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Airline Credit Cards

Airline Credit Cards allow you to rack up airline miles and come with perks like free checked bags and priority boarding.

In general, you want to start with Business Credit cards first if eligibile (and this page will explain how your small side hustle may qualify you for those bigger business credit cards bonuses) followed by general travel rewards-earning credit cards.

Once you have all the cards you want in those categories, it’s time to think about if you could benefit from the perks of a co-branded airline credit card. In general, the lower end airline cards (annual fee of less than $100) are best for avoiding checked bag fees, assuming you don’t already have airline status which would confer the same benefit, while the premium airline cards (annual fees of over $400) are best for those that want airline lounge access with that airline or want to earn extra status miles via spending.

As an example, the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard comes with AA Admiral’s Lounge access for less than the cost of paying for a lounge membership outright. The Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express does the same and also allows card holders to earn Delta MQMs (Elite Medallion Qualification Miles) by meeting yearly spending thresholds.

We base our ratings on the value of the points of each card by the amount of the bonus. Pretty simple!

Advertiser Disclosure: Your Best Credit Cards has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Your Best Credit Cards and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Commissions do not affect or prioritize placement within our results and not all cards displayed earn us a commission. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.

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21 Cards Available:

Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,300

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Annual Fee: $95

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,300

Offer: Up to 100,000 Miles: Get 50,000 bonus United MileagePlus miles when you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months and 50,000 more bonus miles if you spend $25,000 in total within 6 months.

Allows for a free checked bag, priority boarding, 2 United Club one-time passes each card anniversary, the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection, access to United MileagePlus events, and expanded economy award availability. It offers bonus categories of 2x on office supply stores, restaurants, and gas stations, as well as on United itself, of course. It also offers 10,000 bonus miles and a PQD waiver upon spending $25,000. Perhaps best of all, cardholders get access to expanded saver award availability.

Need to Know: The calculations for this card assume that your "airfare" spend is on United only. If a portion of your airline spend is on other airlines, your reward values will be slightly lower than stated.

Offer: Up to 100,000 Miles: Get 50,000 bonus United MileagePlus miles when you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months and 50,000 more bonus miles if you spend $25,000 in total within 6 months.
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,050

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Annual Fee: $99

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$1,050

Offer: 70,000 bonus AAdvantage® miles after spending $4,000 in your first 3 months

Get a free checked bag and preferred boarding on American Airlines. Earn a $99 companion certificate for domestic main cabin travel.

Earn AAdvantage miles at the rate of 2x for American Airlines, telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants, and gas stations, plus 1x for everything else.

Gain access to Reduced Mileage Awards for up to 7,500 miles off rotating origins and destinations each month.

NOTE: Our estimated rewards values assume all of your airline spend is with AA for the purposes of valuing your rewards for this card. If you spend across multiple airlines, your rewards will be lower as this card earns 2x on AA purchases only.

Offer: 70,000 bonus AAdvantage® miles after spending $4,000 in your first 3 months
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$980

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Annual Fee: $199

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$980

Offer: Get 70,000 Bonus Rapid Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months

The premium version of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, this card offers 9,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points each cardmember anniversary, has multiple spending bonus categories, and includes benefits like 4 upgraded boardings per year, in-flight Wifi credits and Global Entry / PreCheck fee credits.

Note: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all of your "Airfare" is on Southwest and is therefore counted at 3x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases.

Offer: Get 70,000 Bonus Rapid Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months
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United Explorer Card

Annual Fee: $95

Estimated Bonus Value :

$845

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Annual Fee: $95

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$845

Offer: Earn up to 65,000 Bonus United Mileage Plus Miles: 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and 25,000 additional bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total in your first 6 months.

This United card offers a free checked bag for you and a travel companion (must pay with card) and priority boarding. You get two one-time United Club passes per card year, the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection, and access to both Inside Access events and United MileagePlus Events. You earn 2x at restaurants, hotels purchased directly, and, of course, United. You can earn a PQD status waiver with $25,000 spend and, best of all, this card entitles you to expanded saver award availability on United flights.

NOTE: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all "Airfare" is on United and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases and your Reward Values would be lower than indicated.

Offer: Earn up to 65,000 Bonus United Mileage Plus Miles: 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and 25,000 additional bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total in your first 6 months.
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$840

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Annual Fee: $99

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$840

Offer: 60,000 bonus Southwest Rapid Rewards points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months

Useful in conjunction with a personal card to get the Southwest Companion Pass. Get 6,000 Rapid Rewards points every card anniversary. Earns 2x points on Southwest purchases.

