The Best Airline Credit Cards For Businesses
One of the best ways a frequent flyer can save money is through a credit card designed specifically for air travel. These cards often give you bonus miles when you purchase airfare or spend money on other travel expenses. Plus, you can usually earn miles for making regular purchases, such as for gas or on meals at restaurants. Cards can also come with other perks, such as access to VIP lounges or free checked bags. All in all, having a good, airline-specific card can make your travel cheaper and more relaxing, allowing you to focus on what matters: making your business better.
As with many credit cards, there are numerous options with plenty of variables to consider. Don’t know which one might be the best fit for your business? Keep reading to get the full breakdown.
|Best For||Recommended Credit Card|
|American Airlines:||Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard|
|Delta Air Lines:||Delta Reserve Credit Card For Business From American Express|
|Southwest Airlines:||Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card|
|United Airlines:||United Explorer Business Card|
|Alaska Airlines:||Alaska Airlines Visa Business Credit Card From Bank Of America|
|JetBlue Airways:||JetBlue Business Card From Barclays|
|General Travel:||Capital One Spark Miles Select For Business|
|Bonus Offer:||Capital One Spark Miles For Business|
|Extra Benefits:||Mastercard Black Card|
|No Annual Fee:||Bank Of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard|
|Rewards Program:||Chase Ink Business Preferred|
Table of Contents
- How Airline Credit Cards Work
- Benefits & Drawbacks Of Airline Credit Cards
- Best Credit Cards By Airline
- Best General Travel Card: Capital One Spark Miles Select For Business
- Best Bonus Offer: Capital One Spark Miles For Business
- Best Extra Benefits: Mastercard Black Card
- Best For No Annual Fee: Bank Of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard
- Best Rewards Program: Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Final Thoughts
How Airline Credit Cards Work
Airline credit cards give you rewards for purchases on travel, usually with a specific airline and — in some cases — when booking at hotels or car rentals. They can give you additional rewards in other categories, too, including purchases on gas, at restaurants, or on cell phone services. Finally, it’s not uncommon to receive rewards for any charges made on the credit card, although your earn rate will often be relatively low.
How Much Are Airline Miles Worth?
This really depends on the airline and the rewards program that comes bundled with your card. As a general rule of thumb, one air mile equals one cent; however, it can frequently be worth more on an array of airlines.
How Can I Redeem Airline Miles?
You’ll be able to redeem your miles when booking flights with the specific airline tied to your card (unless you have a general travel card). Some redemption programs also let you use your miles on other travel-related purchases, such as on hotel rooms or car rentals.
Benefits & Drawbacks Of Airline Credit Cards
Airline credit cards provide frequent flyers with an excellent way to earn rewards simply by traveling. You can also use your card on regular purchases to earn miles, ultimately saving you money when it comes time to book flights. All in all, an airline credit card could be a great tool to add to your business’s money-saving arsenal, especially if there’s already an airline that you use frequently for air travel.
However, airline-specific cards don’t always offer much flexibility. That’s because you’ll be tied down to one specific airline, both when it comes to how you earn and how you redeem rewards. If you need greater flexibility because you frequent multiple airlines but still want to earn extra rewards while traveling, you’ll likely want a general travel card that’s not connected to a single airline.
Best Credit Cards By Airline
Because many air travel cards are for specific air carriers, you may want something that fits your favorite airline. Here’s a look at the best cards offered by some of the major airlines:
American Airlines: Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
This co-branded card from American Airlines and Barclays offers two AAdvantage miles for every dollar you spend on eligible American Airlines purchases. You’ll also keep that two miles per dollar clip when you make eligible purchases at office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants. Everything else will net you one mile per dollar spent.
Beyond base rewards, the welcome offer grants you 50,000 bonus miles once you make a purchase within your first 90 days. You’ll further nab a 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus on your account anniversary based on the total number of miles earned using your card.
Other benefits include a free checked bag for you and up to four companions on American Airline itineraries as well as a companion fare for one guest after you spend $30,000 during an account year. In addition, the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard carries no foreign transaction fees and boasts preferred boarding.
Those who frequent American Airlines may also want to check out the AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard from CitiBusiness. It packs in the same base rewards as the Aviator Mastercard; however, it lacks in terms of the extra perks and benefits.
