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Travel The best airline credit cards of 2019

16:00  12 october  2019
16:00  12 october  2019 Source:   thepointsguy.com

How Your 2019 Vacation Can Pay for Your 2020 Vacation

How Your 2019 Vacation Can Pay for Your 2020 Vacation If you’re gearing up for summer vacation, you might be wincing at the cost. Plane tickets, hotels, rental cars, meals and activities can turn any getaway into a financial burden. But what if this year’s vacation could pay for next year’s, or at least cover a good chunk of it? Thanks to points and miles, it’s possible, especially if you’re willing to pledge your loyalty to one or two brands. Pick a hotel group The goal here is to be able to pay for next year’s hotel with points you earn this year. The first step? Reserve your 2019 hotel in the same family of hotels you’ll stay with in 2020, and sign up for that chain’s loyalty program.

Editors' Picks Best Airline -Specific Sign-Up Bonus British Airways Visa Signature Card Best for Cost-Conscious Airline Loyalists Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Best credit cards of 2019 Best rewards cards Best cash back cards Best travel cards Best balance transfer cards Best 0% APR cards Best student Of course, the best carrier for checked bags is Southwest Airlines , which allows all passengers to check two bags for free. But its credit cards don’t

  The best airline credit cards of 2019 © Provided by Bankrate, LLC

MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Please note: the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and may not be available.

Looking for the best airline credit card? If a particular airline sees a good chunk of your annual travel, it's usually a smart move to apply for its corresponding cobranded airline card. But that's not the only reason to add an airline card to your wallet. Some benefits can apply well beyond travel just on that particular carrier, especially when you consider each airline's partners and redemption perks.

Credit Card Review: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

Credit Card Review: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card In case the card’s name didn’t give it away, the Southwest Priority card makes the most sense for those who regularly fly Southwest. If you aren’t a regular customer, you might want to rethink that, since Southwest offers no change or cancellation fees, two free checked bags and the easy-to-use Rapid Rewards frequent-flyer program. Although the airline has two more personal credit cards and two business cards in its portfolio, in most cases this’ll be the card you want, as we’ll see below.

The best airline credit cards of 2019 . When we assembled our list of the best airline credit cards for this year, we took into account the extra value each card can bring because it’s important to know which card will best match your own travel needs and preferences.

The best airline credit cards can net you free flights, priority boarding, free checked bags, and bonus miles. See our top picks of 2019 and find the right Airline credit cards offer perks like free checked bags or airport lounge access while also making it easier to rack up points or miles and save money

The best airline credit cards of September 2019

  • United Explorer Business Card: Best for United business flyers
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best for beginner travelers on all airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard: Best for partner award redemptions
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card: Best for Southwest Airlines fanatics
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Best for regular Southwest Airlines flyers
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card: Best for occasional Southwest flyers
  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card: Best for earning Alaska Airlines miles
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Best for spending miles on all airlines
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Best for American Airlines
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Best for Admirals Club access
  • United Explorer Card: Best for United Airlines flyers
  • JetBlue Plus Card:Best for JetBlue flyers
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Best for regular Delta Airlines flyers
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Best for occasional Delta flyers

Comparing best airline credit cards offers

Airline  cardBest forAnnual feeBonus value**
United Explorer Business CardUnited business flyers$95 Up to $1,300
Chase Sapphire Preferred CardBeginner travelers on all airlines$95$1,200
Virgin Atlantic World Elite MastercardPartner award redemptions$90Up to $1,200
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit CardSouthwest fanatics$149Up to $900
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit CardRegular Southwest flyers$99Up to $900
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit CardOccasional Southwest flyers$69Up to $900
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit cardEarning Alaskan Airlines miles$75$720
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardSpending miles on all airlines$95, waived the first year$700
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®American Airlines flyers$99, wavied the first year$700
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®Admirals Club access$450$700
United Explorer CardUnited flyers$95$520
JetBlue Plus CardJetBlue flyers$99$520
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressRegular Delta flyers$195, waived the first year$420
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressOccasional Delta flyers$95, waived the first year$360

**Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

Can you guess which U.S. airline mishandles the most bags?

