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Airline Credit Cards

Airline Rewards Credit Cards

Compare airline rewards credit cards from our partners and apply online
Where to go next? Just as there are so many places worth visiting, there are so many credit cards to choose from that can help you save money and earn perks when you travel. Use our cheat sheet to zero in on what matters for your next airline card and start comparing the ones below.


Airline Miles for Beginners


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Credit Card Spend Requirement


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How to Choose an Airline Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Want a generous deal? Do you spend over $1,334 per month on your credit card? If so, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, you'll earn 40,000 bonus points (worth $500 in travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards). There is a $95 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year).


Frequent Flyer
To rack up points or miles, look for airline credit card deals with lucrative bonus offers. If you fly frequently with one airline, signing up for a branded card with that airline can be a good deal.

Status
If you enjoy traveling but don't do it often, look for an airline credit card with perks usually reserved for frequent flyers, such as airport lounge access, checked bag allowances, or priority boarding.

Business Travel
Do you own a small business? Look for a business travel credit card to earn rewards on your next conference trip or client visit. Visit our Business Travel Tips Guide to learn how business travel can help reward you and your business.

Redeeming Points
Some airline rewards cards give you miles with a particular company’s frequent traveler program, such as American Airlines AAdvantage or Delta SkyMiles. Other cards give you points for the credit card issuer’s reward program—like American Express Membership Rewards—that you can redeem toward travel with a variety of companies.

Another consideration is how you would like to book your reward travel: some cards require you to book through the card issuer’s website, while others have more flexible options. Be sure to also review the terms and conditions to see whether there are blackout dates and restrictions on redeeming points.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. 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 Chase. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

How to land great flights for cheap

How to Get Cheap Flights

Finding the best priced airfare can be a stressful task – especially when you’re trying to stick to a strict travel budget. Thankfully, there are some tips you can follow to cut down on the financial investment of your next flight.


Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Read ReviewApply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Airline Rewards Benefit: 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
Our Review: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a very generous point bonus and extra travel rewards to those with excellent credit. Keep in mind, the card does have a $95 annual fee. Read on to see if the Sapphire Preferred is worth it... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
Read ReviewApply for Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 miles on Delta purchases. 1 mile for each dollar you spend on 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.
  • The annual fee will be $0 for your first year of Card Membership with an introductory offer, then $95.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection$0 Fraud LiabilityEmergency Assistance
Airline Rewards Benefit: Earn 2 miles on Delta purchases. 1 mile for each dollar you spend on other eligible purchases.
Introductory Bonus Airline Rewards: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.
Earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
Our Review: Frequent Delta flyers will enjoy the 30,000 bonus mile introductory offer and travel perks of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card from American Express. Like most other airline cards, this one does have an annual fee, but in our opinion, frequent Delta flyers will find that it’s actually a good investment for the points and perks they receive... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
NoneNone
15.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

Discover it Miles
Read ReviewApply for Discover it Miles
At Discover's Secure Site
  • No annual fee & unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases.
  • Exclusive Double Miles Offer: At the end of your first year-when other Miles cards charge an annual fee-Discover doubles all the Miles you've earned.*
  • 100 Miles = $1 value. Redeem Miles in any amount toward travel purchases on your statement. Or get cash as a direct deposit to your bank account.*
  • Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees-up to $30 a year-with an automatic statement credit.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on your monthly statements, on mobile app and online*.
  • 100% U.S. based service at your dedicated phone number-day and night.
  • Free overnight shipping of replacement cards to any U.S. street address at your request. And you're never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.*
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply Now." See complete Discover it® Miles details.
Introductory Bonus Airline RewardsAirline RewardsTravel RewardsBonus Airline RewardsNo Expiration on Rewards$0 Fraud Liability
Airline Rewards Benefit: 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases.
Introductory Bonus Airline Rewards: Exclusive Double Miles Offer: At the end of your first year-when other Miles cards charge an annual fee-Discover doubles all the Miles you've earned.*
Bonus Airline Rewards: Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees-up to $30 a year-with an automatic statement credit.*
Our Review: Discover it Miles credit card rewards users with 1.5x miles and no annual fee (a rarity among travel credit cards). Even more appealing, as a promotion, the card will double the miles you earn at the end of your first year... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 12 months
10.99% for 12 months
10.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0

The Platinum Card from American Express
Read ReviewApply for The Platinum Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms & restrictions apply.
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsAirline RewardsPoint RewardsTravel RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitConciergeEventsExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection Return ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityIdentity Theft Assistance
Airline Rewards Benefit: Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually. To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
Our Review: The American Express Platinum Card is in our opinion, one of the most prestigious rewards cards on CreditDonkey. It is also one of the most expensive cards we have reviewed, with an annual fee of $450. In exchange for the $450 annual fee, the Platinum Card offers a number of travel benefits and a rewards program... Read full review
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
$450

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
Read ReviewApply for American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Earn Points Faster: 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines and 2X points at US gas stations & US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • With the Membership Rewards® program, you can use points for rewards from over 500 leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise, or entertainment.
  • You can also transfer points to our selection of frequent traveler programs.
  • With The Hotel Collection, you can get up to a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges any time you use your Card to book a stay of at least two consecutive nights.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year of Card Membership, then $175.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsAirline RewardsPoint RewardsTravel RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitEventsCar Rental Insurance Extended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionBaggage InsuranceTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityRoadside Assistance
Airline Rewards Benefit: Earn 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines
Our Review: The American Express Premier Rewards Gold card offers 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines and 2x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets. In exchange, the Premier Rewards Gold card charges an annual fee of $175. Is the annual fee worth it? Read on to see if you can justify the annual fee... Read full review
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $175

