Airline Credit Cards

Disclosure:  Emily & I get a commission for links on the blog.  You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do.  We don’t write about all the credit cards available in the US, but only the ones which get us miles and points or cash back for Big Travel with Small Money!

I keep the information on this page updated, but please double check the credit card applications for details about terms and conditions of the offers.  Please let me know if you find a better offer so that I can list it here!  The card offers are listed alphabetically by airline.

Here are 40+ ways to complete the minimum spending on credit cards if you are concerned about completing the minimum spending requirements.


1.  Alaska Airlines

Bank of America Alaska Air


2.  American Airlines 

Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® 

Citi American Airlines MasterCard

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership*
  • Your first eligible checked bag is free*
  • Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount every cardmembership year with qualifying purchases and cardmembership renewal*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year

3.  AAdvantage Executive

 Citi

ExecutiveSM / AAdvantage®World EliteTM MasterCard®

Citi Executive AAdvantage

My thoughts on the  Citi ExecutiveSM / AAdvantage®World EliteTM MasterCard®

Sign-Up Bonus:   60,000 American Airlines miles after  spending $5,000 on the Citi AAdvantage Executive within 3 months.  A much better offer for 100,000 miles after spending $10,000 within 3 months.

Fees:  $450 annual fee NOT waived; No foreign transaction fee

Other Perks:  Free Admiral’s club lounge membership, 1 free checked bag for domestic travel, and priority AAccess

- Earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles after spending $40,000 in a calendar year


4.  Delta

Daraius’ Tips

  • Log in to see how many miles you are offered. I was offered 40,000 miles after spending $500 within 3 months (Your offer will be different)

5.  Delta Platinum

American Express Delta Platinum  

Delta Platinum American Express

  • 35,000 bonus miles (5,000 are elite qualifying miles) after spending $1,000 within 3 months on the American Express Delta Platinum (personal).  
  • $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within 1st 3 months.
  • First checked bag is free
  • $150 fee NOT waived for first year; 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Earn 2 Delta miles per $1 spent on Delta & 1 mile for  everything else
  • Earn 10,000 elite miles after spending $25,000 and an additional 10,000 after spending $50,000 in a calendar year

6.  Delta Reserve

American Express Delta Reserve

Delta Reserve American Express

  • 10,000 medallion (elite) miles after 1st purchase with the American Express Delta Reserve card
  • First checked bag is free; free Delta lounge access
  • $450 fee NOT waived for first year; 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Earn 2 Delta miles per $1 spent on Delta & 1 mile for everything else
  • Earn 15,000 regular & elite miles after spending $30,000 and an additional 15,000 regular & elite miles after spending another $30,000 in a calendar year
  • Tip:  This card could be worth the high fee if you’re looking for Delta club access and medallion (elite) qualifying miles.  Otherwise, skip it.

7.  Frontier Airlines


8.  Hawaiian Airlines


9.  Lufthansa 

Daraius’ Tip:  See these 18 ways to use Lufthansa miles.


10.   United Airlines

Daraius Tip:  See the Hot Deals tab for other offers.


11.   US Airways

Barclay’s US Airways

US Airways MasterCard


12.   Virgin Atlantic

BANK OF AMERICA VIRGIN ATLANTIC 

Virgin Atlantic

  • 20,000 Virgin Atlantic miles after 1st purchase with Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card
  • 25,000 miles after spending $2,500 within 3 months
  • 5,000 additional miles for adding 2 authorized users to your account
  • Virgin Atlantic points transfer to Hilton in 3:4 ratio, so 50,000 Virgin Airline miles becomes 75,000 Hilton hotel points
  •  $90 annual fee NOT waived for the first year; 1% foreign transaction fee
  • My review of the Virgin Atlantic credit card

13.   Other Airline Card Offers

Missing your favorite offer?  Please let me know!

1,029 Responses to Airline Credit Cards

  1. Hi there! Thanks for the awesome information! Do you have a similar links page for business cards? I am looking for American Advantage Miles. Thanks again!

  2. @Jennifer – Thanks for reading! Here’s a page which may help.

