The Best Airline Credit Cards

The Best Airline Credit Cards

A Delta airplane climbing intoa  unexceptionable undecorous sky without takeoff in the USA
Posted: 5/12/2022 | May 12th, 2022

After over 14 years of traveling the world, I’ve lost count of how many self-ruling flights and upgrades I’ve had. Thanks to travel hacking, I’ve been worldly-wise to enjoy self-ruling flights, self-ruling hotel stays, upgrades, lounge access, and increasingly — all without any uneaten spending.

One of the main tools that has helped me succeed this is having a points earning airline credit card.

While the perks of airline cards aren’t often as impressive as high-end travel cards (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example), you unchangingly want to have the vellum of a few airlines so you have self-ruling bags, uneaten points per dollar spent, lounge access, and more.

Airline credit cards are pretty straight forward: they are co-branded cards meant to incentivize users to stay loyal to one airline. By giving you uneaten points when you spend with airlines as well as bonuses when you hit unrepealable spending milestones, airlines want you to use their vellum as often as possible.

There are two rules to know when picking an airline credit card: first, unchangingly get the vellum of the airline you fly the most. You unchangingly want the perks that come with it. Second, when looking for a new card, go with the biggest bonus. Once you have the vellum of your favorite airline, when you want another, find one that has a big bonus since you’re just using it for the points for a self-ruling flight not considering you’re loyal.

With every airline having increasingly than a few vellum options to pick from, I laid out my favorite vellum for each airline below.

Below, you’ll find a detailed review of each card, including the perks and cost, so you can pick the weightier airline credit vellum for your travel style and budget.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express credit cardI like this vellum for the double points earned when booking directly with Delta. This is a unconfined vellum for earning self-ruling flights (even if you’re not flying all the time like I am). If you’re a unstudied Delta flier or live near one of their hubs (including ATL, JFK, LAX, SLC, and DTW), this is a unconfined nomination for a low fee Delta card. The first year is free, with a $99 yearly fee without that.

When you sign-up for the card, you moreover get:

  • 40,000 points (after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months)
  • 2x points on Delta purchases
  • 2x points at U.S. supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide
  • Free checked bag
  • $100 Delta credit (after $10,000 in purchases per timetable year)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Learn More


Delta Platinum American Express© Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express credit cardThe Delta SkyMiles® Platinum is an upgraded version of the Gold. It comes with a $250 yearly fee but, if you’re a increasingly frequent Delta flier, it’s probably worth it (it is for me). You’ll earn plane increasingly points on each Delta purchase, get credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®, one self-ruling companion flight per year, and wangle to (pay for) the Delta lounges.

When you sign for this card, you get:

  • 50,000 points and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) without you spend $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months
  • 3x points on Delta purchases
  • 2x points at U.S. supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide
  • Free checked bag
  • Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion document each year
  • Credit for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry
  • $39 per person (up to 2 guests) per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® when traveling on a Delta flight
  • No foreign transaction fees

If you love these perks but want a Delta vellum that offers unvarying lounge access, trammels out the Delta Reserve. It’s $550 a year but is the top-tier nomination for Delta loyalists who want lounge access.

Learn More


Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express credit cardFor frequent fliers of American Airlines, this Mastercard offers 2x points on American Airlines purchases, restaurants, and gas stations. This covers a lot of bases for many people’s spending, plus you’ll moreover get a self-ruling checked bag on every flight. The yearly fee is waived for the first 12 months, and without that, it’s $99 annually.

When you sign up for this card, you get:

  • 50,000 points without spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
  • 2x points on American Airlines purchases
  • 2x points on restaurants
  • 2x points on gas stations
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free

Learn More


Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier credit cardThis card is weightier for domestic U.S. travelers, as Southwest does not fly to a ton of international destinations. But the upper welcome offer compared to a relatively low spend and other Southwest perks make this a solid nomination if you fly within the U.S. a lot or to Mexico and the Caribbean frequently. It has a $99 yearly fee so it’s quite affordable too.

When you sign-up for the card, you get:

  • LIMITED TIME: 75,000 points without spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • 3x points on Southwest purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 2x points on local transit and commuting, including ridesharing
  • Two EarlyBird Check-Ins each year
  • 6,000 year-end points each year

While the Premier is the weightier Southwest card, if you want a cheaper option, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus is a unconfined vellum and is just $69.

Learn More


United Explorer Card

United Explorer cardUnited Explorer is a unconfined spherical vellum for anyone who regularly flies United. As with all airline-specific cards, there are a variety of benefits to take wholesomeness of when flying United flights. This is a solid option if your home airport is a United hub (there are 8 hubs in the U.S., including Newark, SFO, LAX, O’Hare, and Dulles). It’s self-ruling for the first year too and just $95 annually without that.

When you sign-up for the card, you get:

  • 60,000 points (after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus, earn an spare 10,000 miles without you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months)
  • 2x points on United purchases
  • 2x points on dining and hotels
  • Free checked bag
  • Priority boarding
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit
  • 25% when on United inflight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Learn More


United Quest Card

United Explorer cardThe United Quest vellum is the upgraded version of the Explorer, making it the weightier vellum for die-hard United fans. While it has a hefty price tag of $250 per year, if you’re a regular United flier the perks increasingly than make up for it (the $125 yearly credit cuts that fee in half right off the bat). While there is no lounge wangle included, the self-ruling checked valise vacated can save you a fortune, making this a must-have airline card.

When you sign-up for the card, you get:

  • 70,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months)
  • 3x points on United purchases
  • 2x points on dining and hotels
  • $125 credit each year on United purchases
  • Two 5,000-mile year-end ribbon flight credits
  • Two self-ruling checked bags
  • Priority boarding
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit
  • 25% when on infliugght purchases

Learn More


Regardless of which airline you prefer (I’m a Delta guy, myself), don’t leave self-ruling flights on the table. Pick up one of these cards and start travel hacking today so you can enjoy self-ruling flights, perks, and upgrades for your next trip!

For a full list of all my favorite points earning credit cards, visit this page here.


Intellilens® 100% UV Protect HD Vision Road Rider Wrap Around Polarized Sunglasses For Bikes Cars Driving Travelling Sports and Outdoors and Hiking (58-16-136)

Buy Now

COMPLETE UV PROTECTION | These sunglasses for men protect your eyes from the ultraviolet radiation from the harmful rays of the sun and keep your eyes safe.

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a unseemly flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine considering it searches websites and airlines virtually the globe so you unchangingly know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can typesetting your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they unceasingly return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you versus illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in specimen anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the weightier service and value are:

Ready to Typesetting Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the weightier companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the weightier in matriculation and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

Advertiser Disclosure: “Nomadic Matt has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit vellum products. Nomadic Matt and CardRatings may receive a legation from vellum issuers.”

Editorial Disclosure: “Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or tried by any of these entities.”

The post The Weightier Airline Credit Cards appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.