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Airline Credit Cards

4.9 4.9 - 99 reviews for top rated card

Airline credit cards provide miles in exchange for every dollar you spend, redeemeable for free flights, hotel stays, car rentals and various other perks. There are two distinct types of airline miles credit cards: those that are tied to a specific air carrier and those offering generic miles, which can be redeemed for any flight on any airline. Though the former may offer more lucrative rewards, they require you to book your flights directly with the affiliated airline in order to maximize your earnings. Rewards flights may also be subject to blackout dates and limited seat availability. So, unless…show more

    Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one ventureone rewards credit card
    • 0% Purchases until February 2016
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 11.9% - 19.9% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Miles
    • Initial Bonus 20,000 miles
    • Earn Rate 1.25 miles / $1
    • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases until February 2016; 11.9%-19.9% variable APR after that
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • 100% free Capital One® Credit Tracker—see your monthly credit score anytime and get automatic alerts
    • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen.
    • 24-hour travel & emergency assistance gives you a replacement card and cash advance.
    • Auto rental insurance -- use your card to rent a car and you're covered for collision, damage, and loss.
    • Image Card -- personalize your card with an image of your choice.

    Citi Simplicity® Card


    citi simplicity credit card
    • 0% Purchases 18 months
    • 0% Transfers 18 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards None

    Citi® Double Cash Card


    citi double cash card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus None
    • Earn Rate 1% - 2% cash back
    • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
    • No Annual Fee

    Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card


    capital one quicksilver cash rewards credit card
    • 0% Purchases until November 2015
    • 0% Transfers until November 20153% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.9% - 22.9% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus $100
    • Earn Rate 1.5% cash back
    • 0% intro APR on purchases until November 2015; 12.9%-22.9% variable APR after that
    • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR until November 2015, a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
    • Capital One® Credit Tracker — the free way to easily monitor your monthly credit score anytime, anywhere
    • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

    Chase Slate®


    chase slate
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 monthsNo Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0
    • Rewards None

    Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express


    american express blue
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 12.99%-21.99%
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus $100
    • Earn Rate 1% - 3% cash back
    • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

    Capital One® Platinum Prestige Credit Card


    capital one platinum prestige credit card
    • 0% Purchases until May 2016
    • 0% Transfers until May 20163% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 10.9% - 18.9% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards None

    Chase Freedom®


    chase freedom credit card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% (min $5) Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 13.99% - 22.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Cash Back
    • Initial Bonus $100
    • Earn Rate 1% - 5% cash back
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
    • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open

    Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard®


    barclaycard credit card
    • 0% Purchases Not Offered
    • 0% Transfers Not Offered
    • Regular Rate 24.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Points
    • Initial Bonus None
    • Earn Rate 1 - 2 points/$1
    • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active card members. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.
    • No annual fee.
    • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly providing you the opportunity to rebuild your credit score.

    U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card


    us bank platinum credit card
    • 0% Purchases 15 months
    • 0% Transfers 15 months3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular Rate 9.99% - 23.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site
    • Annual Fee $0*
    • Rewards None

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    EXPERT’S ANSWERS

    Do I have to be a frequent flyer to get an airline miles credit card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOWhile frequent flyers will certainly benefit more from a miles credit card than others, as long as you travel at least once a year, you can extract significant value from such a card. This is especially true given the attractive initial rewards bonuses that many airline rewards credit cards now offer, which often equate to one or more free flights. However, no matter how attractive these initial bonuses are, if commercial travel isn’t your cup of tea, you will inevitably redeem miles for non-travel goods of services and would therefore have been better off applying for a points or cash back credit card from the get go.

