If you travel regularly with the same airline, an airline credit card can be a valuable addition to your wallet. The best airline credit cards can help you get seat upgrades, free flights, and more. Of course, there are other cards designed for travelers with a wide variety of airlines. Depending on how often you want to fly, spend money or accumulate points, each card offers you something special that is tailored directly to your preferences. Here are our picks for the top ten airline credit cards of 2021 (not in any particular order):
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is unique in that it can be used in a number of ways, unlike cards limited to a specific airline. Every dollar spent on travel and meals earns you two points, while every dollar spent on everything else earns you one point. If you book your trip through Chase Ultimate Rewards, the points are worth 25 percent. Alternatively, you can decide to transfer them to a variety of frequent flyer programs in a 1: 1 ratio. Additionally, the card features a substantial sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months of account opening. . This translates to $625 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
2. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
The great thing about airline specific cards is that they offer great rewards when flying. This card gives you a free checked bag for five people on booking, as well as a discount on drinks and food on board. For every dollar you spend on American Airlines purchases with this card, you earn two miles. A dollar spent elsewhere is equal to one mile. The sign-up bonus is 30,000 miles on American Airlines after purchases worth $1,000 within the first three months of account opening.
3. United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
This card grants you 2 unique passes per year to United airport lounges, priority boarding and a free checked bag when you fly. Every dollar spent buying United tickets is worth two miles, while the same amount spent on everything else rewards one point. It also comes with a 30,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Those who spend more than $25,000 per year enjoy a tempting bonus of 10,000 points.
4. British Airways Visa Signature® Card
With the British Airways Visa Signature card, you don’t have to spend a lot to earn a significant sign-up bonus. Once you reach $3,000 in terms of purchases within the first three months after opening the account, you earn 50,000 points. The card is excellent for international travel as it does not include overseas transaction fees. Cardholders who spend at least $30,000 in a year can invite a companion on board with their Travel Together ticket. The companion ticket will only require the applicable fees and taxes.
5. Southwest Airlines Premier Rapid Rewards® Credit Card
Unlike other airline credit cards that only give you additional rewards for purchasing airline tickets, this card also earns additional points for booking car rentals and hotel stays through any of Southwest’s partners, such as Hyatt and Hertz. . There is a low spending requirement of $2,000 during the first three months of account opening to earn 50,000 sign-up bonus points. In addition, there is a 6,000 Anniversary Point Bonus that is independent of your expenses and does not include overseas transaction fees. Once you earn 110,000 points or complete 100 one-way flights in a year, you will earn Companion Pass status that allows you to invite a guest on Southwest flights at no charge, which is valid for the remainder of the year and the following year.
6. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Starwood hotel expenses can be converted to free flights by exchanging your points with more than 24 frequent flyer programs. However, the highest value redemption alternative for this card is hotel stays. Every dollar spent at attractive SPG locations is worth five Starpoints, while all other purchases earn you one Starpoint per dollar. The sign-up bonus for the card is 25,000 Starpoints after $3,000 spent on purchases within the first three months. SPG points are extremely valuable and the bonus translates to approximately $575.
7. Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
After spending $1,000 on purchases with your new Card in the first three months of account opening, you earn an additional 30,000 miles and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within your account. period. Purchases made directly through Delta earn two miles per dollar, while every dollar invested in other eligible purchases earns you one mile. There’s a free checked bag for every Delta flight, saving you up to $200 for each trip with a group of four. There is no annual introductory fee for the first year, but you must pay $95 the following year.
8. The JetBlue Plus Card
The JetBlue Plus Card comes with a generous 30,000 point bonus for every $1,000 spent on purchases during the first three months. Every dollar spent on JetBlue purchases is worth one point. JetBlue-operated flights can be redeemed at any time for any seat. The pre-established base fare when booking a flight will determine the points required for an award flight. Points earned on the TruBlue account do not expire. Each year, on your account opening anniversary, you are rewarded with 5,000 bonus points, while eligible onboard purchases come with 50 percent savings.
9. United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
$1,000 spent on purchases within the first three months of opening an account with the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card earns an additional 30,000 miles. Save up to $100 per trip when you check in your first bag at no charge. You get 2 single-use passes per year that you can use to visit the United Club and enjoy boarding privileges. Tickets purchased at United earn double miles, while every dollar spent on other purchases is valued at one mile. Unless you close your credit card account, the miles cannot expire. These can be used at any time, for any seat and on any United flight.
