Find The Best Airline Credit Card For Beginners

Credit Cards1 year ago
Picture of luggage at a seat in the terminal

Choosing an airline credit card is more complicated than it may first seem. Sure, there are lots of options available and many offer great perks and upgrades. But the best card for you will differ from that of someone living in a different part of the country.

Lifestyle choices, airline preferences, and frequency of travel also factor into whether an airline card is the best choice for you. Your goal when using any airline card is earning points, gaining airline miles, and saving money and there are certain cards that are better suited to this aim than others.

Below we will talk you through some of the best options for airline credit cards for beginners and give you a breakdown of the statement credits, points, and miles that are available.

(Conditions and terms apply for all cards detailed below and benefits are subject to change. make sure to double-check current offers before you submit any applications.)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor's Choice

Intro offer

60,000 Points

Annual Fee


Recommended Credit


60,000 Points

Chase Sapphire Preferred.png

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Rewards rates of between 1x to 5x points depending on where you redeem.
  • Introductory offer of 60,000 points

Chase is a great option if you want flexibility in your earning options and is not affiliated with any particular airline. The transferable points that you earn are more valuable than a lot of competition cards. And you will find more flexibility in terms of the airline and hotel transfer partners where you can spend them.


How Do You Earn Points?

  • Earn 5x points per dollar spent on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards hub.
  • Gain 3x rewards points on each dollar spent on eligible dining, takeout, and grocery purchases.
  • 2x points on each dollar you spend on travel with the card not using the Chase Ultimate Rewards scheme.
  • 1x points on all other eligible purchases you make with the card.


How Much Are Chase Sapphire Points Worth?

  • Points are valued at approximately 1.25 cents when you redeemed them on travel, hotel, and airline purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • You can redeem them at a ratio of 1:1 with Chase partner airlines such as United, JetBlue, Southwest, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic.


What Other Benefits Are Available?

  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4, 000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. (Worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.)
  • $50 credit annually on Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Bookings.
  • Added 25% value on travel purchases, hotel, and car rentals booked through Chase hub.
  • Insurance for travel cancellation and interruption.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver.
  • Insurance for lost luggage
  • Unlock $0 delivery fees for DashPass when you activate a membership before December 31, 2024.


What Do You Need to Consider Before Applying?

Although there are plenty of benefits for frequent travelers using this card, before you apply you need to consider the following:

  • Because the card is not connected to a particular airline you cannot access benefits such as upgraded seats, preferred boarding, and free checked bags.


Bank of America Travel Rewards Card

  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 0% APR for the first 18 months of billing cycles. (17.49-27.49% variable APR after this.)
  • No Foreign Transaction fees.

This card is another great option if you are looking for more flexibility when spending your points. You will not be limited to a specific travel hub website or airline when you wish to redeem the points you have built up.


How Do You Earn Points?

  • 1.5 points on each dollar you spend on all purchases using the card. (Your points never expire.)
  • 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 with the card within the first 3 months of opening your account. (Worth $250 statement credit for your travel purchases.)
  • You are not limited to specific websites or restrictions on how you spend on travel and where you book your trip.


How Much are Bank Of America Travel Rewards Worth?

According to Forbes, the points you earn on your Bank of America travel rewards credit card are redeemable at a rate of $0.01 for each point.


What Other Benefits Are Available?

  • Redeem statement credits to spend on travel, dining, flights, baggage fees, and restaurant visits.
  • No Annual fee to worry about.
  • Long introductory 0% APR period.
  • A lot of flexibility about where you can redeem your points.
  • No foreign transaction fees to deal with.
  • Generous bonus offer when you spend the specified amount within 3 months of opening the account.


What Do You Need to Consider Before Applying?

  • 3% transaction fee on balance transfer.
  • You will need a good to excellent credit score.
  • There are reward limits for certain users.


Picture of people in a terminal


Capital One Venture Card

  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Variable APR of 20.24%-28.24%
  • Airmiles don't expire for the lifetime of the account!

The Capital One Venture card allows you to earn a generous amount of air miles on your travel spending with no limit on how many you can build up. And in contrast to other card options, you don't have to worry about spending them within a certain amount of time.


How Do You Earn Points?

  • 2x air miles on every eligible purchase using the card.
  • 5x miles when booking car rentals and hotels through Capital One Travel hub.
  • There is no limit to how many air miles you can earn and they don't expire.


How Much Are Capital One Travel Transfer Points Worth?

You can earn 1 cent per mile when redeeming points on the Capital One Travel hub. But can potentially be more valuable - Capital One Travel Rewards are worth 1.7-1.8 cents when redeemed against travel partners.


What Other Benefits Are Available?

  • Signing on bonus of 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases using your card within the first three months of opening your account. (Equal to $750 for travel.)
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck Application fee.
  • 2 complimentary entries into Capital One lounges and over 100 Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • Flexible redemption of points or travel booked through Capital One Travel Transfer to more than 15 loyalty programs.


What Do You Need to Consider Before Applying?

  • You need to pay a higher annual fee than other options.
  • You will need a good or excellent credit score.
  • There is limited flexibility in where you can spend your rewards.


Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Cards

  • $550 Annual Fee
  • Variable APR of 21.49 to 28.49%.
  • Premium travel credit card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is a good option if you are looking for a luxury credit card and travel often. If you meet the spending target for your sign-up bonus, you will be able to put a mammoth 60,000 points toward your future travel.


How Do You Earn Travel Points?

  • 5x points on spending on flights.
  • 10x points on dollars spent on hotel and car rental bookings via the Chase Ultimate Rewards hub. (After your first $300 spent each year.)
  • 3x points per dollar spent on dining and other travel purchases made with your card.
  • 1x points on other purchases on your card.


How Much are Chase Sapphire Reserve Points Worth?

According to CNBC, your Chase Sapphire Reserve points can be redeemed at an average value of 1.5 cents per point. Your points will be worth 50% more when you redeem them using the Chase Travel hub.


What Other Benefits Are Available?

  • 60,000 points once you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within 3 months of first opening your account. (Valued at $900 when you redeem these through the Chase Ultimate Rewards hub.)
  • $300 in annual travel credit for each anniversary year of holding the card.
  • Access over 1.300 airport lounges.
  • $100 credit towards a Global Entry, TSA Precheck, or NEXUS membership.
  • Insurance on trip cancellations and interruptions.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver.
  • Insurance for lost luggage.


What Do You Need to Consider Before Applying?

  • A high annual fee which needs to be weighed against the value of the benefits you will use.
  • You need excellent credit to qualify.


Takeaway - Find the Best Airline Credit Card for Beginners

Choosing the best airline credit cards for beginners depends upon having a clear idea of your current travel and spending habits and what you are looking for. A luxury travel card such as the Chase Sapphire reserve may suit those who spend a lot on traveling and will purchase enough to qualify for the generous bonus.

For those requiring fewer restrictions in their spending and where they can redeem their points, a card such as those from Capital One or Bank of America may be the best choice.

Beginners Guide Header.webp