Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which MillionMileSecrets.com receives compensation. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards on Million Mile Secrets other than in banner advertising. MillionMileSecrets.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

The best airline credit cards of April

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

The best airline credit cards of April

Meghan HunterThe best airline credit cards of AprilMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Fasten your seatbelts. We’ve compiled a list of the top credit card offers to consider right now for award flights to help you ring in a new year of travel. If you’re loyal to a particular airline, you can do well by opening an airline credit card that rewards you for your business with a more comfortable travel experience and extra miles for your next award trip. You get perks like free checked bags and priority boarding, along with benefits specific to each card.

Best airline credit cards of 2020:

Comparing airline credit card offers

Credit cardIntro bonus offerAnnual fee
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit cardFor a limited time, earn a $100 statement credit, 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account
$75
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening$99, waived the first 12 months
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account$95
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardEarn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Here’s how: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020. Terms Apply. $99, waived for the first year. See (rates and fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardEarn up to 100,000 bonus miles. Here’s how: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020. Terms Apply. $250 See (rates and fees)

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs). Here’s how: Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020. Terms Apply. $550 See (rates and fees)
The Platinum Card® from American Express60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.$550 annual fee (see rates & fees)
United℠ Explorer CardFor a limited time, earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months. $95 annual fee, waived the first year
CitiBusiness® / Advantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
$99, waived for first 12 months
Plan your next adventure with the best airline credit cards. (Photo courtesy of BABAROGA/Shutterstock)

Best airline credit cards

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Best for Alaska Airlines flyers

Bonus offer

With the Alaska Airlines credit card, you can earn 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles, a $100 statement credit and an Alaska Airlines companion fare after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Ongoing earnings

The card also earns:

  • 3 miles per $1 on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases

Benefits and perks

The Alaska Airlines credit card benefits include a free checked bag for you and up to six passengers on your reservation – a savings of $30 per person in baggage fees each way (a great perk if you don’t have Alaska Airlines elite status). Plus, you will get a 50% credit when you buy Alaska lounge day passes with the card and 20% back on eligible inflight Alaska Airlines purchases.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

Absolutely. The $75 annual fee is especially worth it if you can make the most of the companion fare.

Bottom line

Along with the great sign-up bonus, the card comes with an Alaska Airlines companion fare after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. With this companion fare, a friend can fly with you for just $99 plus taxes and fees (from $22). This can save you hundreds of dollars on airfare.

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

Best for American Airlines flyers

Bonus offer

Earn 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of opening the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Ongoing earnings

  • 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • 1 American Airlines miles per dollar spent on other purchases

Benefits and perks

The AA Platinum Mastercard provides preferred boarding for you and up to four companions on the same reservation. You can also receive a 25% savings on inflight food, drinks and Wi-Fi purchased with the card while aboard American Airlines flights. The card offers your first checked bag for free on domestic itineraries for you and up to four traveling companions. Checked bags cost $30 each way, so you could potentially save $240 per round-trip with this feature alone.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

The card comes with a $99 annual fee, waived the first year. It’s certainly worth opening the card the first year, but if you decide to pay the annual fee year after year, you’d better fly American Airlines at least a couple times each year.

Bottom line

We estimate American Airlines miles value to be worth at least 1.6 cents each, meaning the Citi AA Platinum Card bonus is worth $800 in American Airlines flights. Not bad for a card with no annual fee the first year (then $99 ongoing annual fee)! It’s worth opening to see if it works for your lifestyle — if it doesn’t, no harm done. Read our full review of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select.

Just note that you can’t receive a new account bonus on this card if you’ve received a new account bonus on the card in the past 48 months. Read our full guide of Citi American Airlines application rules for more details.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best for beginners

Bonus offer

When you sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

Ongoing earnings

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders get:

  • 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining
  • 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all other purchases

Benefits and perks

You’ll also get perks like:

  • Primary car rental insurance: Covers damage from theft or collision to your rental car when you pay for the rental with your card.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Get up to $500 back per ticket on meals and lodging when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay.
  • Extended warranty protection: Extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by a year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
  • Baggage delay insurance: Reimburses you for purchases like toiletries and clothing during baggage delays longer than six hours by a passenger carrier, up to $100 a day for five days.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

The $95 annual fee is definitely worth it because when you earn the welcome bonus, that’s $600 cash or $750 in travel (with no blackout dates) or over $1,000 in award travel.

