6 Greatest Airline Credit score Playing cards (February 2024)

  • Greatest airline bank cards in contrast
  • Greatest airline rewards packages in 2024
  • Greatest airline bank cards for elite standing with out flying
  • Methodology
  • Sources
  • Newbie’s information to airline bank cards
  • Concerning the creator
  • Consumer questions & solutions
  • Knowledgeable opinions


Greatest Airline Credit score Playing cards In contrast

Researching rewards packages is necessary to do earlier than selecting an airline bank card, as each the cardboard’s phrases and the general loyalty program’s guidelines will have an effect on your capacity to earn free flights and revel in different advantages.

Greatest Airline Rewards Applications in 2024


Greatest Airline Credit score Playing cards for Elite Standing With out Flying

* Not one of the bank cards affiliated with Southwest, American Airways, United or Alaska Airways enable customers to succeed in elite standing with out flying.


Methodology for Deciding on the Greatest Airline Credit score Playing cards

To establish the most effective airline miles bank cards in the marketplace, WalletHub’s editors commonly evaluate greater than 1,500 bank card presents primarily based on their airfare rewards, charges, approval necessities and redemption insurance policies. Along with the co-branded airline bank cards which can be affiliated with main airways, WalletHub’s editors take into account playing cards that provide standout rewards on any airline. Last alternatives are made primarily based on the two-year value related to every card. 

How Two-12 months Price Is Calculated

Two-year value is used to approximate the financial worth of playing cards for higher comparability and is calculated by combining annual and month-to-month membership charges over two years, including any one-time charges or different charges (like stability switch charges), including any curiosity prices, and subtracting rewards. Detrimental quantities point out financial savings. When charges or different phrases are offered as a variety, we use the midpoint for scoring functions.

Rewards bonuses and credit have been taken into consideration for two-year value calculations. Nonetheless, bonuses relevant to solely a really small portion of cardholders usually are not thought-about. For instance, credit and bonuses awarded for spending or redeeming rewards by way of an organization portal with non-co-branded playing cards haven’t been taken into consideration. Equally, bonuses and credit associated to spending with particular retailers utilizing a non-co-branded card haven’t been taken into consideration (for instance, if Card A presents credit with DoorDash, this characteristic wouldn’t be factored into calculations as a result of it’s arduous to evaluate what number of cardholders would use the profit or precisely how a lot worth they’d get from it).

Cardholder Spending Profiles

Provided that completely different customers have completely different targets and are probably to make use of their bank cards in a different way, we recognized spending profiles which can be consultant of various customers’ monetary priorities and behaviors. For every cardholder kind, we’ve assumed a certain amount of month-to-month spending by buy kind (e.g., groceries, gasoline, and so on.), in addition to a median stability, stability switch quantity, quantity spent on massive purchases and common month-to-month cost. Spending assumptions are primarily based on Bureau of Labor Statistics knowledge for customers and PEX knowledge for companies.



WalletHub actively maintains a database of 1,500+ bank card presents, from which we choose the most effective airline bank cards for various candidates in addition to derive market-wide takeaways and developments. The underlying knowledge is compiled from bank card firm web sites or supplied immediately by the bank card issuers. We additionally leverage knowledge from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to develop cardholder profiles, used to estimate playing cards’ potential financial savings.

Newbie’s Information to Airline Credit score Playing cards


What Is an Airline Credit score Card?

An airline bank card is a bank card affiliated with a selected airline or group of airways. Making purchases with an airline card will get you miles or factors that you would be able to redeem at no cost flights, and being a cardholder could get you advantages corresponding to precedence boarding and free checked luggage with the affiliated airline and its companions.

Study extra about how airline bank cards work.

Professionals and Cons of Airline Credit score Playing cards 

Professionals Cons
Earn free flights sooner Annual charges
Precedence boarding Excessive rates of interest
Free checked luggage Purchases from journey websites won’t rely for bonus rewards
Financial savings on in-flight purchases More durable to comparison-shop for airfare
Computerized elite standing Rewards redemption restrictions
Airport lounge entry  


The benefits and drawbacks mentioned above usually are not common amongst airline bank cards. Not all airline bank cards provide airport lounge entry, for instance. Nonetheless, these options are generally discovered on airline playing cards.

It’s good to verify a card’s phrases and circumstances for these execs and cons earlier than making use of. Some options are straightforward to identify, corresponding to annual charges and rates of interest, which you’ll simply evaluate to what different playing cards cost in addition to market averages. Different issues could be much less apparent. As an illustration, airline bank cards typically require you to buy airfare immediately by way of the affiliated airline with the intention to earn bonus rewards. Reserving by way of a third-party journey web site could not rely. Because of this, purchasing round for the bottom worth on airfare won’t be attainable.

