Finance Credit Cards

Best Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Best Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit
Best Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Are you looking for Best Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit? If Yes, You are at the right place.

In this article, We are sharing all the information about Best Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit.

There is something exhilarating and addictive about discovering new destinations. Despite this, many of us who have endured financial hardship may find it difficult to imagine jetsetting off to exotic locales. Travel enthusiasts with lower credit scores now have access to a world of credit cards that target them – a beacon of hope for those who want to reignite their passion for exploration.

This guide will explore the best airline credit cards to help you rebuild your credit. Travel credit cards offer more than a chance to mend credit woes, turning wanderlust dreams into tangible boarding passes and new experiences. Take your credit back to the next level with your next unforgettable travel trip.

Almost every airport or airline offers airline credit cards when you spend little time there. You will immediately have the travel perks and sign-up bonuses to start beckoning.

You can determine whether you use the airline credit card frequently based on the frequency of your flights. The flexibility of a general travel rewards credit card is more suitable if you use it only occasionally. If there is no other airline you would consider flying with, it might be time to get rewarded for your loyalty. A card with an airline affiliation may be worth the annual fee if you fall somewhere in the middle.

If you are looking for Best Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit, these are the best options:

Best Airline Credit Cards for Bad CreditDetails
Chase Sapphire Preferred CardLearn More
Aspire Credit CardLearn More
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MastercardLearn More
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express CardLearn More
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit CardLearn More

What are Airline Credit Cards?

What are Airline Credit Cards?
What are Airline Credit Cards?

Airlines credit cards allow you to earn miles whenever you book tickets. With an airline credit card, you will also receive several complimentary benefits. The airline credit card is designed to reward frequent travellers with discounts on hotel reservations, dining bills, and access to airport lounges.

Airlines credit cards are credit cards that are co-branded with an airline or rewards program and allow users to earn miles or points with every purchase. By making purchases with these cards, you can accumulate points and miles quickly and may also receive other benefits during your travels.

How Do Airline Credit Cards Work?

When purchasing, you can redeem your credit card points for free flights and other travel-related expenses. Many airlines, rental car companies and hotels reward travellers with bonus points if they spend money on travel. Redeeming points for airline rewards on some airline credit cards even offers higher point values.

When you make airline purchases with an airline credit card, you typically earn two points or miles per dollar spent.

Airlines credit cards often offer rewards you can redeem for travel bookings, cash back or partner transfers. There are airline cards with rewards that can be redeemed with multiple partners, such as airline alliances.

Most cards offer bonus sign-ups worth at least $100, and some offer up to $500. An annual fee is usually associated with airline credit cards, but a few waive the fee for the first year.

Most airline cards’ minimum annual percentage rate ranges between 15.99% and 18.99%. Many airline credit cards offer free checked baggage, priority boarding, seat upgrades, concierge services, or access to members-only airport lounges, in addition to earning free flights.

Types of airline credit cards

Airline credit cards can be categorized as co-branded or general travel cards. A co-branded credit card offers rewards and perks with one airline. Most general travel cards have a flexible rewards program that allows you to earn and redeem points at multiple airlines and hotels.

  • Co-branded cards. A co-branded credit card offers perks and bonuses for flying with a particular airline. There are usually higher rewards on purchases made with these cards, and other bonus categories may also be included. The airlines also usually offer benefits when flying with them, like free checked bags, priority boarding, and in-flight discounts. You may reach elite status faster if you spend more.
  •  General travel cards. A general travel credit card will allow you to earn rewards from multiple airlines or hotels. Travelers who aren’t necessarily loyal to one airline may find these cards attractive because of the flexibility of their rewards. Other benefits of travel cards include airport lounge access, travel protections, and reimbursement for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.

Top 5 Best Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit

A credit card with airline benefits should be chosen according to your travel needs and expenses. The loyalty programs of each airline offer credit cards with points and miles-earning options. Credit cards offer exclusive benefits, including statement credits and free checked bags.