  3. Mark the Meanderer

    Hi Darius, do you happen to know if the AAdvantage 50k bonus with mastercard is valid if I already applied for the AAdvantage 50k bonus AMEX? I had cancelled this AMEX card half a year ago, so I’m wondering if I’m eligible. Your response is much appreciated.

  4. My wife just received the United 65,000 offer with no particular effort to do so. Simply logged on to MileagePlus account and the link was right there.

    Also, another out that I’ve not seen anyone make (though I’m sure it’s been suggested) is that if you have a Chase United MASTERCARD that was a legacy continental OnePass MasterCard… you can apply for a Chase United VISA card, as this is in fact a different account. Wife and I both did this in February to the tune of 100,000 miles total. I’ve spoken to many United flyer friends who did not consider this was an option. Might be worth pointing out?

  5. @Mark the Meanderer – You usually have to wait at least 18+ months from when you were last approved to get the bonus again.

    @Ray Purkis – Thanks for the tips. You can usually get the bonus again if it has changed versions.

  6. I didn’t try making an application for any other card. My hubby and I both have active Citi AAdvantage cards. Opened around the exact same time about 6 mths earlier. We have been shopping with the Mile Multiplier thru AAdvantage eShopping and good friends have been letting us order exactly what they require and paying us back. EXCELLENT CLOSE FRIENDS !!! So, what’s the advice then when we make use of these miles however wish to get the bonus miles for credit cards once again? Wait up until when? double browser trick? Cancel one for signup for other, timeframe in between? other ideas?

  7. @D Swan – You could try for the Citi Executive card which currently has a 100K sign-up bonus.

  8. Pingback: Payback Time – Let the banks finance your RTW! | The BS Travelers

  9. On the United 65,000 offer above, when I go to the website there is a link for 30,000 points if you spend $1,000. Where do I find the link for 65,000 miles?

  10. any idea if and when we will be able to combine AA and USairways miles for award redemption?
    Thanks!

  11. Hi Darius,

    I applied and received the BOA Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and noticed that BOA already credited my account with the 25,000 miles and I have not yet met the $1,000 minimum spend. Should I continue to meet the spend or move on to another card spend requirements and assume my miles are safe?

    Thanks

  12. @eric – Not sure of exact dates, but should be possible to move miles across airlines at some point.

    @Steve – I’d meet the minimum spending just in case!

  13. To Michael: You have to log in to your UA account at UAL.com, then you can see the higher offer. Mine is 50000 after spend $2000 within three months.

  14. Hi Darius,
    I applied UA mileage card 18 months ago in Oct 2012, canceled it in Sep 2013, can I re-apply the card and get bonus again or have to wait until oct 2014. (Do I need to wait 18 months or 2 year from the date I last approved?)
    Thank you very much for your help!

  15. poohcrackers

    Hi Daraius,
    I’m going to be flying Delta a handful of times this year so I was looking at getting the Delta Gold AMEX for the priority boarding and free checked bag. I noticed that if I click your link to the 30k deal or if I just browse the AMEX website in the browser I normally use, it has my visit cached and knows I’m an AMEX card holder as I have the no-AF Hilton AMEX for several years. It offers me an upgrade to the Hilton Surpass with a bonus of 50k points which is not as good as the 75k offer. Anyways, back to Delta. If I browse the (cached) website, I only see a 10k Delta bonus for the Gold. If I use your targeted link and log into Delta, I get a deal for 35k with $500 spend. Reading the details for the card it states “If you are identified as a current American Express® Card Member, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer.”

    Sorry for the long-winded build up, but in your experience if I apply for the Gold AMEX through the targeted offer, would I get the 35k miles after meeting the spend? Or is AMEX pretty strict on giving out any bonuses? I would use a different browser with cleared cache, but looking forward to your input. Thanks!

  16. @Sylvia – it is usually 2 years from when you close the card.

    @ poohcrackers – It is hard to say, but AMEX is tightening on the sign-up bonuses.

