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Best Airline Credit Cards

Edvisors rate credit cards objectively based on credit card features, fees and interest rates, as well as how a credit card compares with similar cards within the same category. "Best" determinations are the solely the opinion of Edvisors.

 

If you are a frequent flier, applying for a few airline credit cards may be a good idea. Choosing an airline credit card can help you access a low introductory APR rate, balance transfer opportunities, and some great travel perks. Every airline offers at least one credit card, allowing members to earn points or miles through their loyalty programs.  Many cards even offer travel perks, including free bags, early boarding, and statement credits. The best airline credit cards depend on which airlines you prefer and if you travel frequently enough to use the benefits.

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

The best airline credit card offered by American Airlines is the Citi Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. All new cardholders earn 50,000 bonus  miles by spending $2,500 within the first 3 months of account opening. There are plenty of other perks besides miles that make this card a great deal. The $99 annual fee is waived the first year of use, and you earn two miles per $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants (including cafes, bars, lounges, and fast food restaurants), and on American Airlines purchases.  Users are also eligible for priority boarding, a free checked bag, and discounts on in-flight purchases, including internet and food. This card generally requires good to excellent FICO® credit score for approval.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card has been the gold standard of airline credit cards for years, and for a good reason. It is the best Delta card currently available because it offers many first-year benefits for cardholders. For example, new account holders can earn 40,000 airline miles by spending $1,000 on eligible purchases and up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases in the first 3 months after the account is approved for Card Membership. Delta also waives the $99 annual fee for the first year.

Furthermore, the card offers users two miles for every $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, and Delta flights. Additionally, users earn one mile for each dollar spent on other eligible purchases. Further, the primary account holder gets a free checked bag on each flight and can pass on the same reward to up to eight travel companions booked on the same reservation. The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express card requires excellent FICO® credit score for approval.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is the best credit card currently offered by Southwest. While the card has a $149 annual fee, it has other benefits that make up the extra expense.. The card also comes with 7,500 bonus points each year and a yearly $75 Southwest airline credit.  Card holders earn 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 25% on all purchases made on Southwest flights, including refreshments. In addition, all Southwest fliers receive two free checked bags per flight, with or without a credit card. This excellent baggage policy alone is reason enough to fly Southwest. You need good to excellent FICO® credit score to gain approval for this card.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp ℠ Card

This card is one of the few airline credit cards available with no annual fee. Airline cards charge notoriously high annual fees, but this card does not charge one, making it an excellent choice for consumers on a budget. In addition, the card offers 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit if the card holder spends $500 or more in the first 3 months of receiving the card. While this introductory bonus is not as generous as the AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, it is still in line with other airline cards. Further, cardmembers earn two miles for every $1 spent at supermarkets and on American Airlines services. The card offers one  mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Applicants need an excellent FICO® credit score to be approved for this card.

JetBlue Plus Card

The JetBlue Plus Card comes with a low annual fee and a generous rewards structure. New users get 50,000 bonus points for paying the annual fee of $99 in full and spending $1,000 within the first three months of opening an account. Members are also given 5,000 bonus points each year of membership. The rewards structure is higher than average, with six airline  points offered for every $1 spent directly with JetBlue. Users also earn two points for each $1 spent at restaurants and eligible grocery stores, and one point for each $1 spent everywhere else. Members also receive a free first checked bag and 50% off all eligible in-flight beverage and food purchases. An excellent FICO® credit score is recommended for applicants of this card.

Capital One Venture® Rewards Credit Card

While the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is not linked to a specific airline, it offers a flexible rewards structure frequent fliers should consider. New cardholders earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 in the first three months from account opening. Members earn two miles for every $1 spent on the card and 5 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. If you prefer flat-rate rewards, that can be achieved on everyday expenses, this may be the card for you. All miles can be redeemed for travel with a robust list of Capital One travel partners. While not every airline accepts Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card miles, many of the most popular U.S. airlines are partners. This card is often considered a direct competitor of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which also offers flat-rate travel rewards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a longer list of transfer partners, but the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has lower FICO® credit score requirements for approval.

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