Based on your travel and spending patterns, a card’s rewards and rewards power may outweigh the annual fee. A good airline credit card depends on whether you’ll travel enough to take advantage of its benefits and where your loyalty lies.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is our top choice because its rewards aren’t tied to one airline’s loyalty program, and you earn up to 5X points on flights. Any flight can earn points and reward points for card members who redeem them for airline tickets. When you book flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can convert points into cash for 25% more value, and if your preferred flight doesn’t exist, you can book directly with cash.

There are also 14 airline and hotel partners with whom Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be transferred to receive a higher value. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card also offers valuable protections in the event of delay, cancellation or interruption of your trip or delayed luggage by the airline, making it the best airline credit card for international travel.

Pros & Cons of Chase Sapphire Preferred Card


  • You can use flexible points to book travel, earn cash back, and more.
  •  Transfers to 14 partner airlines and hotels
  •  Book travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards and earn 5X points.
  •  Insurance for rental cars, as well as valuable travel protections


  • The annual fee is $95
  •  Travel cards with welcome bonuses require more spending
  •  Some applicants may not be accepted if their applications are restricted

Aspire Credit Card

Aspire Cash Back Reward Card
Aspire Cash Back Reward Card

Aspire Credit Card offers the best rewards program for individuals with bad credit. No deposit is required for cardholders to receive a credit limit of at least $350. All other purchases are eligible for 1% cash back and 3% cash back on gas, grocery, and utility purchases.

The Aspire card does have some drawbacks, including high membership fees, no rewards bonus, and no introductory APR. The Aspire Credit Card is an excellent choice for people with bad credit seeking a high reward rate.

Pros & Cons of Aspire Credit Card


  • Even with bad credit, there is no security deposit.
  •  Cashback of up to 3% on certain categories.
  •  Reporting to the credit bureaus every month.


  • There are high fees (annual and APR).
  •  Acceptance is limited.
  •  Predatory practices are possible.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

A Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is a great option if you’re looking for an airline credit card that helps you cover high airfare costs. The card offers an impressive sign-up bonus and accelerated rewards on American Airlines, gas, and restaurant purchases.

Aside from the benefits, the card also gives you a discount on annual American Airlines flights and free checked baggage for the first year. After the first year, the card’s annual fee of $99 may not make sense for those who don’t travel regularly or don’t take advantage of its benefits.

A better option might be AAdvantage MileUp, which charges no annual fee. The Citi® / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard offers more premium travel benefits.

Pros and Cons Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard


  • Hefty sign-up bonuses
  •  Popular categories of spending are rewarded
  •  Valuable travel benefits
  •  Foreign transaction fees are 0%


  • After the first year, there is an annual fee
  •  There is no introductory APR on purchases

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card offers bonus points not only on Delta flight purchases but also at restaurants abroad and U.S. supermarkets, making it one of the rare airline cards that can be used daily. Among its best-in-class benefits are a free checked bag per person, priority boarding and the opportunity to earn an annual flight credit. 

Pros & Cons of Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card


  • At restaurants and on Delta purchases, you can earn 2 miles per dollar.
  •  You can check one bag for free.
  •  The priority boarding process.
  •  Certificate of companionship.
  •  Save 15% on purchases made on board.
  •  There are no foreign transaction fees.


  • The annual fee is $99.
  •  There is no access to the Delta Sky Club.
  •  The redemption options are limited.
  •  There is no intro APR on purchases.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

The Southwest Airlines credit cards offer very similar welcome bonuses and earn rates. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card offers practical recurring perks at an affordable $69 annual fee, making it the best way to earn Southwest points. Southwest Companion Passes allow you to designate a companion who can travel for free with only taxes and fees. The welcome bonus from this card counts toward the Southwest Companion Pass. 

A no-frills carrier that saves points and offers perks is a great way to travel and save money. Cardholders receive two early-bird check-ins yearly, 25% back on in-flight purchases, 3,000 points upon anniversary, and 10,000 Companion Pass points yearly. 

Pros & Cons of Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card


  • The Southwest Companion Pass is valid with the welcome bonus.
  •  Southwest flyers receive generous rewards.
  •  The annual fee is reasonable.


