4 Reasons to Get an Airline Credit Card

Nov, 09, 2021

We get asked all the time what the best credit cards for travel are. There are ads everywhere you look promising you that a certain credit card is the right one for you! When it comes to traveling, having the right credit card can really be valuable and can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars. This post contains no financial advice, and getting a new credit card is not the best for everyone.

However, if you are in the market for a new credit card, here’s why I think it should be through an airline, based off of personal experiences and thousands of dollars of savings.

1. To Take Advantage of Massive Welcome Bonuses

This truly is the most important item on this list. All of the airlines’ credit cards offer insane welcome bonuses that are easily worth the cost it takes to get them. For example, you may be offered 70,000 bonus miles if you spend $2,000 in the first three months of having the card. Even if $2,000 seems steep to you, keep in mind that the bonus miles are worth roughly $2,000 themselves, which offsets the cost of whatever you spent that $2,000 on.

In my case, this is flights. My first airline credit card was the Delta Skymiles American Express card, and I used it to purchase my multi-city flights from New York, to Moscow, to Dubai, to Chittagong, and back. Buying for two people, this route cost well above the threshold to receive the welcome bonus. However, by receiving that welcome bonus I was able to buy round trip flights to Brazil and to California, which would have cost me quite a bit of money if I hadn’t gotten the welcome bonus!

The Delta American Express card is by far our favorite airline card.

We’re gifting all of our readers 60,000 FREE Delta Skymiles. All you have to do is apply below!

2. To Get Free Checked Bags

So maybe you don’t fly a lot, or you’re hesitant to pick one airline because you don’t know which one is best. That doesn’t mean that getting an airline credit card isn’t for you! One perk that I love about many airline credit cards is that they give you (and sometimes your companions) free checked baggage when you fly. Nowadays, bags cost anywhere from $25 to $50 to check and getting a free one can save you up to $100 round trip every time you fly.

An airline credit card can save you up to $100 in checked baggage each time you fly.

This perk is especially beneficial for people who don’t travel a ton but do like to fly somewhere every year for a week-long vacation. While a casual weekend traveler might not get much use out of a free checked bag, someone heading on a family vacation with all of the kids’ stuff piled in along with their own might! If you don’t fly very frequently, consider picking an airline that offers good pricing on the particular route you tend to fly, like Dallas to Miami, that way you know you’ll be able to use them when you’re able to get away for a week!

3. To Avoid International Transaction Fees

This one makes a lot of logical sense to me, as there is a good chance that you’ll be traveling internationally if you want to apply for airline credit cards! Many people are unaware that most credit cards charge a fee every time you use them in another country, and this can get very costly over the course of an international trip. The good news is that airlines realize that the people who have their credit cards will probably be traveling internationally at some point, and the vast majority of them waive all the foreign transaction fees.

Whether you travel internationally a lot or not, I always think it is a good idea to have at least one credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. In case you do ever wind up traveling internationally, it will save you from a lot of headaches down the line or even worse, surprise charges on your credit card statement.

4. To Earn Miles on Your Daily Purchases to Spend on Free Flights

Many people shy away from airline credit cards because they feel like the awards won’t be worth much to them. They don’t really travel that much, and they think that the only way to earn frequent flyer miles is by flying. Let me join the chorus of blogs telling you, this is the complete opposite!

Most airline credit cards give you one mile per dollar spent on everyday purchases and as many as double or triple miles for certain spending categories. For example, let’s say a card gives double miles on groceries, triple miles on gas, and one mile per dollar on everything else. This means that if you spend $800 on groceries in a month, $100 on gas, and $600 on other purchases, you will have accrued 2,500 miles! Keep in mind, this is by doing absolutely nothing that you don’t normally do. This is the same gas that you put in your car anyway…but now you’re getting big rewards for it!

To put those 2,500 miles in perspective, a round trip flight from Washington DC to Miami on Delta costs as low as 9,000 miles, meaning that four months of regular purchases can earn you well over a free flight to Miami! This is especially helpful during seasons when you may spend more money than usual, like around Thanksgiving at the grocery store. Those miles add up!

Four months of regular purchases can earn you well over a free flight to Miami!

Thanks for reading my post on the 4 reasons why your next credit card should be with an airline! Hopefully, this post gives you a little bit of clarity when it comes to airline credit cards, and convinces you that they are for everyone…not just the frequent flyer! For any questions about airline credit cards, please reach out by commenting below!

Again, this post does not offer any financial advice, and I am not liable for any financial decisions that you make.


Hi! I’m Greg, a Pittsburgh-based dad who juggles a 9-5 with a passion for traveling the world. I've spent time living in Mexico, Italy, and China, have traveled to nearly 50 countries, and make a habit of scratching epic experiences off of my bucket list.

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Meet The Family!

We're a family who seeks adventure both in our backyard and also around the world. We've spent time living in Mexico, Italy, and China, have traveled to nearly 50 countries. Life is short! All we have is this present moment to fulfill the dreams God has given us.