Best Airline Credit Cards

For business or pleasure, a suitable airline card can help frequent flyers to quickly stockpile flight mileages to earn some cash back or a free vacation. Many airline cards often come with bonus sign-up miles for new users. Other cards reward points with every penny you spend on flight tickets.

To help you choose the best airline credit card, we evaluate some popular cards in the airline card category and give detailed descriptions.

Table of Contents

No.1 JetBlue Card

jetblue-card
4.5
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR N/A
Balance TRansfers Intro APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)
Regular APR 12.74%, 20.74% or 25.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Credit Needed Good, Excellent
Benifits
  • Sign-up bonus points
  • 3 points per $1 on JetBlue purchase
  • 50% savings on in-flight purchase
  • No annual fee
Pros

With JetBlue Card, you can earn 5,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. It will reward you 3 points for $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points for $1 spent at restaurants and grocery stores and also 1 point for $1 spent on all other purchases. When you buy things like drinks and food on JetBlue-operated flights, you can enjoy 50% savings benefit. Also, the card offers a 12-month 0% APR on Balance Transfers. There's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

Cons

The ongoing APR is 12.99%, 20.99% or 25.99%, you don't know which one you can get until you apply for a card.

Summary

Generally speaking, JetBlue Card can be a good choice if you travel at least once a year with the affiliated airline. It also has some fantastic perks for everyday use - 2 points per $1 for groceries or at restaurants.

More about the card
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No.2 BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

bankamericard-travel-rewards-credit-card
4.5
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR See Terms for 12 billing cycles
Balance TRansfers Intro APR N/A
Regular APR See Terms
Annual Fee $0
Credit Needed Good, Excellent
Benifits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Great miles bonus
  • Travel rewards
  • No annual fee for the first year
Pros

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card will be a great choice for international travelers who don’t want to pay for a bunch of additional expenses when abroad due to no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Besides, it offers great perks for people who have the Bank of America account to receive a 10% rewards bonus automatically.

Cons

For people who are not a Bank of America customer, the rewards-earning will be not as good as most travel cards. With this card, people earn 1.5 points per dollar spent. However, several cards provide 2 points per dollar spent on selected purchases.

Summary

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card will have the great potential for people with the Bank of America accounts to earn significant rewards. However, for people who are not the Bank of America customer had better choose another travel card which may create more bonuses.

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No.3 Discover it® Miles

discover-it-miles
4.6
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR 0% for 14 months
Balance TRansfers Intro APR 10.99% for 14 months
Regular APR 11.74% - 23.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Credit Needed Good, Excellent
Benifits
  • No annual fee
  • Free FICO score
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • High rewards rate
  • 0% APR
Pros

What attracts people most of Discover it Miles is that it doesn’t have the minimum redemption requirements. People who only have 1 mile left can request a direct deposit of 1 cent if they like. Aside from that, it offers people an valuable sign-up bonus allowing people to match mile for mile. For instance, people will get 80,000 miles if they earn 40,000 miles. Meanwhile, people could get 3 miles per dollar spent on the purchases in the first year. What counts most is that this card has no annual fee.

Cons

For people who are a big spender, the Discover it Miles may not be a good choice since it is proper for people who don’t intend to spend a lot. Many cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve and BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card are a better deal than the Discover it Miles when it comes to its redemption bonus.

Summary

As a travel card with the most cash back in the short term, Discover it Miles offers users a cash back bonanza in the first year with a double bonus which yields a net 3%. Besides, cardholders can pair this card with Discover it to get another 5% on bonus categories. Therefore, Discover it Miles would be an excellent choice for people who like to travel.

More about the card
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No.4 Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

capital-one-venture-rewards-credit-card
4.9
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR N/A
Balance TRansfers Intro APR N/A
Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Credit Needed Good, Excellent
Benifits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Flexible rewards
  • Simple redemption process
  • Simple earning structure
Pros

As one of the most flexible travel credit cards available, Capital One rewards credit card enables users to earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases. Miles can be redeemed for a credit against the expenses related to most travel. This card apart from the miles rewards also comes with low annual fee compared to other travel cards. Furthermore, people can take it abroad easily since there are no foreign transaction costs. Cardholders can enjoy a one-time sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles once spending $3,000 on items bought within three months the moment the account was opened, which equals to $400 in travel.

Cons

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card doesn’t provide the perks related to airline-specific items. You had better choose an airline’s co-branded card if you’re loyal to one particular airline.

Summary

Capital One rewards credit cards will defeat other cards when it comes to redemption and easy earning. Pick this card you will enjoy multiple benefits including miles for hotel stays, cab rides or cruises or flights.