Study extra in regards to the perks and potential drawbacks related to airline playing cards.

Airline Credit score Playing cards vs. Journey Credit score Playing cards 

Class Airline Credit score Playing cards Journey Credit score Playing cards
Affiliated With an Airline? Sure No
Bonus Rewards With Affiliated Airline? Sure No
Bonus Rewards on All Airfare? Hardly ever Sure
Bonus Rewards on Lodges? Generally Sure
Bonus Rewards on Rental Vehicles? Generally Sure
Annual Price Vary $0 – $595 $0 – $995
Min. Credit score Wanted Good credit score (700+ credit score rating) Good credit score*
Instance Card JetBlue Plus Card U.S. Financial institution Altitude® Join Visa Signature® Card 

* Folks with honest, restricted or weak credit can get a money again bank card that provides bonus rewards on journey, however you want at the least good credit score to get a card that provides miles or factors and provides further worth on journey purchases or redemption, plus travel-oriented perks.

Basic-purpose journey rewards bank cards are higher for most individuals as a result of their rewards are extra versatile. You possibly can earn the utmost rewards charge on airfare bought from any airline or journey reserving web site, and you may redeem your rewards to pay for a equally broad number of flights. Then again, airline bank cards may help you save extra if you happen to all the time fly with the identical airline otherwise you qualify for a very rewarding promotion.

Study extra about how to decide on the fitting bank card.

Who Ought to Apply for an Airline Credit score Card?

You must apply for an airline bank card if in case you have good credit score or higher and also you fly at the least a number of instances with the identical airline annually. In the event you don’t fulfill these circumstances, you’re both unlikely to get authorized or extra prone to maximize your financial savings with a unique kind of card.

When to think about a no-annual-fee airline bank card: You must get an airline bank card with no annual payment if you happen to suppose it’ll prevent extra money on the finish of the day than a card that expenses a payment. To make that willpower, estimate how a lot you count on to earn with every card’s rewards after which subtract any charges.

Study extra about what number of airline bank cards it is best to have.

Are Airline Credit score Playing cards Value It?

Airline bank cards are price it for individuals who commonly fly the identical airline, as they may have the ability to earn and redeem often sufficient to benefit from the rewards and different perks airline miles playing cards present. When it comes to {dollars} and cents, the most effective airline bank cards are rewarding sufficient for even the typical individual to search out them worthwhile.

Actually, the typical bank card consumer might earn greater than $1,000 in internet rewards worth, after subtracting annual charges, in simply two years with any of the most effective airline bank cards for individuals with good or wonderful credit score on our record.

With that being stated, the most effective airline miles bank card for one individual might be very completely different from the most effective for another person. The fitting selection for you won’t even be an airline bank card in any respect – at the least not one tied to a selected airline. As an alternative, you may wish to take a better have a look at the most effective bank cards with miles for any journey expense.

Study extra about when airline bank cards are price it.

Methods to Discover the Greatest Airline Credit score Card for You

Airline bank cards aren’t one-size-fits-all. In different phrases, the most effective miles bank card for you won’t be the most effective on your neighbor. That’s one cause suggestions from family and friends could also be a great start line, however not essentially the route it is best to take. It’s additionally what makes selecting an airline bank card — or any bank card for that matter — so troublesome. With this in thoughts, we’ve put collectively some pointers that ought to assist direct you to your golden (airline) ticket:

  1. Consider Your Spending Habits

    The very first thing it’s a must to decide is whether or not any airline bank card can be a great match. If you don’t all the time pay your bank card invoice in full, it is best to mechanically rule out getting an airline card. Not solely would a 0% bank card prevent extra money in the long term, however a rewards card would additionally promote elevated spending at a time it’s worthwhile to in the reduction of. In the event you by no means carry a revolving bank card stability, nevertheless, tabulate how a lot you spent on airfare final yr then evaluate that determine to your total annual spending.

    If airfare accounts for at the least 10% of your annual spending, you’re heading in the right direction. If not, take into account a money again card as an alternative. Lastly, if you happen to meet the standards for an airline bank card, it is best to evaluate airline-specific presents in addition to these with generic miles. The latter present extra flexibility, since they are often redeemed for any kind of journey expense. If an airline-specific card presents a bigger preliminary bonus or increased ongoing incomes charge, you’ll want to find out if it is possible for you to to decide to touring with that supplier each time you fly.

