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The Best Airline Credit Card Offers

-Find more credit card offers by clicking on the “Credit Cards” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site or on the Forum FAQ thread and Wiki.
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I’m generally not a fan of spending on airline cards as you can earn more miles on other cards that allow you to transfer their points to various airline programs.  But airline cards can still be worth obtaining as I’ll illustrate below.

In no particular order, here is my take on several airline credit cards:

-Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Signup Bonus: 30,000 miles and a $50 statement credit for spending $1,000 in 3 months.
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.
Top benefits:
-First checked bag free for you and 8 companions
-Priority boarding so you’ll have overhead space for your carry-ons
-Annual $99 companion certificate
-20% rebate on in-flight food, drink, headphone, TV, and movie discounts
-Double miles for spending on Delta.
Caveat: You’ll earn 25% more Delta miles by doing your regular spending on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. There are also several cards that give more than 2 miles per dollar on airfare purchases such as 3 points per dollar on the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card or 2.14 points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.
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-Chase United Explorer Visa Signature
Signup Bonus: 30,000 miles for spending $1,000 in 3 months plus 5,000 miles for adding a free additional user card for a total of 35,000 miles.
Sample use for the bonus miles: 35K miles is enough for a round-trip between the US48 and places like Panama, Costa Rica, or Curacao, home to a 1650’s built synagogue that is the oldest in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere. You can get a free stopover as well.
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.
Top benefits:
-10,000 mile bonus for spending $25K in a year-effectively a very respectable 1.4 miles per dollar spent everywhere if you can get to $25K.
-Expanded saver award availability (Just booked a flight for my brother 3 days ago from LAX to CLE that he’s currently flying on right now with this expanded saver 12.5K award availability that otherwise would have cost 25K without the credit card attached to the United account).
-As long as there’s a seat on the plane you’ll be able to use a standard award (typically double miles) for it. This level is capacity controlled for general members.
-Primary CDW car rental insurance worldwide except in Israel, Ireland, and Jamaica (most cards only give coverage secondary to your personal auto insurance which would cause your rates to go up).
-First checked bag free for you and a companion
-Priority boarding so you’ll have overhead space for your carry-ons.
-No foreign transaction/exchange fees
-Premier members become eligible for upgrades on domestic award tickets by having this card.
-2 transferable United Club passes annually
-Double miles for United ticket purchases
-Miles will never expire if you are a cardholder.
Other card versions: You can access the business card by clicking on “Are you a business owner” in the top-right of the United Explorer card link which also gives double miles at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores.
You can access the club card by clicking on the Club Card tab at the top of the United Explorer card link which gives 1.5 miles per dollar spent everywhere, 2 free checked bags, a full United Club and partner club membership, Hyatt Platinum elite status, and waived award close-in expedite fees.
Caveat: You can earn more United miles thanks to bonus points on regular spending and lucrative 2x, 3x, and 5x bonus categories found on other Chase cards like Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Cash.

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The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®
Signup Bonus:: 40,000 miles for spending $1.
Sample use for the bonus miles: 30K miles is enough for a round-trip between the US and Europe or South America during off-peak times when flying on USAirways with the 5K cardholder award discount.
Alternate link: 35K for spending $1.
Annual Fee: $89.
Top benefits:
-5,000 mile discount for USAirways non-partner awards
-Annual companion certificate good for up to 2 companion tickets at $99 each plus taxes and fees
-2 miles per $1 on US Airways purchases
-First class check-in
-One non-transferable US Airways Club pass.
Caveat: You’ll earn 25% more USAirways miles by doing your regular spending on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express instead of on this card. There are also several cards that give more than 2 miles per dollar on airfare purchases such as 3 points per dollar on the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card or 2.14 points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.
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Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard®
Sample use for the bonus miles: 24K miles is enough for a round-trip domestic ticket when booked as 2 one-ways, 34K miles is enough for a round-trip domestic business class or first class on a 2 class plan on partners United or USAirways with no fuel surcharges when booked as 2 one-ways. 50K miles is enough for domestic first class on a 3 class plane. 52K is enough for a one-way business class ticket to Europe which can be had with expanded availability on Lot Polish’s awesome new 787 lie-flat business or in a USAirways Envoy suite with no fuel surcharges. The only way to fly in Swiss’ top-notch first class cabin is with these Miles & More miles. Coach to Israel is 40K each way with no fuel surcharge on USAirways.
Annual Fee: $79.
Caveat: You’ll earn 25% more Lufthansa miles by doing your regular spending on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express instead of on this card. There are also several cards that give more than 2 miles per dollar on airfare purchases such as 3 points per dollar on the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card or 2.14 points per dollar with Chase Sapphire Preferred.
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-Chase British Airways Visa
Signup Bonus: 50,000 Avios for spending $1,000 in 3 months.
Sample use for the bonus miles: 50K Avios is enough for more than 11 free one-way short-haul award tickets with no fuel surcharges on partner airlines like American. It’s also enough for 2 round-trips between the west coast and Hawaii on American or Alaska. 50K can also buy 2 round-trip tickets between Boston and Ireland with no fuel surcharges. 60K get a round-trip to Israel with no fuel surcharges.
You can also fly one-way nonstop between JFK and Vancouver for 12.5K Avios for coach, 25K for lie-flat business suites, or 37.5K for Cathay Pacific’s top in the industry First Class with designer PJs.
Annual Fee: $95.
Top benefits:
-No foreign transaction/exchange fees
-BA does not charge any close-in/expedite fees and charges just the taxes ($2.50 on a domestic one-way but a max of just $40 worldwide) to cancel a ticket and redeposit the miles.
-Every year that you spend $30,000 you will earn a Travel Together Ticket for a free companion ticket in any class of service when you redeem for a British Airways flight though fuel surcharges are extra.
Caveat: You can earn more BA Avios thanks to lucrative 2x, 3x, and 5x bonus categories found on other Chase cards like Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Cash.. American Express Membership Rewards cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card also offer transfer bonuses that can reach as high as 50% for transfers to British Airways.

