The Best Airline Credit Cards for Under $100

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When you’re looking for the best travel rewards card, you often have to strike a balance. While you’d love to avoid paying annual fees, a no annual fee card may not offer you all the rewards and benefits you need. But on the other hand, some cards have very high annual fees that you may not be able to justify paying. It seems like there’s a sweet spot around $95-$100 per year where you can get some considerable benefits, without having to pay too much for the privilege of using the card.

Here are four of the best airline cards that you can have for under $100 per year.

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

This card offers you 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in eligible purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn double miles at gas stations and restaurants and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Benefits include a $100 American Airlines discount certificate after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card. You also receive your first checked bag at no charge on domestic American Airlines flights, which includes up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation. Other perks include preferred boarding on American Airlines flights, and a 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases. There’s just a $99 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

This card features 40,000 bonus miles after spending just $1,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. It offers you 2x points on all Southwest purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Benefits include the chance to earn Companion Pass and tier qualifying points, as well as 6,000 bonus points each year on your cardmember anniversary. There’s a $99 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

United℠ Explorer Card

United’s offering in this price range is pretty compelling. You start off with 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn 2x miles at eligible restaurants, hotels and United purchases, and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Benefits include a statement credit of up to $100 towards the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You also receive your first checked bag fee waived when you use your card to pay for your ticket. Finally, you receive two United Club passes each year, and priority boarding on all United flights. There’s just a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

With this card, you can earn 30,000 introductory miles after spending $1,000 on your Card within the first three months of account opening. You also earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your card within the same three months. It offers 2x miles on purchases made directly with Delta, and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Benefits include your first bag checked free on Delta flights and the ability to pay for all or part of your Delta ticket with your miles. You also receive priority boarding, a 20% savings on in-flight purchases of food and beverages and a reduced rate for Delta SkyClub admission of $29 per person. There’s just a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.

Intro image by Teerasak Ladnongkhun

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