Delta Air Lines: Delta Reserve Credit Card For Business From American Express
Frequent flyers of Delta will want to consider the Delta Reserve Credit Card for Business from American Express. Expect to snag two miles for every dollar you spend on Delta purchases. Everything else will earn one mile per dollar. It’s also worth noting that if you have a SkyMiles membership, you’ll earn an additional five miles per dollar on Delta-marketed flights. That means you’ll rack up an impressive seven miles per dollar when you fly Delta.
Otherwise, this card offers 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles when you spend $3,000 in your first three months. Further perks include 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles each calendar year when you spend $30,000, plus you’ll be able to double those bonuses when you break $60,000 spent in a calendar year. There are also some other standard travel bonuses, such as a free checked bag, priority boarding, and complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club.
Do be aware that there’s a rather hefty $450 annual fee bundled with this card. That means you’ll need to spend a decent amount to offset the fee.
Other options for Delta flyers include the Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, both from American Express. Both are bundled with the same base reward rate as the Delta Reserve card but don’t pack the same punch when it comes to additional perks.
Southwest Airlines: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
If you fly Southwest regularly and are looking for a business credit card to pick up Southwest-specific rewards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card from Chase is your only option. It doles out two points per dollar on Southwest purchases and one point per dollar on everything else.
You’ll be able to check your first two bags for free and you won’t have to worry about change fees. If you make $3,000 in purchases during your first three months, you’ll be rewarded with 60,000 bonus points. You’ll pick up some more bonus points on your account anniversary, too, as this card dishes out 6,000 points.
Points also stick around as long as your account is open, so you won’t need to worry about spending points quickly. However, do note that this card does carry a $99 annual fee.
United Airlines: United Explorer Business Card
Fly United? Your sole business option is the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card from Chase. Like most airline-specific cards, this card will give you two miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from United. As an extra perk, you’ll also earn two miles per dollar when you buy at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores. For all other purchases, you’ll get the standard one mile per dollar. There are no blackout dates when you redeem points for United flights.
Outside of those base rewards, United and Chase will reward you with 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open. You further snag two United Club one-time passes every cardmember anniversary. On top of these benefits, first bags can be checked for free and card members have access to United MileagePlus events, which include winemaker dinners and VIP access to live theater and museum events.
You’ll also get priority boarding and additional employee cards can be requested for free. As an extra bonus, the card’s $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Alaska Airlines: Alaska Airlines Visa Business Credit Card From Bank Of America
Those that frequent Alaska Airlines will need to look no further than the airline’s Visa business card co-offered by Bank of America. This card grants you three miles per dollar spent when you make purchases directly with Alaska Airlines and one mile per dollar on everything else.
For extra perks, you’ll get “Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare” from $121 ($99 fare for a companion plus taxes and fees starting at $22), plus 40,000 bonus miles when you make $2,000 in purchases during your first three months. Additionally, you’ll get the same companion fare every account anniversary. You also don’t need to worry about foreign transaction fees when traveling internationally or blackout dates when redeeming rewards. There is, however, a $50 annual fee (plus $25 per employee card).
JetBlue Airways: JetBlue Business Card From Barclays
JetBlue regulars will want to look at the airline’s business card that’s offered in conjunction with Barclays. For this card, expect to earn six points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases, two points per dollar at restaurants and office supply stores, and one point per dollar on everything else.
You can also take advantage of JetBlue’s 50,000 bonus point welcome offer by spending $1,000 during your first 90 days. On top of this, you’ll collect an additional 10,000 points when an employee makes a purchase on their card. Other benefits include 5,000 points every account anniversary, one free checked bag for you and up to three companions, and 50% savings on eligible in-flight purchases. You also won’t need to worry about foreign transaction fees, and you can collect $100 in statement credit annually when you purchase a JetBlue Vacation package for $100 or more.
As for annual fees, this card will cost you $99 annually, but you won’t have to worry about points expiring for as long as your account is active, and there are no blackout dates when redeeming rewards.
Best General Travel Card: Capital One Spark Miles Select For Business
Capital One’s Spark Miles Select For Business dishes out a simple (and unlimited) 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend — no dealing with categories or figuring out if something is eligible. On top of that, this card has no annual fee, which means that you won’t need to worry about spending a certain amount to make the card worth it.
