Best Airline Credit Card Bonuses

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One of the ways you can use credit cards to your advantage is to choose rewards cards that offer travel bonuses. You can do even better if you get a credit card associated with one of the airlines. Most of these cards are through major issuers, so you can use them for everyday purchases, while building up miles at a specific airline. If there is an airline that you prefer, you can use an airline credit card to boost your frequent flier miles, and enjoy other perks.

However, you do need to think twice before getting an airline credit card. Airline credit cards often come with high interest rates, so they are not for those who carry a balance. If you carry a balance, it won’t take long for the interest charges to effectively negate the benefits of your airline rewards. Also, keep an eye out for annual fees and other costs. These cards are usually best for the frequent traveler.

Capital One® Venture(SM) Rewards Credit Card

Money Magazine couldn’t get it wrong right? They named their Best Rewards Card if you are looking to earn reward miles. That’s a pretty good endorsement from one of the best names in the business.


Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card from ChaseUnfortunately this offer is no longer available. 🙁

If you’re a fan of Southwest and of getting rewards, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus card card might be for you. You can redeem your points for international travel, as well as car rentals, hotels and store gift cards. Also includes getaway options and you get a 3,000 point anniversary bonus. You get two points for every dollar spent on Southwest travel purchases, and one point per dollar on everything else. Annual fee is $59.

  • Limited Time! Earn Two Free Flights after your first purchase.
  • Get 6,000 Points every year on your Card member Anniversary – that’s equal to $100 toward a Wanna Get Away® Fare
  • Now you can redeem for International Travel, Hotels, Gift Cards and more.
  • Earn unlimited Free Flights – 2 Points per $1 Spent on Southwest Purchases and 1 Point per $1 Spent on everything else
  • Your Bags Fly Free! No Blackout Dates, Points Don’t Expire, and Unlimited Reward Seats!
  • No Change fees – if you need to change your flight, you won’t be charged a fee.
  • September 11th Security Fee Applies


Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 30K bonus miles after you make $1K in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn As You Spend: Get 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles for all other eligible dollars spent.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – that’s a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • Premium Travel Perks: Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.

What’s your favorite airline reward card?

{ 13 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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13 Responses to “Best Airline Credit Card Bonuses”

  1. Ryan says:

    Does anyone know how the miles and points convert to $$?

    Ex: Southwest 20,000 points is equivalent to what?

    The Venture cards miles…how does that get used? Do miles actually count as miles the trip takes? Or do so many miles equal a dollar amount?

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      Looks like for the Capital One Venture card, 100 miles = $1. And if it’s like other Capital One cards, when you make a purchase on that card, you then can call them and they’ll use your miles to redeem and then they give you a credit for that amount.

  2. Great post on airline credit cards! I would like to point out that the United Mileage Plus card is another great one to snatch while you can. I believe it’s a 30,000 mile bonus after your first purchase of a flight.

    I have question about the American Airlines card. For the $750 required spending, is that on airline tickets, or just general everyday purchases?

    @Ryan- it totally depends on where your destination is. For example, flying from San Diego to Seattle is going to require less miles than San Diego to New York. So, in theory, the value of the miles are always changing depending on where you fly, does this make sense?

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      For the AA card, the $750 is for all purchases, it doesn’t need to be a ticket or anything.

  3. cubiclegeoff says:

    I sometimes get the AA card, spend the amount needed for the bonus, then cancel it so I don’t have to pay the annual fee. Not great for your credit, but if you don’t plan on a loan anytime soon (and other pieces of your life aren’t impacted by your credit, like insurance), it’s not a bad deal.

  4. billsnider says:

    I have a United airlines credit card. I have used it to travel to hawaii, Europe and australia to name a few. I put everything on my credit card. I pay water, electric, drugs, resturant, telephone, groceries, gas, college tuition, etc. on it. I don’t pay my taxes since they carry a fee. I make a point to pay my balance every month.

    You should be awate that there are two options on this card. The first gives you a point for every dollar spent. It takes 25,000 points to get a domestic ticket.

    The second option is no annual fee, but you get 1 point for every $2. I sjust recently converted to this option since i am travelling less. I instead prefer my Master card which gives me a 1-2% reward per dollar with frequent flyer options.

    Bill snider

  5. zapeta says:

    Thanks for the roundup. I’m sticking with my cashback cards since I rarely travel so it would be harder to use the rewards.

    • Strebkr says:

      I’m in the same boat. I would rather have the cash to do whatever I please with it. Sometimes it might be a flight, but often times its not.

  6. J.E. says:

    You did not mention the Alaska Airlines Credit Card which offers many of the same benefits as the cards above, in addition to a $99 companion ticket every year (can be used for first class as well).

  7. Nupur says:

    That’s looking great and all these credit cards have an added advantage with them. However, as far as the capital one and the South west airlines cards are looking better than the american express card offers. Though, on other accounts even American express is not bad either.

  8. William says:

    Be careful when applying for the venture capital one card. I was taken in by the 25,000 bonus points offer, noticed on my bill that I got only 10,000 points because my card was not issued within the time of the 25,000 point offer. I was not told that at that application time, nor did I read that in Money magazine or the Capital One web sight. Beware so as not to be deceived.

  9. maurice says:

    I just cancelled my american airlines aadvantage card from citi which I’ve had for more that 5 years. I was completely flabbergasted to find out that if one takes a cash advance, citi charges you interest immediately not only on the cash advance amount, but also only your entire regular (non-cash-advance) balance! So this interest accrues on your regular purchases EVEN IF YOU PAY THE BALANCE IN FULL EVERY MONTH.

    For me this added up to between $100/month and $150/month each for several different months in which I had a cash advance even though I always paid off the balance in full every month. These interest changes were often as big as the whole value of the cash advances I made which were between $100 & $400. In my opinion this is a sneaky, despicable practice. FYI, I didn’t even know I was making cash advances at the time.

    The “cash advances” that I made were from using my card to make several relatively small western union transfers to a relative. Apparently these transaction are considered cash advances, which isn’t unreasonable in retrospect. What was unreasonable were the charges for interest for other purchases even though the entire credit card balance was paid off in full every month.

    Unfortunately I didn’t read my statements carefully for several months in a row, and when I figured out what was going on the citi representatives only offered to refund the last month’s interest charge. I then promptly cancelled the card.

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