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Read ReviewApply for Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Earn 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase on the Card and an additional 15,000 Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.
  • Redeem Starpoints for free nights at over 1,100 hotels & resorts in nearly 100 countries and for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights - all with no blackout dates.
  • Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
  • Starpoints stay active as long as you continue to spend on your Card.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65.
  • Terms and Restrictions apply.
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsAirline RewardsHotel RewardsTravel RewardsBonus Airline RewardsNo Limits on RewardsEventsCar Rental InsuranceExtended Warranty Purchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Airline Rewards Benefit: Redeem Starpoints on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights (all with no blackout dates). Transfer Starpoints to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a one-to-one basis.
Bonus Airline Rewards: Get 5,000 bonus Starpoints after you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program with more than 30 airlines
Our Review: A favorite among many travel bloggers, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card offers travel rewards and American Express customer service for a $65 annual fee. The sign-up bonuses and 1:1 point transfer to other frequent traveler programs make this card a worthy credit card for travelers to consider, even if you don’t stay exclusively at Starwood hotels... Read full review
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
NoneNone
15.24% - 19.24% variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65

Airline Rewards Benefits

6 High-Flying Benefits of Airline Credit Cards

Airline credit cards can be a great fit for people who travel often or have a big trip planned. These cards allow you to accrue points for purchases charged to the card. Once you've earned enough points, you can often redeem them for flights and savings in travel expenses like lodging. These cards can also give you access to special perks while you travel.

Here are just six of the many benefits you will typically see with this type of credit card.

  1. Rewards from the start

    Many consumers assume that it will take months, maybe even years, before they will accrue enough points to cash in for a flight. However, many airline rewards cards now offer introductory bonus points on their first purchase or after meeting an initial spending threshold. The amount of points range depending on the card, but some offer enough for a round-trip flight.

    An introductory offer allows you to see the benefits of your card even if it is a credit card you might not use on a regular basis. It is also great for individuals who typically don’t charge much on a credit card, because the last thing you want to do is change your spending pattern just to accrue points.

  2. Flexibility on flights

    Frequent flyer programs through specific airlines often have some limitations and require you to book flights through the airline. With an airline miles credit card that's not affiliated with any specific airline, you often have access to a greater range of airlines, locations, and dates. This makes it convenient to use rewards to book flights for vacations and business trips.

  3. Seat upgrades

    One fantastic benefit of some airline miles credit cards is using your miles to upgrade seats. Many cardholders will purchase inexpensive tickets through a special airline promotion and then utilize rewards to upgrade their seat to business or first class. Seat upgrades provide them with extra space and access to special perks during their flight. This is a great way to be budget conscious without skimping on comfort. Keep in mind, though, not all tickets are eligible to be upgraded, so pay attention to the fare code and airline eligibility requirements.

  4. Access to special perks

    Some cards, such as the legendary American Express Platinum, give you access into certain airline lounges. These lounges in airports maximize comfort while you wait for your flight. They are available at many airports, so this is one benefit that you’ll be able to take advantage of almost anywhere you travel.

  5. Chances to accrue additional points

    Credit card companies often provide promotional periods when they will increase the points per dollar spent for certain categories. During these promotional periods, you may earn 2, 3, 4, even 5 points for every dollar spent.

    Extra points are often offered for purchases you make at certain types of merchants, like gas stations, hotels or other travel-related venues. This is a great chance to rack up the points if you have already planned to travel during these periods. Sometimes, the merchant categories are for everyday expenses, like groceries, so you will still earn points quickly without changing your regular shopping routine.

  6. Points to cut down on other travel expenses

    If you are looking at airline miles credit cards, chances are you’re focused on flying rewards. However, with some cards, you can also potentially use your points toward car rentals, hotel rooms and other travel expenses.


Articles on Airline Rewards

    How to Get Free Airline Tickets

    By Sheryl Nance-Nash - Tips
    The warmer months mean the one thing you have been working for – literally – is about to happen. We’re talking about vacation. But who can afford to go anywhere these days? The answer: the savvy shopper who knows how to find the best deals. ...

    Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card Review

    April 17, 2015 - By Leah Norris - Reviews
    The Hawaiian Airlines credit card has an impressive set of benefits, including a yearly $100 discount on a companion fare, free 1st checked bag on Hawaiian Airlines flights, and 5,000 bonus miles each year you spend over $10,000 on the card. ...

    Virgin America Credit Card Review

    April 16, 2015 - By Leah Norris - Reviews
    With its eye-catching vertical design and the hip, modern reputation of the airline, the Virgin America Visa Signature can attract your attention if you’re a frequent flier on Virgin America. But does it offer more value than just coolness?

    Spirit Airlines Credit Card Review

    April 15, 2015 - By Leah Norris - Reviews
    Could you get even better deals on your Spirit Airlines flight by owning the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard? Read on to see if the card is worth the $59 annual fee.

    Frontier Airlines Credit Card Review

    April 14, 2015 - By Leah Norris - Reviews
    Are you a frequent Frontier Airlines traveler? If so, you may have heard about the Frontier Airlines World MasterCard and may be wondering if it’s a good way to earn free flights.

    Alaska Airlines Credit Card Review

    April 13, 2015 - By Leah Norris - Reviews
    The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card is an airline miles card with a nice annual perk: a single super-low cost companion fare from $121. Read on to see if the card is worth the $75 annual fee.

    Best Time to Buy Tickets to Hawaii

    January 7, 2015 - By Allison Martin - Tips
    What better way to relax, release and enjoy a magnificent view of the sunset than a trip to Hawaii?

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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.