The 5 Best Airline Credit Cards
The problem with selecting the best airline credit card is that the benefits of the card are often limited to a specific airline. Accumulating air miles or bonus miles on airline credit cards might come at the expense of personal convenience. However, some of the air miles rewards offered by the best airline credit cards are so high that they offset the cost of sticking to one airline. Additionally, some airlines have deals with partners, which means card users won't be limited with their flight choice.
The TrueBlue® by JetBlue American Express card stands out as the best airline credit card due to the extremely high rewards points for every dollar spent on flight purchases at jetblue.com. The TrueBlue® card offers six points per dollar spent on each JetBlue flight. In addition, the card offers two points for every dollar spent on JetBlue flights when the card is used, which essentially adds up to eight points per dollar earned in total. On top of that, flyers with the TrueBlue® card receive a 50% statement credit for in-flight purchases with the card, like movies, meals, and cocktails. The TrueBlue® by JetBlue card also offers a 20,000 point bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months of membership. While most of the best airline credit cards offer rewards in the form of air miles, JetBlue®'s point system is essentially the same thing, just in the form of points. The main downfall of the card is that JetBlue offers a limited flight selection and while you can accumulate points with partner airlines, like American Airlines, the only partner you can redeem points with is Hawaiian Airlines.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card is one of the best airline credit cards because of the all-around rewards offered and the ability to redeem miles with several airlines. Perhaps the best feature of the card is that anyone who is approved receives 25,000 miles for free instantly. There are no qualifications, like spending a certain amount in a specific time period. On top of that bonus, a card owner can earn three miles for airfare purchases and purchases on the airline in addition to the standard one mile per dollar on all other purchases. At partner hotels and restaurants, cardholders can earn up to five miles per dollar spent. Lastly, all cardholders receive a $110 companion fare each year, which means the advantages of this airline credit card extend beyond the cardholder.
The Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® offers a number of benefits and rewards, although the card falls short in a few small areas when compared to the other top airline credit cards. Some highlights of the card include the 30,000 miles bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months of owning the card. Cardholders also receive a $100 American Airlines flight discount for spending $30,000 in each card membership year. All purchases will earn cardholders one mile per dollar spent and American Airlines purchases will earn two miles per dollar spent. The card doesn't offer any companion fares or additional bonus miles like some of the best airline credit cards.
The United MileagePlus® Explorer card offers comparable rewards to many of the best airline credit cards, but there are a few slight differences that make this card fall short of the top spots. The United card offers new cardholders a 30,000 mile bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months. That isn't a lot of upfront money to spend, but other airline credit cards are offering miles for free or after making one purchase. A United MileagePlus® cardholder receives one mile per dollar on standard purchases and two miles per dollar spent on United Airlines tickets that are bought directly from the airline. Cardholders can gain bonus miles for spending at least $25,000 a year on the card and by adding an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first three months.
Also on the list of the best airline credit cards is the US Airways Premier World MasterCard®. After making one purchase, a cardholder will immediately accumulate 40,000 miles, which is among the highest (and easiest to achieve) sign-up bonuses of all air miles credit cards. Beyond the standard one mile for every dollar spent, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard® also offers two miles for every dollar spent on US Airways purchases. While the air miles rewards may not be as high as other airline credit cards, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard® offers additional benefits and rewards, like two $99 companion fares each year and special bonuses for balance transfers.