Can you guess which U.S. airline mishandles the most bags? One airline reportedly mishandled nearly half a million bags between January and June of this year. Can you guess which one? If you’re thinking Spirit, guess again. Maybe United? Close, but nope. If you guessed American, you’re right. American Airlines ranks near the bottom among major US airlines this year, according to a report by …

Your perfect airline credit card is the one that best helps you avoid pain—the pain of checked-bag fees and costly tickets and scant legroom and If you lean towards the more luxurious things in life, the Platinum rewards you with the best airport lounge access of any travel card we analyzed, plus that

The best travel credit cards can point you toward rewards that you can redeem through travel reservations including airfare, hotels, rental cars and more. Why this is the best travel credit card for airline rewards - The Southwest Rapid Rewards cards has a bodacious Companion Pass offer that is

Now let's dive into the details of the best airline credit cards to see which is the best card offer for you.

Best Airline Miles Credit Cards

United Explorer Business Card

  The best airline credit cards of 2019 © The Points Guy

Welcome bonus: 50,000 United MileagePlus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, an additional 50,000 miles after you spend $25,000 total in purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus is worth up to $1,300, according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: 2x miles on United purchases and at gas stations, office supply stores and restaurants

Why we chose it as the best airline card for United business flyers: We’ve never seen a 100,000-mile bonus on this card, and while it comes with a high $25,000 spending requirement, it’s a card to strongly consider if your business expenses generally fall in that range. Even though United is removing its fixed award chart for flights on or after November 15, you can still find excellent value through the airline’s Star Alliance partnerships and take advantage of access to additional award space on United flights.

Airlines collected $2.8 billion in bag fees in the first half of 2019. Here’s how to avoid them

Airlines collected $2.8 billion in bag fees in the first half of 2019. Here’s how to avoid them U.S. airlines reported a second-quarter 2019 after-tax net profit of $4.8 billion, and a pre-tax operating profit of $6.9 billion, according to a just-released report from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Want to guess where a large chunk of that profit came from? You guessed it, baggage fees. Airlines collected $1.5 billion in baggage fees, …

The best airline credit cards offer generous rewards and travel-related perks, like free flights, seat upgrades and priority boarding. Bankrate has compiled the very best airline credit cards of 2019 from our partners here; choose yours and start flying better .

Updated on Oct 1, 2019 . Best Airline Credit Cards of 2019 . Earn your way toward a free trip plus more! The best airline credit cards help you earn free flights, priority boarding, and access to exclusive airport lounges. Co-branded airline credit cards are a great option for anyone who travels

Annual fee: $95

Further reading:

  • United Explorer Business card review
  • The 8 best cards for flying United

APPLY HERE: United Explorer Business Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)© The Points Guy (Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months — worth $1,200 according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: Earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining

Why we chose it as the best card for beginner travelers on all airlines: We've long suggested the Chase Sapphire Preferred as a great option for those who are new to earning travel rewards because it lets you earn valuable, transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points with strong bonus categories and a reasonable annual fee. It's particularly useful as an airline credit card, since the points earned on this card can transfer to United, Southwest, British Airways and six other airlines. If you apply for this card now, you can earn the bonus in time to book your Spring Break travel in 2020. When those points hit your account after three months, it'll be like a mini Christmas present to yourself!

What Happens When an Airline Shuts Down?

  What Happens When an Airline Shuts Down? It's not exactly the same every time. The post What Happens When an Airline Shuts Down? appeared first on Reader's Digest.More often than you might think, actually. While people flying large, worldwide, big-name airlines probably have nothing to worry about, you might be at a higher risk if you've booked through a smaller airline. In March 2019, Iceland's WOW Air shut down, also leaving passengers stranded. When that happened, Business Insider pointed out that it was the fifth European airline to go under since October of 2018.

Our picks for Best Airline Credit Cards of October 2019 Chase Sapphire Preferred® - Airline booking flexibility Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card - Travel card with no annual fee One of the best ways to travel more cheaply, and sometimes more luxuriously, is by taking

Find the best airline credit card to earn free flights, loyalty perks and more. Compare the different offers from our partners and choose the card that is right for you. Best Airline Credit Cards of 2019 . Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card : Best feature: Travel rewards.

