There are many factors to consider when choosing the best airline credit card for your needs.
Do you want a card that offers extra rewards for spending on airfare?
Do you want a card that offers free checked bags or priority boarding?
Or do you want a card with 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
The Platinum Card® from American Express 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 (after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®)
- $200 Hotel Credit (on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay)
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit (up to $20 each month: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times)
- $200 Uber Cash Credit ($15 per month with $35 in December when you add your Platinum Card to Uber or UberEats account)
- $155 Walmart+ Credit (covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly membership)
- CLEAR Credit (up to $189 towards an annual Clear membership for expedited airport security)
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
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card 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 an easy-to-use travel credit of up to $300 back annually as statement credits for Bookings via 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
- Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Bonus Points for Spending $4,000 in the First 3 Months
- 5x Points on Travel Booked Via Chase
- 3x Points on Dining and Eligible Delivery Services
- 3x Points on Select Streaming and Online Grocery (excluding Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs)
- 2x Points on All Other Travel Purchases
- 10% Anniversary Points Boost
- Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Primary Rental Car Insurance
- $95 Annual Fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best rewards cards for travelers who want solid earning rates for travel and dining expenses.
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, 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
- Earn 50,000 United Miles After Spending $3,000 in the First 3 Months
- 2X Miles on United Purchases, Dining, and Hotel Stays
- 2 United Club One-Time Passes Per Year
- Free First Checked Bags for Two People
- $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
The Chase United℠ Explorer Card is one of my favorite cards to keep long-term because of the great benefits when flying United, including:
- 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.
The Explorer card also allows you to save money by booking a basic economy ticket, while still getting the ability to bring a free carry-on or checked bag.
5. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard®
- Earn 50,000 AAdvantage Miles After Spending $5,000 in the First 3 Months
- Admirals Club Lounge Membership for Cardholders and Up to 10 Authorized Users with Two Guests
- Free Checked Bag (for you and 8 travel companions)
- Priority Boarding and Priority Check-In
- Global Entry / TSA Pre-Check Credit
- $450 Annual Fee
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard® is a great choice if you’re a frequent American Airlines flyer who wants airport lounge access.
This card features an Admirals Club membership (worth $650) that allows the primary cardholder and up to two guests with a same-day boarding pass to enter American Airlines Admirals Club lounges when flying American Airlines, a OneWorld airline (including Alaska Airlines), or JetBlue (excluding flights to Europe).
Plus, the primary cardholder enjoys access to over 50 partner lounges worldwide.
The annual fee is $450, but you can add up to 10 authorized users for free, who also enjoy Admirals Club lounge access with two guests.
If you maximize this benefit, you effectively pay only $41 per person for a yearly Admirals Club membership ($450 divided by 11 people).
6. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
- Earn 50,000 Points After Spending $1,000 in the First 3 Months.
- $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 Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card 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.
7. Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Earn 40,000 Bonus SkyMiles for $2,000 in Eligible Purchases in the First 6 Months.
- 2X SkyMiles on Delta Air Lines, Restaurants Worldwide, and U.S. Supermarkets
- 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 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 restaurants globally and U.S. supermarkets and 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases.
8. Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for Spending $4,000 in the First 3 Months
- $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 Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a great option for travelers who want premium perks such as airport lounge access and top-tier travel protections.
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, dining, and food delivery purchases, and 1x points everywhere else.
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.
9. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles After Spending $4,000 Within the First Three Months
- 5x Miles on Hotels and Rental Cars via Capital One
- 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 offers up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, and two free visits each year to the Capital One Lounge.