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the #1 card we recommend for beginners in the miles-and-points hobby. The sign-up bonus is worth $750 in travel when you book through the Chase travel portal and you can get even more value by transferring the points you earn to airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, Southwest and United Airlines.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Best for occasional Delta flyers

Bonus offer

With the Delta Skymiles Gold card, you can earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. You’ll earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. Offer expires 4/1/2020.

Ongoing earnings

  • 2x miles per $1 spent with Delta, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else
  • Terms Apply

Benefits and perks

If you use your card on certain inflight purchases, you’ll receive a credit of 20% off the original purchase price on your Amex statement within six to eight weeks after the transaction is posted to your account. In addition, Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles cardholders receive complimentary priority boarding for the cardmember and up to eight additional people flying on the same itinerary, making the benefits of the card especially useful for frequent Delta flyers. Plus, you’ll get up to a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000+ on the card in a calendar year.

With the Delta SkyMiles Gold, the primary cardholder and up to eight others traveling on the same reservation will enjoy one free checked bag each. With baggage fees starting at $30 per bag, this could add up to some serious savings.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

For an annual fee of $99 (see rates and fees) that’s waived for the first year, it’s easy to come out ahead of the annual fee. The full welcome bonus is easily worth at least $700. That’s not including the value you’ll get from the card’s other perks. At a minimum, it’s worth trying for the first year to see if it’s right for you.

Bottom line

With an annual fee of $99 (see rates and fees) that’s waived for the first year and a welcome bonus potentially worth hundreds of dollars, the Delta SkyMiles Gold is definitely worth considering. Here’s our review.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Best for frequent Delta flyers

Bonus offer

You can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles with the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card. You’ll earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first card membership anniversary. Offer expires 4/1/2020.

Ongoing earnings

  • 3x Delta miles per dollar spent on Delta, including flights booked on Delta.com, Sky Club membership or passes, Delta Vacations packages, upgrades and inflight purchases
  • 3x Delta miles per dollar on purchases made directly with hotels
  • 2x Delta miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets
  • 1 Delta mile per dollar spent on everything else
  • Terms Apply

Benefits and perks

This card comes with a number of valuable perks, including the fact that you and up to eight passengers on your reservation can board your flight when Zone 1 Priority Boarding is called.

Plus, upon renewal of the card each year, Delta SkyMiles Platinum cardholders are granted a companion certificate. With it, travelers can add a friend to their domestic Delta reservation for only the price of taxes and fees. The companion certificate covers one round-trip companion ticket in coach.

As an Amex Delta Platinum cardholder, you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation will get your first checked bag for free.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

The card’s $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) is not waived the first year. But it’s easy to offset the fee with the perks you’ll get from this card. The welcome bonus alone is worth at least $1,000 when you use Pay With Miles.

Bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is a great option for folks who frequently travel with Delta. If you value Delta miles and Delta elite status and can use money-saving perks like the annual companion certificate and free checked bag, this card is well worth the $250 annual fee (see rates and fees). Be sure to check out our Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex card review.

Delta One Suites. (Photo by Zach Honig.)

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Best for Delta flyers looking for premium perks

Bonus offer

With the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card, you can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles and 20,000  Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs). You’ll earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000  Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. Offer expires 4/1/2020.

Ongoing earnings

  • 3x Delta miles per dollar spent on Delta, including flights booked on Delta.com, Sky Club membership or passes, Delta Vacations packages, upgrades and inflight purchases
  • 1 Delta mile per dollar spent on everything else
  • Terms Apply.

Benefits and perks

This card comes with a number of valuable perks, including the fact that you and up to eight passengers on your reservation can board your flight when Zone 1 Priority Boarding is called.

Plus, upon renewal of the card each year, Delta SkyMiles Reserve cardholders are granted a companion certificate. With it, travelers can add a friend to their domestic Delta reservation for only the price of taxes and fees. The companion certificate covers one round-trip companion ticket in coach.

