Best Airline Credit Cards of 2022 – Top 10 Rewards Picks

Randolph-Vialva-1
By
Reviewed by Randolph Vialva, MBA
Fact check

The article is checked by our editorial team, Which includes entrepreneurs who are painfully aware of how overwhelming and challenging it is to start a business for the first time.

All products recommended by Bizreport are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor's Choice

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5 stars

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Best for American Airlines

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5 stars

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

Best for Casual United Fliers

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5 stars

Do you love to fly more often? If that is the case, you may want to consider getting yourself one of the airline credit cards on this list. The airline credit card will be a great choice for you if you are a loyal customer of a certain airline. The more you use the card, the more rewards you gain, among other benefits. 

We will look at the various credit cards below so that you can decide which one is the most suitable card for your trips. Read to the end to get more tips on the right airline credit card.

Top 10 Best Airline Credit Cards of August 2022

The Lineup At A Glance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Has a generous bonus upon sign-up
  • The redemption process is simple 
  • Earning the rewards is easy and fast
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

CreditCiti® / Aadvantage® Platinum Select®

  • Earn more bonus points 
  • Get fast help from the support team 
  • No fees for foreign transactions
United? Explorer Card

United Explorer Card

  • The annual fee is waived for the first year
  • You can earn unlimited miles 
  • It has no blackout dates
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • It offers some good bonus miles 
  • Improving your rewards is faster 
  • Get your first checked bag for free
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

  • It is easy to earn your rewards
  • A companion certificate is awarded to users 
  • No fees on overseas transactions
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • It offers an amazing sign-up bonus
  • You can earn rewards with ease
  • No fees on foreign transactions
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

  • No annual fee for the user 
  • Has more in-flight saving options 
  • Has decent ongoing rewards
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

  • Access to delta sky club lounges is available 
  • Enjoy Delta perks on each Delta flight 
  • Get priority boarding on Delta flights
JetBlue Plus Card

JetBlue Plus Card

  • You get bonus categories 
  • There is an intro APR period
  • There is an option of free checked bag
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Has a high reward rate
  • You get a solid welcome bonus
  • Easy to get help from the support team

Top 10 Best Airline Credit Cards of August 2022

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The card has just as many benefits as any other branded airline card. With its generous points as a bonus, people feel excited about owning and using it more often for air travel.

  • The bonus points are quite impressive 
  • Rewards rates are better than most cards
  • Has a variety of options for redeeming points
  • It lacks the option of free checked bags

This credit card is what you need if you like bonus points. The provider gives you up to 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening an account. You can also redeem the points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. 

You will get 25% more value for the points when you redeem them for airfare, car rentals, cruises, and hotels. It must be why more people go for it. Also, you can get unlimited deliveries at a $0 delivery fee, as long as the orders have a value over $12, they should be eligible for the offer. You should also be on the lookout for rewards on in-flight purchases with the card. 

As for the annual fee, it is set at $95. This might not be the cheapest in the market, but many people using air travel can afford it. Considering you can earn up to 5X on rewards, it appeals to various users.

 

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Enjoying 18 months of 0% intro APR period is what most people would desire. Also, you can get better protection against unauthorized charges.

  • Good customer service support 
  • It has no foreign transaction fees
  • The first checked bag is free
  • Does not mention statement credit

This is another credit card with good bonus options. Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles when you spend $2,500 on purchases. The in-flight purchases can also be included as part of earning the bonus. All this can be achieved within 3 months of opening the account. 

From there, you can expect to earn more on the continuous use of the card. A good example is that you earn 2 bonus miles for each dollar you spend at gas stations and restaurants. Luckily, there are no foreign transaction fees. This makes it good for international travel all the time. 

The first checked bag is free when flying domestically with American Airlines. This is a feature that was lacking for the other card mentioned above. The customer support team would also help you get all the details about the brand before acquiring one.

United Explorer Card

The FICO score tracking feature means the bank regularly reports your credit activity. This would be used to help in building your credit over time.

  • Good introductory annual fee
  • Get more rewards with ease on purchases 
  • Earning more bonus miles is easy
  • Has a higher than average APRHas a high balance transfer fee 

This is another card with an incentive on the annual fee. You will get a rate of $0 for the introductory year and then after, $95. 

There are also 40,000 bonus miles you get when you spend $2,000 on purchase in the first three months. There are more ways of earning rewards with the card. One example is that you get to earn 2 miles for each dollar spent in hotel stays, dining, and other United Airlines purchases. 