Annual fee: $95

Further reading:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred card review

APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard

  The best airline credit cards of 2019 © The Points Guy

Welcome bonus: 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days of account opening, worth $900 according to TPG valuations. Plus an additional 5,000 miles for adding two authorized users, and an additional 15,000 miles after spending a total of $25,000 within your anniversary year

Rewards: Earn 3 miles per dollar spend directly with Virgin Atlantic and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Why we chose it as the best airline card for partner award redemptions: With this card's current offer, you can earn up to 80,000 bonus miles within your first year when you include the primary sign-up bonus, the authorized users and the anniversary bonus. It's 10,000 miles less than the highest offer we've ever seen on this card, but it's a lot less spend than usual with that offer — in this case, you only need to spend $2,000 to earn two-thirds of the bonus miles. Plus, TPG valuations place the earning rate for this card at a 4.5% return on Virgin Atlantic purchases and a 2.25% return for everything else. Considering a lot of cards stop offering bonus miles after the initial three-month welcome period, it's nice to see more cards offering a way to earn additional points throughout the year.

The world’s oldest airline, KLM, turns 100 today

  The world’s oldest airline, KLM, turns 100 today Dutch flag carrier KLM is celebrating its 100th anniversary Monday, making it one of the oldest airlines in the world and the oldest still flying under its original name. KLM, short for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij — “royal air transport company” in Dutch — was founded Oct. 7, 1919, though its first flight didn’t take to …Dutch flag carrier KLM is celebrating its 100th anniversary Monday, making it one of the oldest airlines in the world and the oldest still flying under its original name.

Airline credit cards can be a gold mine for frequent flyers, especially those who are loyal to a single airline . However, many cards offer such an extensive range of features that even occasional flyers can enjoy using them.

Airline credit cards are bank-issued credit cards offered in partnership with a particular airline . How to Choose Your Best Airline Credit Card . As you can probably already tell, choosing the right rewards card is imperative. If you do, you could end up with free travel, free upgrades, and more trips.

Annual fee: $90

Further reading:

  • Earn up to 80k bonus miles on the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard

APPLY HERE: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: © 2019 Patrick T. Fallon for The Points Guy© The Points Guy © 2019 Patrick T. Fallon for The Points Guy

Welcome bonus: Up to 60,000 points: 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months. According to TPG valuations, this bonus is worth up to $900.

Put down the phone: You can now chat with JetBlue for assistance

  Put down the phone: You can now chat with JetBlue for assistance You can now forget JetBlue’s hold music. Starting today, users of JetBlue’s iOS app can now chat with the airline instead of picking up the phone. JetBlue quietly released Version 4.10 of the airline’s app to the iOS App Store. As part of the release notes, JetBlue notes that “JetBlue is available on chat! You can now connect with a JetBlue crewmember through our in-app chat for assistance—tap ‘More’, then ‘Help’ to get started.”© The Points GuyWhen I saw the news, I immediately updated my JetBlue app and took the feature for a spin.

Airline credit cards : Co-branded airline credit cards offer frequent flyers airline -related perks and the opportunity to earn more miles from all their spending. General travel credit cards : These travel credit cards offer flexible points you can redeem for travel as well as for other goods and services.

United TravelBank Card : The Best No Annual Fee Airline Rewards Credit Card . American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card : Best Airline Card for One airline , Alaska Airlines , offers only one credit card across their frequent flyer program. Southwest Airlines offers multiple credit cards , all with an

Rewards: 2x points on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases

Why we chose it as the best airline card for Southwest Airlines fanatics: If you're a Southwest fanatic (like TPG's Benet Wilson), this card helps you rack up Rapid Rewards points while giving you a great lineup of Southwest-specific benefits. You're getting a $75 annual travel credit on Southwest purchases, and you can earn tier-qualifying points (TQPs) toward A-List status by hitting annual spend requirements. Plus, you get four upgraded boardings to use each year, lowering your chances of getting stuck in an undesirable seat for your flight. This card does come with the highest annual fee of Southwest's personal credit cards, but at only $149, it's still incredibly affordable for anyone who frequently flies with Southwest.

Annual fee: $149

Further reading:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card review

APPLY HERE: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)© The Points Guy (Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Up to 60,000 points: 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months. According to TPG valuations, this bonus is worth up to $900.

