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Purchasing flight tickets is one of the best ways to earn bonus rewards points. Although you might think that co-brand airline credit cards earn the most points, flexible travel credit cards can actually earn more. Plus, you have more redemption options and aren’t required to redeem your miles with a single airline with you use the best credit cards for flights. My favorite credit card for purchasing flights is currently The Platinum Card® from American Express because you get 5x points per $1 on airline purchases.

Best Credit Cards for Flights
Best credit cards for purchasing flights

The Best Credit Cards for Flights

The Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Flights

Chase Sapphire Preferred – The best credit card for booking flights

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best credit cards for booking flights. It recently raised its bonus to 60,000 points ($750 at least in travel) which is the largest public bonus offered on this popular travel card. You will also receive 2x points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases. This makes it a great option for purchasing airline tickets.

The $95 annual fee isn’t waived for the first year. However, the increase in bonus points makes up for the annual fee. That’s because 10,000 points have a $100 cash value or $125 travel credit.

But you can get even more value if you transfer your Sapphire Preferred points out to an Ultimate Rewards travel partner. To receive the bonus of 60,000 points you must spend $4,000 in 3 months on eligible purchases.

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Capital One Venture Card – best credit card to buy airline tickets

If you crave flat-rate rewards, the Capital One® Venture might be a good option as well. Every single purchase earns 2 miles per $1 spent. It doesn’t matter if your purchasing flight tickets, and Uber fare, or picking up your dry cleaning.

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.

Learn more: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Platinum Card from American Express – best credit card for airfare 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.

You’ll earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline or AmexTravel.com. As long as you don’t buy your tickets from third-party booking sites like Expedia or Priceline, you’ll earn 5 points.

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.

As a premium travel credit card, the Platinum Card® from American Express also lets you enjoy these air travel benefits:

  • $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Complimentary airport lounge membership
  • Global Entry and TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement

There’s plenty to love about the Platinum Card besides purchasing flight tickets and receiving double the average reward rate.

Learn more: The Platinum Card® from American Express

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. 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.

New cardholders have the opportunity to earn 75,000 Membership Rewards as part of the welcome offer.

To earn the 75k, you’ll first have to spend $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of card membership, which will earn you 50,000 points. Then, spend an extra $10,000 on qualifying purchases during the same 3 months to earn the additional 25,000 points.

This means you’ll need to spend $20,000 on qualifying purchases in the first 3 months of account opening in order to earn the 75,000 points.

Learn more: Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Chase Sapphire Reserve – best credit cards for flights

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on dining. You can also earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. As you might have already guessed, you get 3 points per $1 on any airline ticket purchase regardless of where you buy it from.

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. Although there aren’t as many 1:1 travel partners as the Amex Platinum, some of the exclusive Chase travel partners include Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and World of Hyatt.

Other Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel benefits include a $300 annual travel credit and Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership. You can earn the $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Ink Business Preferred – Business Credit Card

If you want an affordable business rewards card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred 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:

  • Travel
  • 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.

Learn more: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Johnny Jet holding Chase Ink Preferred
Johnny Jet holding Chase Ink Preferred

JetBlue Plus Card – best credit cards for flights on JetBlue

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 because it earns more than 2 points per $1, which is the benchmark reward rate for airline purchases.

You’ll earn 6 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 two 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. However, you can find some good deals along the Eastern U.S. and to the Caribbean. If you live by a JetBlue airport, consider this card when purchasing flight tickets.

Learn more: JetBlue Plus Card

Southwest Airlines Credit Cards – best credit cards for flights on Southwest

Southwest Airlines’ credit cards make the best credit cards for flights list, mainly because of the ability to earn the Companion Pass and because Southwest still lets travelers check-in two bags for free. Southwest Airlines offers three personal credit cards and two business credit cards that all earn 2 points per $1 on Southwest ticket purchases.

While this might not be anything to write home about, these Rapid Rewards points are more valuable than some of the other ways you can earn them.

The main reason why is because all the Rapid Rewards points you earn with a Southwest credit card count towards the 110,000 point requirement to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. With the Companion Pass, your travel companion only has to pay fees and taxes to fly with you for up to two years.

For example, any Ultimate Rewards points you transfer from your Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits to Southwest won’t count towards the Companion Pass. So if you fly Southwest on a regular basis and are tired of constantly paying full price for a second ticket, consider adding one of their cards to your wallet.

The cards are as follows:

Learn more about the Southwest Business Credit Cards: Business Credit Cards

As a new consumer cardholder, you can also qualify for a signup bonus that gets you nearly halfway there. New cardholders can earn 40,000 points by spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

These points plus purchase rewards count toward the annual 110,000-point Companion Pass requirement.

This is a great option for those purchasing flight tickets with groups.

Learn more: Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card Offers

The Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Flights

Summary of the Best Credit Cards For Purchasing Flight Tickets

The best credit cards for flights make the list because they not only earn you those coveted points or miles, they also come with benefits. Depending on the credit card, these benefits can include everything from travel statement credits, 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 flights 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.

Which of these best credit cards for flights do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

Johnny Jet Editorial

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2 Comments On "The Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Flight Tickets"
  1. David & Doris Bowma|

    My wife and I are at retirement age and our children but and grandchildren live in different cities. We need to have the comfort of visiting them at times. We have Visa credit cards, however we want to be more flexibility! Thank You.

  2. Johnny Jet Editorial|

    Happy to help! Safe travels.

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