10. Virgin America Visa Signature® Card
The Virgin America Visa Signature® card comes with 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months. This totals $200 when redeemed through Virgin America flights. Every dollar spent at Virgin America earns three bonus points, while the same amount spent on other purchases earns one bonus point.
Best Commercial Airline Credit Cards For Top 5 Airlines
Chances are, if you are a frequent flyer for a specific airline, then you are loyal as a result of generally positive experiences. Rare flight delays or cancellations, responsible baggage handling, and low ticket prices are all reasons that would make you lean towards flying with just one airline. These airline benefits are also the criteria that many airline ranking systems use to determine which airlines are the best of the best. The top five airlines for 2021, according to Money’s calculations, are Alaska, Hawaiian, Southwest, JetBlue, and Delta, in descending order. Because loyal airline frequent fliers are more likely to be loyal to the best airlines, we’ve compiled a guide to choosing the best business airline credit cards for each of the top five airlines of 2021. Some Some of the best commercial airline credit cards may be a bit obvious – you don’t need us to tell you that a card made by one airline will be a good fit for that same airline. However, many of the major airlines will offer multiple co-branded credit cards to choose from, and even the most obvious options deserve a highlight and explanation.
11. Best Airline Business Alaska Airlines Credit Card
Alaska Airlines tops the list of the best performing US airlines in 2021. And the number one credit card for the number one airlines is surprisingly not the Alaska Airlines credit card. Although this Bank of America® business credit card offers a welcome bonus and companion pass, the value of these benefits will not offset the employee card fee charged by this option. You will have to pay a base of $50 a year, plus $25 a year, for each employee card that you attach to your account. In addition to toll-free bags and a low-limit companion pass, the Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card does not offer enough airline-specific benefits to justify its limited rewards program. As a result, we suggest that you look for more general business travel cards if you are an Alaska Airlines devotee. A travel card like the American Express Business Platinum will give you a $200 credit for incidental charges (like, say, checked baggage) with an airline of your choice. In addition, it will allow you to take advantage of a welcome offer worth up to 100,000 points. Granted, the Amex Business Platinum will cost an annual fee of $595, but you will not have to pay an additional fee to attach employee cards to your account. If you’re planning to attach eight or more employee cards to your account, then the Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card will cost you the same – if not more – as the Amex Business Platinum each year – and will offer you a fraction of the value.
12. Best Business Airlines Credit Card for Hawaiian Airlines
The next major airline – and its corresponding business credit cards – is Hawaiian Airlines and its co-branded Barclays business credit card, the Hawaiian Airlines Business Mastercard. Unlike the Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card, the Hawaiian Airlines Business Credit Card offers substantial rewards for earning the title of the best card for your airline. This airline card offers one of the most generous travel rewards welcome offers on the market. All you have to do is make your first purchase with your Hawaiian Airlines business card, and no matter how big or small your purchase is, you’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles. Plus, for every year you spend $100,000 or more with the card, you’ll earn another 40,000 bonus miles. Or, if you’re not a big spender, you’ll still earn 20,000 miles for each account anniversary if you’ve spent at least $50,000 compared to the previous year. Lastly, your Hawaiian Airlines credit card will have a one-time 50% discount on a roundtrip ticket from North America to Hawaii.
13. Best Business Airline Credit Card for Southwest Airlines
Third among the top five US airlines in 2018, Southwest has also managed to produce one of the best airline-specific business credit cards on the market. The Southwest Business Credit Card is a Chase business credit card that offers twice the rewards not only for purchases you make directly with Southwest, but also for purchases you make directly with Southwest hotels and partners. car rental, which is quite rare for a specific airline card. This card also offers a 60,000-point welcome bonus if you spend $3,000 in the first three months after opening your account, along with a 6,000-point anniversary bonus every year you keep the card, no matter how much you spend. The Southwest Business Credit Card also offers the best companion pass deal on the market: If you complete 100 one-way flights or earn 110,000 points in one year, you will get a free companion pass that is valid for the rest of the current year and for the entire following year.
Our Final Thoughts: Airline credit cards are only worth their limited rewards and high annual fees if you travel frequently and always on the same airline. If not, consider shifting your business travel credit card search toward more general travel rewards cards.