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47 Responses to “The Best Airline Credit Card Offers”

  1. bb Says:
    1

    Hello & thanx for everything that you do. I recently opened a united card, when I requested via SM to be matched to the 50k offer, I got a response that after reviewing my account, I had already received a signup bonus on this card in the past (I did have one which I already closed), I am not eligible for the bonus which is only for new customers. Did I lose everything now, or is there still something I can do? Thank You

    ReplyReply
  2. dovid Says:
    2

    Hi Dan So are you saying to sign up for these cards for the sign up bonus? What do you do with them @ the end of the first year? Do you pay the annual fee? Also the few that have annual fees do you order them anyway for the signup bonus?

    ReplyReply
  3. uyf Says:
    3

    Is the 50k match dead for United

    ReplyReply
  4. Brian Says:
    4

    Applied for 3 United cards (Explorer Consumer, Explorer Business, Club Consumer) along with an Ink Plus on a 4BM.
    Got approved for all 4 with a couple Recon HUCAs

    Sent 3 secure messages and I already got matched to 55K+$50 on the United consumer, 50K on the United business, and had my fee waived for the United Club card.

    Plus I’ll spend $5K at Staples on Ink for 75K.

    Not bad!

    @bb:
    Should have waited until you got the points before asking for a match in that case.

    @uyf:
    Still alive.

    ReplyReply
  5. Izzy Says:
    5

    Dan, it’s also worth noting on the last one (BA), that it can be used for cathay pacific from JFK to YVR. Never bad to mention something good a few times.

    ReplyReply
  6. Izzy Says:
    6

    And one more thing Dan, forgot to say that BA also has no close-in / expedite fee, u write it by the united one, but i don’t see it written by the ba one.

    ReplyReply
  7. wagner Says:
    7

    “There is an alternate link without a landing page that I have not personally verified but has been reported to give 35K.”

    Can anyone verify?

    ReplyReply
  8. andrew cohn Says:
    8

    hey dan love the site.
    what credit card would you recommend to earn miles for flights to europe (eg italy). BA seems like it makes sense especially w companion ticket but the fees kill you so i dont think that’s the best value. Thanks1

    ReplyReply
  9. yehuda Says:
    9

    the united card starting 6/1/13 has No foreign transaction/exchange fees

    ReplyReply
  10. barry Says:
    10

    Dan:

    I got an offer in the mail from AAdvantage Citi Visa Signature to earn 40k. 30k after thousand spend within 3 months gets me 30k and earn additional 10k after hitting $5000 within 12 months.

    I do not know if it comes with all the bells and whistles of the World Mastercard. The Visa Signature has a $50 fee waved first year and World Mastercard is first year waved then $95. Seems like the Mastercard is better.

    Just making sure, which flavor is better, V or MC?
    thanks Dan

    ReplyReply
  11. martin Says:
    11

    Just reminded me my wife never got a Barclays arrival card.

