The best credit cards for booking a flight


Most credit cards offer points and rewards for travel-related purchases, but not all cards are made equal. With these credit cards, you can book a flight and take to the skies with ease.

These credit cards offer a number of ways to upgrade your flight. Image credit: VladTeodor/iStock
These credit cards offer a number of ways to upgrade your flight. Image credit: VladTeodor/iStock

Credit card perks come in dozens of different forms, from rewards categories that rotate every quarter to travel perks and promotions. If you’re a regular traveler and want to score some freebies, board early with priority boarding status, or earn frequent flier miles to redeem on future trips, picking the right credit card – not just the most convenient one – can make all the difference.

These are some of the best credit cards for booking flights, to help you make the most of your travels around the world.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – best credit card for booking flights overall

When the Chase Sapphire Reserve card debuted in 2016, it garnered significant attention in the travel sphere, and for good reason. Accumulating points is fast, with the ability to earn three times the points on travel expenses, including airfare, hotels, car rentals, and even parking and toll fees. This also applies to dining expenses – a boon for those who eat out on a regular basis. All other purchases are worth one point per USD spent.

With no specific airline affiliation, this credit card can be used on all kinds of trips, no matter where you want to go.

Additional benefits include a 300 USD annual travel statement credit, a Global Entry application fee credit, and a Priority Pass Select membership with the option to add guests. Cardholders also have the opportunity for upgrades when staying with travel partners, making this one of the best credit card for free seat upgrade options.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a 450 USD annual fee.

Platinum Card from American Express – best credit card for earning miles

If you’re a frequent flyer and want to accumulate miles quickly, nothing beats the Platinum Card from American Express. This travel-friendly card offers five times the points on any direct flight purchase and flights booked through Amex Travel. The same is also true for hotels, with travelers able to earn five times the points on hotel bookings, too. All other purchases through Amex Travel are worth two points per USD spent, with all purchases made elsewhere worth one point.

Reward point redemption allows users to cash out points in the form of a credit card statement or to use them for future bookings. Points can be redeemed through Amex Travel purchases or on a 1:1 ratio with air miles with many different airline and hotel partners worldwide, including Delta, Emirates, and British Airways, making this the best card for flight miles.

The Platinum Card from American Express has a 550 USD annual fee.

JetBlue Plus Card – best credit card for extra luggage

Unlike many airline-specific cards that yield double points per travel purchase, the JetBlue Plus card provides six points for every TrueBlue purchase or any purchase made on JetBlue.com, JetBlue Getaways, JetBlue reservations, or JetBlue ticket counters at the airport.

For frequent JetBlue fliers, this can add up rapidly, with one 300 USD flight resulting in 1,800 points, or around 25 USD in credit toward flights. In addition to this, cardholders earn two points for every dollar spent on grocery shopping and dining and one point on all other purchases. Booking with JetBlue via this card also results in a free checked bag, making this one of the best credit cards for extra luggage. You can also use points to pay for additional bags, making all of your extra earnings well worth it. This card charges a 99 USD annual fee.

Having a free checked bag can make all the difference on your next trip. Image credit: simonkr/iStock
Having a free checked bag can make all the difference on your next trip. Image credit: simonkr/iStock

For those who prefer to fly Delta, runner-up in this category is the Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express card. Not only does each Delta ticket purchase come with a free checked bag but the same is true for up to eight companions on the same reservation. This card has a 195 USD annual fee.

United MileagePlus Explorer Card – best credit card for priority boarding

The United MileagePlus Explorer card has long been a reliable favorite for fans of one of America’s largest airlines. Cardholders can take advantage of two miles for every USD spent on United purchases, as well as all dining and hotels purchases, with the ability to redeem miles to purchase flights on United flights and flights with all other Sky Alliance members, as well as two United Club lounge passes a year and a credit for TSA PreCheck fees.

As well as these advantages, one of the card’s biggest perks is the priority boarding feature. All guests on a reservation booked with your MileagePlus card will receive priority boarding, giving you plenty of time to get settled on the plane while the rest of the cabin boards. With the United MileagePlus Explorer card, you can reap the benefits of a membership program while skipping the lines on any member flight. Cardholders are subject to a 95 USD annual fee.

Don't wait in line to board. Image credit: izusek/iStock
Don’t wait in line to board. Image credit: izusek/iStock

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – best credit card for flight cancellation

Chase Bank is known for its travel rewards cards, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is no different. With double rewards available on all travel and dining purchases, including restaurants, flights, hotels, and rental cars, it’s easy to accrue points. Booking travel with your points can save you even more. Points used to book flights are worth 25 percent more when compared to other redemption opportunities. For example, 30,000 points is worth 450 USD in travel bookings.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is not only a great low-fee card for regular travelers but its protections are among the best in the business, making it the best credit card for flight cancellations. With the use of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, cardholders are granted extensive travel coverage, including trip cancellation insurance up to 10,000 USD per person and 20,000 USD per trip. In addition, this card comes with auto rental collision waivers, trip delay reimbursement, luggage delay reimbursement, and travel and emergency assistance services. This card charges a 95 USD annual fee.

With options that provide the best in-flight cancellation protection, easy points redemption, and priority boarding, the cards you keep in your wallet can make it easier than ever to see the world.

If you want to accumulate even more points on your credit card while traveling in style, book a premium Blacklane car service for your next trip.