Travel Lovers Will Want the Best Airline Credit Card

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Category: Credit Cards
Posted on: 04/15/2019
a woman at an airline terminal with her feet up on a chair and an open laptop, reading a credit card number over the phone with her suitcase in the background

Why not reward yourself for your passion?  Tickets for flights can cost hundreds, if not up to thousands of dollars, but if you’re a travel lover, you know that you can make your purchase worthwhile with a credit card that allots you rewards along the way.  After all, when it comes to a big bucks purchase, why earn the most you can with what you’re already doing?

Airlines put out there own branded cards, which isn’t a bad route to sign up for if you tend to be a loyal flyer, or if a particular airline corners the market on the majority of your routine flights.  You’re in luck, because with each major airline, there are a couple of credit cards that go along with it, and we’ve narrowed down the best ones for the most popular airlines companies.

American Airlines

Do you frequently fly with American Airlines?  Consider the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, it’s certainly the best among the five branded American Airlines credit cards out there.  This card will help you rack in AA miles and you can enjoy plenty of in-flight discounts, all with a standard annual fee of $99, which is waived for your first year of membership.

With Citi AAdvantage, you can earn 2 miles per dollar at gas stations, restaurants and American Airline purchases.  You’ll also get preferred boarding and a 25% discount on food and drink during your flights.

The promotional bonus with this card entails 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within your first 3 months of opening an account. 

Other perks include earning a $100 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases within the first year of your membership when you renew your card, and your first bag checked as free on domestic American Airlines flights for you and four of your companions on the same reservation.  And for international travelers, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

Delta Air Lines

If Delta is your preferred airline of choice, check out Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express.  Its limited time offer includes 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.  Additionally, Delta will gift you a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within the first 3 months as well.

Gold Delta SkyMiles certainly has one of the most attractive promotional offers, and it follows it up nicely with granting you 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made with Delta, plus 1 mile per dollar spent anywhere else.  You’ll also get a first bag free on Delta flights, Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding, and your annual fee waived for the first year, which then becomes $95 thereafter.

Gold Delta SkyMiles doesn’t have the highest miles per dollar rate, but if you’re a moderate traveler, then this card with its checked bag benefit can certainly justify that annual fee, plus discounted access to the Delta Sky Club.

United Airlines

The best card for United Airlines is by far the United Explorer Card, and if you sign up now, you’ll receive 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.  Your annual fee of $95 will be waived for your first year of membership too.

The bonus miles don’t just stop at the initial 40,000, either.  Right now, after you earn your first 40,000 after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, you can then proceed to earn an additional 25,000 miles after spending $10,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of your account opening.  By far, this is the best and highest welcome offer across the board in branded airline cards.  If you’re travel lover and frequent flyer extraordinaire, this is easily the card for you.

With the United Explorer Card, you can earn 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, hotels stays, and purchases made from United, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.  You can receive up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Fee Credit and 25% back on United inflight purchases.  Your first checked bag is free with your United Explorer Card, you’ll get priority boarding, and 2 one-time passes for the United Club each year on your card membership anniversary.

Southwest Airlines

If Southwest Airlines is the airline you fly for all of your travels, then look no further than Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.  For travel lovers, the welcome bonus is easy to obtain: earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of your account opening.  You’ll also receive 6,000 bonus points after your card membership anniversary.

With this credit card, you can earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, Rapid Reward hotel purchases, and Rapid Reward car rental partner purchases.  For all other purchases, you will earn 1 point per dollar.  Good news for international travelers - this card has no foreign transaction fees.

Perks with Southwest Rapid Rewards include unlimited points that don’t expire so long as your account remains opened, and the advantage of earning the Companion Pass, where you can designate a travel partner to receive free tickets for a full year on all of your itineraries at the mark of 110,000 Rapid Rewards miles.

Overall Best No-Brand Airline Credit Card

If you’re a traveler without a tie to one particular airline, then consider Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, where with its welcome bonus you can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in your first 3 months of opening an account.  But aside from the promotional bonus, with Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll be enjoying x2 points on travel and restaurants, plus the opportunity to increase that when you redeem your travel needs through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards pairs with travel partners like United Airlines, Southwest, and British Airways, so you can still get the best deals if you fly occasionally with these airlines. 

And for serious travel lovers, there’s the next tier of Chase’s travel cards: Chase Sapphire Reserve.  It has a higher annual fee of $450, but the rewards will outweigh it: Priority Pass lounge access, TSA Pre-Check, $300 travel credit, and even heftier bonuses.

Get Rewarded for Your Travels

Travel lovers can get the most out of what they enjoy doing.  With the expenses of traveling like airline tickets, car rentals, and hotels already being a necessity, it’s essential to find a good rewards program that can help travelers get cash back along the way.  Jumping on an attractive promotion and fulfilling the requirements for bonus miles can go a long way in racking in those miles and bonus points, and before you know it, you’re on your way to redeeming them for free tickets, hotel stays, and more.

If you travel frequently, get paid for it! Take just a few moments to analyze how you travel: do you fly a particular airline?  Are you an international jet setter?  Will you utilize an airline’s club or lounge?  Would you consider yourself a frequent or moderate flyer?  All these questions will narrow down your search to find the perfect airline credit card that will earn you the most points for doing what you’re already doing.

Finance Guru

Finance Guru