Japan Airlines adds new Tokyo Narita-San Francisco flight

  Japan Airlines adds new Tokyo Narita-San Francisco flight Japan Airlines is adding nonstop service to San Francisco from Tokyo Narita, a route that will complement its existing service from Tokyo Haneda. The new flight between Narita (NRT) and San Francisco (SFO) begins March 29, about four months before the 2020 Summer Olympics kick off in Tokyo. JAL will offer one daily round-trip flight on Boeing 787-8 aircraft, though JAL had not yet confirmed which of its several configurations of the plane will be flying the new route.JAL flies its current route between SFO and Haneda (HND) with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Best credit cards of 2019 Best rewards cards Best cash back cards Best travel cards Best balance transfer cards Best 0% APR cards Best student cards But, of course, the best airline card for you depends on your travel. While Alaska Airlines flies to several destinations, its service to certain parts

Rewards: 2x points on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases

Why we chose it as the best airline card for regular Southwest Airlines flyers: It's rare for a mid-tier airline card to offer an easy way to earn status-qualifying points or miles through credit card spend — that's typically a perk saved for top-tier cards with high spending requirements to earn them. However, for regular Southwest flyers who need a little help getting to A-List status, you'll earn 1,500 tier-qualifying points (TQPs) for every $10,000 you spend on this card (up to $100,000 annually) — for just a $99 annual fee. Plus, you're getting the same bonus value as Southwest's higher-tier Southwest Priority card, and 6,000 Rapid Rewards points every year after your account anniversary.

Annual fee: $99

Further reading:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card review

APPLY HERE: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)© The Points Guy (Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Up to 60,000 points: 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months. According to TPG valuations, this bonus is worth up to $900.

Rewards: 2x points on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases

Why we chose it as the best airline card for occasional Southwest flyers: This card is a solid option for anyone who occasionally flies Southwest or someone who's just starting in the Rapid Rewards program. You're getting the same welcome bonus value with this card as the other two Southwest consumer cards, plus a nice 3,000 bonus points each year after your account anniversary. While you may not get some of the perks that come with the Premier or Priority, the Plus is a low-cost way to rack up points when you fly Southwest without committing to a higher annual fee. The fall is a great time to apply for a Southwest card and earn a Companion Pass by the end of this year so you can enjoy it throughout the whole of 2020.

Annual fee: $69

Further reading:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card review

APPLY HERE: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card

a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER photographed in April 2016 by Chad Slattery.© The Points Guy Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER photographed in April 2016 by Chad Slattery.

Welcome bonus: 40,000 miles plus Alaska's companion fare from $121 ($99 fare, plus taxes and fees from $22) after you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days — worth $720 according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: 3x miles on Alaska purchases, 1x mile on everything else

Why we chose it as the best airline card for earning Alaska Airlines miles: There is a lot to love about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card. First, you're getting a solid welcome bonus that includes a companion fare (which potentially adds hundreds of dollars in value). Then add on the fact that you get your first checked bag free, 50% off Alaska Lounge day passes, and an annual companion fare from $121 each year after you account anniversary. It's a no brainer for anyone who flies Alaska or its partners throughout the year.

Annual fee: $75

Further reading:

  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card review

APPLY HERE: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)© The Points Guy (Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months, which is worth $700 according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: Earn 10x miles on Hotels.com purchases at Hotels.com/Venture and 2x miles on all other purchases

Why we chose it as the best airline card for spending miles on all airlines: Flexibility is a quality hard to come by in an airline card, but the Venture makes it easy to earn and redeem miles. You use miles earned to "erase" any travel purchase at a rate of 1 cent per mile, or you can transfer your miles to one of Capital One's transfer partners. Cardholders also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every 4 years, which is a rare benefit for a $95 annual fee card.

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Further reading:

  • Capital One Venture card review
  • 6 reasons to get the Capital One Venture Rewards Card

APPLY HERE:Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months of account opening — worth $700 according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: 2x miles on American Airlines purchases, at restaurants and at gas stations, 1 mile per dollar on everything else.

