This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure, visit this page.

Purchasing flight tickets is one way to earn plenty of rewards with one purchase. Because airline tickets can be pricey and aren’t everyday purchases for most people, many cards earn multiple points per $1 when buying flight tickets. On top of that, cards that earn more rewards on flight purchases usually come with other travel benefits and nice credit card bonus offers to match, including these incredible 100k bonus offers.

You might think that co-branded airline miles credit cards will earn the most miles on flight tickets. However, flexible travel credit cards can, actually, earn more points.

But, are they the best credit cards for purchasing flight tickets? In a way, yes. We will show you why that is.

Best credit cards for purchasing flights
Best credit cards for purchasing flights

Terms apply to 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 Booking Flights

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best credit cards for booking flights.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card currently has an offer of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Cardholders also earn 5x points on Lyft rides, through March 2022.

Also, enjoy new Chase Sapphire benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all other travel purchases, plus more.

 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.

Additional Sapphire Benefits

Additional Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include unlimited deliveries with no delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with a DoorDash DashPass subscription. Activate your card by December 31, 2021.

Additionally, cardholders can earn up to $60 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.

Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature.

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.

Plus, this card has recently been revamped, adding over $1,400 value in perks!

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.

Additional Benefits

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.

Cardholders can get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when paying with their Platinum Card®.

Also, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.

If you ride Uber or use Uber Eats, this credit will make you happy. Cardholders can enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Members only.

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.

Terms apply. Enrollment may be required.

Other Platinum Card from American Express Benefits

There’s also a new digital entertainment credit. Cardholders can get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with The Platinum Card® from American Express at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.

In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Cardholders can use their Card and get up to $179 back per year on their CLEAR® membership. Terms apply.

Another exciting new benefit is the ability for cardholders to enjoy up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. This amounts to up to $300 annually. Enrollment required. 

There is also a $155 Walmart+ credit to enjoy. This covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.

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

New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $6,000 on purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. New cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

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 1.5x 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.

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.

Cardholders can also earn 1.5x Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases in key business categories, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else. Cap applies.

Additionally, unlock over $1,000 in value per year for statement credits on select purchases with your Card, including up to $400 with Dell Technologies (up to $200 semi-annually), up to $360 with Indeed, up to $150 with Adobe, and up to $120 on wireless telephone purchases. Enrollment required.

Plus, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year toward baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline. Other airport benefits include a $179 annual CLEAR® credit when you use your Card to enroll in CLEAR® membership and access to more than 1,300 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting with The American Express Global Lounge Collection®. 

Welcome Bonus

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. Plus, 0% Intro APR for 12 months from the date of the account opening on purchases eligible for Pay Over Time. After that, your APR will be 14.24% to 22.24% based on your credit worthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.

This card does have an annual fee of $595 ($695 if the application is received on or after 1/13/2022; See Rates & Fees).

Chase Sapphire Reserve – Best Credit Cards for Flights

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Gas station and grocery store purchases will also count towards earning the annual $300 travel credit, through Dec. 31, 2021. Cardholders can also earn up to $120 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021. 

This is in addition to the complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription that lets cardholders get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees. They also earn up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases ($60 in statement credits through 2020 and another $60 in statement credits through 2021).

Sapphire Reserve cardholders earn 10x points on Lyft rides, including bikes and scooters. Complimentary Lyft Pink Membership is also available when activated by March 21, 2022.

Additional Reserve Perks

Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature.

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 Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership. There are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmembers can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $750 towards travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 

The annual fee is $550.

Chase 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:

  • 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.

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.  

Johnny Jet holding Chase Ink Preferred
Johnny Jet holding Chase Ink Business Preferred. His favorite card for buying flights

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, and Uber fare, or picking up your dry cleaning. Every purchase automatically earns 2x miles.

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.

New Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders can earn 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

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 because 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 that all earn 2 points per $1 on Southwest ticket purchases. All non-bonus purchases earn 1x point per $1 spent.

The signup bonus points plus purchase rewards count toward the annual 125,000-point Southwest Companion Pass® requirement. This is a great option for those purchasing flight tickets with groups.

New consumer card cardholders can earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.

The Southwest consumer credit cards:

Southwest business credit cards

Related: Best Southwest Credit Cards

The Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Flights

Summary

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 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.

Related Articles:

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.

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

4 Comments On "The Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Flight Tickets (2021)"
  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.

  3. Karla Hernandez|

    I am wanting to apply for a credit card to purchase air line tickets, but I want to make the best, most safe and smart decision as far as being in debt goes. Could you please help me out in making this decision? We don’t fly often, so point and rewards are not my first concern, I don’t want to pay more in the long run just for a vacation that will cost me more by getting a credit card.

    Thank you,
    Karla Hernandez

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Hey Karla, thanks for reading the blog! The Sapphire Preferred has generally been considered the best starter card for rewards travel. It earns Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred out to numerous travel partners (United, Southwest, etc), and it comes with a 60,000 point bonus. It also earns 2x points per $1 on travel purchases. Of course, only apply for a credit card if you can manage your cc spending, and you have a good credit score. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *