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If you’re looking to earn rewards while purchasing flight tickets, then using the best credit cards is the way to go. I’ve used credit cards with rewards to buy my flights for years, and it’s saved me money overall. And due to the high cost of airline tickets, most credit cards offer multiple points for every dollar spent on flight purchases. Plus, credit cards that offer higher rewards for flight purchases also come with other travel benefits and attractive bonus offers that you won’t want to miss. So, if you’re interested in earning rewards for your next flight, here are some incredible offers to consider:
- Flexible redemption options: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- 2x miles on spending: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- 5x on airfare, up to $500,000 per year: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Best perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best Business card for flights: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
But are they the best credit cards for purchasing flight tickets? In a way, yes. We will show you why that is.
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 Purchasing Flights
By earning transferrable points, you will have more redemption options that can be transferred to multiple travel partners. Depending on the card, you wouldn’t be required to redeem your miles with a single airline when you use the best credit cards for flight purchases. Of course, if you tend to fly with one specific airline only, considering one of their credit cards might be in your best interest.
Otherwise, having flexibility for hotels and airlines lets you enjoy your travels without needing to stick to one travel brand.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – The Best Credit Card for Buying Flights
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®. Member FDIC
The Chase Sapphire Preferred 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.
Additional Sapphire Benefits
But you can get even more value if you transfer your Sapphire Preferred points out to an Ultimate Rewards travel partner. Your points can be redeemed for award travel or as 1:1 point transfers to multiple airline and hotel partners. Points are worth 1.25 cents more when using their points to pay for all or part of a flight with a qualifying airline booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform.
There is a $95 annual fee. Learn more about this top travel card in our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
The Platinum Card from American Express – Best Credit Card For Airline Purchases
If you want to earn the most points possible from any flexible travel rewards credit card, The Platinum Card® from American Express is your best option for purchasing flight tickets.
Cardholders earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, and earn 5x Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Your Amex Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for award travel on AmexTravel.com or 1:1 point transfers to multiple airline and hotel partners. In more cases than not, transferring your Membership Rewards points is the better deal. Some of the travel partners include Delta, Emirates, Etihad, and British Airways Avios.
Plus, this card has been revamped, adding over $1,400 value in perks!
Cardholders can get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when they pay with the Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
Also, 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.
Plus, American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
Other Platinum Card from American Express Benefits
There’s also a digital entertainment credit. Cardholders can get up to $20 in statement credits each month when they pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at their choice of participating providers. Enrollment required.
In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.
Another exciting benefit is the ability for cardholders to get up to $300 back each year in the form of statement credits on an Equinox+ subscription or any Equinox club membership when they pay with their Platinum Card. Enrollment required.
Plus, get a $155 Walmart+ credit, which covers the cost of a monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after paying for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card.
Get the full details and learn more in our in-depth The Platinum Card from American Express review.
The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees) but can be offset with the perks, which are valued at over $1,400.
Welcome Bonus Offer
New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $8,000 on purchases on their new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express
For business travel, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express boasts the same air travel benefits as the personal Platinum Card. You will also earn 5x Membership Rewards® points, but only by purchasing flight tickets from AmexTravel.com (prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com also earn 5x points). All tickets purchased directly from the airline or another third-party booking site will only earn 1 point per $1 spent on the business platinum.
Earn 1x points for each dollar spent on eligible purchases.
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.
Additionally, cardholders can get a 35% airline bonus when using their points to pay for all or part of a flight with a qualifying airline booked on amextravel.com, up to 500,000 bonus points annually.
Plus, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees charged by your one selected, qualifying airline to your Card.
Cardholders can get up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year on your CLEAR® Plus Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when they use their Business Platinum Card®.
With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, with The American Express Global Lounge Collection®. You have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market as of 03/2023. Enrollment is required for some lounges.
Additionally, unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
Welcome Bonus Offer
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).
Chase Sapphire Reserve – Best Credit Cards for Flights
The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the premium sister card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred mentioned above, is also an exciting option if you like flexibility and don’t mind paying a higher annual fee because you’ll use the benefits. Benefits include a fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, travel protection benefits, and more.
Cardholders can earn unlimited:
- 10x total points on hotels and car rental 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.
Additional Reserve Perks
Redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points is also a cinch because they are worth 1.5 cents each for award travel booked on Chase. Or they can be transferred on a 1:1 basis. Some 1:1 Chase travel partners include Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue, Marriott, and World of Hyatt.
