Ask A Blogger Series: Favorite Airline Credit Card

This is another post in our series entitled “Ask A Blogger” where we ask a variety of different bloggers the same question. You can view more posts in this series by clicking here.

Question I asked:

What is your favorite airline credit card and why?

Responses

Alaska Airlines

If the question is really asking about airline co-brands I’d have to say the Alaska Visa from Bank of America, just based on the fact that I’ve had it more times than any other.

 View From The Wing

Initially I would have said the Southwest card because you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass. But now that Southwest is changing how award tickets will be priced, phased out a lot of Companion Pass related opportunities, it might not be as great of a value.

While I don’t think they’ll stop counting the sign-up bonus, I do think they’ll stop making it as easy for us to earn Companion Pass points without flying or spending normal gobs on the credit card.

So long story short, my favorite airline credit card is the Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit card.

You can’t beat the sign-up bonus for the Alaska Airlines card. I mean you get 25,000 miles upon approval. Who can say no to that. And the card is churnable, many times. So it’s a perpetual free miles machine.

Plus there are some great values using Alaska Airlines miles. (I’m still working on that post, so stay tuned.)

 Travelling Well For Less

 

Airline credit cards are all scams, but there’s probably a tie for least-scammy between Alaska Air for the first-year companion ticket and US Airways for the 10k anniversary miles.

Freequent Flyer Book

American Express Delta Reserve

I don’t have the Amex Delta Reserve however the transferable MQMs is a great benefit that I wish other airline cards copied.

 Rapid Travel Chai

Chase United Explorer

Pretty much whoever has the best signup bonus at the time. Airline cards are rarely worth holding for me. I get the bonus and move on. United’s Explorer card has been solid for me this year, though. Nice to get primary car rental insurance, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and a couple of lounge passes. But I’m still going to cancel it soon.

Mile Nerd

I will preface this by saying I do not currently have any airlines credit cards (just downgraded AA exec, only got for the 100k offer). If I were to apply for a airline card it would be the United Explorer card. There is not much of a spend benefit unless you hit the annual bonus, which is a nice 10k bonus. The main reasons for this being my top card are the primary auto rental insurance (I always rent cars when I go away, I love driving when travelling, it is just fun) having this as a benefit makes me feel safe and covered. This is better than dealing with my car insurance company or Chase Ink and dealing with potential business/pleasure mixed rental purposes. The other great benefit is the increased award availability to card holders, while it annoys me as I am not a current cardholder, it is a great benefit to have for loyal customers that maintain a credit relationship.

Doctor of Credit (MilesWhip)

American Airlines

I’ve definitely had more than my fair share of AA cards and so I’ll ride that train as long as I can. The bonus plus the 10% back. But I can’t lie, I’m in it for the bonus. Don’t even send me a card except to me the spend requirement.

 Travel is Free

I’ll go with the Citi AAdvantage card, given its healthy sign-up bonus. I’ve also successfully secured retention bonuses for two years running offering 1,000 bonus points for $1,000 in spending each month, meaning I can effectively earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on my first $1,000 with the card each month. Add to that the free checked bag and other benefits when flying, and the card makes a solid case for itself.

 Points Away

Citi AAdvantage for unparalleled sign up bonus long-term consistency. It’s like the Energizer Bunny. Going and going and going.

Lazy Travelers

Gotta go AA Citi Executive, for the obvious reasons!

 The Deal Mommy

My favorite airline credit card is the aforementioned Citi/AAdvantage Executive Card. Double miles on all American Airlines and US Airways tickets. The card also comes with an Admirals Club membership. You can earn 10,000 EQMs with spending and you get 25% off in-flight purchases. A free checked bag, priority check-in and boarding and reduced mileage awards round out what I consider to be the most valuable airline credit card in my wallet.

Pizza In Motion

Citi American Airlines Platinum Select

I don’t care about elite status and never check bags so this is tough question. With that said, I always get great value out of my Citi American Airlines Platinum Select Credit Card. That credit card reimburses 10% of your redeemed American Airlines miles, up to 10,000 miles each year. If you maximize the rebate, you pay the $95 annual fee to get 10,000 American Airlines miles. Plus you can often get the $95 annual fee waived or reimbursed by calling the Citi retention department.

 Travel With Grant

Citi AA Platinum, which in addition to the normal benefits like priority boarding and free checked bag, offers 50k on the signup bonus, but also offers 10% points back on award redemptions.