Why we chose it as the best airline card for American Airlines: The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card Select now offers bonus miles on purchases beyond airfare. In addition to earning 2x miles on spending with American Airlines, with this card you’ll get 2x miles at restaurants and gas stations. It’s not the most rewarding card for these spending categories, but if earning American miles is your top priority and you use this card for most spending, this is welcome news, as is the ability to earn a $100 flight discount after you spend $20,000 on the card in a membership year.

Annual fee: $99 (waived the first year)

Further reading:

  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card Review

The card details on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard have been collected independently by The Points Guy and have not been provided by the card issuer.

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

a large red chair in a room: Get Admirals Club access with the Citi AAdvantage Executive card. (Photo by Katie Genter / The Points Guy)© The Points Guy Get Admirals Club access with the Citi AAdvantage Executive card. (Photo by Katie Genter / The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, also worth $700 according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: 2x miles on American Airlines purchases, 1 mile per dollar on everything else

Why we chose it as the best airline card for Admirals Club access: I have three words for you: Admirals Club access. If you fly American frequently throughout the year, this card is worth it for the perks it provides. You'll get priorty check-in, airport screening and boarding when flying American, a first bag checked free for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit. Not to mention a way to earn EQMs towards AAdvantage status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a year.

Annual fee: $450

Further reading:

  • Citi AAdvantage Executive Card Review
  • Choosing the best credit card for American Airlines flyers

APPLY HERE: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

United Explorer Card

  The best airline credit cards of 2019 © The Points Guy

Welcome bonus: 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months, which is worth $520 according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: 2x miles on United purchases and at restaurants and hotels, 1 mile per dollar on everything else

Why we chose it as the best airline card for United Airlines flyers: The entry-level United personal credit card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on restaurants, hotels and United purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. The main perks include a free checked bag for you and one companion on the same reservation, so long as you purchase your ticket (or any taxes and fees on an award ticket) from United using the Explorer Card. You’ll also get priority boarding, two one-time United Club passes each year, a 25% discount on inflight United purchases — including Wi-Fi, food and beverages — and access to additional award space.

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Further reading:

  • United Explorer Card review
  • The 8 best cards for flying United

APPLY HERE: United Explorer Card

JetBlue Plus Card

a bunch of luggage sitting on top of a car: JetBlue's Mint is one of the best domestic business class products , and you can redeem TrueBlue points for it.© The Points Guy JetBlue's Mint is one of the best domestic business class products , and you can redeem TrueBlue points for it.

Welcome bonus: 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days — also worth $520 according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: 6x points on JetBlue purchases and at restaurants and grocery stores, 1 mile per dollar on everything else

Why we chose it as the best airline card for JetBlue flyers: If you're looking to use credit card spend to hit elite status with JetBlue, the JetBlue Plus Card can certainly help. You'll earn JetBlue Mosaic elite status after you spend $50,000 each year with the card. The card also comes with some nice benefits for when you fly JetBlue, including a free checked bag and 10% rebate when you redeem points. If you're about to book domestic holiday travel to see family or friends, that's an easy way to earn JetBlue points while hitting the welcome bonus requirements.

Annual fee: $99

Further reading:

  • JetBlue Plus card review

APPLY HERE: JetBlue Plus Card

Platinum Delta SkyMiles from American Express

a close up of a piece of paper: (Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)© The Points Guy (Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months, and earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months. This bonus is worth up to $420 according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: 2x miles on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.

Why we chose it as the best airline card for regular Delta Airlines flyers: While not the top-tier card in Delta's cobranded card lineup, the Platinum Delta still offers value for regular Delta flyers. It offers an opportunity to get Delta's MQD requirement for elite status waived (up to the Platinum level) when you spend $25,000 with your card. You can also earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs when you spend $25,000 in a year, and another 10,000 of each if you spend $50,000 in a year. If you need just a little help hitting your desired elite status, this card is one way to help you get it.

Annual fee: $195 (see rates & fees)

Further reading:

  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles card review

APPLY HERE: Platinum Delta SkyMiles from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express

a close up of a sign: (Photo by Eric Helgas / The Points Guy)© The Points Guy (Photo by Eric Helgas / The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months. This bonus is worth a modest $360, according to TPG valuations.

Rewards: 2x miles on Delta purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.

