Airline Credit Cards

DATE UPDATED: 2019-10-25
AUTHOR: Madelene Kristensson

Choosing the best airline credit card

At FlightsFrom.com we want you to get the most out of your travels as possible. If you're a frequent flyer that's loyal to a certain airline or alliance, applying for a loyalty program should be on the top of your list. But actually flying is not the only way to earn does coveted miles and get rewards like a free trip. With an airline credit card you can accumulate miles by simply spending dollars, on of course travels; but also at your favourite restaurant, the shopping mall or your daily order at the local coffee shop - which will certainly get you that free flight even sooner. 

Ready to start accumulate even more miles? We've put together this comparison of all the best airline credit cards out there - making it easy to find the airline credit card best suited for you.

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Compare Airline Credit Cards

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Good - Excellent

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

With the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card you can earn miles everyday by simply using the card for your daily purchases. For every dollar spent you earn two miles to your account and the more you use your card, the closer you get to that free flight everybody’s looking for. What’s great about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is that it’s not connected to a certain airline. You can therefore pick and choose when it comes to which carrier you want to redeem your miles with. And even better; there’s no blackout dates or seat restrictions when booking a reward flight. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year. When first applying for the credit card you’re offered a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles, which will be transferred as soon as you reach the minimum spending requirement of $3,000 within the first three months.

Rewards Rate

  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase
  • 10X Earn 10 miles per dollar at selected hotels through hotels.com/venture
  • Intro Bonus
    50,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $95 waived the first year
  • Regular APR
    17.49-24.74% variable

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With a juicy sign-up bonus of 60,000 points the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will get you that coveted reward flight in no time. That is if you reach the minimum spending limit of $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. When using the card you’ll earn one point per dollar on your everyday purchases and two points per dollar on travel as well as at restaurants all across the globe. You can also use the card abroad without worrying about expensive fees; the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has no foreign transaction fee. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is not co-branded with a specific airline, which mean that once it’s time to redeem those hard-earned points you can choose from a variety of carriers. You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 value to ten different frequent flyer programs.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on travel and dining
  • Intro Bonus
    60,000 Points
  • Annual Fee
    $95
  • Regular APR
    17.99-24.99% variable

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card is a free credit card with which you can accumulate miles in Delta’s frequent flyer program SkyMiles®. For every dollar you spend on U.S. restaurants or directly with Delta you earn two miles and for every other purchase you make, you’re awarded one mile. Because there’s no annual fee, the credit card does not come with a lot of travel benefits such as priority boarding or free checked bags. You do however get a 20% statement credit when you use your card for in-flight purchases. When you first apply for the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card you have a chance of earning 10,000 bonus miles. To get the bonus you need to spend $500 within the first three months of your membership.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on purchases made directly with Delta.
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar at US restaurants
  • Intro Bonus
    10,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Regular APR
    17.49-26.49% variable

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Unlike the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, which is totally free, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card has an annual fee of $95. The fee is however waived the first year. You can therefore focus on meeting the minimum spending requirement ($2,000 within the first three months) to get the big welcome bonus of 60,000 miles. Like the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, you accumulate miles in Delta’s frequent flyer program SkyMiles®, where you can redeem miles for rewards like upgrades and free flights. With the card you’ll earn one mile per dollar on all of your everyday purchases and two miles per dollar on all purchases made directly with Delta. With the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card you also get travel benefits like the first checked bag free and priority boarding on all Delta flights.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Intro Bonus
    60,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $95 waived the first year
  • Regular APR
    17.49-26.49% variable

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Even though it has a pretty low annual fee of $75, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card comes with a lot of perks and benefits. First of all, you earn three miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. You also get travel benefits such as the first checked bag for free for you and up to six travel companions, 50% discount on day passes at the Alaska lounge and 20% savings on all in-flight purchases. Add to that, that the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card has no foreign transaction fees and you can choose to redeem your miles with Alaska Airlines or any of its more than 12 airline partners. If you spend $2,000 within the first 90 days as a card holder you’re awarded 40,000 bonus miles to your account.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 3X Earn 3 miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines purchases
  • Intro Bonus
    40,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $75
  • Regular APR
    17.74-25.74 variable