    What to look for when evaluating airline rewards programs:

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOIt’s often difficult to evaluate airline credit cards because you not only have the typical credit card concerns to worry about (e.g. credit standing, fee structure, etc.), but you must also tackle issues unique to airline rewards programs (e.g. whether there’s an airline affiliation, relative differences in value between miles in each program, etc.). Credit card disclosures are by no means short either, so to make things easier on yourself not only use Card Hub’s credit card comparison tool (we’re obviously biased in this regard), but also be on the lookout for the following key pieces of information:
    1. Airline Affiliation: Some airline cards offer generic miles that can be redeemed for flights on any airline. Others are tied to particular airlines and provide miles usable only for flights with affiliated carriers. The former are good for both the infrequent traveler and those who travel a lot, but on different airlines. The latter are only good for brand-loyal frequent flyers.
    2. Initial Rewards Bonus: The initial bonus that you can earn during the first few months of card use is an extremely important consideration. The reason for that is bonus miles on certain cards may even exceed the number of miles attainable from a full year of card use.
    3. Earning Rate: You need to figure out how quickly you’ll be accruing miles, as this dictates how lucrative each card you consider will be. Just be aware of cards that require you to sign up on a quarterly basis in order to be eligible for the highest rewards earning rates.
    4. Earning Tiers: Airline miles credit cards sometimes distribute miles at a particular rate up to a designated spending threshold, at which time the rewards earning rate changes. Depending on your spending habits, this could significantly alter the net earning rate a given card provides.
    5. Expiration: If your airline miles will expire at some point, you clearly need to know about it. When present, expiration is typically linked to either account inactivity or the amount of time elapsed since miles were earned.
    6. Redemption Policy: You must know the number of miles it takes to get free flights and other perks because this will clue you in to how much these miles are actually worth and how long it will take for you to see tangible benefits. In addition, you need to figure out whether any redemption limitations, such as blackout dates or limited seat availability, apply in order to make sure that the miles you earn can actually be put to use.
    7. Status Miles: For frequent flyers choosing between multiple airline miles cards tied to the same airline or deciding which airline to cast their allegiances with, the inclusion of status miles and the rate at which they can be earned is key.

    What’s the difference between airline miles and airline status miles?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOAs is the case with hotel credit cards, airline rewards cards offer two types of miles: those redeemable for free flights, upgrades, etc. and those that allow you to climb the loyalty status ladder. All credit cards with airline miles offer the former; however, only those affiliated with a particular airline offer the latter. Garnering airline status miles should not be a priority unless you fly often and exclusively with a given airline, as you may have to pay a higher annual fee to get an airline card offering them.

    Which airline has the most rewarding credit card?

    By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorThere is no overall “best airline credit card,” as how rewarding each airline credit card is depends on the individual and how he or she uses it. In other words, the best airline credit card is whichever meshes best with your lifestyle. After all, a credit card offering 15 miles per dollar spent on a certain airline might seem good, but it wouldn’t have much practical value if you never fly with that carrier. This also means that the best airline credit card for many people is actually none at all. In fact, you shouldn’t make rewards of any kind a priority unless you pay your monthly credit card bills in full AND have good or excellent credit.

    Airline credit cards vs. Cash back credit cards

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOThough they don’t have the branding, cash back credit cards can actually be the best airline credit cards. While this might seem confusing at first, cash back rewards obviously cannot be devalued and can be redeemed for anything, unlike airline miles. This is especially important for people who don’t fly or use their credit cards very often. Just think: If you aren't a heavy credit card spender, it might take you a couple of years to get enough miles for a free flight. By that time, your interests, financial situation, or even the airline’s rewards program may have changed, making those miles much less useful than when you first started accumulating them. In this scenario, wouldn't you be better off using cash back to subsidize travel expenses once a month or every year, rather than waiting two years to see any benefit?

    Should I have more than one rewards credit card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEONo matter how good a particular airline credit card is, there are going to be other rewards cards out there that are better in certain areas, and adding a couple of them to your rewards card arsenal can help you strategically maximize the free money you get. More specifically, rewards credit cards can benefit you in two ways: 1) Initial Bonuses: Free flights, gift cards, or cash for opening a new card or spending a certain amount within the first few months; 2) Ongoing Use: According to the Island Approach, you should have 2-3 rewards credit cards that complement each other and mirror your biggest expense categories. For example, if you are using the Delta Airline Miles Credit Card for most of your purchases, you may be able to find a cash back card that offers 5% cash back on gas stations and department stores and will therefore save you more money on these specific types of purchases than the Delta Card.

