard®

  • 3X points on Allegiant purchases
  • 2X points at select restaurants
  • 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
$59
Asiana Airlines Asiana Airlines Visa® Signature Credit Card

  • 3X miles per dollar on Asiana Airlines purchases
  • 2X miles on:
    • Gas
    • Groceries
  • 30,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
$99
British Airways British Airways Visa Signature® Card (Review)

  • 3X Avios per dollar on British Airways purchases
  • 50,000 bonus Avios for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 50,000 bonus Avios for spending $20,000 within the first year
$95
Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card

  • 2X miles on Cathay Pacific purchases
  • 1.5X miles on:
    • Dining
    • International purchases
  • 35,000 bonus miles after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
$95
Korean Air SKYPASS Visa Signature Credit Card

  • 2X miles for:
    • Korean Air purchases
    • Hotels
    • Airlines
    • Car rentals
  • 15,000 bonus miles after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
$95
LATAM Airlines LATAM Visa Signature® Card

  • 2X miles on LATAM Airlines ticket purchases
  • 20,000 bonus points after your first purchase
$75, $0 first year
Lufthansa Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® (Review)

  • 2X miles at Miles & More participating partners (Lufthansa and many others)
  • 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $25,000 in the first year
$89 (waived for Senator and HON Circle Members)
Spirit Airlines Spirit Airlines World Mastercard®

  • 2X miles per dollar for every purchase
  • 15,000 bonus miles after your first purchase
  • 15,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in the first 90 days
$59, $0 first year

How Do Airline Credit Cards Work?

Airline credit cards provide miles or points for the purchases you make. You can usually book flights with those rewards, shopping around until you find a good deal.

Some cards are designed to be used with various airlines — they provide rewards no matter what airline you’re booking. And you can typically transfer those rewards to a selection of airline partners, where you can use them as you see fit.

Other cards are co-branded with specific airlines. You’ll find cards dedicated to flying United, Southwest, American Airlines, Delta, and more.

What’s the Best Airline Credit Card?

There are a handful of top-notch airline cards. The right one for you will depend on your favorite airline:

How Much Are Airline Miles Worth?

The value of airline miles will vary depending on how you use them.

Say you have 10,000 miles, and you use them to book a flight worth $200 — that would mean your miles are worth 2 cents each. $200 divided by 10,000 miles equals $0.02 per mile.

Different airlines, routes, and fare classes may all lead to different values for miles. The same is true for certain times of year, and how far in advance you book.

Whether you’re flying with United, Southwest, Delta, or any other airline, it can pay to look for a good deal. It’s often wise to wait until you can get a high value per mile; until then, pay with your air miles credit card and keep stacking those rewards.

So, did you find the right airline card for you? If not, check out some general travel rewards credit cards that might be more your style. Or consider hotel credit cards, which are co-branded with specific hotels and tend to be quite valuable.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, Citi Prestige® Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

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