There are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.
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.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – Business Credit Card for Flights
If you want an affordable business rewards card, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card costs $95 per year and earns up to three points on travel purchases, including every airline ticket purchase.
You will earn 3 points per $1 in combined annual spending on these purchases:
- Shipping purchases
- Cable, Internet, and Phone services
- Search Engine and Social Media advertising purchases
All bonus category purchases exceeding the $150,000 spending amount will continue to earn 1 point per $1 until your next card anniversary. This is a great deal for purchasing flight tickets.
Your Ink Business Preferred Credit Card purchases earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for award travel through Chase. Or, you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to any Ultimate Rewards travel partner too.
Cardholders can redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel, and more. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Points don’t expire.
New Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card cardholders can earn 100k bonus points after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card – Best Card to Buy Airline Tickets
If you crave flat-rate rewards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card might be a good option as well. Every single purchase earns 2x miles per $1 spent. It doesn’t matter if you are purchasing flight tickets or picking up your dry cleaning. Every purchase automatically earns 2x miles. However, you can earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
Each mile is worth one cent each. You can redeem these for future award travel on the Capital One travel portal. With the Capital One purchase eraser, you can also redeem your miles for statement credit by “erasing” past travel purchases. Regardless of which redemption method you choose, your miles are always worth one cent each.
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.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card – Best Premium Card To Earn Rewards
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a great option if you want premium benefits, such as a fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, Capital One Lounge, and worldwide Priority Pass lounge access, and $300 back annually for bookings through Capital One Travel.
Cardholders also 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
Plus, get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on the first anniversary.
Use the miles you earn to cover your travel expenses. This can include flights, hotels, rental cars, and more. You can also transfer your miles to several Capital One travel partners.
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.
The annual fee is $395, but there are no foreign transaction fees.
JetBlue Plus Card – Best Credit Card for Flights on JetBlue
The information for the JetBlue Plus Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The JetBlue Plus Card is one of the few co-brand airline credit cards to make this list of the best card for purchasing flight tickets. The primary reason why is that it earns more than 2 points per $1, which is the benchmark reward rate for airline purchases.
You’ll earn 6x TrueBlue points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases. Plus, you can get a free checked bag for you and up to 3 companions on the same ticket. You will also get 2x TrueBlue points per $1 you spend at restaurants and grocery stores. With the family pooling benefit, you can combine your points from multiple family members to book award tickets sooner.
JetBlue is a discount carrier that doesn’t fly everywhere. If you live by a JetBlue airport, consider this card when purchasing flight tickets.
Southwest Airlines Credit Cards – Best Credit Cards for Flights on Southwest
The many Southwest Airlines credit cards make the best credit cards for flights list, mainly because of the ability to earn the Southwest Companion Pass® and because Southwest still lets travelers check in two bags for free. Southwest Airlines offers three personal credit cards.
New Southwest Airlines (consumer) credit cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The Southwest consumer credit cards:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Southwest consumer cardholders earn unlimited:
- 3x points on Southwest® purchases (2x points on Southwest® purchases with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card)
- 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
- 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card cardholders also get 2 EarlyBird Check-In® abilities each year.
Additionally, get 25% back on inflight purchases with all three consumer cards.
Southwest business credit cards:
- The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
Related: Best Southwest Credit Cards
The Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Flights
- $1,000 award travel bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- 2x miles on all spending: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- 5x on airfare, up to $500,000 annually: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Best perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best Business card for flights: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Summary of Best Credit Cards for Buying Flights
The best credit cards for flights make the list because they not only earn you those coveted points or miles, but they also come with benefits. Depending on the credit card, these benefits can include everything from travel statement credits to lounge access, and even the ability to transfer points or miles.
Most of the best reward credit cards are in this best credit cards for flight purchases list because of their versatility. In other words, you won’t have to commit to one airline. However, we did mention two airline credit cards, mainly because they have benefits that are worth mentioning. Both are budget-friendly airlines as well.
While you won’t get free checked bags or priority boarding with the flexible rewards cards mentioned in this article, you will earn more points per $1 spent. If you prefer earning more points compared to more lavish air travel benefits, these cards are your best option when purchasing flight tickets.
- Best Credit Cards for Dining, Restaurants, Takeout, and More
- The Best Credit Card Offers
- The Best Hotel Credit Cards
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.