  17. Hope you can help! We have a USAir premiere card with 53,000 miles. I have 20,000 miles in my acct but they can’t be combined unless I share them into my husbands acct for 200$. We want to go to europe in the fall which would take 110,000. Miles. What credit card should we apply for that would give us enough points.

  18. @Jane – It is 60K miles for a roundtrip in coach to Europe. You could consider earning United and American Airlines miles (though be careful of the fuel surcharges charged by American Airlines if you redeem for flights on British Airways).

  19. I don’t know if this has been mentioned yet but with the US Airways Mastercard you also get an annual companion certificate. It allows you to buy a round trip in the United States (excludes Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada and then take two other people with you for $99 each before tax.

    Also if you pay the annual fee you also get the award processing fee waived along with the 5000 mile rebate if you book all US Airways flights.

    At the end of the year you also get 10000 mile bonus towards a preferred status. It’s not mileage you get in your account, but if you’ve only flown 15,000 miles that year the bonus will make it look like you flew 25000 miles which will qualify you for the first preferred level Silver. Now that US and AA are merging you also get benefits and miles on both.

  20. Hi Darius,
    I make family trips to Phoenix from Boston 3-4 times per year. What would be my best tactic to accumulate airfare miles other thorn using the Barclaycard Arrival card? Thanx for your help

  21. @CindiaG – I’ve written about this before, but it was some time ago!

    @Dana – You could use the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold as well.

  22. Hi Darius,
    I am planning to bring my family in beginning of June from Houston to San diego (roundtrip)
    I need to buy like 5 tickets which comes to $2300 approximately. Considering I have less than 2 months to accumulate the points which card would you suggest me. both me and my husband can apply for one. But when will they exactly credit our account. as soon as we purchase the limit or in other words would we be able to use those miles to book with time less than 2 months. thanks I really appreciate your help.

  23. Mark Killington

    Interesting reading about the Chase re-apply policies. I have read in the past that you could get another card 18 months to two years after your previous one was cancelled. However I notice that the Chase terms now explicitly state that if you have ever had the card in the past, you will not qualify for a signup miles bonus. So I’d definitely like to know what peoples’ experiences are.

  24. @Mukta – It will be hard to get the miles for everyone to post so quickly. That said, you could get the Barclays Arrival card which will get you ~$440 towards travel which can be used towards any tickets.

  25. Daraius, thanks for your reply to my previous question. I don’t want to give up the United Chase Presidential Plus card b/c the net cost to us is $145 and in addition to the two free bags we use when we winter in Puerto Vallarta we get premier status and club privileges. When we missed a connection in Houston during the storms in January people waited hours in ticket lines while we just went into the club and the concierge got us taken care of immediately. Well worth it!
    But since I realize it’s going to cost me 70k miles for stsndard awards from here on out I need to get a better second card and a new one that will give me a big infusion of miles I can use on united. Chase sapphire? Barclays? I don’t really understand the points but if they transfer 1:1 then they are equivalent to miles. We dine out a lot and the one that gives you bonus on groceries is good too… Your thoughts? From Columbus we are pretty locked into United for PV and my husband has health issues so easiest travel conditions back and forth to PV is current goal. Thanks!

  26. @Janie Blank – You don’t have to give up your existing card, but can apply for new cards to earn more miles or cash back.

  27. Thanks for your reply on 4/4! But I got confused. I read your post(Emily’s Dec churn) and you mentioned that Emily used to get sapphire preferred in Dec 2011, after she canceled in June 2012, and got the bonus again in Dec 2012(that’s 18 months after she first got approved). Does that mean one doesn’t need to wait two years after closing a/c to get another bonus?
    Appreciate!

  28. Hi Darius, do you happen to know how the Bluebird can help me get the $ 10.000 that I need? And how to work? Thanks

  29. Hi Andrey,

    Buy One Vanilla Visa Gift card at CVS and pay by credit card and upload at Walmart Money Center. In addition, you can buy cash card from Costco online if you are member and shop a lot there or your favorite grocery store. Ask around your friends, relatives to pay their bill, buy gift card and next time you will do for them the same.

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