50 Best Credit Cards For: Airline Spend | Calculator

Best Credit Cards For

Airline Purchases

A list of the 50 best credit cards for airline spend based on how much you spend per month or year on airlines. Calculator updates automatically.


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Whether you're running airline spend through a co-branded airline credit card or you're running spend through a rewards card that earns on airfare or travel spend, there's a lot of possibilities for earning an excellent return spending on air travel.

Airline Credit Cards

If you're loyal to a specific airline or alliance, you'll want to check to see if that airline has a co-branded credit card. Airline credit cards usually grant great benefits such as priority boarding, discounts in-flight, complimentary lounge access, and (most importantly) free checked bags. If you don't have elite status with an airline and you fly a few times per year by yourself or with others, the free checked bag perk offered on these cards alone is worth it.

Airline credit cards also allow you to earn miles on everyday spend along with bonus miles across different categories. For most airline cards (especially those in the U.S.) the earning rates will be "okay", but you'll typically be able to earn more rewards using partner credit cards and then transferring those earned rewards to a frequent flyer program. There are exceptions to this such as the JetBlue Credit Cards which earns a great return on JetBlue spend.

General Airline Spend

If you're not loyal to any specific airline or you found/have an airline card that don't offer the greatest return, you'll want to consider picking up a card that's great for airfare or travel spend that not specific to an airline. Luckily, you'll have lots of options ranging from premium, luxury travel cards down to no-annual fee cards.

The American Express Platinum Card usually sits at the top in terms of general airline spend. This is premium card so I recommend only picking this up if you're able to use the majority of the perks it offers. If you fly Delta Airlines (or other SkyTeam Alliance partners), this card will benefit you more than others thanks to the complimentary Delta SkyClub access.

Moving out of the luxury card market, the American Express Gold Card and American Express Green Card both offer a great return on airline spend. The AMEX Gold earns a superb return on supermarket, restaurant, and airfare spend and comes with dining & airline credits while the AMEX Green earns on both travel & dining and comes with annual CLEAR and Lounge Buddy credits.

For those looking for Ultimate Rewards Points, you can pick up the Chase Ink Business Preferred or the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Chase Ink Business Preferred offers triple points on travel along with several business categories including shipping, internet, advertising, and more. The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers triple points on travel & dining purchases and a whopping 10x on Lyft purchases. The Reserve also comes loaded with a bunch of elite travel perks as well as travel and purchase protections.

If you're not looking to earn transferable rewards points or you don't spend a ton on airline purchases every year, the Wells Fargo Propel AMEX is a great choice. The card has no annual fee and offers triple Go Far Rewards Points on travel, dining, and streaming service spend.

Bank of America also provides great options for lower airline spend with the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card and Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Card. Both cards can earn between 3% and 5.25% cash back depending on your relationship with Bank of America and their partners.

If nothing listed tickles your fancy, you can always pick up a card that earns 2% cash back on all purchases such as the Citi Double Cash or PayPal CashBack Mastercard.

Category Calculator

Listed below are the best credit cards for the given category sorted by return. Some credit cards have a wide range of value due to having multiple redemption options that yield such. For example, you may be able to redeem a program's points for cash back at value of 0.5 cents each but redeeming the same points for travel could offer a value of 1.25 cents each. You don't want to pick up a card that has an annual fee that doesn't match up with how you plan on redeeming your rewards. That will give you a negative return and no one wants that. So be sure to research the value of points and miles to get an idea of how value they will have for you. Don't go by the return values listed below alone.

You can click on a card's Rewards Calculator button (where applicable) to calculate how much you can earn across all categories on the card based on your spend, how much you value the benefits of the card, and any annual fees including authorized user fees (if applicable). You'll also be able to compare the results side by side any other card featured on the site based on the same spend. And spend you enter into a credit card rewards calculator will carry over to other credit card calculators on the site.

Compare credit cards side by side based on spend, benefits, and fees.

You can click on the name of the rewards the card earns to learn more about earning, redeeming, and transferring rewards within that rewards program as well as other useful information such as elite status, buying/gifting rewards, and much more. These also pages features additional calculators that can lend a hand in determining if a program could be a good fit based on your spending habits.

Category Spend

Enter your spend per month, year, or quarter for the listed categories. You can then click Re-Calculate to refresh the results.

Adjust Transferable Points

Credit cards that are part of the American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Capital One Rewards programs will normally be towards the top of the list due to the value of transferring rewards to partners. Selecting this box will give these currencies their non-point transfer value. You will need to Re-Calculate after changing this option.

Bank (Holder)

The bank issuing the card.

Network

The network the card is tied to.

Card Type

The type of card such as co-branded airline cards, hotel cards, cruise line cards, etc.

Rewards Type

The type of rewards the card earns.

Personal/Business

Toggle switch for displaying personal and business cards. Card combos are also featured on this site (i.e. AMEX Trifecta, Chase Trifecta).

Annual Fee (Range)

The range of fees you're willing to pay to wield such cards.

Foreign Transaction Fee

The percentage of fees you'll pay on the dollar when you use the card outside of it's region.

Region

The region that the card is offered in. Credit cards from other regions are featured on this site, but for now this is set to USA only.

Results

Do note that results may take a few seconds to generate after doing a search.
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Page Last Updated: 2020-03-30
Written By: Robert Flowers III

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About These Calculators: These calculators are provided to help you estimate the value of points, miles, and cash back you can earn with various rewards programs and using reward earning credit cards. These calculators are meant to provide an estimate of rewards earned and are not meant to reflect the exact amount of points you may receive. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of any credit card before you apply as benefit and perk changes may not be reflected immediately on this website.


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