Best Airline Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Best Airline

This is a somewhat comprehensive list of the major airline credit cards out there. This list has been completely updated as of 12/22/2015. I have tried to list the cards by the approximate value of their cards. The cards where also grouped with versions that where similar to it. Again, the ones with the best values are found above the ones with less value. I calculated the value of each bonus by multiplying the number of points you get from sign-up bonuses with the multipliers mentioned here.

Here are some of other “best” cards that I have wrote about as well:

Best Business Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Best Hotel Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Best Personal Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses 

Best Cards to Manufacture Spending

Credit Card Information

AAdvantage Platinum World Mastercard by CitiBusiness

Notes: The three AAdvantage credit cards top my list because they have the best value at $850 each. Each card awards 50,000 points at a value of 1.3 cents per point. Know that you’ll earn an extra 10% points when you redeem your points. There are also limits for applying to Citi credit cards. Also all 3 cards also allows you to get your first bag checked for free at the airport.

Bonus: 50,000 points after $3,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $850

Annual Fee:      $0 first year, then $95

Earning Points: 2x at American Airline, gas stations, car rentals, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS:  VGC, Buxx

 

Platinum Select AAdvantage World Mastercard by Citi

Notes: The only real difference between this card and the one above is that the above one has some more categories to earn points. Similarly there are also limits for applying to Citi credit cards. 

Bonus: 50,000 points after $3,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $850

Annual Fee:      $0 first year, then $95

Earning Points: 2x at American Airline, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS:  VGC, Buxx

 

AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard by Citi 

Notes: So I’m not really a big fan of this card. I like cards with low fees. This card has a $450 annual fee for the same number of points. There are also a bunch of unique perks that comes with this card such as getting admiral club access, saving 25% on in flight purchase etc.

Bonus: 50,000 points after $5,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $850

 

Annual Fee:   $450 annual fee

Earning Points: 2x at American Airline

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx

 

British Airway Visa Signature by Chase

Notes: This is one of the more lower fee cards that I actually like. You get an $800 value for $95. A $705 profit. You can also earn an additional $25,000 when you spend $10,000 or 50,000 when you spend $20,000. Personally I would just spend the original $2,000.

Bonus: 50,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $800

 

Annual Fee:    $95 annual fee

Earning Points: 3x at British Airway

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx

 

United MileagePlus Explorer Business by Chase

Notes: This is a card that I really like. It’s great for those who are looking for international travel. As United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance which means that you can get free international flights from other airlines as well. This card also has no fee in the first year and offers a whopping $750 value.

Bonus: 50,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $750

 

Annual Fee:      $0 first year, then $95

Earning Points: 2x at United Airline,restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores, 1x at everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx, 

 

United MileagePlus Explorer by Chase

Notes: This is the personal version of the MileagePlus card. I like it because it’s easy to get the $1,000 spending. 

Bonus: 30,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months, 5,000 point after adding an authorized user

Approx. Value: $525

 

Annual Fee:      $0 first year, then $95

Earning Points: 2x at United Airline

Recommended Method of MS: VGC,Buxx

 

Southwest Airlines Rapid Premier Business by Chase

Notes: This is a great credit card to get if you like domestic flights. It’s also currently has the highest sign-up bonus out of the three Southwest cards. You also get 6,000 points at your account anniversary.

Bonus: 50,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $650

 

Annual Fee:      $99 annual fee

Earning Points: 2x at Southwest Airline, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx

 

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus by Chase

Notes: This card has a slightly lower fee than the business card. At the same time the number of points is also cut in half. Southwest has been known to offer 50,000 points on this card every so often though. You also get 3,000 points at your account anniversary.

Bonus: 25,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $325

 

Annual Fee:    $69 annual fee

Earning Points: 2x at Southwest Airline, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx

 

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier by Chase

Notes: Similar to the other personal card. The only real difference is the annual fee and the fact that you get 6,000 points at your account anniversary.

Bonus: 25,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $325

 

Annual Fee:    $99 annual fee

Earning Points: 2x at Southwest Airline, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx

 

Alaska Airlines Visa Business by Bank of America

Notes: You can receive an annual coach coach companion fare from $121. I don’t know much about this airline so I can’t tell how much this is worth, but it seems better than the initial $500 value. 

Bonus: 25,000 points after your first purchase

Approx. Value: $500

 

Annual Fee:    $75 annual fee

Earning Points: 3x at Alaska Airline, 1x at everything else

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx

 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature by Bank of America

Notes: This card is great because you don’t even have to spend anything to get the free points. Well except for the annual fee. It also has the coach companion fare just like the business card.

Bonus: 25,000 points upon approval of card

Approx. Value: $200

 

Annual Fee:    $75 annual fee

Earning Points: 3x at Alaska Airline
, 1x at everything else

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx

 

Virgin Atlantic by Bank of America

Notes: Earn 15,000 points every anniversary, earn 1 tier point per ever $2,500 in purchases (max 2 per month) and additional tier points when you fly Virgin or its’ partners.

