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Flight bookings are one of the highest bonus categories for many travel credit cards. When you’re buying multiple tickets, those earnings can add up quickly. Consider booking your next flight with these credit cards to earn the most travel rewards.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
The Best Credit Cards for Flight Bookings
You may be surprised to find that the best credit cards for flight bookings aren’t necessarily going to be co-brand airline credit cards. However, if you are loyal to one brand and fly them often, an airline credit card might be a better fit (more on that below).
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns unlimited:
- 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit)
- 3x points on dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out)
- 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target®, Walmart®, and wholesale clubs)
- Also 3x points on select streaming services
- 2x points on all other travel purchases
- 1x point per $1 spent on all non-bonus purchases
There is a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit. It comes in the form of a statement credit that will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for hotel accommodation purchases made through the Ultimate Rewards program, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $50.
Plus, on each account anniversary, you’ll earn bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year. So, if you spend $25,000 on purchases, you’ll get 2,500 bonus points.
When you’re ready to redeem Ultimate Rewards, each point is worth 25% more for award travel bookings. You can also transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to participating airlines and hotels.
New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
The annual fee is $95 and $0 for secondary cards.
Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Because it’s a premium card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns more substantial rewards than its sister card, the Sapphire Preferred.
Cardholders can earn unlimited:
- 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards
- 5x total points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 3x points on other travel worldwide (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 3x points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out
- 1x points for all remaining purchases
You will not receive rewards points on your first $300 in annual travel purchases as the annual travel statement credit reimburses these purchases.
Other travel perks include:
- Priority Pass lounge access
- Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit
- 50% travel redemption bonus
- 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers
New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
The annual fee is $550 for the primary card and $75 per authorized user.
Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a perennial contender for being one of the best credit cards for flight bookings.
You can get 5x Membership Rewards on flight bookings from the airline or on AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 in purchases per year). Most cards earn up to 3x points on purchases as a reference.
Other airline perks include:
- Up to $200 annual airline fee credit on one airline of your choice (terms apply, enrollment required)
- Airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass (enrollment required), Delta Sky Club, and others)
- Savings on qualifying international flights
- 1:1 airline point transfers
In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card.
The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees) for the primary card. A flat fee of $175 lets you request up to 3 additional cards.
New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 on purchases on their new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier® Card is the best card to earn ThankYou points on flight bookings. This card can be an excellent alternative to the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you’re currently subject to Chase’s 5/24 policy.
These purchases earn 3x ThankYou points:
- Air travel
- Gas stations
Each point is worth 1 cent each when booking award flights through Citi. You can also transfer them to participating airlines at a 1:1 ratio.
New Citi Premier® Card cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus is redeemable for $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.
The annual fee is $95 and $0 for additional cards.
Compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Citi Premier to get more details on each card.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great option if you want a flat-rate rewards card. Each purchase, including flights, earns 2x Capital One Miles. However, if you are wanting to earn a few more miles on travel, good news—earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Plus, Venture cardholders will earn 5x miles when booking through the Turo app or on Turo.com (through May 16, 2023).
You might also prefer the Venture Card if you prefer redeeming your points as travel statement credits. With this strategy, you pay cash upfront for travel purchases but get to earn rewards points. Then, you get to redeem them to erase all or part of the recent purchase.
The two other redemption options are transferring your miles to airline and hotel partners or booking upcoming travel through Capital One Travel.
One additional benefit of note is the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
The annual fee is $95 and $0 for secondary cards.
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Bonus: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
If you’re looking for a little more oomph in your travels, consider the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. This addition to the Capital One lineup includes the ability to earn unlimited:
- 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
- 2x miles on all other purchases
Cardholders can also enjoy unlimited access to all-inclusive amenities at the Capital One Lounge and at Priority Pass lounges worldwide. Plus, they’ll receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
Additional benefits include up to $300 back annually (as statement credits) for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get access to thousands of options. Plus, get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel, with the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
This offer is perfect for a relaxing vacation either domestically or abroad. The annual fee is $395, but there are no foreign transaction fees.
