Airline Credit Cards That Should Be on Your Radar in 2023

Are you an avid traveler that is loyal to certain airline brands? An airline credit card might be the right fit for you. If you have found your brand that you love, it might make sense to start shopping for the right credit card to maximize your rewards.

The top airlines in the US typically have branded credit cards. They have joined forces with some of the top credit card brands (like Chase or American Express) to help their most loyal customers earn more rewards and benefits. We think this adds a certain level of credibility to the airline cards. Having a major issuer behind them gives extra peace-of-mind.

We’re breaking down our favorite airline credit cards and highlighting our favorite bonuses, perks, and what you need to know before applying.

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If you want to skip ahead to your favorite airline brand, go ahead and click to on their name to learn more.

American Airlines Credit Cards

American Airlines is a US based airline, and is currently ranked the largest in the world. This makes them extremely popular for travelers who are looking for flights to a wide variety of destinations. They currently partner with Citi® for their airline branded credit cards. We’re going to highlight our favorite, the card_name.

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

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

The card_name is one of our favorite American Airlines credit cards because we believe it offers travelers the best bang for their buck. There is an annual fee, but it’s reasonable when you look at the perks of going with this card over the $0 annual fee card. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Introductory Bonus: bonus_miles_full
  • Rewards: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 on all other purchases except balance transfers. Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: foreign_transaction_fee
  • Annual Fee: annual_fees
  • Regular APR: reg_apr,reg_apr_type
  • Credit Needed: credit_score_needed

Why Pick the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

When it comes to American Airlines credit cards, the card_name stands out among the rest. There’s a $0 annual fee option, and the $450/year Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Mastercard® to consider, but most travelers will get the most from the the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®.

By choosing this mid-tier card, cardholders will get access to extra benefits that make using an airline specific card worth it. The intro offer is particularly attractive, along with preferred boarding on American Airlines flights. Additionally, card_name cardholders will enjoy the first checked bag free for yourself and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation with you.

There aren’t a lot of extra ways to earn additional points, unlike many travel rewards cards with a similar annual fee. Unless you’re buying gas, spending at restaurants, or making an eligible American Airlines purchase, you will earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Some card shoppers might find this a bit limiting.

Overall, if American Airlines is your preferred airline, then the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® might be the right pick for you.

Learn More about this card.

Delta Airlines Credit Cards

Delta is the second largest airline in the world, and known as one of the best in customer satisfaction. American Express is the issuer for this card, and they are also well known for taking care of their customers. When it comes to getting the most out of your Delta and American Express experience, it pays to opt for the premium card. We think you will agree. American Express is a WiseMoneyLife.com advertiser.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

There are quite a few reasons to love the card_name and why it’s worth the annual fee. The introductory bonus is attractive, and the Delta perks are generous. When it comes to choosing an airline credit card, we think that the extra airline perks are worth it for a more stress free travel experience. Here are the basics of what you need to know:

  • Introductory Bonus: bonus_miles_full
  • Rewards: Earn 3x Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, earn 2x Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and deliver in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets, earn 1x Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: foreign_transaction_fee
  • Annual Fee: annual_fees
  • Regular APR: reg_apr,reg_apr_type *Rates and Fees; terms apply*
  • Credit Needed: credit_score_needed

Why the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Stands Out

Although the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card does come with an annual_fees annual fee, we believe it’s very fair for a frequent traveler. The jump in perks from the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card and the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is significant. We think that frequent travelers would expect these types of benefits when it comes to having a Delta specific American Express card. If you’re going to get a card, start here.

Here are a few of the additional benefits that Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express cardholders receive:

  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card (additional terms apply).
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights, plus enjoy Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. (Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees).
  • Get access to Delta Sky Club® at a rate of $50 per person per visit for you and up to two guests or immediately family when traveling on a Delta flight from now until 12/31/23. Effective 1/1/24, this benefit will no longer be available.
  • Free credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider.
  • Receive $2,500 MQD each MQ Year and get closer to status with MQD Headstart. & Earn $1 MQD for each $20 of purchases made with your card in a calendar year. Learn more at delta.com/skymilesprogramchanges.

