- Earn rewards with your everyday spend and get a little closer to your next flight.
- Bonus offer – new card holders may be eligible for welcome bonuses of up to 75,000 points.
- Enjoy additional travel perks like travel insurance, waived foreign transaction fees, and airport lounge access.
- Terms vary by partner offer. Please see each bank’s application for terms and conditions.
- Clicking Apply Now will take you to CreditCards.com to compare Airline Credit Cards from participating partners.
Make Lemonade is not a lender, broker or investment adviser. We are a free, independent and unbiased website to help empower you to make more informed financial decisions. The rates and terms contained herein are estimates, net of autopay (if applicable) and may change at any time and/or differ from your final rate and terms. Make Lemonade may receive compensation from its affiliate partners, including CreditCards.com. For disclosures from SoFi, please click here. For disclosures from College Ave, please click here. For more information, please see our Advertiser Disclosure.
What are airline rewards credit cards?
Airline rewards credit cards are credit cards that offer airline rewards such as airlines miles that can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades and other great perks. The best airline cards may be connected to certain airlines such as American, Alaska (Virgin American), Delta and United, for example. For every dollar you spend with airline credit cards, you earn airline rewards that you can redeem for airline travel, hotel stays or other airline rewards.
The best airline credit cards also come up with signup bonuses, which may offer bonus points or bonus miles if you spend a certain amount of money in the first few months of having your best airline credit card. You also may qualify for bonus miles in certain spending categories in addition to base earnings. Many of the best credit cards for airline points or best credit cards for airline miles do not charge a foreign transaction fee, which can help when you with international travel.
Are airline credit cards a good idea?
Airline credit cards are worth it if you are a frequent traveler and want to redeem your airline rewards points and airline rewards miles for travel.
Here is a helpful rule of thumb regard the best airline credit cards:
- If you prefer to travel with a certain airline, you should find the best credit card with airline miles.
- Some of the best travel credit cards enable you to transfer points to many different types of partners such as airlines or hotels and provide more optionality. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent credit card that has multiple partners through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
This strategy will provide you with the most flexibility when it comes to choosing the best airline card.
Should I get an airline rewards credit card?
Deciding to get an airline rewards credit card is an easier task than it seems. If you are interested in the best airline credit cards, ask yourself how much you travel and the types of rewards that you would like. Here are some considerations when deciding to choose the best airline credit card for you:
1. How often you fly
Airline credit cards are for people who travel frequently. Therefore, the best airline credit card or airline credit cards will be for people who travel often for work or vacation. Analyze your spending. When it comes to airline rewards credit cards, determine how much you plan to travel and spend on airfare, hotels or other travel. If you travel frequently, then you will want to compare the best credit card for airline points, the best credit card for airline miles or even the best card for international travel. This way, you can save money when it comes to travel or vacations because you can use airline rewards instead. If you are not a frequent traveler, then you may prefer the best cash back credit cards or the best rewards credit cards.
2. You pay off your credit card balance each month
The best airline cards are for people who pay off their credit balance in full each month. If you plan to have a credit card balance each month, the interest rate with even the best airline credit cards can be costly. In fact, with the top airline credit cards, the interest rate can be higher than the airline rewards. Therefore, make sure to pay off your full credit card balance each month if you plan to have airline credit cards.
3. You like airlines rewards
Many of the best airline rewards credit cards offer rewards for hotel stays and airfare. That’s great news if you are interested in the best credit card for airline points or the best credit card for airline miles. Airline rewards credit cards can be redeemed at many leading airlines and hotels. With the best airline credit card for you, you can earn free flights, free hotel stays and other airline rewards.
4. How do you choose the best airline credit card?
When choosing the best airline credit card, there are several factors to consider. Airline rewards credit cards can be evaluated in several ways. The best airline card is the one that makes most sense for your personal situation. Choosing the best credit card for airline miles or the best credit card for airline points may mean you are a frequent traveler. That’s why credit the best airline cards can help you earn points or miles depending on your preference.
When searching for the best airlines rewards credit cards, make sure to evaluate points, miles, sign-up bonus, ongoing rewards, tier levels, annual fee, foreign transaction fee and other perks. In many cases, since most airline rewards credit cards have an annual fee, the rewards you receive often are more valuable than the annual fee. So the airline credit card can pay for itself in the form of benefits and rewards.
How should I use the best airline rewards credit cards?
1. Use your airline rewards credit cards when you travel
Your airline rewards credit cards will come in handy when you travel. First, you can earn more airline rewards when you travel and spend with your airline cards. With some airline rewards cards, you can earn additional bonuses when you spend money on that airline. Other airline rewards cards offer spending bonus on other non-travel categories. Second, the best airline rewards credit for you may also include travel benefits such as no foreign transaction fee and other benefits with airlines such as free checked bags, for example. Third, your airline credit cards may include free rental car insurance.
2. Choose your airline rewards credit cards with goals in mind
When you choose the best airline rewards credit card, make sure you have a goal in mind. Do you want to earn the best credit card for airline points? Do you want the best airline credit card for airline miles? Or perhaps you are most interest in the best airline card sign-up bonus. Overall, focus also on the ongoing rewards for the airline rewards credit cards you choose.
3. Fly off-peak to maximize airline rewards credit cards
If you are thinking about the best card for international travel, consider booking your airline during off-peak travel times. This will save you points and miles when redeeming. The best airline card may also benefit you if you travel mid-week and not during holidays to ensure the rewards are available.
4. Have a strong or excellent credit score to qualify for the best airline rewards credit card
The best way to be approved for top airline credit cards is to have a strong credit score or excellent credit score. If you have a strong credit profile, you will maximize your chance to be approved for the top airline rewards credit cards. Credit card companies prefer customers with strong credit profiles to reduce their own risk. Therefore, you have a better chance to be approved for airline rewards credit cards.
Do the best credit cards for international travel protect you when you travel?
For the best cards for international travel, you can expect to consider the following when you travel internationally:
1. Travel to locations where the U.S. dollar is strong
This means to choose a location when the U.S. dollar is strong relative to the local currency. This will help you save money and maximize your benefits of airline credit cards.
2. Use your airline credit cards while you travel abroad
The best airline rewards credit cards should be used while you travel internationally. Typically, the best airline credit card will provide better currency exchange than changing your money at a bank or currency exchange kiosk in the country or at the airport. Plus, you will also earn more airline rewards with your best airline credit card when you spend more in the country you are visiting.
3. Use the top airline credit cards with no foreign transaction fee
Foreign transaction fees are incurred whenever you make a purchase in a foreign country. With the best credit card for international travel, you typically will have no foreign transaction fees, which will save you money. Many of the best airline rewards credit cards offer this benefit, and it saves you money when you travel abroad or make a non-domestic purchase. This is because even booking foreign airlines before your trip could result in a foreign transaction fee.
What can the best airline rewards credit cards be redeemed for?
You can redeem the best airline rewards credit card for many rewards and benefits. Some of these benefits include free airline travel, flight upgrades, airport lounge access, in-flight refreshments and more. So, choose the best credit card for airline miles or best airlines for airline points, depending on your preference. Airline miles are helpful with specific airlines for free flights, whereas points are more flexible to redeem for free flights or free hotel nights.