A credit card with travel rewards is one simple method to receive airline advantages without status. Although an airline credit card would seem like the greatest option for a credit card for flying, that isn’t always the case. If you want access to an airline-specific lounge or if you are devoted to a certain airline, an airline-specific credit card can be the best option for you.
If that doesn’t sound like you, you’ll probably do better with a more accommodating travel rewards credit card that offers bonus benefits regardless of the airline you fly as well as more accommodating methods to redeem your credits.
The Forbes Advisor examined American citizens’ access to airline credit cards and flexible rewards cards. We took into account different earning methods, point values, yearly fees, extra perks like lounge access, checked luggage, and more, as well as other continuing advantages and the sign-up incentive.
Best Airline Credit Cards
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Every member of the family may join in the premium advantages, such as access to airport lounges and mobile phone insurance, since the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is stacked on top of the complimentary authorized user cards and is jam-packed with perks. Both the up to $300 in yearly travel statement credits for reservations made via Capital One Travel and the 10,000 annual point bonus, which can be redeemed for $100 in travel, help to offset the annual fee, which is on the lower end for a premium card.
2 miles for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases, 5 miles for flights booked via Capital One Travel, and 10 miles for hotels and rental vehicles booked through Capital One Travel.
After making $4,000 in transactions during the first three months of creating an account, you may earn 75,000 extra miles.
Aeroplan Credit Card
Because Aeroplan points may be used to purchase award tickets on United and other Star Alliance airlines, the Aeroplan® Credit Card appeals to both Air Canada and United travellers. For everyday expenditure, its income categories are among the top in their class.
3 points for every dollar spent on dining, takeaway, qualified delivery services, groceries, and every dollar spent directly with Air Canada for travel and cruises; 1 point for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
70,000 bonus points after making $3,000 in purchases during the first three months.
Cost per year
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Southwest Airlines is adored by those who love it. It’s simple to comprehend why if you’re one of them. Many people find southwest to be worthwhile only for the Companion Pass, and the free checked baggage and flexible fares only increase the attraction. Just take in mind that Southwest doesn’t provide pre-boarding or upgrades if such things are important to you. Southwest also won’t assist you in travelling to Asia or Europe.
3 points for every dollar spent on Southwest, 2 points for every dollar spent on local transportation, including ride-sharing, 2 points for every dollar spent on internet, cable, phone, and some streaming services, and 1 point for every dollar spent on all other expenditures.
50,000 Bonus Points after Spending $1,000 in the First Three Months on Purchases
What Is an Airline Credit Card?
A co-branded airline credit card allows users to accrue frequent flier miles or points for each transaction via a particular airline or rewards programme. These cards may also come with extra travel perks and are a simple way to increase your balance with every transaction you make.
What Are Airline Miles?
Frequent flyer miles, sometimes referred to as airline miles, are incentives you get in return for your loyalty. Through the loyalty programme, miles may be exchanged for benefits after being earned; the most popular exchange is for a free flight. There are sometimes also available additional rewards, such as improvements or products.
How do credit card airline miles work?
When you make purchases using an airline credit card, points are accrued and added straight to your frequent flyer account. When you open the card, your credit card account will be connected to your frequent flyer account. The miles from your credit card automatically transfer to your airline frequent flyer account; no further action is required.
Do air miles have a lifespan?
Each airline has its own policies about mileage expiry. While miles in certain programmes may expire after a year, they never do in others.
Most frequent flyer programmes only require you to make a reservation or engage in another qualifying activity, such as transferring points from a flexible currency or making a purchase using your cobranded airline credit card and/or the airline’s frequent flyer programme shopping portal, to keep your airline miles active.
How Much Are Airline Miles Worth?
Depending on the kind of airline mile, an airline mile will have a different value. Miles are not all made equal. The value of each point on Southwest Rapid Rewards and JetBlue TrueBlue is around 1.5 cents. Each booking will have a different value for other airline miles. For instance, if a flight costs 50,000 miles and the ticket costs $500, each mile is worth one penny. You get 2 cents per mile if the flight costs $1,000 for the same 50,000 miles. Every redemption will result in a different value for an airline mile.
How to Choose an Airline Credit Card
You should provide answers to a few questions before deciding on a credit card to use for travel.
Use the same airline every time you travel?
It almost definitely makes sense to get a flexible rewards card if you don’t usually travel with the same airline, at least if you’re just wanting to add one card to your wallet.
Do you hold any airline perks?
If you already have status with an airline, you won’t gain much from a mid-tier airline-specific credit card in terms of perks as many of them, like free checked baggage, are also advantages of status.
Do you want entry to airport lounges?
There are several alternatives available to you if you want access to airport lounges. Would you want to enter the lounge of a certain airline? If so, research its premium credit card. A card with Priority Pass should be taken into consideration if you desire more widespread lounge access.
Do you want travel protection?
As an added bonus for using the credit card to purchase your tickets, several credit cards provide different kinds of travel insurance. Select a card that gives protection if you believe you can profit from it.
How diligently do you want to spend your points?
Use of various sorts of points varies in difficulty. Consider a card like the Capital One Venture that lets you spend points for travel if you want the simplest points to utilise. The credit card issued by a certain airline may be an excellent choice if you can operate within its restrictions. If you want some freedom, think about getting a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which lets you transfer points to partners or redeem them for cash.
Are Airline Credit Cards Worth It?
Credit cards from airlines are beneficial for frequent travellers. They are a way to accumulate more miles toward free flights and, in certain situations, to advance more quickly toward elite status. Additionally, they may provide advantages that make travel simpler and more enjoyable, such priority boarding, cost-free checked luggage, or access to airport lounges. The free checked bag bonus provided by many cards may discover that it more than justifies the yearly price, even for people who only fly on a certain airline once or twice a year with their families.
A versatile rewards card rather than an airline-specific one may be preferred by travellers who aren’t devoted to a particular airline. As a result, whenever you’re ready, you may select to redeem your points for flights on a variety of airlines. A person who seldom travels might be better off selecting a cash back rewards card instead of an airline credit card.
Frequently Asked Questions
What airline credit card is the simplest to obtain?
To be accepted for the majority of rewards cards, including airline credit cards, applicants must have above-average creditworthiness. The airline credit cards with the lowest application requirements are those without annual fees, provided you fulfil those requirements. You may be interested in one of our favourite no annual charge travel cards.
To qualify for an airline credit card, what credit score is required?
Creditworthiness requirements for rewards cards in general, including credit cards for airlines, range from fair to outstanding. For a basic rewards card, a score in the “good” range of 670 to 739 would be acceptable, but to be eligible for the best incentives, you’ll likely need a score of 740 or higher.
Should I purchase air miles?
In general, it is not a good idea to buy airline miles speculatively. Even if you bought the miles, they still belong to the airline, not you. They may at any moment lose value at the sole discretion of the airline. However, purchasing miles can make sense if you have a certain redemption in mind and simply want a small number of miles to top out your account.