There are many factors to consider when choosing the best airline credit card for your needs.
Do you want extra rewards for spending on airfare? Free checked bags? Priority boarding? Or airport lounge access?
Once you’ve decided what’s important to you, it’s time to compare cards!
We’ve gathered some of the best airline credit cards available to help you make your decision.
1. The Platinum Card® from American Express
Best for Airport Lounge Access
The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) is a great premium travel rewards card for travelers who want airport lounge access, including Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), Escape Lounges, Priority Pass lounges.
The American Express Platinum has a $695 annual fee, but you receive many annual statement credits when you enroll your card to offset the fee, including:
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
- $200 Uber Cash Credit: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Benefit renews annually.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) and receive a statement credit that covers the full cost each month.
- $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.
You also earn 5x Membership Rewards points when booking flights directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year) and 5x Membership Rewards points when booking prepaid hotels with American Express Travel.
On top of that, you automatically earn Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite and Hilton Honors Gold statuses, which offer points bonuses, room upgrades, late check-out, and other premier benefits.
2. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Best for Flexible Rewards
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) is a premium travel rewards card that’s perfect for travelers who want outstanding travel perks like annual travel credits, worldwide airport lounge access, and travel and purchase protections.
The Venture X earns 2x miles on all purchases helping you maximize every dollar of your spending. Plus, you can earn 10x miles on hotels and rental cars, and 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One.
The card has a $395 annual fee, completely offset by a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, and 10,000 points (worth at least $100) for each account anniversary.
Plus, you get airport lounge access via Priority Pass, Capital One, and Plaza Premium Lounges, Hertz President’s Circle elite status, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, rental car insurance, trip and luggage insurance, cell phone insurance, and purchase protection.
3. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Best for Beginner Travelers
- 5x Points on Travel Booked Via Chase
- 3x Points on Dining and Eligible Delivery Services
- 2x Points on All Other Travel Purchases
- 10% Anniversary Points Boost
- Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Primary Rental Car Insurance
- $95 Annual Fee
For only $95 per year, this card earns 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3x points on dining, online groceries, and streaming services, and 2x on all other travel purchases.
Cardholders will also get a 10% anniversary points bonus, a 12-month DoorDash DashPass subscription when activated by December 31, 2024, and a $50 anniversary hotel statement credit.
Plus, it provides extensive travel protections, including trip delay, primary rental car, baggage, and purchase protection plans.
4. United℠ Explorer Card
Best for United Club Access
- 2X Miles on United Purchases, Dining, and Hotel Stays
- 2 United Club One-Time Passes Per Year
- Free First Checked Bags for Two People
- Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or Nexus Credit
- 25% Savings on United In-Flight Food and Drinks
- Priority Boarding
- Primary Rental Car and Trip Delay Insurance
- $0 Intro Annual Fee, Then $95 Per Year
- Free first checked bag when you pay using the Explorer card;
- Two free United Club passes each account anniversary;
- Priority boarding for you and companions on the same reservation;
- Extra award space when redeeming your United miles;
- 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages, and Wi-Fi on United; and
- Premier upgrades on award tickets.
Even if you’re not a frequent United flyer, the money-saving perks and travel benefits of this card can still make it a worthwhile choice.
Besides the airline-specific benefits, the United Explorer card offers purchase protection, extended warranty, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance, providing peace of mind while traveling.
5. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Best for Commuting
- $75 Annual Southwest Travel Credit
- 7,500 Points on Every Cardmember Anniversary
- 3X Points on Southwest Purchases
- 2X Points on Ridesharing, Local Transit, Internet, Cable, Phone, and Select Streaming
- 4 Upgraded Boardings Per Year
- 25% Savings on In-Flight Purchases
- $149 Annual Fee
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (review) is the best rewards card for Southwest flyers, earning 3x points on Southwest purchases and 2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases, ridesharing, local transit, internet, cable, phone, and streaming services.
At $149 per year, this travel card offers a host of great perks to offset the cost, including a $75 annual Southwest travel credit, 7,500 bonus points each account anniversary, 4 upgraded boardings, and a 25% in-flight savings.
The Southwest Priority card also comes with lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, secondary rental car insurance, purchase protection, and an extended warranty.
6. Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Best for Shopping at U.S. Supermarkets
- 2X SkyMiles on Delta Air Lines, U.S. Supermarkets, and Restaurants worldwide (including takeout & delivery in the U.S.)
- Free First Checked Bag
- 20% Statement Credit on Delta In-Flight Purchases
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- $0 Intro Annual Fee for the First Year, Then $99 Per Year (Rates and Fees)
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (review) is a cost-effective card with solid perks for Delta flyers, offering a free first checked bag, a $100 Delta flight credit, and a 20% statement credit on Delta in-flight food and drink purchases.
For a $0 introductory annual fee followed by $99 per year, this card earns 2x SkyMiles at at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets and 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases.
7. Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best for Travel Insurance
- $300 Annual Travel Credit
- 10x Points on Hotels and Rental Cars and 5x Points on Flights Booked Through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3x Points on Dining, Takeout, & Eligible Food Delivery
- 50% More Redemption Value
- Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
- Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Primary Rental Car Insurance
- $550 Annual Fee
The Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, but you receive an annual easy-to use $300 travel credit and access to 1,300+ Priority Pass airport lounges.
Plus, great benefits such as trip delay insurance, primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, purchase and return protection, extended warranty, and no foreign transaction fees.
Cardmembers also earn extra points with:
- 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- 3x points on travel.
- 3x points on dining, and food delivery purchases.
- 1x points everywhere else.
One thing to remember is that you won’t earn points on your first $300 in travel purchases each cardmember year since the $300 travel credit covers those purchases.
You can also cash out points at a 50% bonus (1.5 cents per point) when redeeming points towards travel or transfer the points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners.
8. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Best for Admirals Club Membership
- Admirals Club Lounge Membership
- Free Checked Bag (for you and 8 travel companions)
- Priority Boarding and Priority Check-In
- Global Entry / TSA Pre-Check Credit
- $595 Annual Fee
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a good option for frequent American Airlines travelers since it offers an Admirals Club membership, free checked bags, priority boarding, and priority check-in on American Airlines.
9. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Best for Non-bonus Spending
- 5x Miles on Hotels and Rental Cars via Capital One Travel
- 2x Miles Everywhere Else
- 2 Free Visits to Capital One Lounges Each Year
- Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Credit
- Hertz 5-Star Elite Status
- Rental Car Insurance and Extended Warranty
- $95 Annual Fee
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a travel rewards credit card that earns an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
The card also comes with a range of travel benefits, including secondary rental car, no foreign transaction fees, and extended warranty coverage.
Plus, you also get two complimentary passes to visit Capital One lounges each year and an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (up to a $100 credit every four years).