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

When applying to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card you have a chance of earning a 60,000 point sign-up bonus and by that; get a jump start on your hunt for points. To get the bonus points you need to meet the minimum spending requirement of first $1,000 within the first three months to earn 40,000 points and then $12,000 within the first year to earn an extra 20,000 points. You also get 3,000 extra points on every cardmember anniversary. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has an annual fee of only $69, which does not mean travel perks like priority boarding or free checked bags, but you do get two points for every dollar spent on Southwest purchases and at hotel and car rental partners as well as one point per dollar on all other purchases. Another great thing is that when redeeming miles for rewards there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions to consider.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 point per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • Intro Bonus
    60,000 Points
  • Annual Fee
    $69
  • Regular APR
    17.99-24.99% variable

United℠ Explorer Card

If you’re a loyal United customer and want to accumulate miles in United’s frequent flyer program MileagePlus, the Explorer Card could be the credit card for you. The annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year, give you benefits like your first bag checked for free, priority boarding and two one-day passes each year to the United Club. You also get 25% back in credit for all in-flight purchases. To reach the ultimate goal (free flights) you should start by meeting the minimum spending requirement ($2,000 within the first three months) and bring in the sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles. You also earn miles by simply using the credit card for everyday purchases; which give you one mile per dollar. Add to that, two miles on every dollar spent at restaurants, hotels and directly with United.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on directly purchased United tickets
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on hotels and restaurants
  • Intro Bonus
    40,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $95 waived the first year
  • Regular APR
    18.49-25.49% variable

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

With an annual fee of $149 the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is a bit more expensive than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, but it also comes with more perks. Just like the Plus Credit Card you can earn a 40,000 point sign-up bonus when meeting the spending requirements of $1,000 within the first three months and an extra 20,000 points when spending $12,000 within the first year. You’re also awarded with bonus points each cardmember anniversary; in this case a whopping 7,500 points. When it comes to travel perks the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card give you four upgraded boardings, 20% back in credit on in-flight purchases and a $75 Southwest travel credit each year. When using the card for purchases you earn two mile per dollar with Southwest, hotel and car rental partners and one mile per dollar on everything else.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 point per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • Intro Bonus
    60,000 Points
  • Annual Fee
    $149
  • Regular APR
    17.99-24.99% variable

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

See those points pile up fast when applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. The credit card has an annual fee of $99 and comes with a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 points. When meeting the minimum spending requirement of $1,000 within the first three months of your membership you get 40,000 extra points, and if you spend $12,000 during your first year as a member you get an extra 20,000 points transferred to your account. You’ll probably also be glad to hear that every cardmember anniversary you’re awarded with 6,000 points. If you use the credit card for everyday purchases you get one point per dollar. For each dollar spent on Southwest purchases or hotel and car rental partners you get two points. You can redeem your accumulated points for free flights among other things and you don’t have to worry about any blackout dates or seat restrictions.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 point per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • Intro Bonus
    60,000 Points
  • Annual Fee
    $99
  • Regular APR
    17.99-24.99% variable

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is a no annual fee credit card, with which you can earn miles in American Airlines’ frequent flyer program AAdvantage. If you meet the minimum spending requirements of $500 within the first three months, you earn 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit, which gives you a great start in your hunt for miles. Another way to accumulate miles is to use the card for everyday purchases (one mile per dollar), for American Airlines purchases (two miles per dollar) and at grocery stores (two miles per dollar). Because this is a no annual fee credit card, it means no travel benefits such as priority boarding or lounge access. What you do get however is 25% savings on in-flight purchases of food and beverage on all American Airlines’ flights.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar at grocery stores
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases
  • Intro Bonus
    10,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Regular APR
    17.74-25.74% variable

United℠ Explorer Business Card

The United℠ Explorer Business Card has an annual fee of $95 and a huge sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 miles. The first 50,000 bonus miles will be transferred to your account after you meet the spending limit of $5,000 within the first three months. You’ll be rewarded with the other 50,000 miles once you’ve spent $25,000 within the first six months. The United℠ Explorer Business Card also comes with travel benefits like your first checked bag for free on all United’s flights, two one-time passes each year to the United Club and free employee cards. You earn miles by flying with United and it’s partners as well as on everyday purchases. For example, you get two miles per dollar at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores, two miles per dollar on all United purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on United purchases
  • Intro Bonus
    100,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $95
  • Regular APR
    17.74-24.74% variable

