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11 best airline credit cards of November 2022: Earn valuable airline miles or flexible points and get perks like free checked bags and airport lounge access

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If you wish to use journey rewards to economize on flights, an airline credit card is a should. You can select between credit cards that earn airline miles, or cards that earn extra flexible rewards points which you could switch to numerous frequent flyer packages.

You can discover the best airline credit card for you by zeroing in on the advantages you need. Here are our prime picks.

We’re centered right here on the rewards and perks that include every card. These cards will not be value it when you’re paying curiosity or late charges. When utilizing a credit card, it is essential to pay your stability in full every month, make funds on time, and solely spend what you possibly can afford to pay.

Compare the best airline credit cards

The best airline credit card critiques

Best card when you’re not loyal to at least one airline: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points that you should use to e book journey instantly via the Chase Travel Portal, which provides you access to just about each airline. You may also transfer Chase points to various airline and hotel partners, together with United, British Airways, JetBlue, and Hyatt

This card affords a really robust lineup of perks and rewards in trade for a comparatively reasonable annual payment. You’ll earn 5x points on journey bought via Chase Ultimate Rewards and 2x points on all different journey purchases. The card additionally affords 3x points on eating.

Travel includes everything from airfare to parking to hotels, whereas eating consists of eating places, supply companies, and even some bars. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card additionally affords one of the best welcome bonuses amongst shopper credit cards, and you get some valuable journey protection as nicely, together with trip delay insurance, primary car rental insurance, and purchase protection.

If you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and discover that you are a fan of incomes and redeeming journey points, keep in mind that you can always upgrade to its higher-end sibling, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, after your first 12 months.

The Reserve has a Chase Sapphire Reserve® annual payment, however it additionally affords as much as $300 in annual travel credits that apply to just about any journey buy and earns 5x whole points on air journey and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals bought via Chase Ultimate Rewards (after incomes the $300 journey credit). You’ll earn 3x points on different journey and eating purchases with the Reserve.

Read extra concerning the Chase Sapphire Preferred card:

Best new airline credit card: Aeroplan® Credit Card

The Aeroplan® Credit Card is Chase’s first-ever co-branded card with Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, and it comes with a quantity of novel advantages. Along with a welcome bonus provide of Chase Aeroplan® Credit Card, new cardholders obtain automated Aeroplan 25K Elite Status for the rest of the primary calendar 12 months, plus the next calendar 12 months.

Cardholders additionally get a free first checked bag on Air Canada flights, the flexibility to re-earn (or step up) elite standing by hitting spending thresholds, and as much as $100 reimbursement for the Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS application fee each 4 years. 

Starting later in 2022, the Aeroplan® Credit Card may have the choice to redeem as much as 50,000 Aeroplan points per 12 months towards any eligible journey buy through Chase Pay Yourself Back at a price of 1.25 cents every. Qualifying journey will embody airfare (on any airline), automobile leases, resorts, rideshares, and rather more.

Read extra concerning the Chase Aeroplan card:

Best card for American Airlines flyers: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® will get you a free checked bag on American Airlines home itineraries, together with most well-liked boarding and reductions on inflight purchases.

It additionally earns 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and on restaurant and gas station spending (and 1 mile per greenback on all the things else). We additionally like that the annual payment is $99, waived for first 12 months. If you spend $20,000 on the cardboard in an account 12 months and then renew your card, you will get a $125 American Airlines flight low cost. 

Qualifying for elite standing with American Airlines AAdvantage is now based mostly on incomes Loyalty Points. Along with incomes Loyalty Points from flying and accomplice spending, you possibly can earn 1 Loyalty Point per greenback spent on co-branded American Airlines cards, together with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Read extra concerning the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select:

Best card for Delta flyers: (*11*)

For the typical Delta flyer, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card affords the best stability between a reasonable Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card annual payment and elite-like perks that may prevent money and enhance your journey expertise.

The card earns 2x miles on eligible Delta purchases, 2x miles at US supermarkets and at eating places worldwide, and 1 mile per greenback on all different eligible purchases. This makes the cardboard a valuable possibility for on a regular basis spending, not only for incomes bonus miles in your Delta purchases. 

Other Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card advantages that make it a standout decide for Delta loyalists are a first checked bag for free and priority boarding on Delta flights, a $100 flight credit while you spend $10,000 or extra in a calendar 12 months, and 20% off inflight purchases as an announcement credit.