Airline Credit Cards
Co-brand airline credit cards can be the best credit cards flight bookings if you’re loyal to one airline. You might live near a carrier hub and rarely fly an alternate airline.
Another benefit of carrying a branded card is getting special perks like free checked bags, in-flight purchase rewards, and preventing your airline miles from expiring.
The best airline credit card depends on your preferred airline. As the largest airlines offer several card options, you must also decide what benefits you want and the highest annual fee you’re willing to pay.
These airlines offer several credit cards for earning miles:
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a great option for business travel. Your first $150,000 in combined annual purchases earn 3x Ultimate Rewards:
- Search engine and social media advertising
- Internet, cable, and phone services
The remaining purchases earn 1x points.
Your points are worth 25% more (1.25 cents each) when booking award travel on Ultimate Rewards. You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.
The annual fee is $95 and $0 for additional employee cards. You may consider another Chase business credit card if you don’t want an annual fee.
The signup bonus is 100,000 Ultimate Rewards ($1,250 value) after $15,000 in purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.
Related: Chase Ink Business Preferred Card Review
The Business Platinum Card from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers these premium travel perks:
- 5x Membership Rewards on flights and hotel bookings using AmexTravel.com
- Get 35% points back on award flight bookings (up to 500,000 points back per year)
- 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers
- Airport lounge access (enrollment required, terms apply)
- Terms apply
Cardholders earn 1.5x points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
Plus, select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card or any of the Additional Cards on your Platinum Card account.
Additionally, unlock over $1,000 in value per year for statement credits on select purchases, including tech, recruiting, and wireless with the Business Platinum Card.
Cardholders can get up to $189 back per year to enroll in CLEAR® membership when they use their Card to enroll. CLEAR® uses biometrics to assign you a touchless ID, allowing you to move faster through security at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. You can cover the cost of a CLEAR membership with up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year after you pay for CLEAR with your Business Platinum Card®.
TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credits are also included.
Also, get access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting with The American Express Global Lounge Collection®. You’ll have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market (as of 9/2021).
Here’s how hard it is to get The Business Platinum Card.
New The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders have the opportunity to earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees).
Related: American Express Business Platinum Card Review
American Express Business Gold Card
The American Express® Business Gold Card can be a more budget-friendly option if you want to earn bonus points from business flights but don’t need the premium benefits like airport lounge access.
You can compare the Amex Business Gold vs. Amex Business Platinum if you want more details.
You can earn 4x Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month (terms apply):
- Airfare purchases directly from the airline
- Computer, software, and cloud systems from select providers
- Gas stations
4x points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. All remaining purchases earn 1x points. Terms apply. Here’s how hard it is to get the American Express Business Gold Card.
Other card travel benefits include:
- 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers
- 25% points back on award flight bookings (up to 250,000 points per calendar year)
The current welcome bonus offer is the ability to earn 70,000 Membership Rewards ($700 value) after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.
The annual fee is $295 (See Rates & Fees).
Related: American Express Business Gold Card Review
For most people, a travel credit card that earns bonus points on airline purchases from any carrier is the best option. Each card also offers additional ways to earn bonus points and may offer extra travel perks too. But if you’re loyal to one airline, a co-brand card is usually the better option as loyalty has its perks.
- The Best Limited-Time Credit Card Offers
- 5 Times It Pays to Check the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
- The Best Credit Cards for Netflix and Streaming Services
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
And For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.
- 1 The Best Credit Cards for Flight Bookings
- 2 Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- 3 Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 4 The Platinum Card from American Express
- 5 Citi Premier Card
- 6 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- 7 Airline Credit Cards
- 8 Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- 9 The Business Platinum Card from American Express
- 10 American Express Business Gold Card
- 11 Summary