  • Southwest credit cards opened within the past 24 months are not eligible.

Eligibility Criteria for Airline Credit Cards

There are different criteria that credit card issuers use to determine whether an applicant is eligible. To apply for an airline credit card, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • The applicant must be a US citizen
  • It would help if you were a salaried or self-employed professional or business owner
  • The credit history you have should be good.
  • Your age should range from 21 to 60.

How to Apply for Airline Credit Cards Online?

A credit card from an airline can be applied for online through the bank’s official website.

Steps to Apply for Airline Credit Cards Online

Step 1: Go to the bank’s official website.

Step 2: Select the airline credit card that best fits your needs.

Step 3: Complete the online application and click the ‘Apply’ button.

Step 4: Fill in all the required fields on the application page.

Step 5: Make sure all the information you entered is correct before submitting it.

Step 6: You will be given An application reference number after you apply successfully. This should be recorded for future reference.

Step 7. You will receive a call in 3-4 working days if your profile qualifies for the card after the bank receives your application. A phone call or e-mail will inform you of the next steps in the application process.

An application for a credit card takes seven to ten days to be processed by the bank. You can track the status of your credit card application online using the application reference number if you have any questions.

Pros and Cons of Airline Credit Cards

The right airline credit card offers plenty of value, but there may be better choices for many travellers due to several disadvantages.

Pros of Airline Credit Cards

  • An airline card usually offers accelerated earnings through a particular airline program.
  •  The credit cards for airlines may include airline-specific benefits, such as free checked bags, priority boarding, and automatic status upgrades.
  •  There are many benefits to premium airline cards, including travel protections, lounge access, and more.

Cons of Airline Credit Cards

  • Airline credit cards typically allow you to redeem rewards for flights and upgrades only with that airline.
  •  There are typically fewer options for cashback reward redemptions within airline programs.
  •  Users may feel stuck within the loyalty program when they have a negative experience with a certain carrier or a series of negative experiences. Switching carriers or choosing a cheaper airline may not be an option after devoting time and energy to earning points within that program.

How Can You Choose the Best Airline Credit Card?

The best airline credit card depends on the traveller’s loyalty, spending habits, and preferences. The following six steps will help you evaluate the best airline credit card:

1. Select the Best Rewards Program for You

Sometimes, co-branded airline credit cards offer the most benefits when purchasing airfare and other travel-related items. The rewards categories offered by travel rewards cards are broader than those offered by airline-based rewards cards, but the level of rewards is often lower.

2. Determine the Earning Potential

Airlines co-branded credit cards enhance brand loyalty by offering better rewards for flights and related purchases.

There are more opportunities to earn rewards with general travel rewards credit cards. A higher percentage may be earned on all purchases, or they may offer a broader range of bonus spending categories.

3. Identify and Calculate Sign-Up Bonuses

The sign-up bonus and welcome offer provide you with many points and miles, but they require you to meet spending requirements before they can be used.

However, avoid getting carried away with a fantastic sign-up bonus. The sign-up bonus is one of many things to consider when choosing a credit card. Keep your cool and make wise choices.

4. Determine the Redemption Value

One point is equal to one cent on most travel rewards cards. There is no consistent value to what you earn in rewards because flight prices, routes, availability, and more affect it. Depending on the flight, co-branded airline cards may offer from 1 cent to 5 cents per point.

Some airlines publish an award chart that can be used as a guide for estimating value, while others do not. Selecting a credit card requires understanding how points work on airline cards.

5. Subtract the Annual Fee

Calculate the true reward value of a card by subtracting the annual fee from your potential earnings. An annual fee may be associated with a credit card, but the benefits and rewards could more than offset it.

6. Identify Travel Benefits

Airway rewards cards have several advantages, including travel and shopping benefits. You can often find travel cards that offer insurance against trip cancellations or interruptions, auto rental insurance, lost baggage protection, and no foreign transaction fees.

Travel cards with airline co-branding typically benefit cardholders more than regular travel cards. There may be benefits offered directly by the airlines, such as free checked bags, priority check-in, priority boarding, companion tickets, and lounge access.