Why we chose it as the best airline card for occasional Delta flyers: American Express has three personal cards in its Delta lineup, and the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card From American Express is the cheapest with a $95 fee that's waived the first year. With this card, you'll get a free checked bag, priority boarding, no foreign transaction fees and 20% in savings on inflight purchases. If you're an occasional Delta flyer who wants a way to earn bonus miles while enjoying a few elite status-like perks, this just might be the card for you.

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year (see rates & fees)

Further reading:

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex card review

APPLY HERE: Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express

Airline credit cards with no annual fee

The best airline credit cards offer a panoply of perks that save travelers time, money and stress. In fact, the benefits that most airline cards confer seem fairly standard at this point, with only slight variations from one product to another.

Those incentives typically include free checked bags, some measure of priority in the boarding process, the ability to earn multiple miles per dollar on airfare and other purchases, and even airport lounge access and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursements at the higher echelons.

Unfortunately, the airline credit cards that offer these advantages often charge annual fees ranging from $95-$450. However, sensing an opportunity to attract younger customers who might be just be getting started with credit as well as potential customers who prioritize mileage earning over elite-style benefits, several airlines have introduced new no annual fee credit cards with pared-down perks.

These cards may not carry the same rewards as their more expensive counterparts, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth consideration. Especially if you are looking to hang onto a credit card for several years without having to shell out hundreds of dollars for the privilege of doing so.

Airline  cardWelcome Bonus Bonus value**
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in the first three months$190
Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases within three months of account opening. Terms apply.$120
JetBlue Credit Card10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days$130
United TravelBank Credit Card$150 in United TravelBank cash after spending $1,000 in the first three months$150

**Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 on new purchases within three months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 2x AAdvantage miles not just on American purchases but also at grocery stores (including delivery services). Earn 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Why you should consider it: The MileUp Card is a decent starter option for folks who want to start earning in the AAdvantage program without being able to fly much or to pay an annual fee. Though its sign-up bonus is low, applicants also don’t have to worry about hitting high minimum spending requirements. Likewise, travelers who already enjoy travel benefits on American thanks to elite status but want a card that makes earning on ticket and grocery purchases easier might find this card useful.

Fees: There's no annual fee, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee.

APPLY HERE: American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Welcome bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases within three months of account opening.

Rewards: This card offers you double miles at US restaurants as well as on all Delta purchases including Sky Club membership or passes, Delta Vacations packages, seat upgrades and inflight purchases of food, beverages and audio headsets. You earn 1 mile per dollar spent elsewhere.

Why you should consider it: If you want a major mileage haul and benefits that mimic Medallion status, you’re better off carrying one of the more premium Delta credit cards. However, if you already enjoy elite status, or simply want to rack up miles on everyday purchases including that restaurant bonus category, all without having to pay an annual fee, the Blue version might still be a good choice for you.

Fees: There's no annual fee (see rates & fees), but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

APPLY HERE:Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

JetBlue Credit Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.

Rewards: Earn 3x points on all JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere.

Why you should consider it: Both the JetBlue Card and the JetBlue Plus Card are great overall products. If you don’t mind paying a $99 annual fee, you get several extra benefits including a higher welcome offer, anniversary bonus points, redemption refunds, statement credits and a shot at Mosaic status. That said, if the majority of your spending is on non-JetBlue purchases anyway and you prefer a card with no annual fee, you might as well get the regular JetBlue Card since it earns the same number of points on non-airline spending.

Fees: No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

APPLY HERE: JetBlue Credit Card

United TravelBank Credit Card

Welcome bonus: $150 in United TravelBank cash after spending $1,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 2% of your spending back in TravelBank cash on tickets purchased from United. You also earn 1.5% in TravelBank cash spent on all other purchases. Unlike miles, a dollar of TravelBank cash equals a dollar of credit that you can use toward the purchase of a ticket on flights operated by United, but not for flights operated by Star Alliance carriers or other partners. TravelBank cash can be used alone or combined with select forms of payment during the purchase.

