The best airline credit cards. Selecting the “best” airline credit card really depends on individual needs, preferences, and travel habits. That said, many people look at factors such as rewards rates, sign-up bonuses, annual fees, and additional perks when comparing airline credit cards.
The best airline credit cards
Here are a few of the top airline credit cards as of my last training cut-off in 2023:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card:
- Rewards: Earn 2X points on dining and travel, 1X points on everything else.
- Bonus: Often offers a sizable sign-up bonus.
- Perks: Points can be transferred at a 1:1 rate to several airline and hotel partners.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express:
- Rewards: Earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Perks: Access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Select, and $200 airline fee credit annually.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card:
- Rewards: Earn 2X miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Perks: First checked bag free on Delta flights and priority boarding.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card:
- Rewards: Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
- Perks: $75 Southwest annual travel credit and 4 upgraded boardings per year.
- United℠ Explorer Card:
- Rewards: Earn 2X miles on United purchases, at restaurants, and on hotel stays.
- Perks: First checked bag free and two United Club one-time passes each year.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®:
- Rewards: Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases.
- Perks: First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries and preferred boarding.
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card:
- Rewards: Earn 3X miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines purchases.
- Perks: Famous annual companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days.
When choosing a card, consider the following:
- Travel habits: If you frequently fly with a specific airline, it may be beneficial to get that airline’s co-branded card.
- Annual fees: Some cards have high annual fees but offer benefits that can easily outweigh the cost if used frequently.
- Foreign transaction fees: If you travel internationally, look for cards without foreign transaction fees.
- Additional benefits: Some cards offer travel insurance, airport lounge access, or free checked bags.
Always make sure to review the latest offers and terms directly from the card issuers or consult with financial advisors before making a decision. The credit card landscape changes frequently, with new offers and benefits being introduced regularly.
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