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Avoid Paying for Airfare on Your Next Vacation With These Top Airline Credit Card Offers!

Avoid Paying for Airfare on Your Next Vacation With These Top Airline Credit Card Offers!

MeghanAvoid Paying for Airfare on Your Next Vacation With These Top Airline Credit Card Offers!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Meghan:  If you’re looking for the perfect card to earn miles for award flights, or want to earn some cash to offset the cost of airfare, these are the top card offers to consider right now!

Card Name Bonus
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

or

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

or

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card









40,000 Southwest points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening





40,000 Southwest points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening





60,000 Southwest points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Chase British Airways
Up to 100,000 British Airways Avios points

Earn 50,000 British Airways Avios points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Another 25,000 more British Airways Avios points when you spend an additional $7,000 on purchases in the first year of opening your account. And an additional 25,000 more British Airways Avios points when you spend an additional $10,000 on purchases in the first year of opening your account.
United℠ Explorer Card



40,000 United Airlines miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account

$100 statement credit after your first purchase
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

or

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

or

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

















30,000 Delta miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. And a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months of opening your account.




30,000 Delta miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. And a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months of opening your account.






35,000 Delta miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within 3 months of account opening.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®60,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
Chase Sapphire Preferred50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $500 in cash back or $625 in travel) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $800 in cash back or $1,000 in travel) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $500 in cash back or $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN


Up to 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points

Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on purchases, plus another 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Keep in mind, some of the best cards for airfare are NOT actually co-branded airline cards.  Cards that earn flexible rewards can often be even more valuable!  And several of the best airline credit cards offer money-saving perks, like Global Entry credits and airport lounge memberships!

Best Airline Credit Cards
Get Ready to Jump On the Next Flight Out of Town With These Top Airline Credit Card Offers!

Best Airline Credit Cards

Link:   The Best Credit Cards for Travel

Many of y’all know that the fastest way to earn miles & points is by earning big welcome bonuses from top travel rewards cards.  But folks who are new to the hobby might be wondering how applying for cards will affect your credit score.  So be sure to check out this post about the myths that could be holding you back from Big Travel!

Not only are the miles and points you earn important, but having a card that comes with valuable perks, like free checked bags, can be beneficial too.

It’s even worth considering cards with annual fees.  I certainly don’t mind paying annual fees for top credit cards!  Because many annual-fee cards have terrific ongoing perks (like annual travel credits!) that can easily offset the fee expense!

If you’re looking for a great airline card (or two!), below are the best cards to add to your wallet!

1.   Chase Southwest Cards

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Lots of readers love to fly Southwest because there are no blackout dates on award flights, award flight costs are based on the cash price of the ticket, you get 2 free checked bags on every flight, and you do NOT pay change or cancel fees on paid or award flights!

Plus, they offer the Southwest Companion Pass.  And we consider the Companion Pass to be the BEST deal in travel.  Which is exactly why the Chase Southwest cards are at the top of the list!

To earn the Companion Pass, you’ll need to earn 110,000 Southwest points within a calendar year.  And the quickest and simplest method for earning the pass is to open 2 Southwest credit cards when sign-up bonuses are 50,000 points or higher per card.  Just remember, you can NOT have more than 1 personal Southwest credit card at once.  So if you want to easily earn the Companion Pass, you’ll now have to open 1 personal Southwest card and the Southwest Premier Small Business Card.

Right now, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card is the only card with an increased sign-up bonus.  With this card, you’ll earn 60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.  This is the highest sign-up bonus we’ve seen on the card!  And the sign-up bonus alone can get you $900+ worth of Southwest airfare.

Best Airline Credit Cards
Folks With the Southwest Companion Pass Can Save Lots of Money on Flights and Enjoy Flights to Terrific Destinations!

You’ll also get:

  • 2 Southwest points per $1 on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1 Southwest point per $1 on everything else
  • 6,000 Southwest points after your cardmember anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees

This card has a $99 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year.  But the bonus points on your card anniversary can help to offset the annual fee.

The Southwest Plus and Premier personal cards are currently both offering a 40,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements.  So you can decide for yourself whether you want to wait for a bigger sign-up bonus on one of the personal cards.

2.   Chase British Airways Card

Link:   Chase British Airways

Link:   Our Review of the Chase British Airways Card

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

With the Chase British Airways card, you can earn up to 100,000 British Airways Avios points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • 50,000 British Airways Avios points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account
  • 25,000 more British Airways Avios points when you spend an additional $7,000 on purchases in the first year of opening your account
  • 25,000 more British Airways Avios points when you spend an additional $10,000 on purchases in the first year of opening your account

So you’ll need to put $20,000 in spending on your card during the first year to earn all 100,000 British Airways Avios points.  That’s a huge bonus, and the best offer we’ve ever seen for this card!

