Airline Credit Cards Offer Friendlier Flying

Photo (cc) by Simon_sees

I review dozens of credit card offers each week to find the best deals. My goal is to help you use credit cards to build and protect your money and credit. Check out more on our credit card page.

Airline travel isn’t what it used to be. We now wait in longer lines, pay for checked bags and get charged for food on board. In fact, airlines seem to compete with each other to take away services that we once took for granted. Recent example? Delta just announced a new sub-economy fare class with seats that can’t be changed once assigned.

But there is good news: Airlines are also competing with each other to offer more perks to their credit card customers. For example, American Airlines recently added new benefits to their Platinum Select AAdvantage from Citi – and existing cardholders will immediately receive them. In addition to priority boarding, new perks include…

  • Free bags: You and four companions get one free checked bag each.
  • In-flight discounts: 25 percent off all in-flight food, drink, and entertainment purchases.
  • $100 flight discount: after spending $30,000 in a calendar year.
  • Discounted awards: 10 percent rebate on the miles redeemed, up to 10,000 miles per year.

This card has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year.

How it compares to other cards

Here are competing cards from other airlines…

  • Delta: American Express Gold SkyMiles cardholders get a free checked bag for themselves and up to nine other people. They also get priority boarding and save 20 percent on in-flight purchases. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, waived the first year.
  • United: Explorer Card from Chase cardholders get a free checked bag for themselves and one companion, along with priority boarding. They also get two United Club lounge passes each year. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.
  • US Airways: Premier World MasterCard from Barclays Bank cardholders get first-class check-in privileges, priority boarding, and awards for 5,000 fewer miles than non-cardholders. But they don’t get free checked bags and the $89 annual fee isn’t waived for new cardholders.

The bottom line

It’s awesome that existing American Airlines cardholders will now get these great perks – sometimes changes only affect new cardholders – but American is simply playing catch-up with competitors.

Which is the best card for you? That’s easy: the one affiliated with the airline you fly the most.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
6 Types of People Who Can’t Count on Social Security
6 Types of People Who Can’t Count on Social Security

If you fall into one of these groups, don’t assume that you will receive benefits.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100
33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100

A little money goes a long way with these imaginative projects. You can do most of them yourself.

9 Affordable Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive
9 Affordable Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive

These products from Amazon add elegance to your home without the expense.

9 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less Than $50
9 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less Than $50

These products will instantly improve your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash
8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash

Sometimes, the humblest household items are worth the most money.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.