#travel credit cards
The Best Airline Credit Cards of 2015
Earn credit card points toward free airfare and travel
This year, I decided to take a fresh approach to the best airline credit cards. With rising fares and falling oil, no one knows the future for air travel prices, but these cards will still offer you great sign-up bonuses and the ability to earn air miles in your frequent flier program to put towards free flights. Some airline credit cards offer additional perks and benefits, like companion fares, priority boarding, and free bags.
I still don’t believe you should own an airline card as your primary credit card (see my rules for owning an airline credit card below). Before choosing an airline card from this list, make sure you set yourself up with an all around best rewards travel credit card.
Here is the top travel credit card to consider (I share all the best airline cards just below):
The reason you should choose a more general travel card is that airline cards are great for specific purchases on one airline, but not so great for all other purchases. In many cases, the rewards rate for using an airline card on your favorite airline isn’t higher than if you used a travel rewards card for the exact same purchase (2x points or miles per dollar spent).
Then, if you re not traveling ALL the time I d add on the Chase Freedom® Card before adding an airline card. The Freedom® has no annual fee, and its points are transferrable to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, so you can add them together and maximize the travel benefits.
Going with this strategy, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to earn 2x points on all travel, plus dining purchases where your airline card can’t. In most cases, going with one of these cards is your best bet, unless you fly on only one airline and fly often. If you don t fall into this category, think about getting a more flexible travel rewards credit card first.
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The Simple Dollar’s Top Airline Credit Card Picks
Because we view airlines cards as secondary, I wanted to show you a variety of cards, from the major airlines on down to smaller regionals. My goals was to show you what some of the top benefits are of specific airline cards so you can decide if an airlines card is really right for you.
Here are the 5 best airline credit cards:
While there are fewer airline cards to consider in comparison to overall rewards cards, choosing the top airline credit cards is difficult. The choice is much more individualized, as the best airline credit card depends on your preferences, location and choice of airline.
Earning rewards is less about the airline credit card itself and more about the combination of the card with the airline s frequent flyer program.
The best airline credit cards compete with one another by offering unique card membership features. Listed below is a collection of standout features taken from all of the airline credit cards on the market:
- Big signup bonuses
- 2X miles or more for airline purchases
- Yearly companion fares
- Many travel perks
- High flight availability or several travel partners
- Opportunities to earn additional rewards
What to Consider Before Getting An Airline Credit Card
Here are my basic rules for getting an airline credit card:
- You are loyal to one airline.
- You fly more than five times per year.
- You have no problem occasionally paying more for airfare.
- You will take advantage of companion fares.
- You own or plan on owning an all-around rewards credit card for purchases away from the airline. (This is very important.)
- You always pay your balance on time.
Make sure an airline credit card isn t the only credit card you own.
Personally, I don t think you should own an airline credit card without owning a top rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This card gets you the same rewards rate on travel as most of the airline credit cards, plus you get the 2X rate on dining as well.
Rewards aren t the only thing that matters for airline credit cards.
I mentioned the importance of maximizing the value of an airline credit card, but there are other ways these cards offer value in addition to rewards. While rewards are still the most important factor, the perks and benefits from airline credit cards should not be overlooked.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express gives you the flexibility of flying and saving with the largest airline in North America. You can earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a consistent rewards earning potential, this card is a great option for frequent travelers.
One of the best features of this card is the Crossover Rewards program Delta has with Starwood hotels. When you register for this program you can double dip on points by earning Delta Skymiles and Starpoints when you book a Delta flight. The same is true when you book a Starwood Hotels stay. If you travel frequently, it could really pay to pair the Gold Delta Skymiles® Credit Card from American Express with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. one of my picks for best hotel credit cards .