[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If you find yourself frequently flying one airline, having their co-branded credit card can be a great idea. It will give you the chance to earn free flights, free checked bags, priority boarding, and much more. But with so many different cards available, it might be difficult to figure out which card would be best for you. In this article, we’ll walk you through the five best airline branded credit cards available in 2017.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
- For a limited time, earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
- Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases¹
- Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
- Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
- Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
Card Details +
One of the best credit cards for airlines is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. You can earn 60,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months. You will then receive two miles per dollar when you use your card for American Airlines purchases and one mile on everything else.
As a cardholder, you will have access to several other benefits from American Airlines. You and up to four travel companions will receive your first checked bag for free. You will also receive preferred boarding on American Airlines flights. When it comes time to redeem your miles, you will receive 10% back.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
- Earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
- Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
- Settle into your seat sooner with Priority Boarding.
- Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Terms Apply.
Card Details +
Frequent Delta Airlines travelers have a few different choices for co-branded credit cards, however, our favorite is the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express. While Delta does offer two cards that focus on earning elite qualifying miles, this card is perfect for the average traveler. Cardholders can earn 30,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles, plus a $50 statement credit, after spending $1,000 in purchases on their card within the first three months of account opening. When you use this card to make a purchase with Delta, you will earn two miles. Any other purchase made with the card will earn one mile.
When traveling on Delta Airlines, you will receive your first checked bag for free. In addition, you will receive priority boarding (maximum of 9 passengers). You’ll also get discounted Delta SkyClub access for you and up to two guests. If you are planning to travel internationally, this card comes with no foreign transaction fees.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card
When you sign up for the United MileagePlus Explorer card (see review here), you will receive a 40,000 mile bonus after spending $2,000 within the first three months of opening your account (as long as you aren’t a current cardholder and haven’t received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the last 24 months). You will receive an additional 5,000 miles after you make your first purchase and add an authorized user within your first three months. Each time you use your card for United Airlines purchases, you will receive two miles per dollar. All other purchases will receive one mile per dollar.
As a cardholder, you will receive two free United Club passes each year. You and one travel companion will also receive your first checked bag for free. This would be a $100 savings on a round-trip flight. You will receive priority boarding each time you fly with United Airlines. Each calendar year you spend $25,000 with your card, you will receive 10,000 bonus United Miles. This card has no foreign transaction fees, but it does have a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. It carries a variable APR of 16.99 to 23.99%.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card
If you find yourself frequently flying Southwest, then a great card to consider is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card. For a limited time, you will receive a signup bonus of 40,000 Rapid Reward points after spending $1,000 within the first three months. When you use the card with Southwest Airlines, you will earn two points per dollar. All other purchases will earn one point per dollar. Each year, on your cardmember anniversary, you will receive a bonus of 6,000 points after paying the annual fee of $99. This card carries a variable APR of 16.99% to 23.99%.
JetBlue Plus Card
- Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days
- Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights. Points required for an Award Flight will vary based on the published base fare at the time of booking
- Points awarded in your TrueBlue account don't expire
- Earn and share points together with Family Pooling
- Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
- 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember's first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights
- Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
- Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card
Card Details +
The JetBlue Plus Card is unique compared to the other cards on our list. The reason is that it offers bonus points on purchases outside of JetBlue. You will earn six points per dollar when you use your card on JetBlue purchases, but you will also earn two points per dollar spent at restaurants and grocery stores. All other purchases will earn one point per dollar. When you sign up and spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, you will receive a bonus of 30,000 points.
Each year you spend $50,000 or more, you will receive TrueBlue Mosaic benefits. Plus, each time you redeem points for flights, you will receive 10% back for future use. When you use your card to purchase food or drinks on any JetBlue flight, you will receive a 50% savings in the form of a statement credit. This card will also give you your first checked bag for free.
At publishing time, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express and The Jetblue Plus Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, these relationships do not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuers. Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuers.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
This article last updated on September 12th, 2017.