What Is the Best Airline Credit Card?

What Is the Best Airline Credit Card?

April 18, 2013         Written By Bill Hardekopf

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Airline credit cards allow frequent flyers to save money on their travels. These cards are designed to provide discounts on airfare or completely free tickets, and many of them provide rewards for other travel accommodations. If you fly on a regular basis and need a way to save money, one of these cards could be perfect for you. You just have to find the one that fits your needs.

What is the best airline credit card? Let’s do some comparisons to find out.

Top Airline Credit Cards

Listed below are our top two choices for the best airline credit card on the market.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers double miles on all purchases, and miles are worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel purchases including airfare, hotels and car rentals. To use your miles, simply book travel just like you normally would, using your Venture Rewards card. You then have 90 days from the date of purchase to go online and redeem your miles and erase the cost of your travel reservations. New applicants receive 50,000 bonus miles, worth $500 in travel statement credits, after using their card to spend at least $3,000 within three months of account opening. Cardholders receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® . There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and like all Capital One credit cards, there are never any foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside of the United States.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months, which is equal to $200 in travel. Consumers will earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. These reward miles do not expire, and there is no limit to the number of miles you can earn. Cardholders can use their miles to fly on any airline and stay at any hotel at any time, and there are no blackout dates associated with travel rewards. In fact, you will even earn miles with the airline from your award travel, something you can never do with traditional frequent flier miles. You may also redeem miles for cash, gift cards, and more. There are no annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

What Determines the Best Airline Credit Card?

We selected the two cards above mainly based on their versatility. These cards feature rewards programs that can be used with any carrier. All you have to do is rack up the miles and apply them to the flight of your choice.

There are many other airline credit cards that offer rewards for specific airlines and you may be able to find a better card if you do prefer to fly with a certain airline. Airline specific cards include the United MileagePlus Explorer Card and the British Airways Visa Signature Card

How to Find the Best Airline Credit Card for You

Quite frankly, you are the only one who can determine what is the best airline credit card because you know how you spend your money and how you need to use your rewards. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How do I spend my money? Some cards will offer extra rewards for certain kinds of spending, like dining out or buying gas. Find a card that fits your monthly expenses, and you’ll maximize your reward potential.
  • What do I need out of my card? If you just want free tickets, any card might do. If you want hotel discounts and other travel accommodations, you need to look for a card with those features.
  • How much will each card cost to carry? Some have higher interest rates, and some have annual fees. You have to analyze whether those rates and fees are worth the rewards.
  • Will I qualify for the card I want? Airline credit cards usually require good or excellent credit. If you don’t have that, you may want to consider a different type of card.
  • Do I truly need an airline credit card? In some cases, it’s better to get a cash back card and use the rewards for a trip you wish to take. If you don’t fly often, you probably won’t get as much out of an airline card.

Compare as many airline credit cards as you need until you find the one that is perfect for you. Then, start building up those rewards points.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of April 18, 2013. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.

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About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.