[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.
One of the best credit cards for airlines is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard. For a limited time, 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. This card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. It also carries a variable APR of 16.74% to 24.74%.
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 60,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles, plus a $50 statement credit, after spending $3,000 in purchases on their card within the first four months of account opening. The offer expires on July 5, 2017 and is only available if you’ve don’t have or have never had the card. 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. It does have an annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year. It also carries a variable APR of 16.74 to 25.74%, depending on your credit.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card
When you sign up for the United MileagePlus Explorer card (see review here), you will receive a 50,000 mile bonus after spending $3,000 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. It carries a variable APR of 16.74 to 23.74%.
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 60,000 Rapid Reward points after spending $2,000 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 16.74% to 23.74%.
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. The card has an annual fee of $99 and a variable APR of 12.99%, 20.99% or 25.99%.
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.