Rewards credit cards can come in hand whether it comes from to travel to groceries to gas because it can help you earn cash, points or miles from simply spending on those things. With these types of credit cards, you can redeem your collection of rewards for cash, travel or shopping. We’ve sorted through all the rewards cards that are available on the market and compiled our own list of favorite credit cards of 2020. Choosing the right one can allow you to save on shopping, plan a free vacation and more.
For a more comprehensive list, see our best credit card bonuses here.
Best Airline Credit Cards Summary
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||Best for redemption flexibility|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Best for beginners|
|The Platinum Card® From American Express||Best for luxury travel|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®||Best for American Airlines|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card||Best for Delta elite flyers|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card||Best for Delta regular flyers|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||Best for Delta occasional flyers|
|JetBlue Plus Card||Best for JetBlue|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card||Best for Southwest Airlines|
|United? Explorer Card||Best for United Airlines|
Airline Credit Card Features
When choosing an airline credit card, you’ll want to consider several factors, including:
- Bonus categories. There are some airline credit cards on our list that offer bonus points when you spend in certain categories, such as travel, dining or groceries. When deciding on a card, choose one that will let you earn as many rewards as possible for things you would regularly purchase.
- Airline loyalty. Do you tend to fly with one airliner or do you hop around depending on the price of the flight? Co-branded cards will only earn miles for one particular airline. Other cards will let you earn points toward award travel with multiple airlines.
- Annual fee. Credit cards can sometimes carry expensive annual fees. But these higher-priced cards usually come with plenty of valuable perks, like travel credits, free checked bags and airport lounge access. If you’re a frequent flyer who’ll take full advantage of these benefits, then you’ll easily offset the cost of the card. But if you take only one big trip a year, a low-cost card would be the better fit.
To make our best airline credit cards of 2020 list, we also took into consideration the:
- Welcome bonus
- Earning potential
- Elite status perks
- Recurring benefits
- Category bonuses
- Spend bonuses
Although we are talking about rewards credit cards in this post, you should still consider choosing a card with additional earning potential that matches your spending behavior. For our recommended credit cards by spending, check out our guides below!
The Best Airline Credit Cards of 2020
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
You're able to earn:
• 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
• 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
This card does come with a $95 annual fee. Enjoy no foreign transaction fees and receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre?®.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
• 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 3X points on dining
• 3X points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases
• 2X points on all other travel purchases
• 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit and when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 25% more value!
This card carries a $95 annual fee.
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
• 5X Membership Rewards Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
• 5X Membership Rewards Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
This card comes with an annual fee of $695 (See Rates & Fees), but you cardholders can enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only. Terms Apply.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard® offers 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after making $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
• 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
• 1 AAdvantage mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
• 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage mile earned from purchases
This card comes with $450 annual fee, however, there are no foreign transaction fees. You can also save when traveling - first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation.
On top of that, you'll get an Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you.
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
Earn up to 60,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) With Status Boost per year. You can earn 15,000 MQMs after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to four times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status.
You can earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases & 1X mile for every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
This card does come with a $550 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Seems hefty but perks like being able to check your first bag free on Delta flights. In addition, you can enjoy complimentary access into the Delta SkyClubs for you when travelling on a Delta flight, complimentary access to The Centurion Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card., fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. (See Rates & Fees)
The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
Earn up to 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
You can earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels; 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets; 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
This card comes with a $250 Annual Fee, but for each round trip Delta flight, you can check your first bag for free and save up to $240. In addition, there is no foreign transaction fee. You'll also get fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre?®. (See Rates & Fees).
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card offers 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
Earn now. Travel when you're ready. After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit on your Card to inspire your next travel.
• 2X Miles on Delta purchases at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets
• 1X mile for every eligible dollar you spend on purchases.
There is a $99 annual fee, however, there is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year (See Rates & Fees). Now, you'll get get more savings with your first checked bag for free on Delta flights.
For those who are frequent flyers with JetBlue Airlines, JetBlue Plus Card is a consumer credit card offering cardholders 6X points per dollar spent on jetBlue purchases, 2X points per dollar spent on restaurants and grocery stores , and 1X points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
It currently has a limited time welcome offer of 40,000 points after $1,000 in spend within the first 90 days. However, it does come with a $99 annual fee that is not waived. If you’re interested in what this card has to offer, take a look at our review below.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers 60,000 bonus points plus a 30% off promo code after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
In addition, you'll earn 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
• Earn 3X points on Southwest purchases.
• Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
• Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
Some perks include $75 Southwest travel credit each year., receiving 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available, savings of 25% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi, and more!
This card carries a $149 annual fee and no transaction fees.
The United Explorer Card offers 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
• Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United purchases
• Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
Perks of this card include:
• Getting up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS fee credit
• Get your first bag checked for free (up to $140 savings per roundtrip). Terms apply.
• Get priority boarding perks & visit the United Club with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
• 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks
• Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24.
This card does come with a $95 annual fee, however, the annual fee is waived for the first year.
The Best No-Annual-Fee Airline Credit Cards This Year
Some of the best airline credit cards on the market offer a variety of benefits that save you money, time and stress. This is because they can include perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding, lounge access, elite status and more. Keep in mind that these card tend to charge hefty annual fees.
If you’re just starting out in the rewards world, or you prefer earning miles over premium benefits, you should opt for a low-cost co-branded card instead. You won’t get as many perks, but you won’t have to pay exorbitant annual fees either.
|Credit Card||Welcome Bonus||Earning Rates|
|American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp? Mastercard®
(no annual fee)
|10k miles + $50 statement credit when you spend $500 within 3 months. ($190 value*)||2x miles on AA purchases
2x miles at grocery stores
1x miles on everything else
|Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
(no annual fee)
|10k miles when you spend $500 within 3 months. ($120 value*)||2x miles on Delta purchases
2x miles at restaurants
1x miles on everything else
|JetBlue Credit Card
(no annual fee)
|10k points when you spend $1k within 90 days. ($130 value*)||3x points on JetBlue purchases
2x points at restaurants
2x points at grocery stores
1x points on everything else
Although co-branded credit card don’t offer the biggest return on your airline spending, they do offer plenty of airline-specific perks to make up for that.
If you would rather maximize your spending, rather than taking advantage of these cards’ other benefits, then you might want to check out a travel rewards card that can earn more valuable transferable points instead. For more post like this, check out our list of the best credit card bonuses.