The 10 Best Airline Credit Cards Available Now

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Whether you’re a frequent flyer or just want to open up an airline credit card for the sign-up bonus miles, there are plenty of options for airline credit cards that can give you what you’re looking for. And if you’re part of the 53% of Americans that use credit cards to pay for travel — as a recent GOBankingRates survey found — opening an airline credit card may be worth your while. But how do you find the best card for you, especially if you’re not loyal to a specific airline?

Important: Why It’s a Bad Move To Use the Same Credit Cards Indefinitely

GOBankingRates has done the research for you and identified the best airline credit cards based on rewards earn rate, foreign transaction fees, annual fees, regular APR for purchases, sign-up bonuses, travel benefits and more. Here are the Best Airline Credit Cards available now.

Our Top Airline Card

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

Why we like it: The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card scored No. 1 among GOBankingRates’ Best Airline Credit Cards of 2021 for more than one reason. It offers a variety of ways to earn rewards, with its top rewards tier offering 3x miles per $1 spent. It also offers valuable benefits for Delta travelers, such as priority boarding and your first bag checked for free. 

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

Benefits

  • Earn 3x miles on Delta purchases and hotels and 2x miles on restaurants and supermarkets
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • A host of other perks including fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, first checked bag free, priority boarding and more
  • Fly to 300 destinations with Delta

Drawbacks

  • This card has a $250 annual fee

Key Features

  • 3x miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • 3x miles per dollar at hotels
  • 2x miles per dollar at restaurants
  • 2x miles at US supermarkets
  • 1x miles on all other eligible purchases

Annual Fee

$250

APR

15.74% to 24.74%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

204,000,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Delta’s application page).

Read our full review of Delta Skymiles Platinum to find out why it topped the list.

Best Airline Credit Cards 2021

Keep reading to see the rest of the Best Airline Credit Cards of 2021.

Chase United QuestSM Card

Key Benefits

  • 3x miles per dollar spent on United purchases
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on all other travel
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on dining
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on select streaming services
  • 1x miles on all other purchases

Annual Fee

$250

APR

16.495% to 23.49%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

162,443,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Chase’s application page).

Get full details about this card and its travel benefits.

Chase UnitedSM Explorer Card

Key Benefits

  • 2x miles per dollar spent on United purchases
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on dining
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on hotel stays when booked with the hotel
  • 1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

$95

APR

16.49% to 23.49%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

162,443,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Chase’s application page).

This card comes with a number of additional travel benefits. Get the details.

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

Key Benefits

  • 2x miles per dollar at restaurants
  • 2x miles per dollar at US supermarkets
  • 2x miles on Delta purchases
  • 1x miles on all other eligible purchases

Annual Fee

$99

APR

15.74% to 24.74%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

204,000,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Delta’s application page).

Learn more about its airline benefits and sign-up bonus.

First Bankcard Sun Country Airlines® Visa Signature® Card

Key Benefits

  • 3x miles per dollar spent on Sun Country purchases
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on gas
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on groceries
  • 1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

$69

APR

14.99% to 22.99%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

2,089,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Sun Country’s application page).

Get full details about the card and if it’s right for your needs.

Chase United ClubSM Infinite Card

Key Benefits

  • 4x miles per dollar spent on United purchases
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on all other travel
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on dining
  • 1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

$525

APR

16.49% to 23.49%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

162,443,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Chase’s application page).

Discover all the features of the Chase United Club Infinite Card.

Chase United GatewaySM Card

Key Benefits

  • 2x miles per dollar spent on United purchases
  • 2x miles per dollar spent at gas stations
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on local transit and commuting
  • 1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

$0

APR

16.49% to 23.49%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

162,443,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Chase’s application page).

Is this the card for you? Find out more about its features and benefits.

Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Key Benefits

  • 2x miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases
  • 1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

$99

APR

15.99% to 24.99%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

215,182,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Barclays’ application page).

Learn more about its sign-up bonus and travel benefits.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Key Benefits

  • 3x miles per dollar on dining (first year only)
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on Southwest purchases
  • 1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

$149

APR

15.99% to 22.99%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

134,100,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Chase’s application page).

Get all the details of the card including its additional travel perks.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Key Benefits

  • 3x miles per dollar on dining (first year only)
  • 2x miles per dollar spent on Southwest purchases
  • 1x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee

$99

APR

15.99% to 22.99%

Foreign Transaction Fees

0.00%

2019 Enplaned Passengers

134,100,000

How To Get This Card

You can apply for the card online here with just some basic personal and financial information (clicking the link will take you to Chase’s application page).

Explore Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier’s full benefits.

FAQs About Airline Credit Cards

Here are the answers to questions you might have while you’re on the lookout for an airline credit card.

Can you transfer miles between airlines?

Unlike many generic travel rewards cards, airline cards are tied to specific airlines. As a result, you can’t transfer miles between airlines. However, there’s one workaround: You can often use one airline’s miles to book reward flights on another carrier in the same airline alliance. For example, you can use United Airlines miles to book reward flights with fellow Star Alliance member Lufthansa.

Which card provides the best perks?

Airline credit cards can award impressive bonuses in different areas. The JetBlue Plus Card from Barclays, for example, grants six points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases, which is an outstanding earnings rate. When it comes to sign-up bonuses, the Chase United Quest Card provides $1,000 in value. The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card offers a high number of different travel perks, with a total of nine benefits.

Explore more answers to your top questions about airline credit cards.

More From GOBankingRates

John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates identified the best airline credit cards by analyzing the following factors: (1)  rewards earn rate; (2) any foreign transaction fees; (3) annual fees; (4) regular APR for purchases; (5) sign up bonuses; (6) airline destinations totals; (7) 2019 enplaned passengers total; (8) total destination locations; (9) 2019 number of enplaned passengers; and (10) miscellaneous travel benefits. Miscellaneous travel benefits include free checked bags, access to airport lounges, priority boarding, any flight discounts, discounted companion fares, access to free Wi-Fi on flights and TSA PreCheck access. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some offers might no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how you access the web page. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s or airline’s website or promotional material and is accurate as of Aug. 2, 2021.  Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.

About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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