 Military Frequent Flyer

 

I enjoy the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select cards for the annual 10% back on AA miles used in award redemptions. Its basically one of the cheapest way to essentially “purchase” AA miles at less than a penny a point if you redeem over 100,000 AA miles a year which for our community is nothing. Additionally, since I don’t have any elite status, the free checked baggage and priority boarding are an additional bonus.

 PointsCentric

I’m going to choose the American Airlines Platinum Select. Why? Well is it selfish to me to say that out of the 4 years I’ve had the card, I never once had to pay the annual fee? They’ve also given me pretty generous retention bonus-miles offers just for spending on the card each month. American Airlines miles are extremely valuable to me, and the icing on the cake for this card is that I get 10% back on award miles back when I redeem them for travel. A little discount goes a long way.

Just Another Points Traveler 

Flexible Point

Favorite airline card isn’t an airline card per se, both Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Everyday Preferred are really strong earning cards (2x on travel and dining for the former, 1.5x on all spend with 30 uses a month plus category bonuses for the latter) whose points transfer to airline miles.

View From The Wing 

While I would say that my favorite credit card isn’t a co-branded card at all (the American Express Gold Premier Rewards Gold card), I think this question is primarily asking about co-branded cards. Therefore, I would have to say that my favorite airline credit card is the Citi American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard. The card does guarantee Group One boarding (because everyone knows how valuable overhead bin space is), double miles on American purchases, and a 10,000 mile rebate on points redemptions. Not to mention, because American still awards miles based on distance and not revenue (like the other airlines), their points still matter outside the affiniy marketing world.

Tagging Miles (Joe)

Southwest

My favorite airline credit card would have to be the different Southwest credit cards because they are the key to earning the Companion Pass without much effort or spend.

 Well Travelled Mile

Spirit Airlines

I don’t have it yet, but I strongly recommend readers look into Spirit Airlines MasterCard, especially if they live near one of their hubs. If you aren’t picky, the value is tremendous. To be able to fly for 2,500 miles one-way is as good as it gets.

Miles For Family

United

My favorite airline card is the United card even though their program has changed negatively. I live in Houston, a United hub, so there are many convenient flights out of IAH. The cobranded card gives you 10k bonus after spending 25k annually which helps towards earning miles. It also gives you access to more award availability if you are not already a Premier member and allows you to have complimentary upgrades for select regions on award flights if you do have Premier status.

 Giddy For Points

Before I pick one I’d like to add the following caution: Using an airline Credit card to earn miles is almost never a good idea. That said, I’ll hold my nose and pick the United MP Explorer card. The reason is that it gives you access to XN award space. This helps #BYOE Milenomics to replicate a big component of elite status, additional award space. Say what you will about United, but when no one else has a seat and XN award space is open you’ll be happy you have this card.

Milenomics

US Airways

I have a few airline credit cards, United, Hawaiian (long story), US Airways, and American. I feel like the best value is the US Airways Dividend Miles card for one single reason: 10,000 redeemable miles upon card anniversary. You have the annual fee, but at least you get something useful for it. My second favorite airline credit card is probably the American Airlines Citi Executive, but at $450 I don’t think I’ll ever get the kind of value out of it to justify keeping it year after year. It was great with 100k miles, its ok with 50k miles, but it doesn’t really compete with the Citi Prestige, which gives you the same Admiral’s club access, and ~1.6 cents per point on paid flights, and greater transferability of points.

 Tagging Miles (Trevor)

None

 Like the hotel card, I don’t have any specific favorite airline card. If there are any spend bonuses, then that would be my favorite card for that time until it is over.
All the airline credit cards are the same to me – offer the same perks, etc. So my favorite would have to go to the most valuable sign up bonus, which was the Citi AA Executive card last year.

 Conclusion

One thing that I found really interesting about this question is that almost everybody is focused on the sign up bonus and won’t keep the cards past the first year. Hotel cards do a really good job at providing value year two onwards and that is something that is severely lacking from airline co branded credit cards. They do attempt to address this with companion tickets and EQMs for spend thresholds, but because the base earning rate is so much lower not many people actually hit these thresholds.

Thanks again to all the bloggers that participate, this was a fun series of posts to run. You can view more posts in this series by clicking here.

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Trevor

I always find these fun to read – you see much more diversity than say, airline loyalty.

Chasing The Points

I love the very diverse answers

Paul
Paul

Executive AA Card is the obvious choice. Alaska isn’t bad either. Delta Reserve if you need MQMs.