Delta also just added an additional, valuable benefits called Status Boost™. With it, you can earn 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 on your card in a calendar year. You can earn this bonus up to four times per year (for 60,000 MQMs). As an Amex Delta Reserve cardholder, you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation will get your first checked bag for free.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

The card’s $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) is not waived the first year. But if you’re a frequent Delta flyer and can make the most of lounge access and bonus MQMs, you’ll find value in this card. The welcome bonus alone is worth at least $1,000 when you use Pay With Miles.

Bottom line

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve card is best for loyal Delta flyers. With a hefty limited-time welcome offer and benefits like the ability to earn bonus MQMs, the annual companion certificate and free checked bag, this card will make sense for some. Be sure to check out our Delta SkyMiles Reserve review.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Best for premium benefits

Bonus offer

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

Ongoing earnings

  • 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare (booked either directly with the airline or through American Express Travel)
  • 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel
  • 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar on everything else
  • Terms apply

The 5x Membership Rewards points you’ll earn on flights booked directly with the airlines and on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel is the highest earning rate for flights of any credit card.

Benefits and perks

With the Amex Platinum, you’ll also get perks like:

  • Up to $200 in Uber credits annually
  • Up to $200 annual airline-fee credit
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • Airport lounge access
  • Elite car rental status with Avis, Executive status with National Car Rental and Gold Plus Rewards with Hertz
  • Free Hilton Honors and Marriott Gold elite status (free breakfast and upgrades when available)
  • Terms apply

For information on lounges at your home airport or favorite airport, check out this post on how to find Amex Platinum airport lounges.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

The card has a $550 annual fee, which is not waived (see rates and fees). If you use the perks and credits, you’ll easily come out ahead and find the annual fee worth it.

Bottom line

The Amex Platinum is useful for anyone looking to earn a nice stash of Amex Membership Rewards points, especially if you can make the most of the card’s perks. You’ll find our full review of the Amex Platinum card here.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith)

United℠ Explorer Card

Best for United flyers

Bonus offer

The United℠ Explorer Card comes with 60,000 United Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Ongoing earnings

  • 2 United Airlines miles per dollar spent on United Airlines purchases
  • 2 United Airlines miles per dollar spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • 1 United Airlines mile per dollar spent on everything else

Benefits and perks

The United℠ Explorer Card enhances your travel experience in multiple ways with a variety of benefits and perks.

The card comes with priority boarding and two one-time United Club lounge passes per cardmember year. Plus, you’ll get a $100 credit every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, which is a huge time saver at U.S. airport security checkpoints. Everyone on the MMS team has either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (you can read about TSA PreCheck versus Global Entry here).

One of my favorite benefits of the card is that you receive access to more award seats than travelers who don’t have the card. In other words, if you go online to book a seat, you may see plenty of options where others see none.

Another gem of a perk is primary car rental insurance when you charge the entire rental to the card. You can decline paying $15 a day to the car rental agency because the United℠ Explorer Card will cover you for free.

The card also comes with trip-delay insurance. When your travel is delayed 12+ hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for expenses like meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

Absolutely. If you take two round-trip flights per year with checked bags, you’ll save money by keeping this card. And the lounge passes are valuable too. Plus, if you use the $100 credit to pay for Global Entry, you’ll come out ahead of the $95 annual fee right from the start.

Bottom line

The United℠ Explorer Card has so many meaningful benefits that it would make sense for almost anyone. Here’s our full review.

CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

Best business card for American Airlines flights

Bonus offer

Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of opening the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select.

The introductory bonus alone is enough for a round-trip coach saver ticket to Europe. (Photo by S.Borisov/Shutterstock)

Ongoing earnings

  • 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 2 American Airlines miles per dollar spent at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations
  • 1 American Airlines mile per dollar spent on other purchases

Benefits and perks

With the card’s benefits, you’ll receive preferred boarding. Also, when you fly American Airlines, you get a 25% savings on inflight food, drinks and Wi-Fi purchased with the card. This is also a good card to take abroad because it has no foreign transaction fees.

Free checked bag 

Yes. You’ll get your first bag checked for free on domestic itineraries for you and up to four traveling companions. Checked bags cost $30 each way, so if you travel with a family, this could mean hundreds of dollars in savings, even if you take only a few trips each year.

