The Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Airline Tickets

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Frequent flyer miles are the key to the best award travel opportunities, and to earn as many as possible, you need to look beyond the miles offered by the airline when you fly. Frequent travelers also need to earn as many miles as they can every time they pay for an airline ticket. Nearly every airline credit card will offer you two miles per dollar spent, but only when purchasing tickets from that carrier. Instead, you should try to find a travel rewards card that offers you at least two points or miles on all airline purchases. Better yet, these reward points are even more valuable when you can transfer them to miles with multiple airline partners.

Here Are the Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Airline Tickets

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

This popular rewards card offers you double points on all dining and travel purchases, such as airline tickets, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. New applicants earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on their card within three months of account opening. Points are earned in the Chase Ultimate Rewards programs which can be redeemed for 1.25 cents towards travel, or transferred to airline miles or hotel points. This card also comes with a robust range of travel insurance and purchase protection policies. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

This card offers 5x Membership Rewards points on all flights booked directly with the airlines or through American Express travel, and 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com. Membership Rewards points can then be transferred to airline and hotel partners. Other benefits include Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott hotels, and access to Priority Pass, Delta SkyClub and American Express Centurion airport lounges. There is also an annual airline fee credit of up to $200, an annual Uber credit of up to $200 and an annual credit towards Saks Fifth Avenue purchases of up to $100. There’s a $550 annual fee for this card.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The business version of this card also offers 5x Membership Rewards points on all flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express travel. Membership Rewards points can then be transferred to airline and hotel partners. You also receive a 35% rebate on points redeemed for air travel (for all or part of a flight with  your selected qualifying airline with up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year, and 35% of points back on First or Business class flights) booked through American Express. Other benefits include Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott hotels, and access to Priority Pass, Delta SkyClub and American Express Centurion airport lounges. There is also an annual airline fee credit of up to $200, and a $100 credit towards the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. There’s a $450 annual fee for this card, which increases to $595 next year.

American Express® Gold Card

This newly improved card offers you 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. You also get on 4x points (on up ­to $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets, then 1x) and unlimited 4x points at US restaurants as well. New applicants earn 25,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first three months of account opening, and 20% back as a statement credit at U.S. restaurants within the first three months, up to $100 back. Offer available to new Card Members who apply by 1/9/2019. Other benefits include a $100 annual air travel statement credit and 3x points for flights booked with the airlines or with AmexTravel. There’s a $250 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

Citi Premier℠ Card

This card offers you 3x points on all travel expenses including airfare and even purchases at gas stations. You also earn 2x points on dining out and entertainment purchases. New applicants earn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on new purchases within the first three months of account opening. ThankYou points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents towards airfare or transferred to miles with airline partners through the ThankYou Travel Center. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year.

Intro image by A. and I. Kruk

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