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Premium credit cards are a popular option with consumers looking to benefit from sign up bonus miles and earning potential. But, airline credit cards are the best way to rack up benefits with an airline you fly often. From lounge access to priority and a free checked bag, here are three of the best airline credit cards to enhance your next travel experience.
United MileagePlus Club Card
First introduced in 2012, the United MileagePlus Club Card is great for travelers who value lounge access and fly regularly on United. The $450 annual fee is hefty when compared with competitors. But, it is actually a more economical way to purchase a membership to the United Club network. Membership costs $550 per year, so you’d be saving $100.
You’ll gain full access to some of the best airport lounges, as well as unrestricted access to Star Alliance business lounges when flying on a Star Alliance airline. This is one of the best airline credit cards if you want lounge access.
Another reason to relax about the annual fee is the earning rate. The United MileagePlus Club Card earns 1.5 United miles per dollar spent on all purchases. If you use this card for everyday spending, your earnings will quickly add up to serious savings toward future flights. This is especially enticing.
United MileagePlus miles are the most valuable of the three legacy airline loyalty currencies. Considering the 50,000 miles you’ll receive as a sign-up offer after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, you’ll have enough miles to book a flight in no time. This covers the annual fee for the first year, plus extra that you can put towards upcoming travel plans.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
If you’re looking for an airline credit card with a lower annual fee and spend requirement, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is the perfect addition to your wallet. This card comes with the opportunity to earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $1,000 on your card within the first 3 months of account opening. You’ll also earn a $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase on the card within your first 3 months. With such a low threshold, you should be able to start earning in no time.
Other benefits include a $0 annual fee for the first year, priority boarding, a free checked bag, 2 miles per dollar when you make a Delta-related purchase, and payment flexibility. This last reward is especially helpful in managing large monthly expenses because it allows you to carry a balance (interest rates apply) instead of paying it in full each month. However, we wouldn’t recommend using this benefit unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Furthermore, you’ll benefit from a 20% discount on all in-flight purchases, car rental insurance, and discounted access to the lounge. If you value lounge access above other amenities, know that Delta is more restrictive than the United MileagePlus Club Card.
American Express is known to provide excellent benefits and insurance protection. If you choose the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express option, all you’ll need to worry about is what the weather will be like in your destination. For new users, Delta SkyMiles is offering 30,000 miles as a bonus. This is worth $300-$600 depending on the redemption. This a good offer if you prefer flying Delta exclusively.
American Airlines Citi AAdvantage Platinum Credit Card
Another option for a travel credit card is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Credit Card. There is a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. You can earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after a total of $6,000 in purchases is made within the first 12 months.
With this bonus, you can travel roundtrip to destinations as far as Europe for only the cost of taxes and fees.
In addition to a substantial bonus offer, the Citi AAdvantange Platinum card offers double the miles when you dine out at restaurants. It also comes with 2x miles when you fuel up at gas stations. You can earn a $100 annual discount on an AA flight if you spend $20,000+ during your membership and renew your card.
If you travel overseas, you will benefit from no foreign transaction fees. You’ll also get a free checked bag for you and four companion travelers and a 25% discount on all in-flight purchases. The SAAver price level on American Airline’s award chart makes it easy to see where you can fly and for how much.
This is one of the best airline credit cards if you’re looking to travel for free (save the spending threshold) in your first year of airline credit card ownership.
Best Airline Credit Cards Summary
For frequent travelers, airline-specific credit cards can be highly lucrative for redeeming award flights. Other premium credit cards with have points-to-miles transfers. But no credit card will earn you as many miles as a prominent airline card. Choose which are the best airline credit cards for your travel needs. Then pack your bag and start dreaming of your next getaway.