Top 5 Airline Credit Cards of 2014

May 21, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue

If you are a regular traveler, then you want to take advantage of the perks that come with having a top airline credit card. These cards give you an opportunity to receive some benefits on purchases you already make while on the road. In addition, many cards offer you bonus points that allow you to buy goods and get rewards at the company store. Here are the top airline credit cards of 2014.

Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

The Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select MasterCard® is our top airline credit card of 2014. It has a number of high quality perks that stand out from the competition. The big drawback is that this card is difficult to obtain—it was made for those with stellar credit scores in mind. In addition, the card is tied in to American Airlines. The Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® gives you 30,000 bonus AAdvantage miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of your membership. The card’s $95 fee is waived for the first year. Some of the other benefits include 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases and travel and rental insurance.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is a great airline credit card for those who are planning to do a lot of traveling. The card offers 40,000 bonus miles if you make $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of card ownership. That could amount to as much as a $400 discount on the next trip you take. You’ll also get double the miles on all purchases that you make, plus 5% miles back when you redeem for travel. In addition, you will receive your FICO score for free on the card’s website. Earning double miles is a great perk, and something that you’ll rarely find. The low APR is also a benefit, as you won’t be paying a high price just to use the card. With MasterCard, you don’t have to be worried about traveling to a destination that doesn’t accept payments either. The card does have a drawback—it is hard to get. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is designed for those with excellent credit scores, which means that travelers with poor scores will have a hard time getting one.

Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a strong option for travelers who regularly use Southwest Airlines. If you don’t use Southwest with any kind of regularity, then this card might not be your best option. However, if you use Southwest consistently, you will get two points per $1 spent with Southwest or Airtran Airways. The card’s rewards program also gives you two points per $1 spent at eligible hotels and car rentals. Perhaps the biggest advantage is the 50,000 bonus points you’ll receive after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card ownership. The card’s biggest drawbacks are the $99 annual fee that is not waived during the first year, and the fact that the card does not have an introductory APR.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a very solid choice for regular travelers. It has a great rewards program and comes with additional perks as well. If you choose the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of card ownership. If you add another authorized user to the account within the first three months of becoming a cardholder, you’ll get another 5,000 bonus points. One of the more underrated perks of owning the card is the 24/7 customer service that you’ll receive. No automated systems–you’ll actually talk to a knowledgeable person. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card gives double the points on travel and dining at restaurants, in addition to one point per dollar spent on other purchases.  The card also does not have any foreign transaction fees, meaning that you can use the card overseas without worrying about getting charged extra for using a foreign card. The card’s biggest issues are its lack of an introductory APR offer and its $95 yearly fee.

Chase Sapphire® Card

The Chase Sapphire® Card is a very good card that will provide you with a number of perks. You can earn 10,000 bonus points after spending just $500 on purchases within the first three months of owning the Chase Sapphire® Card. You will also get 2,500 bonus points if you add another authorized user to your account, as long as that transaction is within the first three month of card ownership. The card does not have a yearly fee, and you will also earn two points per dollar spent on any dining options. You’ll also earn one point per dollar spent on other eligible purchases.

Picking out a travel card should be something that every regular traveler does. If you are searching for the right card, you want to consider the airlines you traditionally use. If you are using American Airlines, you’ll want to look into the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®. If you are using Southwest, you will want to look at the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Each of these cards has unique offerings, and you’ll have to choose what kind of bonus program matters the most to you. Regardless, you can find an airline credit card that will save you money and make your trip more exciting.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of May 21, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.