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Airline Credit Cards

The best airline credit cards provide at least a couple of miles in exchange for every dollar you spend, redeemable for free flights, hotel stays, car rentals and various other perks. There are two distinct types of airline miles credit cards listed here (some of which are from CardHub sponsors): 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…show more

    3.5 3,100 reviews

    Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one ventureone
    • Purchase Intro APR 0% for 12 months
    • Transfer Intro APR Not Offered
    • Regular APR 12.24% - 22.24% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 1.25 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 20,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Good
    • Rewards Details
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel
    • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
    • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
    • Miles don’t expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
    • Additional Info
    • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 12.24%-22.24% variable APR after that
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Fraud Coverage - $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
    • Warranty Manager/Extended Protection - provides you with valuable features to help manage, use, and even extend warranties of items purchased with your card.
    • Auto rental insurance - use your card to rent an eligible vehicle and you’re covered for collision, damage, and loss
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
    3.5 407 reviews

    Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®


    barclaycard arrival
    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR 0% for 12 months 3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular APR 16.24% - 24.24% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 20,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Good
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
    • Earn 2X miles on travel & dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
    • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem for travel statement credits
    • Additional Info
    • Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad
    • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
    • 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 16.24%, 20.24% or 24.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.
    • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®
    4.5 2,589 reviews

    Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®


    barclaycard arrival plus
    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR 0% for 12 months 3% Transfer Fee
    • Regular APR 16.24% - 20.24% (V)
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $89 after
    • Rewards Rate 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Good
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
    • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
    • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem for travel statement credits
    • Additional Info
    • Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad
    • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
    • 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, currently 16.24% or 20.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.
    • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
    4 1,620 reviews

    Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card


    capital one venture
    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR Not Offered
    • Regular APR 13.24% - 23.24% (V)
    • Annual Fee $0 for 1st yr, $59 after
    • Rewards Rate 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 40,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Good
    • Rewards Details
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel
    • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
    • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
    • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
    • Additional Info
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
    • Fraud Coverage - You're covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
    • Travel upgrades and savings - Receive complimentary upgrades and special savings at hotels, resorts, and spas with your Visa Signature® card.
    • Complimentary concierge service - Enjoy assistance 24 hours a day, from home and when you travel, with Visa Signature® Concierge.
    • Special access to events - Your Visa Signature® card gets you special access and preferred seating at popular sporting events, premier golf outings, and concerts.
    • Travel & Emergency Assistance - Available 24/7 to help connect you with local emergency and assistance resources when you're away from home
    • Emergency Card Services - If your credit card is lost or stolen, you can get an emergency card replacement and a cash advance.
    • Auto Rental Insurance - use your card to rent an eligible vehicle and you’re covered for collision, damage, and loss
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
    4 369 reviews

    Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express


    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR Not Offered
    • Regular APR 15.49% - 19.49% (V)
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $95 after
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 50,000 miles +$50 statement credit
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Special Offer Expires July 6, 2016: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.
    • Additionally, earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
    • Get 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Get 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
    • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
    • Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding.
    • Terms and Conditions apply.
    • Additional Info
    • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
    4 178 reviews

    Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express


    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR Not Offered
    • Regular APR 15.49% - 19.49% (V)
    • Annual Fee $195
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 60,000 miles+10,000 MQMs+$100 statement credit
    • Minimum Credit Good
    • Rewards Details
    • Special Offer Expires July 6, 2016: Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you make $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.
    • Additionally, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
    • Earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
    • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
    • Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
    • Terms and Conditions apply.
    • Additional Info
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
    3 299 reviews

    Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®


    aadvantage credit card
    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR Not Offered
    • Regular APR 14.24% - 22.24% (V)
    • Annual Fee None 1st yr, $95 after
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 30,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
    • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
    • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights*
    • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
    • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
    • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
    • Additional Info
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
    4 150 reviews

    Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®


    citi executive aadvantage credit card
    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR Not Offered
    • Regular APR 15.49% (V)
    • Annual Fee $450
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 2 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 60,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Excellent
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
    • Admirals Club® membership for you with guest privileges*
    • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
    • 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles from American Airlines after $40,000 spent on purchases every year (January through December billing statement)*
    • 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 eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
    • Additional Info
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®
    5 114 reviews

    China Airlines Credit Card


    china airlines credit card
    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR 0% for 6 months 5% Transfer Fee
    • Regular APR 16.24% - 20.24% (V)
    • Annual Fee None
    • Rewards Rate 0.5 - 1 mile / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 2,500 miles
    • Minimum Credit Good
    3.5 284 reviews

    Alaska Airlines Credit Card


    alaska airlines visa
    • Purchase Intro APR Not Offered
    • Transfer Intro APR Not Offered
    • Regular APR 12.49% - 19.49% (V)
    • Annual Fee $75
    • Rewards Rate 1 - 3 miles / $1
    • Rewards Bonus 30,000 miles
    • Minimum Credit Good
    • Rewards Details
    • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days.
    • Receive an annual companion fare from US $121 ($99, plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. There are no blackout dates.
    • Earn 3 miles for every qualifying dollar in purchases of Alaska Airlines tickets, in-flight purchases, Vacation packages and Cargo purchases.
    • Earn 1 mile per $1 in retail purchases
    • Earn up to 5 miles per $1 spent using Mileage Plan Dining
    • First Checked Bag Free for you and up to 6 companions booked on your reservation
    • Additional Info
    • Overdraft Protection.
    • Enjoy greater security and peace of mind with a credit card enhanced by chip technology—soon to be the security standard in the U.S. Plus, chip credit cards are accepted in more than 130 countries including Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
    • ShopSafe®
    • See More Details & Reviews About The Alaska Airlines Credit Card
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    Credit Score
    Excellent Credit 721 – 850
    Good Credit 661 – 720
    Fair Credit 620 – 660
    Bad Credit 300 – 619
    Limited Credit Less than 3 years
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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.