The card also comes with:

  • 3X British Airways Avios points per $1 you spend on British Airways, Iberia, and OpenSkies purchases
  • 1X British Airways Avios point per $1 you spend on everything else
  • Travel Together Ticket (your companion flies with you on a British Airways award flight for just the cost of taxes and fees) when you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year
  • NO foreign transaction fees

The $95 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year.

Best Airline Credit Cards
Using British Airways Avios Points Is One of the Absolute Cheapest Ways to Reach Hawaii From the West Coast

This card is a great option because you can use British Airways Avios points to book British Airways, Iberia, or Aer Lingus award flights, or transfer them between the 3 airline loyalty programs!

The points you earn from the sign-up bonus and minimum spending are worth 4 (nearly free!) round-trip flights to Europe or Hawaii.  And Avios points are excellent to use for short-haul flights within the US and Europe!  You can read our full review of this offer here.

3.  United℠ Explorer Card

With the United Explorer Credit Card, you’ll earn 40,000 United Airlines miles when you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.  And a $100 statement credit after your first purchase with the card!

You’ll also get:

  • 2 United Airlines miles per $1 you spend on restaurants, hotel stays, and United Airlines
  • 1 United Airlines mile per $1 you spend on all other purchases
  • United Club day passes per year
  • 25% off in-flight United Airlines purchases (Wi-Fi, drinks, food, etc.)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (up to $100)
  • First checked bag free when you use your card to pay for your ticket
  • Priority boarding
Best Airline Credit Cards
Chase United Explorer Cardholders Can Earn Bonus Miles on Dining Purchases

The card’s 40,000-mile sign-up bonus is more than enough for a round-trip coach ticket within the US.  Or a one-way coach ticket to Europe!

The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.  And there are NO foreign transaction fees, which makes it a good card to use when you’re overseas.

Plus, you’ll find more available award seats than folks who don’t have the card!  That makes the card even more valuable!  I’ve used this perk over and over again throughout the years.  Just this perk makes the card’s annual fee more than worth it for me.

4.  AMEX Delta Cards

Link:   Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

The AMEX Delta Gold personal and small business card come with 30,000 Delta miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

You’ll also earn a $50 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months of opening your account.

The cards come with:

  • 1 free checked bag for yourself and up to 8 traveling companions on the same reservation
  • 2 miles per $1 spent with Delta
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else
  • 20% discount on certain Delta in-flight purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • Discount on Delta SkyClub lounge passes
  • Pay With Miles (each point worth 1 cent)
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year
  • Terms Apply

With the small business version of the AMEX Delta Platinum card, you’ll earn 35,000 Delta miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.  Plus a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within 3 months of account opening.

The Platinum card come with the same perks as the AMEX Delta Gold cards, plus:

  • Domestic round-trip companion certificate each year on your card anniversary
  • 10,000 Medallion qualifying miles and 10,000 bonus miles when you spend $25,000+ in a calendar year.  And an additional 10,000 Medallion qualifying miles and 10,000 bonus mileswhen you spend $50,000 in the same time frame
  • $195 annual fee, NOT waived the first year
  • Terms Apply

Note:   AMEX only allows folks to earn the intro bonus once per person, per lifetime, on ALL their cards.  But because each of the Delta cards is considered a different product, you’re eligible to earn separate welcome bonuses on each card!

30,000+ Delta miles is enough (with points to spare!) for a round-trip coach flight the US, which normally costs 25,000 Delta miles or less.

These cards are especially great if you’re looking to earn and burn more Delta miles.  And if you’re patient enough, consider waiting for increased offers from these cards!  Because the absolute best time to apply is when the welcome bonus jumps to nearly double the standard offer.

5.   Citi American Airlines Platinum Card

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

Link:   Our Review of the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select Card

You’ll earn 60,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening a Citi American Airlines Platinum Select card.

You’ll also get your first bag checked for free on domestic itineraries for you and up to 4 traveling companions plus preferred boarding.

Best Airline Credit Cards
The Sign-Up Bonus Alone Is Enough for a Round-Trip Coach Saver Ticket to Europe During the Off-Peak Season!

60,000 American Airlines miles is a good sign-up bonus!  It’s worth 2 round-trip coach tickets within the US, which cost only 25,000 American Airlines miles each.  Or 45,000 American Airlines miles for a round-trip coach saver award ticket to Europe during the off-peak season!

I like this offer because the $99 annual fee is waived the first year!

Note:   You can’t earn the sign-up bonus from more than one Citi card of the same “brand” within 24 months.

