The obvious answer when you’re considering a new airline credit card is to sign up for a card that aligns with the airline you fly most. However, even then there are some questions. For example, Delta has a ton of different credit cards to choose from. Which is best for you? Simple Flying has broken down the best credit cards for a few of the major airlines, so you can make a smart decision when it comes to earning the most miles possible for your travel.
Best Card for Southwest Airlines: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on hotel and car rental purchases (with select partners)
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is the best card to have if you fly Southwest a lot. The annual fee is very affordable at only $99 each year, and you get a slew of great perks, like eligibility for the coveted Companion Pass (and through February 11, you get the Companion Pass just for having the card and meeting the bonus offer spending requirement of $4,000, no extra earning required). You also receive 6,000 bonus points at your cardmember anniversary each year.
Best Card for United: United Explorer Card
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and hotels
- Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else
The United Explorer Card is definitely a good choice for frequent United flyers. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year. Perks include a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, a first bag for free (if you bought your airfare on the card) and 25 percent back on United in-flight purchases.
Best Card for Delta: Gold Delta SkyMiles
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases
- Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on everything else.
Since this card doesn’t offer 2 miles per $1 spent on anything other than Delta purchases, it’s really only a great deal if you really, really love Delta and fly the airline a lot. Otherwise, you might be better off getting another travel credit card that’s not affiliated with a particular airline. However, if you do get this card (read more), you’ll additionally receive your first bag free, priority boarding and a waived annual fee ($95 every year after).
Best Card for Alaska Airlines: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
- Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on Alaska purchases
- Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
This card is notable mostly for its special introductory offers and companion fares. Currently, you receive 30,000 bonus miles after you make purchases of $1,000 or more within the first three months. You’ll also receive buy-1-get-1 tickets for just taxes and fees with the Alaska Famous Companion Fare. Plus, you’ll get companion fares from $121 each year on your account anniversary. Also enjoy free checked bags for you and up to six guests.
Best Card for American Airlines: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
- Earn 2 miles per $1 spent with American Airlines
It’s nice that this card rewards you for spending at restaurants and gas stations, just as much as it does for flying. Perks that cardholders enjoy include a 50,000-mile welcome bonus, a $100 airfare discount when you spend $20k or more in a year, no foreign transaction fees and a free first checked bag.
Best Card for JetBlue: JetBlue Plus World Elite Mastercard
- Earn 6 points per $1 spent with JetBlue
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and grocery stores
- Earn 1 points per $1 spent everywhere else
There’s no other card that you want to use if you frequently buy airfare with JetBlue. Six points per $1 spent? You won’t find that kind of earning potential anywhere else. Other perks that come with the card include a hefty sign-up bonus worth about $420, an anniversary bonus worth $70 and free checked bags.