Bonus: 20,000 points after your first purchase, earn 5,000 points when you add an authorized user

Approx. Value: $375-$575

 

Annual Fee:    $90 annual fee

Earning Points: 3x at Virgin Atlantic, 1.5x at everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS: VGC, Buxx

 

Lufthansa Miles & More by Barclaycard

Notes: Annually receive two Lufthansa business lounge vouchers and a companion ticket (taxes and fees apply). You can also receive 15% off of Hotel and Car Awards at www.milesandmore.com/hotelandcar

Bonus: 35,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: N/A

 

Annual Fee:    $79 annual fee

Earning Points: 2x at Lufthansa, 1x at everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS:  VGC, Buxx

 

 

Arrival Plus World Elite by Barclaycard

Notes: I highly recommend this card to everyone! You get 2x the points on all purchases not just specific categories. You also get 5% miles back on your next redemption. Essentially you redeem your points by applying for a statement credit on travel purchases. You’re not getting the full value if you apply the statement credit to something other than travel purchases.

Bonus: 40,000 points after $3,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value:  $400 when redeemed for travel credit

 

Annual Fee:      $0 first year, then $89

Earning Points: 2x on all purchases

Recommended Method of MS:  VGC, Buxx

 

Arrival World by Barclaycard

Notes: Basically the little brother to the Arrival Plus. This card differs because the bonus is cut in half, earning points differ, and there is no annual fee.

Bonus: 20,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $200 when redeemed for travel credit

 

 

Annual Fee:      No annual fee

Earning Points: 2x at travel and dining, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS:  VGC, Buxx

 

Spark Miles Business by Capital One

Notes: This card is like the Arrival Plus card. Although this card application tends to pull from all 3 of the credit agencies. Also the Arrival Plus wins out because it has the extra 5% bonus at redemption.

Bonus: 50,000 points after $4,500 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $500 when redeemed for travel credit

 

Annual Fee:      $0 first year, then $89

Earning Points:  2x at all purchases

Recommended Method of MS:  VGC, Buxx

 

Venture Rewards by Capital One

Notes: This card is similar to the Arrival Plus card.Although this card application tends to pull from all 3 of the credit agencies. Also the Arrival Plus wins out because it has the extra 5% bonus at redemption.

Bonus: 40,000 points after $3,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $400 when redeemed for travel credit

 

Annual Fee:       $0 first year, then $59

Earning Points: 2x at all purchases

Recommended Method of MS:  VGC, Buxx

 

Platinum Delta Skymiles Business by Amex

Notes: I’m personally not to fond of the $195 annual fee. You also get priority boarding on delta flights, first checked bag free, and 20% in flight savings.

Bonus: 35,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months, plus a $100 statement credit when you make your first purchase

Approx. Value: $420, $520 including statement credit

 

Annual Fee:   $195 annual fee

Earning Points: 2x at Delta, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS:  Serve 

 

Platinum Delta Skymiles by Amex

Notes: I’m personally not to fond of the $195 annual fee. You also get priority boarding on delta flights, first checked bag free, and 20% in flight savings.

Bonus: 35,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months, plus a $100 statement credit when you make your first purchase

Approx. Value: $420, $520 including statement credit

 

Annual Fee:  $195 annual fee

Earning Points: 2x at Delta, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS:  Serve

 

Gold Delta Skymiles Business by Amex

Notes: Perks include priority boarding, first free checked bag, 20% in flight savings. This bonus is easy to get using Serve. Just load $1,000 in one month.

Bonus: 30,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $360

 

Annual Fee:      $0 first year, then $95

Earning Points: 2x at Delta, 1x everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS:  Serve

 

Gold Delta Skymiles by Amex

Notes: Just like the business card. Perks include priority boarding, first free checked bag, 20% in flight savings. This bonus is easy to get using Serve. Just load $1,000 in one month.

Bonus: 30,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months

Approx. Value: $360

 

Annual Fee:      $0 first year, then $95

Earning Points: 2x at Delta, 1x at everywhere else

Recommended Method of MS:  Serve

Note 1: There may have been some phrases/words below that many people are not familiar with. I will explain them in this section below.

MS stands for manufactured spending. Manufactured spending, as the name suggests, is a way of manufacturing spending using credit cards so that you can earn the rewards. This is often done through buying gift cards, Serve, or Visa Buxx. You can often spend a net of $0 or close to $0 and get hundreds of dollars of free sign-up bonuses. Here’s a post where I give a small summary of each of the most popular manufactured spending methods!

Serve refers to a company based off of American Express. They offer prepaid cards that can be loaded with only American Express cards. You’ll be able to put money into the prepaid card to get your credit sign-up bonus. Afterwords you can use the billpay option on Serve to pay back the same credit card. You essentially spend $0 in this case. Here’s my Serve post that shows you how you can manufactured spending with Serve.

VGC refers to Visa Gift Cards. The idea is to buy these visa gift cards using your credit card. Then you liquidate/load them onto Bluebird or Serve at participating stores. Once you do that, you can again use the billpay option to pay off your credit card.

Visa Buxx refers to another prepaid card. You can only load Visa Buxx with Visa and Mastercards. The process is somewhat similar to Serve. You load the prepaid card using a credit card. This can be done online. You’ll also points from this as well. Let’s say your card offers 1% cash back. Using Serve will earn you the 1% cash back as well the sign-up bonus. Although Visa Buxx does contain fees. Lastly, there’s no billpay option, you have to withdraw the money via an Allpoint ATM. You can find more information at my Visa Buxx post.

Note 2: It should also be noted that not all of these are the best offer out there. These are merely public offers that are available for everyone else to apply to online. I merely gathered all of the information in one spot and placed it in a neat table. These offers are subject to change. I will update them ASAP when I find that they have changed.

Note 3: If I were to personally apply for a credit card, I would probably apply for the AAdvantage cards, the British Airway card, the United Mileageplus cards, and the Arrival Plus Card.

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