Because this card isn’t connected to a specific airline, you can use your miles on a vast array of travel purchases, including flights, hotel rooms, and travel packages. Capital One simply requires that you book your trip through a travel website, travel agent, or other travel resources while using your card. You can then use the Capital One’s Rewards Center to redeem your miles and receive an account credit for the cost of your travel purchase.
Other perks include 20,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in purchases within your first three months. You can also request additional employee cards for free and there are no foreign transaction fees.
Best Bonus Offer: Capital One Spark Miles For Business
Capital One also offers a second travel card in the form of Spark Miles For Business. This card is similar to the Select version with a simple rewards scheme. However, it grants an unlimited two points per dollar spent instead of 1.5. Do note that this card includes a $95 annual fee, so you’ll have to spend a decent amount to cover that cost with rewards.
With that in mind, Capital One bundles in a healthy bonus offer of 50,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in your first three months and 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in your first six months. (Offer expired.) Besides that, the annual fee is waived for the first year, meaning that you can really reap rewards throughout your first 12 months.
Like with the Select, you’re able to redeem your miles on a vast array of travel purchases, ranging from flights to hotel rooms to travel packages. You’ll simply need to book your trip through a travel website, travel agent, or other travel resources while using your card. You can then redeem your miles through the Capital One’s Rewards Center to receive an account credit for the cost of your travel purchase.
Best Extra Benefits: Mastercard Black Card
Mastercard Black Card
When it comes to benefits, it’s hard to beat the Mastercard Black Card, which is offered by Luxury Card. Beyond its basic credit card benefits, such as price protection, travel insurance, and extended warranty, Luxury Card includes some unique offerings. These nifty bonuses include:
- 24/7 access to the Luxury Card Concierge
- Room upgrades, complimentary food and beverage, and spa credits when booking with Luxury Card Travel
- Access to over 1,000 VIP airport lounges through Priority Pass Select
- Competitive car rental rates
- Annual $100 airline credit
- $100 credit for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application fee
- Global luggage delivery
- Baggage delay insurance
- Privileges on more than 20 cruise lines
- Charter a private jet or yacht for a day, a week, or longer
- 24/7 chauffeured transportation
- “Luxury Gifts” from well-known and established brand names
For base rewards, you’ll collect one point for every dollar spent. Things get interesting, however, when you redeem your points. Travel redemptions collect two times the value, while cash back redemptions are worth 1.5-times. Hotel stays and car rentals are worth the standard rate.
Of course, this card is technically a personal card (which can still be a great option for businesses) and features a very beefy $495 annual fee. That means that those outside the niche of users who can spend upwards of $25,000 per year will need to look elsewhere for a card. However, for that specific niche, this card could ultimately offer great benefits with solid rewards.
Best For No Annual Fee: Bank Of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard
If you’re looking to snag some travel rewards without dealing with an annual fee, Bank of America has you covered with their Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard. This option nets you an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. Besides that, when you book travel through Bank of America’s Travel Center, you’ll double your reward rate to three points per dollar.
There are also several other ways to earn more rewards. To start, Bank of America will hand you 25,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 during your first 60 days. Additionally, if you enroll in the Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program, you can nab an additional 25% – 75% rewards boost to every purchase.
Bank of America includes a few more perks, too. This card requires no foreign transaction fees and you’ll get a 0% introductory APR period for the first nine months. (Offer expired.)
Best Rewards Program: Chase Ink Business Preferred
Chase Ink Business Preferred
18.24% - 23.24%, Variable
For the best overall rewards program, our pick goes to Chase’s Ink Business Preferred. This card, which works as a general travel card, doles out three points per dollar spent (up to $150,000) on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. You then get one point per dollar spent on everything else.
The real advantage, however, comes in how you redeem points. If you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel, you’ll get 25% more value. On top of that, Chase allows you to transfer your points to an array of airline and hotel reward programs on a 1:1 basis.
Beyond its excellent options for redeeming points, the Ink Business Preferred also comes with no foreign transaction fees and employee cards can be requested for no additional cost. Chase also bundles in a welcome offer of 80,000 points when you spend $3,000 or more during your first three months. However, there is a $95 annual fee to keep in mind.
If you’re still looking for a credit card to suit your travel needs, check out our best business cards for travel. You can also use a personal card for business — an especially handy tactic if your favorite airline doesn’t feature a business credit card. Read our guide to using a personal credit card for business to learn more.