Note: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all of your "Airfare" is on Southwest and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases.

Offer: 60,000 bonus Southwest Rapid Rewards points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$750

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Annual Fee: $99

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$750

Offer: Get 50,000 AAdvantage miles when you spend $2,500 in your first 3 months

Get a free checked bag and preferred boarding on American Airlines. Earn 2x AAdvantage miles at gas stations and restaurants, as well as on American Airlines. Also earn a $100 flight discount after spending $20,000 and renewing your card.

NOTE: In calculating your potential rewards for this card, we are assuming that all spend entered as "Airline" is on American Airlines. If some of your airline spend is on other airlines, that spend will earn 1x rather than 2x miles and reduce your expected rewards.

Offer: Get 50,000 AAdvantage miles when you spend $2,500 in your first 3 months
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$750

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Annual Fee: $450

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$750

Offer: Get 50,000 AAdvantage miles when you spend $5,000 in your first 5 months.

Get full Admirals Club Membership for the primary cardholder, plus Admirals Club access for authorized users. Get a free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions on the same record, priority boarding, priority check-in, and priority screening (screening where available).

Earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles, and earn a bonus of 10,000 EQMs (towards elite qualification) in any calendar year you spend $40,000 on the card.

NOTE: In calculating your potential rewards for this card, we are assuming that all spend entered as "Airline" is on American Airlines. If some of your airline spend is on other airlines, that spend will earn 1x rather than 2x miles and reduce your expected rewards.

Offer: Get 50,000 AAdvantage miles when you spend $5,000 in your first 5 months.
Credit card

Avianca Vuela Visa Card

Annual Fee: $149

Estimated Bonus Value :

$720

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Annual Fee: $149

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$720

Offer: 60,000: Earn 40,000 Bonus Avianca LifeMiles after you use the card one time and 20,000 more after spending $1,000 in 90 days - must use promo code SB4060 on application.

While not a card typically on most people's radar, this card and its sister, the Avianca Vida card, are an interesting proposition for two reasons.

1) The Welcome offer essentially allows you to buy 40,000 LifeMiles for the $149 annual fee, or less than half a cent per mile.

2) Many people have been locked out of the more conventional program's affiliated cards, for reasons such as Chase's 5/24 rule. This card is issued by Banco Popular.

NOTE: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all "Airfare" is on Avianca and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases and your Reward Values would be lower than indicated.

Offer: 60,000: Earn 40,000 Bonus Avianca LifeMiles after you use the card one time and 20,000 more after spending $1,000 in 90 days - must use promo code SB4060 on application.
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$625

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Annual Fee: $95

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$625

Offer: Get 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months and an additional 50,000 bonus Avios if you spend $20,000 total within your first year

This card earns 3x Avios on British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL, and Air Lingus.

Earn a Travel Together Ticket, good for bringing a companion for just the taxes and fees when you redeem a reward flight for yourself, when you spend $30,000.

NOTE: In calculating your rewards for this card, we are making the assumption that all airfare entered is spent on British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL, and Aer Lingus. If part of that spend is on other airlines, that spend will earn only 1x on this card, reducing the value of your rewards.

ALSO: While the bonus offer can net you up to 100,000 bonus Avios, we only count the first 50,000 in our calculations because of the steep spend requirement to receive the full 100,000.

Offer: Get 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months and an additional 50,000 bonus Avios if you spend $20,000 total within your first year
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$560

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Annual Fee: $69

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$560

Offer: Get 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months

This is the entry-level Chase Southwest card and has the lowest annual fee of the three. Get 2x points on Southwest flights and 3,000 points per card anniversary in exchange for your annual fee each year.

Note: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all of your "Airfare" is on Southwest and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases.

Offer: Get 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$560

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Annual Fee: $99

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$560

Offer: Get 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months

A mid-level personal Southwest card with a modest annual fee. Get 6,000 points per card anniversary and 2x points on Southwest flights.

Note: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all of your "Airfare" is on Southwest and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases.

Offer: Get 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$560

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Annual Fee: $149

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$560

Offer: Get 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months

This premium-level Southwest card comes with extra benefits for loyal Southwest flyers. Get 7,500 points, a $75 Southwest credit, and 4 upgraded boarding positions each card anniversary.

Note: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all of your "Airfare" is on Southwest and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases.

Offer: Get 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$480

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Annual Fee: $450

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$480

Offer: Get 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months.

Get an annual companion certificate in any cabin class and Delta Sky Club Access, plus your first checked bag free and priority boarding on Delta.