Is the card worth the annual fee?

This is a toughie. If you fly American Airlines regularly, you’ll easily make up the $99 annual fee with the free checked-bag benefit. The fee is waived for the first 12 months, so it’s absolutely a no-brainer for the first year.

Bottom line

Early boarding is handy. Free checked bags can save you lots of money. The welcome bonus of 65,000 American Airlines miles is more than enough for a free round-trip coach flight to Europe. If you’re an American Airlines regular, this card is hard to beat.

How we chose the best airline credit cards

Credit card introductory bonuses are the fastest way to earn big travel rewards without spending a lot of money. Here are the factors we consider:

Bonus offer

Credit card companies offer card bonuses to lure new customers because that’s how they make money — from customers using their cards.

Minimum spending requirement

To earn an introductory bonus on most credit cards you must spend a certain amount on your new card within a certain timeframe. The best offers have reasonable spending requirements or offer a huge reward if the minimum spending requirements are larger.

Ongoing bonus opportunities

We prefer airline credit cards that offer ongoing earnings, even after you earn the initial big welcome bonus.

Benefits

Airline credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees and expanded award availability are some of our favorites.

How do airline credit cards work?

Airline credit cards are co-branded cards that are tied to a specific airline and their frequent flyer program. By using a co-branded airline card, you can earn bonus miles for each dollar you spend and oftentimes have access to airline-specific benefits like a free checked bag and priority boarding.

In comparison, general rewards cards aren’t connected with a specific airline. So while you may be earning cash-back or rewards you can use for travel, you likely won’t get the more airline-specific perks that co-branded cards tend to offer.

When it comes to earning and redeeming the rewards you earn with an airline credit card, each rewards program is different. The value of the miles or points you earn from an airline rewards program with vary, depending on the airline and how you decide to redeem them. In general though, the more you spend, the more you’ll earn. And that can translate into more free travel.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets email newsletter.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please clichere.
For rates and fees of the Amex Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, please clichere.
For rates and fees of the Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, please click here.

Updated on March 5, 2020

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles. Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020.
  • New! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • New! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • New! Earn 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)



Comments are closed.

313comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Anyone else find it odd they left Delta off completely? It appears they only promoted cards they get a commission for.

Interesting how when they recycled this piece, Oct 5, it had write ups for the Delta Gold, with the recently increased offer, and Delta Platinum with older no miles offer in the write up but an apply now with recently increased 75k offer.

For both Alaska Airlines (personal and business) credit cards, the article’s chart says “Only available to those who haven’t had the card before”.

Since when the Bank of America added this restriction? Isn’t this a typo?

I can understand value for people with no status on an airline (free bag, priority boarding etc) but I have decided airline cards are worthless (outside of initial bonus). First of all I am lifetime Platinum on American and lifetime Gold on Delta so checked bags, seat selection and priority boarding are covered. I had the Citibank executive card since it included Admirals Club access (annual Admirals Club fee alone covered cost of the card). However now retired and not living on airlines so cancelled that and got Barclays Red card. However also have Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum so get more value booking flights on those cards. Therefore cancelling Barclays card before next renewal. I do have both Hilton and Marriott cards (lifetime Titanium and Hilton golf w both Amex Platinum and Hilton Amex). I still don’t put much on these cards outside of stays at their hotel (gas on Hilton Amex is an exception) but the free night annually and ability to earned a lot of bonus points make them valuable IMHO

Given the competition I really don’t see how most airline cards can compete, especially if you have lifetime status.

CitiBusiness has a long memory. I filed bankruptcy 25 years ago in which I included a this card’s balance. I applied for this card 5 years ago and was rejected for that reason. Anyone have any ideas on how to qualify for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card?

I would call and ask for a reconsideration. Or just straight out ask what can you do to qualify for another Citi card.

They might require payment of the debt or something like that, but that might be the only option if it was 25 years ago and they’re using it as a reason to turn you down.

United MileAgePlus is offering an 85% bonus when purchasing miles. Purchase 94,000 miles get 79,900 bonus miles for a total of 173,900 miles for $3220. This seems like a good deal. Comments?

Thanks, Bryan

Nicolas Florez

I love, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card cause there are no black out days. Also it gives a lot of points!!!

Load more