• If you’re a regular traveler and spend a good chunk of your budget each year on flights, it might be time for you to adjust your credit card strategy if you haven’t already.
  • If you’re particularly loyal to a specific airline, that’s definitely the case.
  • In this post, we’ll walk through some of the best airline credit cards out there right now to help you decide which one is right for your wallet.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

BGR has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. BGR and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Please note: the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.

Are you someone who spends a lot of time in the sky as a frequent flyer and are thus on the hunt for the best airline credit card out there? The one that offers you the best mix of perks and miles? Applying for an airline’s corresponding co-branded credit card is definitely a smart move, and as I’m new to the world of travel rewards myself I’ve definitely got my eye on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. However, some benefits can apply well beyond travel on a particular carrier, especially when you consider each airline’s partners and redemption perks, and in the post below we’ll dive into some of the best airline cards available right now.

Our favorite airline cards for 2020, grouped by category

If you regularly fly Southwest Airlines for business, you might need this one:

Delta Airlines flyers, whether regular, elite or occasional flyers:

Honorable mentions:

Here’s a quick guide on each of those cards in the respective categories:

Southwest loyalists

Image source: ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Annual fee: $199

Welcome bonus: Earn up to 100,000 bonus points: 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, plus an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first six months.

Rewards: 3x points on Southwest Airlines purchases, 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable and phone services and 1x point on everything else

Other key details: If you’re a Southwest loyalist, this card helps you rack up Rapid Rewards points along with the best lineup of Southwest-specific benefits among the airline’s five consumer and small business cards. Those benefits include four upgraded boardings to use each year, lowering your chances of getting stuck in an undesirable seat, plus 9,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary, up to $100 every four years to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fee and 365 Wi-Fi credits per year.

The Delta cards

Image source: LM Otero/AP/Shutterstock (10486642b)

Annual fee: $250

Welcome bonus: Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles. Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership (Offer Expires 4/1/2020).

Rewards: 3X miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X miles at restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1X mile on all other eligible purchases.

Other key details: Regular Delta flyers will find a solid amount of value with this card, despite the fact that it’s not the top-tier card in the airline’s card portfolio. Among the benefits, you can earn 10,000 MQMs when you spend $25,000 in a year, and another 10,000 MQMs if you spend $50,000 in a year.

Annual fee: $250

Welcome bonus: Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs). Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership (Offer Expires 4/1/2020).

Rewards: 3X miles on Delta purchases and 1X mile on all other eligible purchases.

Annual fee: $99, waived the first year

Welcome bonus: Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs). Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the card in your first three months. Plus, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership (Offer Expires 4/1/2020).

Rewards: Earn 2X miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at US supermarkets and 1X mile on all other eligible purchases.

Other key details: Of the three cards in Delta’s lineup, this one is the most affordable. Perks include a free checked bag, no foreign transaction fees, priority boarding and saving 20% on in-flight purchases. If you’re an occasional Delta flyer, not necessarily a fanatic about sticking with the airline as much as possible, definitely take a look at this card.

The honorable mentions

Image source: Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy

Annual fee: $95

Welcome bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points once you spend $4,000 on the card within the first three months of card ownership

Rewards: Earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining

Other key details: Are you new to the world of earning travel rewards on credit cards? If so, definitely consider checking out Chase Sapphire Preferred. The annual fee is not too onerous, it’s got strong bonus categories and transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Points earned with this card are transferrable to United, Southwest, and a whopping seven other airlines.

Annual fee: $99

Welcome bonus: 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open

Rewards: 2x miles on United purchases and at gas stations, office supply stores and restaurants

Annual fee: $99 (waived for the first 12 months)

Welcome bonus: Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening

Rewards: 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and on telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations. You’ll earn 1 mile per dollar on everything else

Other key details: This is the card to own if you and your employees frequently fly on American Airlines for business. Among the benefits of this card, which will help you earn higher miles on business-friendly categories: A first bag checked free for you as well as up to four companions on the same reservation. Additionally, you can earn an American Airlines companion certificate for a domestic main cabin flight after spending $30,000 each card membership year you renew — however, your account must remain open at least 45 days after your anniversary date.

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Welcome bonus: 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months

Rewards: Earn 2x miles on all purchases

Other key details: With the Venture card, you’re earning a flat rate 2x points across all purchases, which is great for anyone looking for a one-and-done simple credit card for all spending. You can then use the miles earned to “erase” any travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent per mile or you can transfer miles to one of Capital One’s transfer partners. Cardholders also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years (up to $100), which is a rare benefit for a card with a $95 annual fee.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.