Earn bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and bonus miles at tiered spending thresholds. Spending $25,000 in a year on this card will waive the MQDs requirement for Medallion qualification up to Platinum status.

NOTE: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all "Airfare" is on Delta and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases and your Reward Values would be lower than indicated.

Offer: Get 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months.
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$480

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Annual Fee: $450

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$480

Offer: Earn 40,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) when you spend $4,000 in your first three months

Get an annual companion certificate in any cabin class and Delta Sky Club Access, plus your first checked bag free and priority boarding on Delta.

Earn bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and bonus miles at tiered spending thresholds. Spending $25,000 in a year on this card will waive the MQDs requirement for Medallion qualification up to Platinum status.

NOTE: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all "Airfare" is on Delta and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases and your Reward Values would be lower than indicated.

Offer: Earn 40,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) when you spend $4,000 in your first three months
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Avianca Vida Visa Card

Annual Fee: $59

Estimated Bonus Value :

$480

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Annual Fee: $59

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$480

Offer: 40,000 Bonus LifeMiles as follows: Earn 20,000 Avianca miles after your first purchase and 20,000 more after you spend $1,000 in three months with promo code SB4060 on your application

While most will do better with the larger welcome bonus of the Avianca Vuela card, this card does come with a significantly lower annual fee and 20,000 Avianca LifeMiles. 

Offer: 40,000 Bonus LifeMiles as follows: Earn 20,000 Avianca miles after your first purchase and 20,000 more after you spend $1,000 in three months with promo code SB4060 on your application
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$420

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Annual Fee: $195

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$420

Offer: Earn 35,000 SkyMiles plus 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months plus get a $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase with the card within 3 months.

Get an annual main cabin "Buy One, Get One" companion certificate, plus your first checked bag free and priority boarding on Delta.

Earn bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and bonus miles at tiered spending thresholds. Spending $25,000 in a year on this card will waive the MQDs requirement for Medallion qualification up to Platinum status.

NOTE: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all "Airfare" is on Delta and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases and your Reward Values would be lower than indicated.

Offer: Earn 35,000 SkyMiles plus 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months plus get a $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase with the card within 3 months.
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$420

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Annual Fee: $195

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$420

Offer: Earn 35,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 MQMs when you spend $1,000 in your first three months and get a $100 statement credit after using the card to make a Delta purchase in your first three months

Get an annual main cabin "Buy One, Get One" companion certificate, plus your first checked bag free and priority boarding on Delta.

Earn bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and bonus miles at tiered spending thresholds. Spending $25,000 in a year on this card will waive the MQDs requirement for Medallion qualification up to Platinum status.

NOTE: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all "Airfare" is on Delta and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases and your Reward Values would be lower than indicated.

Offer: Earn 35,000 bonus SkyMiles and 5,000 MQMs when you spend $1,000 in your first three months and get a $100 statement credit after using the card to make a Delta purchase in your first three months
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$360

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Annual Fee: $95

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$360

Offer: Get 30,000 SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 within 3 months plus a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase with the card within your first 3 months.

Get your first checked bag free and priority boarding on Delta. Spending $25,000 in a year on this card will waive the MQDs requirement for Medallion qualification up to Platinum status.

NOTE: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all "Airfare" is on Delta and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases and your Reward Values would be lower than indicated.

Offer: Get 30,000 SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 within 3 months plus a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase with the card within your first 3 months.
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$360

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Annual Fee: $95

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$360

Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 in your first three months and get a $50 statement credit after using the card to make a Delta purchase in your first three months

Get your first checked bag free and priority boarding on Delta. It also earns 2x miles on Delta spend. More serious Delta flyers should consider the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express.

NOTE: Our rewards calculator and Estimated Rewards Values assume all "Airfare" is on Delta and is therefore counted at 2x points. If you also fly another carrier, you will only earn 1x points for those purchases and your Reward Values would be lower than indicated.

Offer: Earn 30,000 bonus SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 in your first three months and get a $50 statement credit after using the card to make a Delta purchase in your first three months
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$150

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Annual Fee: $0

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Estimated Bonus Value :

$150

Offer: Earn 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit when you spend $500 in your first 3 months.

This no-fee card earns 2x AAdvantage miles at grocery stores, as well as 2x on American Airlines.

NOTE: In calculating your potential rewards for this card, we are assuming that all spend entered as "Airline" is on American Airlines. If some of your airline spend is on other airlines, that spend will earn 1x rather than 2x miles and reduce your expected rewards.

Offer: Earn 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit when you spend $500 in your first 3 months.
Credit card
Estimated Bonus Value :

$120

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