Read extra concerning the Delta Gold American Express card:

Best card for United flyers: United℠ Explorer Card

The United℠ Explorer Card affords the perks you’d count on from an airline credit card — a free checked bag (it is advisable pay for the United flight together with your Explorer card to get this perk), precedence boarding, discounts on inflight purchases, and bonus miles for purchases with the airline — but additionally some very valuable extras. 

If you’ve gotten this card (or another United card), you get expanded access to United’s lowest-priced “saver” awards, which might make it easier to save miles on an upcoming flight reserving. The United℠ Explorer Card additionally affords two one-time United Club passes every anniversary 12 months, and an software payment credit of as much as $100 for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS. 

Read extra concerning the United Explorer card:

Best card for Southwest flyers: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

This is one other occasion the place a better annual payment is warranted as a result of worth you get. Thanks to annual advantages like $75 in assertion credit for journey on Southwest and 4 upgraded boardings the place accessible, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card may very well be nicely value it when you’re an everyday Southwest flyer.

The assertion credit for $75 towards Southwest purchases every year successfully lowers the annual payment to $74 — decrease than the annual payment for the next-cheapest Southwest shopper card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card (Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card). 

Plus, the Priority card affords a bonus of 7,500 Southwest Rapid Rewards points every year after your account anniversary (you should use these points to e book award flights), and you will get 25% off inflight purchases. If you fly Southwest greater than as soon as or twice a 12 months, this card can simply be well worth the annual payment.

The points you earn from any of the Southwest credit cards can assist you qualify for the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which permits a designated companion to fly with you for next to free (simply pay taxes and charges) on paid and award flights.

Southwest is a Chase Ultimate Rewards switch accomplice, so you possibly can transfer points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card to Southwest immediately at a 1:1 ratio if it is advisable increase your stability.

Read extra concerning the Southwest Priority card:

Best card for Alaska Airlines flyers: Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card

Alaska Airlines would not have the most important route community amongst US carriers, however when you reside within the Pacific Northwest or one other space the place the airline affords in depth service — or when you fly Alaska to Hawaii — it is a nice card to have. 

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card not solely affords a companion fare as half of its welcome bonus provide, however you can even get one every year in your account anniversary (additionally beginning at $121). You can use this fare to carry somebody alongside on an Alaska flight, with no blackout dates, and this profit alone makes the cardboard value having when you continuously fly with this airline.

You additionally get the usual airline credit card advantages like a free checked bag, 20% off inflight purchases, and bonus miles on Alaska purchases — however on this case, it is 3 miles per greenback spent on eligible Alaska purchases somewhat than the extra normal 2x miles bonus on airline purchases accessible on different cards. 

Read extra concerning the Alaska Airlines credit card:

Best card for JetBlue flyers: JetBlue Plus Card

The standout advantages of the JetBlue Plus Card are points incomes — you get 6x points on JetBlue purchases, 2x points at eating places and grocery shops, and 1 level per greenback on all the things else — and a 5,000-point bonus every year after your account anniversary. Cardholders additionally get a free checked bag and 50% off inflight purchases.

Beyond that, the cardboard affords an incentive for large spenders: If you spend $50,000 or extra on purchases on the JetBlue Plus card in a calendar 12 months, you will get JetBlue Mosaic status, which will get you free drinks on board, waived change and cancellation charges, two free checked bags, and extra.

Read extra concerning the JetBlue Plus card:

Best premium airline card: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

The three main legacy US airways — American Airlines, Delta, and United — every provide a premium credit card with upscale perks (and annual charges to match). The most rewarding and helpful of the bunch is the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, and when you’re a Delta loyalist, it might find yourself saving you numerous of cash.

Although most different premium airline cards include airport lounge membership, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is exclusive in that while you fly Delta, it not solely affords Delta Sky Club access, but additionally entry to Centurion Lounges while you’ve used your Amex card to pay on your ticket.

Along with a welcome bonus of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you will obtain a free first checked bag and precedence boarding on Delta flights, an annual Delta companion certificates, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck software payment credit after you apply via any licensed enrollment supplier. Cardholders may also take benefit of 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after they spend $30,000 in purchases on the cardboard in a calendar 12 months (as much as 4 occasions) and access to complimentary upgrades and improve precedence.