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®

With the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® you can accumulate miles that can be redeemed for free reward flights with both Virgin Atlantic and its airline partners. Get a head start on your mile hunt by spending at least $2,000 within the first 90 days of account opening, which will get you 60,000 bonus miles. The Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® has an annual fee of $90 and can be applied to by U.S. residents only. There’s no foreign transaction fee which make it easy to use when traveling abroad. When using the credit card for purchases with Virgin Atlantic you earn 3 miles on every dollar spent. You earn 1.5 miles per dollar on all other purchases and there’s no limit to how many miles you can accumulate.

Rewards Rate

  • 1.5X Earn 1.5 miles per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 3X Earn 3 miles per dollar on Virgin Atlantic purchases
  • Intro Bonus
    60,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $90
  • Regular APR
    16.74-24.74% variable

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Earn up to a whopping 100,000 bonus Avios (British Airways miles) when first applying for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. Spend $3,000 within the first three months to get 50,000 bonus Avios and $20,000 in total within the first year to earn another 50,000 bonus Avios. On each dollar spent at purchases with British Airways as well as partner airlines Aer Lingus, Iberia and Level, you earn three Avios. You also earn two Avios per dollar on hotels and one Avios per dollar on everyday purchases. The annual fee is $95, which does not give you lounge access or priority boarding, but two of the big sales arguments is that there’s no foreign transaction fee to consider when traveling abroad and that you get a Travel Together Ticket when you make purchases of at least $30,000 with the card within one year.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on hotel accomodations
  • 3X Earn 3 miles per dollar on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Level purchases
  • Intro Bonus
    100,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $95
  • Regular APR
    17.99-24.99% variable

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is a business credit card co-branded with Southwest Airlines, that has an annual fee of only $99. If you are a new cardholder you have the chance of earning 60,000 bonus points - the bonus points will be transferred to your account after you meet the minimum spending requirement of $3,000 within the first three months. This is not the only way to get bonus points though; each cardmember anniversary you’re awarded with 6,000 points. When using the credit card for everyday purchases you get one point per dollar. For each dollar spent on Southwest purchases or hotel and car rental partners however, you get two points. You can also add employee cards and let your employees earn points for you. When it is time to redeem your well earned points there’s no blackout dates, no seat restrictions and no change fees to consider.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 point per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • Intro Bonus
    60,000 Points
  • Annual Fee
    $99
  • Regular APR
    17.99-24.99% variable

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® you get a full Admirals Club® membership as well as access for possible travel companions. The annual fee is quite steep; $450, but if lounge access is something that’s important to you this is the credit card to go with. Except Admirals Club® membership, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® also gives you get both priority boarding and the first checked bag free for yourself and up to 8 travel companions on all American Airlines flights. When using the credit card for everyday purchases you earn one mile per dollar and for purchases directly with American Airlines you earn two miles per dollar. The sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles will be transferred to your account after you meet the minimum spending requirement of $5,000 within the first three months as a cardholder.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on purchase directly with American Airlines
  • Intro Bonus
    50,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $450
  • Regular APR
    17.49-25.49% variable

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express is another credit card that includes lounge access in the annual fee. For $450 a year you get a full Delta Sky Club® membership, which give you access to lounges all across the world. You also get to bring up to two companions for a discounted rate. The Delta Reserve® Credit Card comes with travel benefits such as priority boarding and the first bag checked for free on all Delta flights, and each year you’re awarded with a companion pass. If you spend at least $5,000 within the first three months as a cardholder you get 75,000 bonus miles as well as 10,000 Medallion Qualifications Miles (MQMs). There’s also an annual bonus of 15,000 miles and 15,000 MQMs if you spend more than $30,000 within a calendar year and an additional 15,000 miles and 15,000 MQMs to be earned if you spend more than $60,000.

Rewards Rate

  • 1X Earn 1 mile per dollar on everyday purchases
  • 2X Earn 2 miles per dollar on purchases directly with Delta
  • Intro Bonus
    75,000 Miles
  • Annual Fee
    $450 ($550 if application is recieved on or after 1/30/2020)
  • Regular APR
    17.49-26.49% variable

Good - Excellent

Opinions expressed here are author´s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the article.