    Applied and got instant approval for 10k

    I added a us airways its pending probly wont go thru but trying

    Thanks Dan

    ReplyReply
  12. wagner Says:
    12

    Just to clarify my earlier question.

    “There is an alternate link without a landing page that I have not personally verified but has been reported to give 35K.”

    This is for the BARCLAYS/US AIRWAYS CARD.

    Anyone verified this?

    ReplyReply
  13. yitzyf Says:
    13

    Can anyone confirm that the Citi AA World MC covers CDW in Israel???

    ReplyReply
  14. Dan Says:
    14

    @barry:
    The $50 version does not give the 7,500 mile discount, the free checked bag, the 10% mileage rebate, and it does not cover CDW in Israel.

    Plus your offer requires $2,000 in more spending to get the same signup offer.

    @martin:
    Congrats, the Arrivals card prodict is very solid if you want cashback or are just looking for another bonus.

    @yitzyf:
    It does.

    ReplyReply
  15. thalha Says:
    15

    I applied 1 month ago for us airways and got the 35k points

    ReplyReply
  16. avi Says:
    16

    Dan,
    You have an unverified source for US Air 35k link. Suppose its a dud, would it at least be the same as the 30k offer or would it be nothing?

    Also, you once posted about how the new usairways points are not regular miles rather they work toward paying toward your flight cost etc. Are these that, or is this the regular miles?

    Thanks Dan!!

    ReplyReply
  17. Dan Says:
    17

    @avi:
    If it’s a dead offer then they won’t give you the card.

    No idea what you’re talking about. USAirways miles are regular miles.

    ReplyReply
  18. Elaine Says:
    18

    @Brian:
    For united club card- you SM to ask for AF removal? Or did you have to say they did it for a friend so you want it too?

    ReplyReply
  19. DansDeals Fan Says:
    19

    @wagner:
    Yes. I received the points already. Also, there’s no annual fee for the first year with that link and you get a 10,000 bonus points on your card’s anniversary!

    But don’t don’t just take my word for it! It’s clearly stated in the terms and conditions on the applications page.

    ReplyReply
  20. robert Says:
    20

    dan-can u respond to bb. i just got the united card.

    ReplyReply
  21. moish Says:
    21

    Hey dan, i applied for chase bzns card with a real bzns name last week, chase denied cause bzns is too new…. i told them its 2-3 yrs. Old…. did the HUCA several times and every time rep tokd me bzns is too new… denial letter came n reason said is same, bzns too new. What am i supposed to say, the bzns is how many yrs. Old that they should approve n not say bzns too new ? Tnx

    ReplyReply
  22. Yaakov Says:
    22

    How do you go with AA from TLV to North America for just 40,000? According to AA website it’s 45,000. Also how do you avoid assorted fees which could end up costing almost as much as a normal ticket? Thank you Dan

    ReplyReply
  23. How Says:
    23

    Can anyone please tell me how to get the matching thing on the United explorer? what to do?

    ReplyReply
  24. newbie Says:
    24

    Hey Dan,
    Great site.
    Anyways I am turning 18 tomorrow and i have been an additional user on an SPG rewards card for about a year with regular spending. My question is can you please recommend a few cards that I can now apply for myself?
    Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  25. Shaul Yaakov Says:
    25

    @moish- The actual age of the business shouldn’t matter for the bank. They care about the credit history. They might not give a premium product to a business with no credit history. Try applying for a worse card first to build history. If you apply as a business as your SSN, your own personal credit history is what will come up.

    ReplyReply
  26. Josh Says:
    26

    I don’t understand How you can get roundtrip from NYC to Tel-Aviv for 60k Avios and NO fuel charges??? I just looked at practically every date there are availabilities and yes, its 60k avios points, but you have to add $660….How do you get the non fuel surcharge? Do u not book it through the british airways site? Please help! thank you

    ReplyReply
  27. wagner Says:
    27

    @DansDeals Fan:

    Thanks! I found that statement in the rules and regs

    ReplyReply
  28. Steve Says:
    28

    Hi Dan,

    How long after putting $1 on the US card do the points post. Do they post within a few days?

    ReplyReply
  29. anon Says:
    29

    Dan, how do you transfer Starwood points to AA the Starwood site doesn’t list them as a partner?

    ReplyReply
  30. ron Says:
    30

    @Brian:

    Brian
    How did you have the fee waived for the United club card?

    ReplyReply
  31. sammybp Says:
    31

    @dan “plus 5,000 miles for adding a free additional user card for a total of 35,000 mile” only within the first 104 days of opening the account??

