Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Airline credit cards are an excellent tool to have in your wallet if you’re a regular flier, offering fast tracks to elite status, free flights, and a range of premium perks, like lounge access and coveted companion passes. It’s easy to get lured in by a solid intro points bonus or the promise of luxury treatment when flying. 

But if you’re not an airline loyalist or a frequent flier, you have to make sure the card you open makes sense. The specificity of airline cards makes them a little less valuable than general travel cards, so it’s worth analyzing your travel patterns, local airports, and spending habits to ensure you pick the right product. 

To help you sift through the many options, here are the best airline credit cards for November.

Let’s get to the points!

Best Airline Credit Cards:

Best Credit Card for Luxury Travel Perks:
The American Express Platinum Card

Who’s This For: The frequent traveler with an eye on top tier perks like airport lounge access.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

80,000 Membership Rewards® points

after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. 

Best premium travel credit card: 
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Who’s This For: Any traveler seeking a premium travel card with maximum flexibility and some perks for good measure

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

80,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in 3 months of account opening.

Best travel credit card for keeping it simple:
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Who’s This For: The regular or occasional traveler who wants to keep points-earning simple and avoid carrying multiple cards.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card​

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best travel credit card for families: 
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Who’s this for? The traveler with several dependents in tow; both old and young

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best card for Delta Fliers:
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Who’s This For: The traveler with a preference for Delta or whose local airport has a strong Delta presence

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best Card For American Airlines Fliers:
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Who’s This For:  The traveler who prefers to fly American or whose local airport has a strong American presence

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best card For Southwest Fliers: 
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Card

Who’s This For: Both casual and loyal Southwest passengers who want to enjoy a few premium perks at a low cost

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best card for United Fliers: 
United℠ Explorer Card

Who’s This For: Travelers who prefer to fly United or whose local airport has a strong United presence – but even less frequent fliers could find it valuable.

United℠ Explorer Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best Card For JetBlue:
JetBlue Plus Card

Who’s this for? JetBlue loyalists who want to get the most out of their time spent on the airline – but less frequent fliers can also reap the benefits

The JetBlue Plus Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best Card For Alaska Airlines:
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Who’s this for? West coasters who can readily use the stellar perks Alaska offers or travelers looking to bolster their supply of the uber-valuable travel currency

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Best Card for Luxury Airline Travel:
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Who’s this for? The traveler who spends spends more time than average on the road, whether commuting or otherwise, and wants to maximize that spend.

FAQs

Should I open an airline card?

Opening an airline card requires a little more analysis than a traditional travel card. This is because airline cards have less flexibility than their more generalized counterparts. For example, the Amex Platinum has multiple transfer partners, allowing the holder to move points to the airline or hotel that makes the most sense and will enable them to maximize their points. 

On the other hand, airline cards are tied to the carrier with which the card is branded. A carrier like Alaska still offers plenty of scope thanks to its wide array of partner airlines. JetBlue points are far less flexible, and, likely, you’ll only find a use for them if you fly JetBlue regularly. 

Airline cards achieve their best value from people who can use them the most. Those staying near major hubs for airlines, business travelers, and even those loyal to one carrier can enjoy far more value than the standard traveler. 

For everyone else, they might prove beneficial in the short term, but general cards should be the focus.

Do I need a premium airline card? 

It’s easy to be drawn in by one of the premium credit cards. They often promise access to the best lounges, premium upgrades, and other top-end perks, but is it really worth it? Most premium cards come with a hefty annual fee, often over $500. If you travel a lot for work and are likely to join Sky Club or a similar program, it could be a saving. 

Mid-tier cards bridge the gap for everyone else flying occasionally or for those who don’t prefer one airline over another. General premium travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Capital One Venture X offer lounge access regardless of the airline being flown. Combine this with a mid-tier card like the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, and you’ll still enjoy free checked bags, hefty intro bonuses, and priority boarding.

Why are airline miles worth less than general travel credit card miles? 

The simplest answer to this question is: only if you would hit the required minimum spending amount without changing any of your normal spending habits. If you force yourself to eat out more or make big purchases just to hit the threshold, you’re not really saving money.

I have paid for things earlier than I intended to. For example, I paid for three months of Airbnbs well ahead of time to ensure I grabbed the bonus on my Sapphire Preferred. I would have spent the money anyway, and it gifted me with some free travel. But this isn’t always ideal, and does run the risk of holding a larger balance and accruing interest if you don’t have the cash available to pay it off on-time and in full.

Bottom line

THIS AREA NEEDS SOME TEXT!

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