Users love the credit card for the bonus rewards they receive as well as the 25% discount on inflight purchases and other eligible purchases. Also, those with the card can enjoy priority boarding privileges.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

You will find it easy to improve your bonuses faster than some other cards. Just make sure you spend enough on purchases in the first three months to earn even more bonus miles.

  • Earning bonus miles is easy 
  • Offers a good introductory annual fee 
  • You get generous signup bonuses
  • Not much information on government-imposed taxes

This credit card often comes with some interesting offers you may want to capitalize on. A good example is earning 70,000 bonus miles after spending only $2,000. Take note this has to be within the first three months. You should check its official website to see if there is a change in the offer. 

When you use the card for Delta flights, you will enjoy your first checked bag for free. That is not all, your miles multiply twice when you use the same credit card on Delta purchases and different restaurants worldwide. 

The annual fees are okay for most people. Here you get an offer of zero annual fees for the first year and then $99 from the following year. You’ll need to have a credit score of 690 to 850, to get the card.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

The introductory offer is 80,000 miles. Also, the bonus can be earned by making the required amount of purchases in the first 3 months.

  • You enjoy admission to Delta Sky Clubs 
  • You can get a companion certificate 
  • Impressive rewards of up to 3 miles per dollar
  • The annual fee is high

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card will introduce you to a great welcome bonus. A new account

This is a good credit card for those who want to maximize earning miles as they use the card. There is the option of earning up to 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMS). There is also the inclusion of a $200 statement credit after spending $5,000 during the first 3 months of owning the card. 

Use of the card to purchase Delta flight grants you access to the Escape Lounge or The Centurion Lounge. The rewards do not end there as you can earn 3 miles for each dollar spent on other eligible purchases. 

The annual fee of $550 is high. However, you can look towards enjoying other perks of the card. An example is having zero-dollar foreign transactions. An active community online provides more help on the card’s perks prior to applying for it.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

You will access a wide range of perks including a companion pass and the A-list status. For most people, this should be a great credit card to own.

  • You get a companion pass with the card 
  • No caps on rewards
  • You get an annual travel credit
  • Has high annual fees 

There is a solid signup bonus with the credit card. It is amazing how you can earn up to 100,000 bonus points. Not many companies will give you this type of bonus. You need to spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 

You can also get priority perks too. Some of these perks are an annual travel credit. This is a $75 statement credit you can use on Southwest purchases. You also get upgraded boarding. You can save an average of $30 to $50 every time you use it. 

Card members also get a head start on A-List status and Companion pass. For a companion pass, it lets you fly with a companion for free. There will be more perks, especially when you look at the A-list status option.

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Having zero annual fees makes this among the popular options for most users. You also get a generous sign-up bonus from the card issuer

  • It has a zero annual fee
  • It offers decent ongoing rewards
  • You can get in-flight savings
  • It has no free checked bags

This credit card comes with a $0 annual fee. It is not easy to get such a card right now, considering that most of them will have exorbitant annual fees most of the time. That is not all, you can earn more rewards as you continue using the card over the months or years. 

For those who want to earn more on rewards, just know that it is not just on Delta purchases, but also when you use the same in restaurants. So, each time you use the credit card, it can potentially earn you more rewards. 

Saving on your in-flight purchases is also a welcomed perk. Many people find it great that they can save up to 20% in the form of a statement credit while making purchases during their flight, which includes food, audio headsets, and beverages.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Yes, the annual fee might be discouraging, but look at the other benefits you get. They include more bonus miles and also, you get to enjoy other premium services such as access to the Delta Sky Club while traveling on a Delta flight.

  • Get a free first checked bag reward
  • Enjoy priority boarding on Delta flights 
  • Get access to Delta Sky Club lounges
  • Has a high annual fee of $550

This is a great choice for those who want a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Considering you might be traveling a lot, it makes sense to have such offers as part of the air travel credit card. 

The bonuses you get with the card are also enticing, for example; the bonus miles. Even though the bonus might be seasonal, there will always be an offer for you to jump on each time. 

The card issuer claims that you can earn at least 3X miles on the Delta Purchases, and 1X mile on the other various eligible purchases. So, it should be able to work for most people who travel with Delta. 

JetBlue Plus Card

Most people take advantage of the introductory-APR period which keeps the penalties low. 

  • Offer annual companion coupons to new cardholders
  • You get 5% of your redeemed points back when you use them to book an Amtrak ticket.
  • You get 3x points on Amtrak purchases
  • High annual fees
  • Not convenient for everyone

It is hard to go wrong with this card too. The credit card has some good rewards, including 70,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases and also paying your annual fee in full. This should be done in 90 days. 

You can be in a position to even earn 6 times your points if you use it on eligible JetBlue purchases. You will also earn more points when you use it in restaurants and grocery stores. And you can see how easy it will be to earn more points if you use this card regularly. 