This card costs a Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card annual payment, however it may be greater than worthwhile when you fly Delta typically and journey via airports with eligible airport lounges.

Best premium card for flexible vacationers: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card burst into the rewards card scene final 12 months with a superb welcome bonus provide and top-notch advantages that may be value rather more than its Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card annual payment. 

Among its perks: Priority Pass and Capital One airport lounge access, as much as $300 in annual credit towards flights, resorts, and rental automobiles booked via Capital One Travel, and a ten,000-mile bonus (value no less than $100 in journey) after every card anniversary.

Its annual payment is decrease than related premium cards, and it is a stable alternative when you’re not loyal to a specific airline. Cardholders earn a whopping 10x miles on resorts and rental automobiles booked via Capital One Travel, 10x miles when reserving on Turo (provide ends May 16, 2023), 5x miles on flights booked via Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on all different purchases.

You can redeem your miles at a price of 1 cent apiece towards eligible journey purchases charged to your card (together with airfare), or money them in for flights, resorts, and automobile leases via Capital One Travel. Capital One additionally affords over a dozen airline and hotel transfer partners, together with Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines, so when you desire to redeem rewards for award flights, that possibility is there too.

Read extra concerning the Capital One Venture X:

Best for luxurious journey advantages and bonus rewards on flights: The Platinum Card® from American Express

With a $550 annual payment, Platinum Card® from American Express seemingly will not make sense when you solely journey as soon as or twice a 12 months. However, when you’re on the highway continuously, the cardboard’s many premium advantages — from airport lounge access to as much as $200 in airline fee credits every year** — make it a helpful decide.

Platinum Card® from American Express earns a spot on our record of the highest airline rewards cards as a result of it earns 5 points per greenback on flights booked instantly with the airline or through Amex Travel (beginning January 1, 2021, the 5x points will apply as much as $500,000 on these purchases per calendar 12 months). That’s one of the very best incomes charges accessible on flight purchases. The Amex Membership Rewards points you earn allow you to e book flights instantly via Amex Travel, or you possibly can switch them to greater than a dozen airline partners to e book flight awards.

Even when you’re not touring proper now, the The Platinum Card® from American Express continues to be value contemplating, because it’s providing a lucrative welcome bonus offer and comes with Uber (together with Uber Eats) Cash credit**, Saks credits**, digital subscription credit**, Equinox credit**, Walmart+ membership credits**, and SoulCycle At-Home Bike credit you possibly can nonetheless use when you’re staying near dwelling.

Read extra concerning the Amex Platinum card:

How our record compares to different publications

Personal Finance Insider attracts on the recommendation and expertise of its personal credit card consultants, however we all know that analysis is a vital half of the hunt on your subsequent credit card. With that in thoughts, we have in contrast our prime airline card suggestions with these from different authorities on this area.

We included a checkmark beneath every publication identify if it really useful a given card in any of its prime airline credit card protection. For extra data on why some of our suggestions differ, see our part on popular airline cards that just missed the cut.

 Personal Finance InsiderNerdWalletThe Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Aeroplan® Credit Card


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


Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

United℠ Explorer Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card

JetBlue Plus Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card


The Platinum Card® from American Express


How we selected the best airline credit cards

Personal Finance Insider selected the highest airline cards based mostly on the worth every card affords in relation to its annual payment. To be certain we have been contemplating the best airline credit cards from each perspective, we additionally researched the suggestions and methodology of prime airline card lists from different web sites, together with CreditCards.com, NerdWallet, and The Points Guy.

In many instances, every publication had a unique decide for the best credit card for a given airline — and in that state of affairs, we arrived at our choice by returning to the query of which card affords essentially the most worth in return for its annual payment, excluding advantages that require spending more money to unlock.

Note that we centered on credit card choices for flying with main US airways — together with the “big three” of American, Delta, and United, in addition to smaller well-liked carriers like Alaska, JetBlue, and Southwest. If you continuously fly with one other airline like Frontier or Hawaiian, you might wish to look into its co-branded credit card choices.

With an airline credit card, not solely will you earn miles on each buy you make, however you can even earn a welcome bonus offer that may jump-start your frequent flyer account stability. Depending on the cardboard you select, you can even get advantages like a free checked bag, precedence boarding, or an airline companion ticket.

