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Airline credit cards from our partners

How to choose the best airline credit cards that fits your needs:  Airline credit cards offer cardholder travel benefits such as frequent flyer miles, as well as discounts on hotels or redeemable rewards points when the card is used for travel or other spending. For people who rack up considerable travel miles, frequent flyer credit cards can save a great deal of money.

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PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express<sup>®</sup> Card
About Our Ratings

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card

  • 20,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 within the first 3 months of opening the Card account
  • Earn 5 points on airfare purchases
  • Earn 1 point on all other purchases
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Points or Miles 1-5 pts/$1
Bonus Miles or Points 20,000 bonus points
when you spend $2,500 within the first 3 months of opening the Card account
Purchase APR 9.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0
APPLY NOW Credit Needed Excellent
Credit Card Database

More about Airline credit cards

  • Who should get it?
  • How to earn points?
  • What to look for?
  • Are there any negatives?

If you travel frequently for work or for pleasure, you may want to look into the benefits of a travel rewards card. Not only can you add to your collection of frequent flyer miles, but you may also earn discounts on hotels or build up rewards points to use while you travel for gift cards or for future vacations.

Airline credit cards are especially great for people who incur a great deal of business travel. Most of these cards help consumers save money through rewards points that are redeemable at major airlines, by earning frequent flyer miles that are accumulated into a personal account, or by reward points that are good for discounts at hotels, low-fare car rentals and other travel-oriented kickbacks. Most major credit card companies offer some type of airline credit or rewards card. Take a look at the travel rewards cards that can be found on this page one of them may be a fit for you.

Reward points accumulate with spending, so using the card often helps build bonus miles or points much faster. However, don't go on a spending spree just to earn reward miles; rather use the card when it makes sense. Using an airline credit card instead of paying cash or by check at the supermarket or for utility or phone bills can make a big difference in the number of bonus miles accumulated over the course of a year.

Air miles & travel credit card tips

Before you choose a credit card that will get you closer to your flight (hopefully for a fun vacation), you will need to check on your credit score. In general, the best travel rewards card is available to consumers with good or excellent credit, among other requirements as determined by each issuer.

Think about how you intend to use your travel credit card. If you are using it for business trips and are immediately reimbursed, you may find yourself more flexible as to the interest rate as long as you pay the balance in full each month. But if you are not likely to be reimbursed for business travel quickly, or if you want to use your travel rewards card to extend the payments on your vacation over time, then you should carefully compare the interest rates on various credit card offers.

Some travel rewards cards charge a high annual fee or a high interest rate in order to offer the best rewards. Be realistic about your credit card use and whether you will consistently pay off your debt in order to make sure your rewards outweigh the costs of the credit card.  Compare lots of card offers to get the right credit card for you. 

Compare the fine print

In addition to comparing the interest rate and the annual fee for each airline credit card, you should also review the terms and conditions to compare how quickly you can earn miles on various travel rewards cards. Some offer one mile per dollar spent, while others offer 1.25 miles or two miles per dollar spent. Other airline credit cards offer bonus miles to first-time customers who spend a certain minimum within the first few months of owning the card, so compare how much you will need to spend to earn the maximum airline miles.

Many travel rewards cards are also tied to hotels, so you may be able to earn points for hotel nights and for points to redeem for other travel-related spending. Check to see whether all your spending qualifies for earning points or whether you only earn points for charges that are made for specific items. Estimate how much you plan charge so you can see which card will reward you with the most airline miles for the amount you intend to spend.

So, if the travel bug has bitten you, check out the airline credit card offers on this page to see if one of them can reward you with the miles you need to take off on your next adventure.

Foreign travel tips

When comparing the offers for an airline credit card, you should think about where you travel. If you travel overseas often, look for a card that offers either no foreign transaction fee or a low foreign transaction fee so you can save money while spending abroad.

Choose your airline

While some travel rewards cards offer frequent flyer miles on multiple airlines, others only earn miles on one or two airlines. Think about where you travel most, or where you want to travel in the future, and choose a rewards credit card that earns miles on airlines that fly from where you live to where you want to go.

Final Thoughts

When researching airline credit cards, choose one with a low or no annual fee, or one that has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year and after the first year the annual fee is charged.  Also be sure to choose a card that allows you to earn bonus miles with your favorite airline or that allows you to redeem on any airline if you prefer flexibility. Bonus mileage accumulation per dollar spent, and ways to redeem miles or rewards points that you find appealing are also important. In general, if you do do not have a strong preference, it may be best to stick with a card that allows cardholders to redeem bonus miles on any air carrier.

Although many airline credit cards may offer a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, subsequent years often have annual fees of $85 or more. When shopping for an airline credit card, compare how many points or miles are needed for domestic flights and whether there is a cap on the amount of credit card rewards points cardholders can accumulate. If it takes several years to accumulate enough points or miles to earn a ticket, ask yourself whether the benefits outweigh the annual fee.  Additionally, since airline credit cards typically have a higher interest rate than non-rewards cards, you shouldn’t use an airline card if you plan to carry a balance.  Interest charges can quickly negate any rewards you earn.

About Our Ratings ×

Our editors rate credit cards objectively based on the features the credit card offers consumers, the fees and interest rates, and how a credit card compares with other cards in its category. Ratings vary by category, and the same card may receive a certain number of stars in one category and a higher or lower number in another.

The ratings are the expert opinion of our editors, and not influenced by any remuneration this site may receive from card issuers.

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