Best Airline Credit Cards

Get the best benefits from these airline credit cards.

If you fly frequently, a travel rewards card can help you maximize your spending and earn you free air travel and other perks.

Whether you want to score a free flight or just rack up rewards for merchandise and gift cards, take a look at this best credit cards for airline miles review. The more rewards you earn, the more benefits of traveling you’ll get to enjoy. Keep reading to see the best travel rewards credit cards for frequent fliers.

United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Best for: Those who frequently fly United

This card will give you access to priority boarding and two, one-time United Club passes each year. You’ll earn double miles on tickets you purchase from United, and you can use your miles to book any seat at any time. You won’t get a purchase APR intro deal, but you will get a sign-up bonus of 40,000 bonus miles for spending $2,000 in the first three months. 

Pros

  • $0 annual fee first year
  • Earn two miles per $1 at restaurants, two miles per $1 on hotel rooms and United purchases; one mile per $1 on everything else
  • Free first checked bag
  • Priority boarding

Cons

  • Annual fee of $95 after introductory free year
  • Best for frequent United Airlines flyers only

Need to make a balance transfer? Check out the best balance-transfer credit cards.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Best for: Those who frequently fly American, spend $20,000 per year on their cards and care about perks like preferred boarding

Use this card to save 25 percent on your in-flight American Airlines purchases. You’ll get preferred boarding and your first bag checked free. If you spend $2,500 in the first three months, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee first year
  • Earn two miles per $1 at restaurants and gas stations, two miles per $1 on American Airlines purchases, one mile per $1 on everything else
  • $100 American Airlines discount on airfare after you spend $20,000 during one year and renew your card 

Cons

  • Annual fee of $99 after intro
  • Best for frequent American Airlines flyers only

Look: American Airlines Credit Card Comparison

Gold Delta SkyMiles From Amex

Best for: Those who frequently fly Delta

This best credit card for travel miles will give you 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first four months. Cardholders — and two companion travelers — get access to the Delta Sky Club for a discounted fee of $29 per person. 

Pros

  • $0 annual fee first year
  • Earn two miles per $1 on Delta Airlines purchases and one mile per $1 for everything else
  • Miles redeemable for travel on Delta and 30+ airline partners
  • No foreign transaction fees 

Cons

  • Annual fee of $95 after the intro year
  • Best for frequent Delta Air Lines flyers only

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa

Best for: Those who frequently fly Southwest who are looking for no blackout dates or seat restrictions

Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases during the first three months and collect 6,000 points on your cardmember anniversary. You’ll also get unlimited reward seats with no blackout dates. 

Pros

  • Unlimited reward seats to more than 100 destinations in the U.S., Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean; no blackout dates
  • Earn two miles per $1 on Southwest purchases and one mile per $1 for everything else
  • Unlimited points that don’t expire as long as the card is open 
  • Receive 6,000 bonus Points after your cardmember anniversary

Cons

Enjoy: Best Airline Rewards Programs With Points You Can Actually Use

British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card

Best for: Those who frequently fly British Airways and travel internationally; those who spend a lot on the card

You earn “Avios” with this card, which translates into discounts and free flights to the U.K. and Europe. Take advantage of multiple promotional offers: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 and 25,000 more bonus Avios after you spend a total of $20,000 in your first year. 

Pros

  • Automatic enrollment in the Executive Club
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a Travel Together Ticket (good for two years when you redeem Avios for a flight on British Airways) for every calendar year you spend $30,000 

Cons

  • Annual fee of $95
  • Best for frequent British Airways flyers only

Related: The Best Cash-Back Credit Cards

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard

Best for: Those who frequently fly Hawaiian Airlines and those looking for no blackout dates or seat restrictions

Earn up to three HawaiianMiles for every $1 you spend at HawaiianMiles partners with this card on top of what you earn on eligible purchases. Earn 50,000 bonus HawaiianMiles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days and get 50 percent off one companion coach ticket (roundtrip) between Hawaii and the mainland.

Pros

  • Three miles for eligible Hawaiian airline purchases
  • Two HawaiianMiles for every $1 on gas, dining and grocery store purchases
  • No limit on miles you can earn
  • Receive no-fee HawaiianMiles from friends and family
  • First checked bag free

Cons

  • Annual fee of $99
  • Best for those who travel to Hawaii frequently using Hawaiian Airlines 

Click to see credit cards with 0% intro APR.

JetBlue Plus Card

Best for: Those who frequently fly JetBlue and those looking for no blackout dates or seat restrictions

One of the best miles cards, the JetBlue Plus gives you 40,000 bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days — and you can earn extra points for JetBlue purchases, restaurants and grocery store shopping. Spend $50,000 or more annually to get TrueBlue Mosaic benefits, which include two free checked bags, early boarding privileges and complimentary alcoholic beverages onboard. You’ll also earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary. 

Pros

  • 50 percent savings on eligible airline purchases
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to three companions
  • 6x points for every $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2x points for every $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1x points for every $1 on anything else else
  • Annual $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more
  • No foreign transaction fees 

Cons

  • Annual fee of $99
  • Best for frequent JetBlue flyers only 

Click to see the best credit card offers and deals available.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card

Best for: Those who frequently fly Alaska Airlines and are looking for no blackout dates and one free checked bag per person per flight

You can earn rewards for Alaska Airlines flights with this card. You can buy one ticket, get one for just taxes and fees, plus receive 30,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 in the first three months. Get free checked bags for you and up to six passengers taking the same trip. This card also offers a slightly lower starting APR of 16.74 percent, and if you have good credit, you might qualify. 

Pros

  • Three miles for every $1 on Alaska Airlines purchases, one mile for every $1 on other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Alaska Companion Fare from $121 every year on your account anniversary

Cons

  • Annual fee of $75
  • Best for frequent Alaska Airlines flyers only

See: Best Credit Cards for Good Credit

Allegiant World Mastercard

Best for: Those who frequently fly Allegiant and don’t want to pay a high annual fee

You’ll earn enough points to get $150 off your next Allegiant purchase after you spend $1,000 during the first 90 days. Get a “buy one, get one free” airfare when you book an Allegiant vacation package that includes four or more hotel nights or seven or more rental car days on the same itinerary. 

Pros

  • Three points for every $1 on Allegiant purchases, two points for every $1 on dining
  • One point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Low annual fee of $59
  • Free beverage on every Allegiant flight
  • Priority boarding 

Cons

  • Best for frequent Allegiant flyers only
  • Points expire unless you make a purchase on the card every 12 months 
Best Airline Credit Cards
Card NameInterest RateAnnual Fee
United MileagePlus Explorer17.74%-24.74%$0 first year, then $95
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard17.74%-25.74%$0 first year, then $99
Gold Delta SkyMiles From Amex17.74%-24.74%$0 first year, then $95
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier17.74%-24.74%$99
British Airways Visa Signature17.74%-24.74%$95
Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard17.74%, 21.74% or 26.74%$99
JetBlue Plus Card17.74%, 21.74% or 26.74%$99
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature16.74%-24.74%$75
Allegiant World Mastercard16.74%-24.74%$59
Information accurate as of Sept. 11, 2018.

Click to see the best credit cards with no annual fee.

More on Credit Cards

GOBankingRates.com identified the best airline credit cards by analyzing purchase APRs, annual fees, foreign transaction fees and rewards programs. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion, and some bonus offers might no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how you access the web page.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.