More about the card
Full Card review

No.5 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

chase-sapphire-preferred-card
4.5
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR N/A
Balance TRansfers Intro APR N/A
Regular APR 16.74% - 23.74% Variable
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Credit Needed Good, Excellent
Benifits
  • Large sign-up bonus
  • Flexible rewards
  • Foreign travel
Pros

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, different from other cards tied to a specific airline or hotel brand, can be used in many places. Users will earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel and 1 point per $1 devoted to other purchases. Plus, people will get 50,000 bonus points when spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months the account opens. Meanwhile, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card comes with the sign-up bonus.

Cons

What makes Chase Card no better than the airline-specific co-branded cards is that it lacks the perks, like free checked bags and priority boarding. This card may be not worth you own if you don’t frequently spend on travel and restaurants though its annual fee is not too much.

Summary

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will be the best card around if you want the flexibility in redeeming and earning rewards. However, people who’d like to travel had better choose some other co-branded cards since Chase lack such specific benefits.

More about the card
Full Card review

No.6 Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

barclaycard-arrival-plus-world-elite-mastercard
4.9
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR N/A
Balance TRansfers Intro APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)
Regular APR 16.74%, 20.74% or 23.74% Variable
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
Credit Needed Excellent
Benifits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 fraud liability protection
  • Complimentary online FICO score access
  • Sign-up bonus
Pros

Cardholders will earn 50,000 bonus miles when spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, which equals about $500 expenses on travel. Given the great sign-up bonus, Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard will be one of the most excellent choices for people who like to travel. This card especially is proper for the international travelers due to the 0 foreign transaction fees.

Cons

People who prefer a card with a lower annual fee had better choose another card, like Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Besides, compared with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the sign-up bonus of the Barclaycard Credit Card is about $125 less when transferring the bonus points into the travel statement credit.

Summary

Users can use the miles on any purchases related to travel with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. What outshines this credit card is the high rewards rate, with which cardholders can enjoy 5% redemption bonus that boosts the effective rate to 2.1%.

More about the card
Full Card review

No.7 Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

alaska-airlines-visa-signature-credit-card
4.7
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR N/A
Balance TRansfers Intro APR N/A
Regular APR See Terms
Annual Fee $75
Credit Needed Good, Excellent
Benifits
  • Sign-up bonus miles
  • Bonus miles on Alaska Airlines purchase
  • Free checked bag
  • Alaska‚Äôs Famous Companion Fare
Pros

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card offers 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 within the first three months. Its companion fare feature enables you to bring someone to travel with you on an Alaska-operated flight, and you only need to pay a $99 base fare plus taxes and fees starting at $22. While other similar cards give 2 miles per $1 on airline purchases, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature offers you 3x miles. Besides airline purchases, you can also earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Also, You can also get a free checked bag on eligible reservations.

Cons

It charges $75 for the annual fee. The sign-up bonus is comparatively smaller compared to the offers we often see from other airline cards.

Summary

If you frequently travel on Alaska-operated flights for business or pleasure and you want to rack up your Mileage Plan, this card is a great choice with its airline purchases benefits and the companion ticket you can use once a year.

More about the card
Full Card review

No.8 United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

united-mileageplus-explorer-card
4.6
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR N/A
Balance TRansfers Intro APR N/A
Regular APR 16.74% - 23.74% Variable
Annual Fee $95
Credit Needed Excellent
Benifits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Sign-up bonus
  • Good rewards program
Pros

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card provides a free checked bag which will make up for the annual fee. Another great bonus of this card is the 5,000 bonus miles when making a purchase with this card within the first three months of being a cardmember. Moreover, it provides a big bonus of an additional 10,000 miles each year for big spenders after spending at least $25,000.

Cons

Compared to other travel rewards credit cards, like Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard comes with a lower annual fee than the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. Plus, this card doesn’t allow cardholders to redeem their points for the purchase related to travel.

Summary

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card is also a solid option though it isn’t the best travel reward card here. People who are a dedicated United flyer and don’t like to be checked on the bag, this card will be a good choice to offer some great perks.

More about the card
Full Card review

No.9 Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

capital-one-ventureone-rewards-credit-card
4.6
on Capital One's secure website
Card Details
Purchases Intro APR 0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Balance TRansfers Intro APR N/A
Regular APR 12.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
Credit Needed Good, Excellent
Benifits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Great redeem points
  • Preferred rewards client with 25%-75% bonus
  • No annual fee
Pros

Cardholders will enjoy 1.25% cash back towards transportation, travel and vacation-type expenses along with no annual fee and no foreign transactions fees which will save 3% additional charges made abroad. Furthermore, customers of this card will get 20,000 miles bonus once spent $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days.

Cons

Compared with the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card which gives customers 1.5% cash back on all expenses, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is not the best card to maximize rewards return. Meanwhile, it has the lower cash back returns on no-travel related purchases.

Summary

For people with good to excellent credit, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card which offers a quite flexible travel rewards will be the best choice. The cardholder will earn 2 miles for each dollar spent on purchases. Meanwhile, they can get 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days from the account opening. Besides, the rewards won’t expire all the time as long as the account is open.

More about the card
Full Card review