    -- Questions --

    COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

    Ask a question or help others find the best airline credit cards by sharing some tips.

     
    Feb 17, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Belle Ann--

    Feb 17, 2015
    Airline credit cards definitely have perks but only if you travel enough for them to make a difference. I personally always search for the cheapest deals so I “airline shop” and go with whatever offers me the best deal but I only travel about four times a year tops whereas my Father travels literally every single week. In his case, he is very loyal to a specific airline because it ends up saving him a lot of money to use an airline card. His card gives him frequent flier points on all of his purchases; I know he has gotten a LOT of points and usage and free flights from constantly using his Gold Delta Skymiles card. With how often he travels, he racks up a LOT of points which can then be used for free upgrades and free flights. Its worth it if you travel enough!
    Feb 14, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Michelle Olin--

    Feb 14, 2015
    I have two miles cards that I use - The Spirit Airlines card is amazing - I was able to get free flights for 6 people from Detroit to Orlando, with no questions asked. The problem with Spirit is that you have to be able to travel on their off-peak days. We had to fly on a Tuesday to get the flights. I also have an American Express card with Delta miles. It is good too - the plus side is that availability is not an issue, but you need a lot more miles in order to be able to travel with the card in general. It's also great to travel with because both cards allow you to board first, and the Delta card allows you to have free bags.
    Oct 12, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Veronica Meyers--

    Oct 12, 2014
    I have the Gold Delta SkyMiles card from American Express. I often fly through Delta so using this card has allowed me to redeem a few free flights.
    Oct 6, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Terence Pan--

    Oct 6, 2014
    Airline credit cards can be useful to a traveler only if that traveler has an airline that they always use. It would not help someone that uses a website like kayak to just use the cheapest airfare. I use a United one, but they usually have higher prices so I normally don’t plan to fly them.
    Sep 27, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Benchguy Gallarde--

    Sep 27, 2014
    In my experience Airline credit cards were very useful for us to travel anywhere, but it depends also on the card provider too, my experience is good while I was travelling from Chicago to Europe I used my credit card mostly for what I like to buy during my trip. . Hotels, restaurants, and elsewhere I used my credit card, no hustle during that time.
    Sep 13, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Cindi Hounton--

    Sep 13, 2014
    I fly about once a year and honestly most cards are just not worth it. Instead I use cash back cards like that give you 1 percent straight cash back and 5 percent in revolving categories. I've tried two airline cards: Southwest which has an annual feel. After the annual fee, I don't think that I really got a bargain. I also tried Spirit Airlines card which had the fee waived the first year and a bonus. When I tried to use the bonus points it wasn't all that easy and the price after the points wasn't that much cheaper than the cheapest flight I found on hotwire. My conclusion is that I'm better off with a card that gives straight cash back and finding a cheap flight.
    Sep 4, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from James Dalton--

    Sep 4, 2014
    I've had the American Express Platinum Delta Skymiles card for over 10 years and if you travel alot it really comes in handy. I love the fact that you get priority boarding, so there is no waiting or pushing or shoving to get on the plane. The baggage insurance is also a big plus as it came in handy when I went on a trip to the Caribbean. The airline somehow ended up losing my luggage, but I was quickly reimbursed and was able to replace all that was lost. It is a good card to have as it has a lot of perks for travellers.
    Jan 9, 2015
    Photo of Terrance M.
    Jan 9, 2015
    Yes, I've had the same experience with American Express as well. Their customer service is very good, they step up if you have any problems on your trip. I lost my card once in Hawaii, and the next day I got a replacement at my hotel!
    Sep 1, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Swetha Wetta--

    Sep 1, 2014
    I use the United Mileage Plus Visa card whenever I travel. I often use United when flying so the bonus miles that I get with this card is really convenient. I even got one free flight to Las Vegas because I earned enough points.
    Nov 25, 2014
    Photo of Manda S.
    Nov 25, 2014
    I also use this card and I think it's a great card to have. While I have not earned a free flight yet, I'm close to it. The bonus miles are definitely a plus.