  2. Convert Miles To {Dollars}

    One of the simplest ways to realize an apples-to-apples comparability between bank cards with completely different rewards currencies is to transform factors and miles to {dollars}. This may allow you to match all presents when it comes to money again proportion. Nonetheless, doing so can be simpler stated than achieved. Some airways will put up mileage charts, breaking down what number of miles it takes to get several types of free flights. Different airways would require you to lookup flights individually with the intention to calculate redemption charges.

  3. Focus On Preliminary Bonuses

    Rewards bonuses are extra invaluable than ever. The common card with an preliminary bonus presents $242 money again or 30,381 factors/miles, in keeping with WalletHub’s newest Credit score Card Panorama Report. And the most effective of the bunch provide 4 or 5 instances as a lot. So ensure that to think about each upfront and ongoing rewards when evaluating playing cards. And don’t be afraid to get a brand new card only for a number of months of use if the preliminary bonus is sweet sufficient.

  4. Don’t Neglect About Charges

    It’s straightforward to fully write off playing cards that cost annual charges or to get so caught up in flashy rewards that you simply overlook to verify the worth tag. Each are errors. It is advisable to take into account the whole package deal and see which card presents probably the most internet rewards worth, with charges taken into consideration. Annual and foreign-transaction charges are the 2 greatest issues for individuals who all the time pay their month-to-month payments in full.

  5. Contemplate Loyalty Standing & Different Perks

    Many airline playing cards mechanically qualify customers for elite standing, airport lounge entry, free companion tickets and numerous different advantages. Such issues have some worth, however you shouldn’t take an airline at its phrase relating to their price. As an alternative, lookup how a lot every merchandise would value if bought independently. Then embody that quantity in your calculations.

  6. Flight Availability Is Essential

    Having hundreds of airline miles within the financial institution in all probability sounds fairly candy, nevertheless it’s truly form of dangerous. Miles don’t get you something till you redeem them, in spite of everything. And their worth might fall if you happen to wait too lengthy. All of the airline must do is enhance the variety of miles wanted for a specific amount of airfare. That’s why you need a card that makes it straightforward to redeem frequently. It’s additionally why some playing cards that appear actually rewarding find yourself being disappointments. For instance, the British Airways Card has eye-catching rewards. But we left it off this yr’s record of the most effective airline bank cards due to its notoriously problematic redemption course of.

Alternatively, if you need a customized bank card suggestion primarily based in your newest credit score rating, simply join a free WalletHub account.

Methods to Make the Most of Your Airline Credit score Card

Discovering the fitting airline bank card is just a part of the battle. You additionally want to make use of it strategically if you wish to profit as a lot as attainable. Particularly, ensure that to:

  • Qualify for the preliminary bonus. Charging a number of thousand {dollars} to your card within the first few months it’s open can get you a whole lot of {dollars} in bonus rewards, which can be sufficient for a free flight. Not incomes these bonus rewards can be a missed alternative, so it is best to attempt to choose a card whose bonus you’ll be able to earn simply with regular spending, then ensure you hit the spending threshold in time.
  • Redeem your rewards typically. The entire level of getting an airline bank card is to benefit from the rewards and advantages. Hoarding miles for some undetermined future trip doesn’t provide help to do this. You additionally danger seeing your rewards expire or get devalued if you happen to wait too lengthy to redeem. 
  • Use the perks you’re entitled to if you fly. Earlier than you journey, ensure you know whether or not your bank card will get you precedence boarding, free checked luggage, airport lounge entry, further in-flight rewards and different frequent airline bank card advantages. These perks can improve your complete journey expertise and provide help to keep away from losing cash on issues like baggage charges.
  • Make the most of secondary advantages. Airline bank cards typically have advantages corresponding to journey cancellation insurance coverage, misplaced baggage reimbursement and rental automotive insurance coverage that may prevent cash if you journey, even if you happen to’re not flying with the airline affiliated along with your card. Figuring out what advantages your card presents forward of time makes it simpler to benefit from the perks when the time comes.
  • Pay the invoice in full month-to-month to keep away from curiosity. Most airline bank cards have pretty excessive rates of interest. Thankfully, you’ll be able to keep away from expensive curiosity expenses by paying your full assertion stability by the due date every month. In the event you don’t do that, curiosity expenses are prone to exceed your rewards by a longshot.

Study extra about maximizing the advantages of your airline bank card in addition to what errors to keep away from.


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