6.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

When you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.

You can redeem the sign-up bonus for $625 in airfare when you book through the Chase portal.  And potentially more value if you transfer points directly to airline partners, like United Airlines.

Because of the flexibility you get with the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn, this is the #1 card we recommend for beginners in the miles & points hobby 

With the Sapphire Preferred you’ll also get:

  • 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel and dining
  • 5,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $50 in cash back) when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months
  • Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage due to 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 when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours
  • NO foreign transaction fees
Best Airline Credit Cards
Time to Plan a Trip to Central America! Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Visit the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica!

Plus, the $95 annual fee is waived the first year, which means you can use the card for free for ~10 or ~11 months.  Then, decide if you like the benefits enough to pay the annual fee.

If you’re looking for ideas about using the points you’ll earn, check out these posts:

7.   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

Because of their flexibility, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are a favorite of the Million Mile Secrets team.  And among all of the Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning cards, the Chase Ink Business Preferred has the largest sign-up bonus!

When you sign-up for the Ink Business Preferred, you can earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

You can redeem the sign-up bonus for $800 in cash back OR $1,000 in travel by booking through the Chase’s travel portal (with no blackout dates!). Or potentially more by transferring points directly to airline (or hotel!) partners, like Southwest or United Airlines!

Best Airline Credit Cards
Team Member Keith Used the Ink Business Preferred Sign-Up Bonus to Book a Comfortable Business Class Award Seat for a Long Flight to New Zealand!

With the Ink Business Preferred, you also get:

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
  • Up to $600 in cell phone insurance when you pay your cell phone bill with the card
  • Primary auto rental insurance (CDW) when renting for business purposes, plus purchase and extended warranty protection

The card’s $95 annual fee is NOT waived the first year.  But the sign-up bonus alone helps offset the fee.

Just keep in mind, Chase will NOT approve you for their Ultimate Rewards points earning cards if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards).

Plus, this is a small business card.  But you might qualify for a business card without realizing it!  And be sure to check out our step-by-step guide to completing a Chase business card application.

8.   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

When it comes to the best premium travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve always ends up at the top of my list.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

You’ll also get:

The card’s $450 annual fee is NOT waived the first year.  But you can offset this fee with perks like the $300 travel statement credit and airport lounge access.  For example, Global Entry can save you lots of time at the airport.  So the Global Entry fee reimbursement is an incredibly useful perk for frequent flyers.

Best Airline Credit Cards
If You Travel a Lot, Global Entry Can Be a Lifesaver When It Comes to Waiting in the Long Lines at Customs

Plus, 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $750 worth of travel when you redeem points for flights (or hotels, car rentals, and more!) through the Chase travel portal.  Because when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each on travel booked through Chase!

And if you have other Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning cards, you can move points to your Sapphire Reserve account to increase the value of your points.

Team member Keith says this is the #1 card he uses.  Because he loves to earn easy and valuable bonus points for dining out!

9.   American Express Business Platinum

Link:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   Our Review of the American Express Business Platinum Card

When you apply for the AMEX Business Platinum card, you’ll earn:

That’s a big minimum spending requirement.  So it’s best to apply for this card when you know you have a lot of large business expenses coming up.

That said, after you’re done with the spending, you’ll have at least 125,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points (100,000 points from the welcome bonus + at least 25,000 points from minimum spending).

The bonus points can help you save a lot of money on airfare if you transfer points directly to any of the AMEX airline (or hotel!) partners like Air France, Delta, JetBlue, and Singapore Airlines.

Best Airline Credit Cards
Having Lounge Access Is a Wonderful Way to Escape the Hustle and Bustle of the Airport. Plus, You Can Load Up on Free Snacks and Beverages!

AMEX Business Platinum cardholders also get these terrific perks:

The Pay With Points perk gives folks a hassle-free way to get nearly $1,900 worth of airfare!

This card has a $450 annual fee, which is NOT waived.  But the statement credits, airport lounge access, and savings from AMEX Offers can easily offset the fee.

AMEX Offers are a fantastic way to save money on everyday purchases.  They’re targeted statement credits or bonus points that only folks with American Express cards receive, for things like shopping, travel, and dining.  Team member Jason says he typically saves $100s per year with savings from AMEX Offers!

Best Airline Credit Cards

Our favorite airline credit card offers right now are:

You can get a lot of Big Travel with Small Money with the bonuses from these cards.  For example, you could consider the Chase British Airways card, which comes with up to a 100,000 British Airways Avios point sign-up bonus after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.  The points from the sign-up bonus and minimum spending are enough for 4 (nearly free!) round-trip flights to Europe or Hawaii!

What’s your favorite airline credit card?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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! :)

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