The Benefits Add Up

The combination of additional MQMs, companion benefits, a free checked bag, and travel discounts makes this card worth considering above the other Delta cards previously mentioned. If you travel monthly, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card might make more sense to enjoy even more from your card.

Note: Active duty members of the U.S. military and their spouses get annual fees waived with American Express. Read more about it here.

Learn More about this card.

Southwest® Airline Credit Cards

Southwest® is well known for being one of the best affordable airlines in the United States. They have grown rapidly, and have a loyal ridership. People love flying with Southwest® because they can check two bags for free, they don’t hit you with change fees, and points don’t expire for the life of your account. Chase, which also has some of the most popular travel rewards cards, is the bank behind the Southwest Rapid Rewards® card family. This gives us some extra peace-of-mind.

When it comes to choosing a Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit card, we think this card worth checking out.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

We’ll start with the card_name. This is the card you want if you fly very frequently. All Southwest Rapid Rewards® cards come with an annual fee, and this one is the highest (annual_fees per year). The introductory offer is fairly similar across all Southwest Rapid Rewards® cards, but this one stands out for the extra upgrades and annual bonuses.

Let’s take a closer look:

  • Introductory Bonus: bonus_miles_full
  • Rewards: Earn 3x points on Southwest® purchases, earn 2x points on local transit, including rideshare, earn 2x points on internet, cable, and phone services (plus select streaming).
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: foreign_transaction_fee
  • Annual Fee: annual_fees
  • Regular APR: reg_apr,reg_apr_type
  • Credit Needed: credit_score_needed

Why This Card Stands Out

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has the highest annual fee, but cardholders will end up on top. On the anniversary of being a cardholder, you will earn 7,500 anniversary points each year. Additionally, cardholders will receive a $75 Southwest® travel credit each year. According to Nerdwallet, Southwest Rapid Rewards® points are worth about 1.5 cents each. This means cardholders end up covering their annual fee and then some.

Another perk that we love with this card is that the travel rewards are similar to some of our favorite travel rewards credit cards. Cardholders earn 3x points on Southwest purchases plus they earn 2 points per $1 spend on Rapid Rewards hotels and rental car partner purchases. If you’re an avid traveler and prefer Southwest, this card is worth considering.

Learn More about this card.

United® Airline Credit Cards

United® is one of the largest airlines in the world, allowing global travelers access to U.S. and international airports. If you’re frequently shopping for flights, you will often see a tremendous amount of United flight options. United also partners with Chase for their airline credit cards. Again, this gives us some peace-of-mind.

There are four United credit cards to choose from, but most travelers will find the greatest value in this one.

UnitedSM Explorer Card

The card_name lands right in the middle of United’s credit card line up. The introductory bonus is competitive, but the extra perks and ways to earn rewards make it a valuable choice for card shoppers. It does come with an annual fee, but the card comes with added travel protection benefits as well.

  • Introductory Bonus: bonus_miles_full
  • Rewards: Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases (1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: foreign_transaction_fee
  • Annual Fee: annual_fees
  • Regular APR: reg_apr,reg_apr_type
  • Credit Needed: credit_score_needed

Why We Like the UnitedSM Explorer Card

The introductory bonus for the card_name is attractive, but we like the extra benefits that come with this card the most. We think most frequent United® flyers will agree as well. Cardholders will enjoy up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck®, or NEXUS. Additionally, they receive a free first checked bag (saving up to $140 roundtrip – terms apply), and priority boarding privileges. UnitedSM Explorer cardholders will also be able to visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for their account anniversary.

We feel like these benefits give flyers a more luxurious experience while flying, and make the annual fee worth it.

Learn More about this card.

Are you looking for $0 annual fee travel cards? We recommend looking at travel rewards cards vs airline rewards cards.

Rates & Fees: For rates & fees of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.

Kevin

Kevin