Our favorite travel credit card that works with many airlines…
With the right credit card, not only can frequent fliers accumulate miles and points they can redeem for travel, they can also enjoy perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding and sign-up bonuses.
Here are the Nerds’ favorite airline credit cards:
- Best for flexible redemption and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred®
- Best for frequent domestic travelers (tie): Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
- Best for frequent domestic travelers (tie): United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
- Best for frequent international travelers: British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- Best for budget travelers: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Best for frequent hotel guests: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
For most people out there, an airline credit card isn’t your best option for everyday spending. That’s why I suggest people look at a good general travel rewards credit card first. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to earn more miles than traditional airline credit cards on average, but with the ability to transfer to popular frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named a ‘Best Credit Card’ for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- Sleek metal card design
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
- Travel confidently with premium Travel Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Delay Reimbursement and more
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.
With this strategy, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is considerably more than almost all airline cards offer. Once you rack up the miles, you can then transfer to popular frequent flyer programs such as Southwest Airlines, United MileagePlus Explorer, and British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.
If you travel one airline all the time, it makes sense to strategically use airline miles and travel credit cards this year, because the cost of an average domestic flight is still relatively high. After all, the right airline credit card can help you earn airline miles that can help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars on both international and domestic flights.
After you get used to putting your spending on a flexible travel credit card and start racking up rewards, it makes sense to get an airline credit card that help you earn miles with the airline you fly most often. Keep reading for our top picks.