Like some airline cards, you can also get a $100 statement credit. This is for those who purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of at least $100. Make sure you use the JetBlue Plus Card. Another perk is that you can get up to 50% savings on in-flight drink and food purchases.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Like other airline cards, you may want to use them overseas. Well, there are no charges on foreign transactions

  • You can earn unlimited miles on each purchase
  • There are no fees on foreign transactions 
  • Has a solid welcome bonus
  • Lacks an intro APR offer

When you decide to get a credit card from this brand, there are many things to like, the biggest being its bonus of 60,000 miles. This bonus is available after spending at least $3,000 on purchases during the first three months from account opening. When you do a conversion, the bonus miles are equal to $600 in air travel. 

If you do not get the bonus on miles during the first three months, do not worry as you can earn more miles elsewhere. The card allows you to earn 2X miles on the daily purchases you make with the card. The best part about the card is that the miles will not expire. 

You can also transfer the miles that you have accumulated to 15+ different travel loyalty programs. Just like that, you can enjoy more flexibility with the card. No foreign transaction fees provide for worry-free shopping worldwide.

The Difference Between Airline & Travel Credit Cards

When seeking credit cards, you will come across different options such as; airline credit cards and travel credit cards. 

A travel credit card is known for being quite versatile since it is not specific to a certain airline. As a result, you should get it if you are not loyal to a specific airline and also you enjoy having more flexibility in terms of redeeming the rewards. An example is that you can always get more rewards regardless of the choice of airline. 

The airline credit card, on the other hand, is best used for a certain airline. Even if you earn more rewards, they are best redeemed for flight purchases with that specific airline. The good news is that you can get other perks in relation to the airline such as companion pass, A-list status, and more. 

Choosing between the two will depend on personal preferences. Those who want to fly more often with a specific airline can apply for that airline’s card, while those who want more versatility should get a travel card. 

How To Maximize Your Airline Credit Cards

To maximize the benefits of the card you apply for, always take advantage of the bonus miles that come with the introductory offer on the card. Although there might be some conditions attached, you will find it easy to accomplish the conditions and earn your bonus miles most of the time. 

Use the card more often to earn more miles. Such cards can offer you bonus miles per dollar spent. As you can see, the more you use it, the higher the extra miles. 

Some cards provide a year-end bonus. This is where you get extra miles if you hit the annual spending target. Depending on the choice of card, it is easy to get some other interesting rewards. 

Look for cards with no foreign transaction fees, as such cards will minimize the cost of doing transactions while overseas. 

Other Airline Credit Cards To Consider

The other cards you should consider are:

  • Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard
  • American Express Business Platinum Card
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will the airline miles expire?

It largely depends on the program that you choose. Sometimes the miles can expire while other companies offer options where they do not expire. 

Can you convert credit card points into airline miles?

Not all credit card points can be turned into airline miles. Some of the transferable options include Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points. 

Will the airline credit card get free checked bags?

It will depend on the choice of a credit card. Some will get you free check bags. In most cases, you should expect to get a baggage allowance if you are paying an annual fee on the card.

Share:
Share

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An organized and creative thinking sales management professional with experience in outside and inside sales in various markets. A freelancer in the Greater Boston Market moved to St. Louis and became an Account Executive, then a Sales Manager managing and coaching 12 sales reps covering a nationwide territory. I’ve developed my team with a combination of consultative selling and value before price coaching mindset which has won me a President's Cup and many other financially rewarding awards at RICOH. My most recent role as a Continuous Improvement Manager provided insight into the importance of delivering a quality product in alignment with the value and reputation of my organization. It further enhances the aspect of selling on value as opposed to price.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

An organized and creative thinking sales management professional with experience in outside and inside sales in various markets. A freelancer in the Greater Boston Market moved to St. Louis and became an Account Executive, then a Sales Manager managing and coaching 12 sales reps covering a nationwide territory. I’ve developed my team with a combination of consultative selling and value before price coaching mindset which has won me a President's Cup and many other financially rewarding awards at RICOH. My most recent role as a Continuous Improvement Manager provided insight into the importance of delivering a quality product in alignment with the value and reputation of my organization. It further enhances the aspect of selling on value as opposed to price.

+ 1 sources

Bizreport Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Bizreport, you can read more about the editorial process here.

  1. Wang, S.W. and Hsu, M.K. (2016). Airline co-branded credit cards—An application of the theory of planned behavior. Journal of Air Transport Management, [online] 55, pp.245–254. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0969699715301708 [Accessed 19 Feb. 2022].