    ReplyReply
  32. Shaul Yaakov Says:
    32

    @Josh- look for Air Berlin booked with Avios

    ReplyReply
  33. sam Says:
    33

    Hi dan if I have Citi aa visa card and aa amex Citi could I still apply for the aa world master card

    ReplyReply
  34. moish Says:
    34

    @Shaul Yaakov Sorry but my credit is perfect! N chase admitted! I applied with a bzns name n my SSN, chase had questions about the bzns n finally said that 2-3 years is too new. In the denial letter that i got in the mail the only reason was “business is too new”

    ReplyReply
  35. Romanianfan Says:
    35

    @josh- Dan has a few articles on how to book an air Berlin flight to israel. It’s also worth noting if you have an Iberia account that’s been open for 3 months, you can turn ur BA avios into Iberia avios and pay much less fuel surcharges for the flights you were looking at.

    ReplyReply
  36. forgot! Says:
    36

    Dan,

    I signed up for the Citi AA Mastercard for 30,000 miles about 3 months ago. For some reason I completely forgot to spend the 3k and now it’s past 3 months! I did spend $2800 on the card… is there anything I can do to get the points? Would threatening to close the card help?

    Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  37. David Says:
    37

    @BB. I got the same email from chase when asking to match the 55k + $50 statement credit. I wrote back to them asking if that means I don’t even get the 30k sign up bonus? This is the response I got:

    Thank you for re-contacting Chase regarding your Chase
    MileagePlus� Explorer credit card account.

    Under the Chase United MileagePlus program you are
    entitled to one enrollment bonus incentive per MileagePlus
    product for life.

    Our records indicate you received 25,000 enrollment miles
    under the MileagePlus Explorer program on April 27, 2012.

    I have added the additional 20,000 enrollment miles along
    with the 35,000 enrollment miles previously issued on June
    10, 2013 bringing the enrollment bonus to 55,000 miles.
    The miles have been issued as an exception, and will be
    reflected on your next billing.

    I have also issued the $50.00 statement bonus, the
    exception will be reflected on your next billing.

    You may also earn an additional 10,000 miles if you meet
    the $25,000.00 spend qualifier in a calendar year (January
    to December).

    Please remember any future accounts you apply for and
    approved under the MileagePlus Explorer program will not
    earn you an enrollment incentive as stated on each
    application.

    It has been my pleasure in assisting you, if you have any
    questions you may call me directly at the number provided
    below.

    ReplyReply
  38. bb Says:
    38

    @David: Thanks a million for responding to my comment. I will try to do the same & hopefully I will get the same response. Thanx again.

    ReplyReply
  39. Matt Says:
    39

    @David:
    What exactly do you have to write in the SM ?
    Thanks

    ReplyReply
  40. shikes Says:
    40

    Is there anyway to get the first year’s fee waived for the BA card? I really want to sign up for it to cash in on those cheap short haul flights… thanx

    ReplyReply
  41. David Says:
    41

    @Matt
    I just asked them them if I would still be getting the standard 30k sign up bonus.

    ReplyReply
  42. ari Says:
    42

    @dan

    How do I transfer from The Business Gold Rewards Card® AMEX to BA Avios??

    ReplyReply
  43. yamky Says:
    43

    hi thanks for all the posts .
    I have a chase united master and a sapphire master I want to call in to ask for more credit so if I do it in the same day will it b 2 credit pulls ?
    thanks

    ReplyReply
  44. tolch Says:
    44

    if i got the united explorer then moved over credit ine to my saphire now i wana get a united explorer buisneess will i get bonus for opening it
    anybody with experience plz comment

    ReplyReply
  45. Donor Says:
    45

    Dan, great set of card advice! What happens to extended warranty on items I bought with a partic card after I cancel the card? Is warranty coverage still good?

    ReplyReply
  46. Sholom Says:
    46

    Dan. I appreciate all of your great work. I rent a lot of cars (and fly) and I am looking for the best airline card to cover car rental insurance. I don’t mind getting the $450 ones as long as it fully covers renting in Israel as well as, what I think you have described as, “primary rental” in the US. Should I get the MC A”A Executive Citi? The equivalent U”A card?

    Which card does both?

    Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  47. miriam Says:
    47

    I want to get the most sign on miles with american airlines…which citi credit card do you recommend that gives you the most bang for your buck? Executive world elite – has 60k but its $450/yr….Citi Plat select aadvantage is 35k….
    Need help on deciding…….which card to go with..

    ReplyReply

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