10 Best Airline Credit CardsEarn free flights and travel perks with the best travel rewards credit card programs.

 

Many airline credit cards work like other rewards credit cards to provide exclusive benefits like flight booking discounts, priority boarding privileges and free checked bags. Whether you want to score a free flight or just rack up rewards for merchandise and gift cards, take a look at these best airline miles credit card programs. The more rewards you rack up using the best travel credit cards, the closer you get to being able to travel for practically free.

10 Best Airline Credit Cards
Credit CardAirline/Flight RewardsAnnual FeeForeign Transaction FeeAPRAdditional Perks
United Mileage Plus Explorer2x miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United
1x mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
$95None6.74%-23.74%First checked bag free
Priority boarding
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard2x miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
1x mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
10% of redeemed AAdvantage miles back
$95None16.49%-24.49%First checked bag free on domestic flights
Preferred boarding on domestic flights
Gold Delta SkyMiles From AmexMiles for purchases you make with your card (gas, groceries, restaurants, bills, etc.)
Redeem miles toward travel on Delta and 15+ airline partners
$95None16.49%-25.49%Check first bag free
Priority boarding
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier2x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
1x point per $1 spent on all other purchases
$99None16.74%-23.74%No blackout dates or seat restrictions
Bags fly free
No change fees
British Airways Visa Signature3x points for every dollar spent on British Airways purchases
1x point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
$95None16.74%-23.74%Automatic Executive Club enrollment
Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard2x miles on eligible purchases made directly from Hawaiian Airlines
1x miles on all other purchases
Up to 10x miles at participating partner
$89None16.74%, 20.74% or 25.74%One-time 50% off companion discount
Complimentary first checked bag
JetBlue Plus6x points on JetBlue purchases
2x points at restaurants and grocery stores
1x points on all other purchases
$99None12.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74%Free first checked bag
No blackout dates
Redeem points for any seat
Virgin America Visa Signature8x points per $1 spent on Virgin America
1x point per $1 spent everywhere else
$493%16.48%, 20.49%, 25.49%$150 off a companion ticket annually
Free checked bag
Save 20% on in-flight purchases
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature3x miles for every $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America purchases
1x mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
$75None12.99%-19.99%Free checked bags
Annual companion fare from $121 on anniversary
Allegiant World Mastercard3x points per $1 on Allegiant purchases
2x points per $1 on qualifying dining purchases
1x point per $1 on all other purchases
$593%13.74%-23.74%Buy one, get one free airfare on certain Allegiant packages
Priority boarding
United Mileage Plus Explorer
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United Mileage Plus Explorer

If you're a frequent United flier, this card will give you access to priority boarding and two United Club one-time passes each year. You'll earn double miles on all United airline tickets you purchase from United, and you can use your miles to book any seat at any time. You'll also get your first checked bag — and your companion's — for free.

Related: Beware of These Travel and Credit Card Hacks

Citi Advantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard
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Citi Advantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard

Use this card to save 25 percent on your in-flight American Airlines purchases. You'll get priority boarding on domestic flights and the ability to earn 10 percent of your redeemed Advantage miles. If you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months of opening your account, American Airlines will give you 30,000 bonus miles.

Gold Delta SkyMiles From Amex
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Gold Delta SkyMiles From Amex

With your Gold Delta SkyMiles card, you'll receive 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases during the first three months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase. There's no annual fee for the first year but you'll pay $95 per year after that. Cardholders — and two companion travelers — get access to the Delta Sky Club for a discounted fee of $29 per person

Check Out: Best Rewards Credit Cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa
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Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa

Open a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa card and you'll earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases during the first three months and collect 3,000 points on your cardmember anniversary. You can redeem your points for everything from cruise vacations to car rentals, and there's no limit on the number of points you can earn with this premier credit card.

British Airways Visa Signature
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British Airways Visa Signature

If you're looking for the best credit cards for travel overseas, check out the British Airways Visa Signature. You earn "Avios" with this card, which translate into discounts and free flights to the UK and Europe. This is one of the best airline miles credit card offers for new cardholders because if you spend $3,000 during the first three months you'll earn 50,000 bonus Avios, and you can earn up to 100,000 during your first year on everyday purchases. You'll automatically be enrolled in the Executive Club to receive member-only deals and earn tier points for all your flights one British Airways and Oneworld airline affiliates.

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard
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Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard

If you want to save money on your trip to Hawaii, you can earn up to 10 HawaiianMiles for every dollar you spend at HawaiianMiles partners with this card on top of what you earn on eligible purchases. If you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, you'll get 35,000 bonus miles, and there's no limit on the number of miles you can earn. In addition, you'll receive 5,000 annual bonus miles each year if you make $10,000 or more in purchases.

JetBlue Plus
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JetBlue Plus

One of the best airline miles credit cards, the JetBlue Plus gives you 30,000 bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days — and you can earn extra points for JetBlue purchases and restaurant and grocery store shopping. If you spend $50,000 or more annually, you'll get TrueBlue Mosaic benefits, which include two free checked bags, early boarding privileges and complimentary alcoholic beverages onboard.

Virgin America Visa Signature
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Virgin America Visa Signature

This card can help you earn up to $200 to spend on reward flights — and you'll also get $150 off a companion flight ticket each year, priority boarding privileges and instant discounts when you use your card to shop online with participating merchants. Your points never expire, and you won't have to deal with blackout dates or restrictions when you book your reward flights.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
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Alaska Airlines Visa Signature

You can earn rewards for Alaska Airlines and Virgin America flights with this card. You'll get 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days along with benefits like free checked bags for you and up to six passengers taking the same trip. There is no mileage cap, and your miles won't expire as long as your account is active, making this one of the best credit cards for rewards.

Allegiant World MasterCard
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Allegiant World MasterCard

You'll earn enough points to get $150 off your next Allegiant flight after you make $1,000 in purchases during the first 90 days. One thing that makes this one of the best airline rewards program offerings is the "buy one, get one free" airfare when you book an Allegiant vacation package that includes four or more hotel nights or seven or more rental car days on the same itinerary.

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GOBankingRates.com identified the best airline credit cards by analyzing purchase APRs, annual fees, foreign transaction fees and rewards programs. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers' discretion, and some bonus offers might no longer be available on the credit card issuers' websites, depending on how you access the web page.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article.