There is not merely one best airline credit card; the suitable possibility for you will depend on what airline you fly, whether or not you are a loyalist or need flexibility, the way you wish to use your miles, how a lot of an annual payment you are comfy paying, and a number of different components.

You’ll additionally wish to think about airline partnerships — for instance, it might make sense to get an American Airlines credit card if you wish to redeem miles for award flights on Oneworld companions like Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Alternately, a card like the Aeroplan® Credit Card could make sense even when you do not fly Air Canada, as a result of you possibly can redeem Aeroplan points for flights on Star Alliance airways together with United and Lufthansa.

Popular airline credit cards that simply missed the minimize

To hold issues easy, we restricted our record of the best airline credit cards to at least one definitive decide per airline, plus a couple of prime choices that are not affiliated with a specific airline. However, when you’re open to performing some deeper comparison-shopping, these cards are additionally value a glance.

Airline credit card continuously requested questions (FAQ)

What credit card affords the best airline miles?

There is not one “best” airline credit card or one kind of airline mile that is categorically higher than the others, as a result of it will depend on which airline is most handy for you.

For instance, if your property airport is small, you could possibly have restricted choices in the case of which airline you fly, so you will seemingly wish to earn no matter miles it is advisable fly out of your hometown.

If you reside close to a big airport the place your airline decisions are plentiful and you’ve gotten extra choices for loyalty, you might wish to examine how a lot completely different airline miles are value. We suggest trying out Insider’s updated guide to points and miles valuations, which connect a price (in cents) to the key airline currencies based mostly on the categories of award flights you possibly can e book via every.

You’ll see that Delta miles are usually value lower than Alaska miles, however take into accout all points and miles are solely valuable if you should use them — so when you do not journey to locations served by Alaska or its airline companions, incomes its miles most likely is not your best guess.

Is an airline credit card value it?

If you are loyal to a specific airline, it might make sense to use for one of its co-branded cards. For occasion, United affords the United℠ Explorer Card, which will get you advantages like a free checked bag and precedence boarding on United. 

If you are not loyal to a specific airline and you merely e book with whichever provider is providing the most cost effective airfare, an airline co-branded card is probably not the best possibility. You might think about a journey rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Platinum Card® from American Express as a substitute. This manner, you will earn points that can be utilized to e book airfare via Chase and Amex, respectively, in addition to via particular airline switch companions affiliated with the 2 packages.

How do airline credit cards work?

Airline credit cards that earn you miles in a specific frequent flyer program require you so as to add your frequent flyer quantity to your card account. You’re normally requested to do that throughout the credit card application process. Then, you will earn miles on all of your eligible credit card spending, and these earnings can be mirrored in your frequent flyer account.

You’ll be capable of access the miles you earned out of your credit card instantly via your frequent flyer account and use them to e book award flights.

What’s the distinction between airline credit cards and journey rewards credit cards?

Airline credit cards earn you miles in a selected frequent flyer program, comparable to Southwest Rapid Rewards or United MileagePlus. These airline co-branded cards are best for vacationers who’re loyal to at least one provider, as a result of your predominant possibility for utilizing miles can be for flights on that airline or its companions.

Travel rewards cards, however, earn transferable points — rewards which you could switch to a range of airline and/or lodge companions. With journey rewards cards, you are not locked into utilizing your points with just one airline, however you additionally will not get airline-specific advantages like a free checked bag or precedence boarding.

Do airline miles expire?

Many airline miles expire, however there are some notable exceptions. Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United miles by no means expire, however with different packages like American Airlines AAdvantage, miles do expire if you have no qualifying exercise inside a sure interval (18 months, within the AAdvantage program). Keep in thoughts that incomes miles from utilizing a co-branded airline credit card counts as qualifying exercise and can prevent your miles from expiring.

What is the best enterprise card for airline miles?

All of the choices listed above are private credit cards, however when you’ve got a small enterprise (even freelancing or a side-gig), you could possibly qualify for an airline small-business card. Most main US airways provide no less than one business version of their cards, and many provide profitable welcome bonuses, spending classes geared to enterprise homeowners, and top-notch perks.

Some of our favorites embody:

United℠ Business Card: Earn United℠ Business Card. Read our United Business card review.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. Read our CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card review.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Earn Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card. Read our Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business card review.

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card: Earn Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance card review

Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card: Earn Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card. Read our Alaska Airlines Business card review.

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