    Community Discussion

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

     
    Oct 20, 2015
    By:
    Following Credit Karma's advice, I went with the Capital One Venture, failing to even notice it had rewards. I was, literally, in shock last month when I found out I have $400 worth of travel expenses waiting on me. Good bye Greyhound!
    Oct 20, 2015
    By:
    I applied for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard to get a quick boost to my AAdvantage mileage account. The bonus miles posted around 6 weeks after meeting the minimum spend. I booked an award itinerary to North Asia shortly after, and the 10% mileage rebate automatically appeared within a few weeks of booking. My family and I have saved hundreds of dollars on baggage fees-- thanks to the credit card's free checked bag perk when flying domestically on Americans Airlines and US Airways. By earning miles through credit card purchases, this card prevents all accumulated Aadvantage miles from expiring.
    Oct 20, 2015
    By:
    I think the best airline credit cards simply make it easy for you to accrue miles. Good bonuses for signing up for the card make for a great way to get a big boost in your current miles. It's also important though, that it isn't difficult to continue to get miles for using the card. They not only help you build your bonus miles, but help you to keep miles from expiring if you don't fly often.
    Oct 6, 2015
    By:
    I use the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. The reason why I chose it was that Delta is one of my favorite airlines to use. Usually I take a vacation almost every 4 months. When I first started to go to vacations I didn't know about airline cars. Later when I found it was great. Airline cards get you free miles which when gathered up can get you a free plane ticket. The best way to use it when making big purchases and regular day shopping. The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is the best card for me. It has a great interface and you get a 30000 mile bonus and $50 statement credit.
    Sep 2, 2015
    By:
    I use the Southwest card and I think it's great. You get 25,000 points just for signing up, which comes out to about the cost of a one-way ticket. After that, they give you annual membership bonuses of 6,000 points, which is what you normally get when you purchase a 1 way ticket. The best part about this card is that the points never expire and I have never seen a blackout date. Southwest is my favorite airline since it's a simple way to travel, so it makes sense to use their card as well to reap the benefits.
    Aug 16, 2015
    By:
    I have the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. I chose this card because of the benefits to my Delta membership. For signing up I received free miles and when I purchase I receive miles. I don't know a whole lot about credit card rates but I've been very happy with this system so far.
    Aug 13, 2015
    By:
    I have used the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card for the past two years. The 20,000 in reward miles is nice, as is the conversion rate for spending and miles. The lack of an annual fee is also a huge plus as well. The fact that you need good credit means it took me a while to get this card, but it was worth it in the long run.
    Aug 13, 2015
    By:
    I once had a job where I would travel out of state by Delta several times a week. The company payed for my travel, but I would use a Delta SkyMiles credit card to pay for the flight and was reimbursed. It was really a great deal. I would rack up a ton of miles and then be able to use those miles for free flights. Personal Flights were not covered by my job so I would use these free flights for personal flights.
    Jun 25, 2015
    By:
    I recently started using a Citi Platinum Select Master Card and I absolutely love it. The pros greatly out weight the cons. I was impressed and coerced to try it by the sign up bonus. That alone made the card worth it. The card is not ideal for traveling overseas but I only travel domestically so it works out perfectly. I can redeem up to 10% of my miles back which is awesome! All in all the card is great. I have yet to run into any issues with it.
    Jun 25, 2015
    By:
    I have personally used the Frontier Airlines Credit Card with No Annual Fee. I like how there is no fee to it, so I don't have to worry about it each year. The 3% transfer fee kind of stings, but the 10,000 mile bonus more than makes up for it in the long run.
    Jun 17, 2015
    By:
    When it comes to the spending of the miles I get on my Delta credit card, they tend to go towards the purchases of business or first class seating arrangements. I really like the relaxation that these suites provide on the longer plane rides! It's also nice to save a good chunk of change.
    Jun 17, 2015
    By:
    I think a airline credit card should have features that are attractive to traveling consumers. These features are a good mileage collected per dollar spent. A combination of mileage rewards and cash back on purchases would be good since most will be traveling and not using cash too often. A good interest rate never hurt either just in case the traveler over spent a little and needed to spread out payments a little. I think that this would make the card more attractive to use.
    Jun 17, 2015
    By:
    I have a Barclay Mastercard that I use to book all of my airfare needs. I get 2% cash back, which adds up. I use it to book my travel for work, and since the company reimburses me for the costs, the 2% is free money. :)
    Jun 10, 2015
    By:
    I personally use a Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. It is through these points that I am able to fly in areas that I normally would not go. It accumulates over time, and I barely even notice until it is time to cash out. The annual free hits you pretty hard, but I would recommend it overall.
    Jun 8, 2015
    By:
    I have a Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card and I like it. I fly the airline a lot and it is a great way to get some extra rewards. The only part that I do not like are the annual fees. The only reason I pay them is because I like free flights.
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