    That's exciting that you got a free flight to Vegas, I'd love to get one to there as well!
    Aug 27, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Brittany Venegas--

    Aug 27, 2014
    I absolutely think that airline credit cards are worth it, especially for the avid traveler. The rewards are great, and if you find one that does not let the points expire, even better. It is always great when you are able to travel for less money. Sometimes, the perks are worth it too, such as free car rental, extra luggage, foreign fees, upgrades, or purchase protection. Overall, airline credit cards are a nice thing if you find the right one.
    Aug 6, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Not-Eevee Sylveon--

    Aug 6, 2014
    Traveling with a miles card is definitely worth it, every time. I always make sure to use my Capital One card when I travel overseas to rack up the miles because I often travel at least a few times a year. Having no annual fee is also really helpful for a young person like me just starting out with credit cards as well. I remember using my Capital One last year when I took a trip to Japan, and the amount of miles I was able to get from just the one way trip alone was pretty good. Not to mention your miles don't expire, which is really good for you even if you travel somewhat infrequently. Low APR is nice for me too, and I think overall it's a great card for those of us who are just starting out with credit cards in general.
    Aug 2, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Aloysius Chien--

    Aug 2, 2014
    I used my American Express Green Card to travel to Europe last winter and it actually helped me a lot because my luggage got lost in Rotterdam and the trip protection that comes default with the card helped me to recover the value of them. Not only that but I collected Amex points on it for the travel that I could transfer to other airline travel rewards programs too. Win-win-win!
    Jul 22, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Lenny Deadski--

    Jul 22, 2014
    Airline credit cards can be really useful for a frequent traveler. As a man who takes many business trips, im aware that some credit cards although they may give you rewards for airfare and hotel stays can be burdensome. The low intro rates creep up, the rewards are too site specific and the keeping track of them can take a good chunk of your free time away. Luckily i have run into a couple of cards that give great rewards, have and hold reasonable rates and allow me to make money off my travelling when you factor in my job's reimbursement programs. Depending on which card and your credit score you should be able to find a useful and cost effective airline credit card. I mean airline credit cards can be useful to anyone if the rates are reasonable becauseyou never know when you just might want to get away.
    Jul 18, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Brian Bartone--

    Jul 18, 2014
    Even though I am not necessarily a frequent traveler, I decided to try the Capital One Venture Rewards Card back in 2012 when some close friends and I went on a cruise. Weeks before we even left for the first one, we had pretty much confirmed there would be more cruises to come, possibly one every year, since they aren’t too expensive in the just of things. I knew Capital One was the brand I wanted to go with since I do have one another credit card, which happens to be a Capital One Platinum card. This card is pretty decent, nothing special, but they do follow through with their rewards. I have always been content as a Capital One customer. The guys and I have gone on 2 cruises now, both times we fly, and I did use my Venture card both times.
    Jul 15, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Christina Cortez--

    Jul 15, 2014
    i have a card that i use to buy tickets whenever i am flying, and since i fly very often i find it very useful to be able to earn miles that i can use towards going on my next trip or a trip i take in the future, it is much more useful because i could easily buy tickets on a regular card and not earn any miles or points towards anything else. Just recently i used my american airlines card to fly to mexico both for a vacation and also a wedding, i also travel to puerto rico, costa rica and cuba. On the american airlines card they almost give you double back as to what you spend which is great!
    May 24, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Chad Kiah--

    May 24, 2014
    I recently took a trip south on American Airlines. I have the American Airlines Advantage Mastercard that I use all the time. On this particular trip, I used my card to buy my ticket because one of the benefits to using this card to purchase the ticket is that you receive double miles. By using that card, I'm a few more miles closer to my next vacation destination. I highly recommend the card, especially if you travel frequently. The annual fee more than covers your flights you will receive if you use the card frequently. Happy flying folks!
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