Does your money take to the skies? It can if you use airline credit cards. Like other reward cards, airline credit cards give you a point based on every real dollar you spend.
You can then redeem those points for free flights, with good benefits. See some of our favorites below.
Southwest Credit Card
Southwest is a well-liked airline all around, due to their fee clarity and the fact that you can still check bags without spending a fortune.
Another reason people like them is because of their rewards credit card. It’s called the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and it is that – rapid.
You’ll earn two points on the dollar if you buy Southwest flights and one point per dollar everywhere else. The card does have an annual fee, but it’s low enough to keep the card long term.
The points you get correlate to dollar amounts on flights – which means no weird calculations on your part. A $300 flight doesn’t need to cost 90,000 miles anymore.
The card also gives you bonus points each year you keep it, so why not sign up? It will definitely save you from having to take out an installment loan to go on vacation.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
American Express has set sort of the gold standard for reward cards. They just know what they’re doing. And that’s no different when it comes to the Delta SkyMiles Card.
With this card, you get points, a waived first-year annual fee, and priority boarding. Now that doesn’t matter as much since you get assigned seats on Delta, unlike Southwest, but some people like it.
You’ll also save 20% on whatever you buy in-air, be it drinks, food, or internet streaming services.
Delta also offers another card, but it’s for the more high fliers, or at least the higher spenders. If you get the Delta Reserve Credit Card (also through American Express) you can expect a hefty $450 annual fee.
But you also get some crazy perks, like bonus miles and access to Delta Sky Lounges (which go for $50 a pop).
The JetBlue Plus Card
If you have an airport near you that has a lot of JetBlue flights, check this card out. You get six points for every dollar spent with the airline – which is at least double what other cards give you.
As for other rewards, you get two points to the dollar on food purchases and 1 point on everything else.
There is a $99 annual fee, but you get $65 in points back for renewing, so that cancels out some of the annual fee.
As for in-air perks, you get free checked bags for you and up to three other people on your reservation.
If you’re flying long flights, the business class that JetBlue calls “mint” is a great value for your money.
Airline Credit Cards
If you’re a traveler or you want to travel more, you should absolutely be using airline credit cards. There’s no better way to use your money to your advantage for free or heavily discounted flights.
Just make sure you’re using the card enough to offset the annual fee, or that those renewal bonus points cancel it out.
When You Should Get an Airline Card
Most people still wonder if an airline credit card is worth it to them. You will find that the answer depends primarily on how often you travel with that particular airline. If you only travel by plane a few times a year, it might not be the best choice. However, if you travel every month or every couple of months and prefer the same airline, you may benefit from applying for and using one.
When They’re Worth It
An airline credit card works well for people who like to stick to the same airline or who would do so if they got rewarded for it. Most of these credit cards have an annual fee, but it can be quite low, with $95 being the average. Therefore, to determine if an airline card is right for you, it’s best to consider the value you get with the card and ensure that it exceeds the fee.
Every time you use the card, it earns frequent flyer miles, and many of these cards also give you extra miles when you purchase something from the airline or one of its partners.
You redeem the miles for discounted or free flights, though some cards do have blackout dates or restrictions on destinations. Therefore, it is essential that you read through the details of the card (terms and conditions), before making a final decision.
It might be best to consider an airline card in a variety of instances, such as:
Always Check Your Bags
Most airlines charge a standard fee to check any baggage, which can be up to $30 for each piece. The best airline card is going to offer you a free checked bag. If your airline charges $30 each time, it will cost $60 round trip. If you get a free checked bag, you could save that full amount or at least half. If you take two round trips with that airline and your card has an annual fee of $95, it’s already paid for itself. However, you do have to buy your plane ticket with the card to get this deal.
Many cards offer a free bag, such as the Gold Delta from American Express and the United Explorer Card.
The Best Airline Card for Flying a Lot
If you prefer to fly everywhere you go and like to use the same airline, it makes sense to get an airline credit card. Of course, you earn more miles when you buy your tickets with your card, but these airlines are likely to offer more ways to redeem rewards and ways to use the perks that come along with your card.
Airline cards usually have bonuses attached to them, which can be significant enough to pay for your trip.
Welcome bonuses aren’t available with all cards, but many cards do offer them, such as Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card, Gold Delta SkyMiles Card (AmEx), and United Explorer Card.
Some cards also allow you to bring a friend for free or buy them a discounted ticket. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card gives you one companion fare ticket every year on your anniversary while Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier lets you earn points for its companion pass.
Most people prefer shopping with a credit card while they’re on vacation or traveling for any reason. It’s more convenient, and you’re sure to find that it’s easier to carry one plastic card rather than a lot of cash.
If you travel by plane for work or any other reason, it’s good to get an airline card because they have perks that general traveling credit cards don’t have. The best airline card is likely to offer discounts on refreshments in flight, seat upgrades, priority boarding, and much more, all of which you couldn’t get with a general travel credit card.
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