Why you should consider it: The TravelBank Card’s two main attributes are its lack of an annual fee and a solid 1.5% earning rate on everyday purchases. However, the fact that you can only redeem the cash back you earn with this card specifically for United tickets limits its usefulness. The United Explorer Card is probably a better all-round choice for most frequent flyers thanks to its travel benefits, its multiple bonus earning categories, and the usefulness of United MileagePlus miles not just for awards on United flights, but those on its Star Alliance and other partners as well.

Fees: No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

APPLY HERE: United TravelBank Credit Card

The information for the United TravelBank Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

How we choose the top airline credit cards

When we assembled our list of the best airline credit cards for this year, we made sure to consider the extra value each card can bring. Because with so many varying benefits, it's important to know which card will best match your own travel needs and preferences. In this post, we're looking specifically at consumer airline credit cards, as opposed to business airline credit cards.

One thing to take into account when you are deciding on an airline credit card is your airline preference. If you know what airline you want to travel on, that makes your decision much easier. You can review the best and worst airlines here — TPGers all have our favorites, and there is no right or wrong to which airline you prefer. Most major airlines offer multiple cobranded options to fit the needs of a wide range of customers, which means you'll likely have solid options. The other major criteria that impacted our list include: annual fee, travel perks, offer bonus and spending requirements.

Do you need an airline credit card?

Cobranded airline credit cards usually don't offer the highest return on spending for airline purchases, so if you're simply looking to maximize your spending, you'd do better with a card that earns valuable transferable points. We included two of these in our list because of their flexibility — the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture. Both of these cards are great for beginners, but luxury travelers who want to maximize airfare purchases should consider a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers 5x on airfare booked directly with the airline (a 10% return on spending according to our valuations).

As a rule, credit cards that earn transferable points (such as Amex, Capital One, Chase or Citi points) generally get you a better return on spending, but airline credit cards are worth looking at for the airline-specific perks they offer. Just about every type of traveler can take advantage of an airline card, whether you're a beginner to the points and miles game or a seasoned frequent flyer. Most airline credit cards include benefits like a free checked bag, early boarding and sometimes even discounts on in-flight purchases. More premium airline credit cards can also include the option to earn elite-qualifying miles for those pursuing airline status, and even lounge access in some cases. For those who need a little help hitting elite status, or want to enjoy elite status-like benefits while they work to hit a tier can benefit from an airline card and its perks.

In short, having an airline credit card can make your flight experience more enjoyable (and even less expensive) if you frequently fly with a specific carrier. Those who simply pick the cheapest fare available may be better served by a card that earns transferable points, but even those travelers could consider an airline credit card if they're looking for miles to book a specific award itinerary this fall or holiday season.

Bottom line

Most airline credit card users will be better off paying an annual fee to enjoy far more benefits from their card, but there are some exceptions. For example, the Blue Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express is a great choice for infrequent travelers, and elite flyers who want to earn double miles at restaurants. Likewise, the AAdvantage MileUp Card lets you earn double AA miles at supermarkets and on grocery delivery services. And even the no annual fee JetBlue card from Barclays offers you double points at restaurants and grocery stores, and 3x points for JetBlue purchases.

And yet, every one of the airline cards with an annual fee offers at least one unique benefit not available on any other credit card, so if one of those perks fits your travel needs, you'll want to consider potentially paying an annual fee for an airline card. Just make sure your choice fits your travel goals and makes sense within your normal travel profile. And of course, if you're a regular flyer on one of these airlines, definitely take a hard look at these cards to see if one of them can make your time in the air cheaper, more comfortable, or (hopefully) both.

Related guides:

  • Beginner's Guide to Points and Miles
  • Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • The Top Credit Cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Additional reporting by Eric Rosen and Madison Blancaflor. Featured image courtesy of Chris Sattlberger via Getty Images.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta Amex card, please click here.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Japan Airlines adds new Tokyo Narita-San Francisco flight .
Japan Airlines is adding nonstop service to San Francisco from Tokyo Narita, a route that will complement its existing service from Tokyo Haneda. The new flight between Narita (NRT) and San Francisco (SFO) begins March 29, about four months before the 2020 Summer Olympics kick off in Tokyo. JAL will offer one daily round-trip flight on Boeing 787-8 aircraft, though JAL had not yet confirmed which of its several configurations of the plane will be flying the new route.JAL flies its current route between SFO and Haneda (HND) with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

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