How Can You Maximize Airline Rewards?

Consider the Fees Carefully: Using the card, earning rewards, and utilizing the benefits should be considered in advance. You may only benefit from the card if you use it enough to offset associated fees.

Combine the Cards: An airline credit card may make sense if you frequently fly one airline but have a general travel rewards card. Your general travel rewards card may have a better bonus category reward, but you will earn the most rewards if you fly with that airline.

Maximize Loyalty Tier Rewards: The only way to do this is to travel with a single airline as much as possible. Ensure you are keeping track of your qualifying purchases, points, and flights, as well as the date you qualify for certain flights. Schedule your trips accordingly to maximize earning potential and earn tier upgrades throughout the calendar year. Making it work will require some planning ahead.

Increase Bonus Category Returns:

  1. Ensure you understand the bonus eligibility criteria and remain aware of any promotional programs your credit card company offers. You may not be able to spend your bonus on flights alone if you have an airline bonus.
  2. Be careful to spend the money wisely to get the bonus or the rewards.
  3. Stay within your budget when it comes to your airline credit card.

Tips for Using Your Airline Credit Card Wisely

There are probably a lot of people out there with airline credit cards. As most people do, you likely use it to pay for all travel expenses, including airfare and hotels. You can take a few simple steps to ensure that you are making the most of your airline credit card. The following tips will help you:

Access Airport Lounges: Several airline credit cards provide free access to airport lounges. As well as saving you money on food and drink, this is an excellent way to relax before your flight.

Consider Seat Upgrades: If you decide to book a flight with an airline credit card, check whether you will receive an upgrade before booking.

Redeem Rewards Points: Most airline credit cards offer rewards points that can be redeemed for free travel. Use them to your advantage.

Follow these tips to ensure you’re taking the most advantage of your airline credit card.

Are Airline Credit Cards Worth It?

The airline credit card is worth it for anyone who flies frequently. Travel is difficult for all of us, whether we’re hardened road warriors or occasional flyers. Travellers with premium cards benefit from their generous perks, higher earning power and potential to earn elite status (in some cases).

The use of an airline credit card can also be beneficial to occasional travellers. There are often discounts on in-flight entertainment, priority boarding, and baggage cancellations included with airline credit cards. Travellers with just one flight can easily justify an annual credit card fee of $100. If a family of four travels round-trip, that saves $240 on a round-trip flight.

Alternatives to Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit

  • General Travel Rewards Credit Cards: A few general travel rewards credit cards are the best for airline travel. It is also possible to earn travel rewards with cards like the U.S. It is also possible to earn travel rewards with cards like the U.S. It is also possible to earn travel rewards with cards like the U.S. It is also possible to earn travel rewards with cards like the U.S.
  •  Hotel Credit Cards: Those who frequently spend money on hotel stays may find hotel credit cards a good option for travel spending. Co-branded credit cards are offered by hotels loyal to particular airlines or hotel chains, making them a good option for consumers.
  •  The Airline Rewards Program: It is still possible for you to earn frequent flyer miles on an airline’s website, even if you do not have a co-branded credit card.

Airline Credit Cards vs. Travel Credit Cards

The key difference between an airline credit card and a travel credit card (Read: Best Travel Credit Cards For Fair Credit) is how you travel:

  • An airline credit card can help travellers earn elite status if they prefer one airline and concentrate their spending on it.
  •  A general travel credit card is better for passengers who are agnostic about which airline they fly and want to get the best deal or prefer a specific departure time.

A general travel card, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, will provide you with greater rewards than a co-branded airline card, such as United ClubSM Infinite.


What is Airline Miles?

A credit card with an airline co-brand gives you airline miles when you spend money with the airline. Airline miles are also known as frequent flyer miles or miles.

Travellers benefit from airline miles because they can use them to reduce airfare prices, purchase items at the airport or during flights, and sometimes redeem them for cash. Taking advantage of your airline miles will depend on the airline, so it’s important to understand the redemption value of your specific airline mile credit card before trying to figure out how to maximize your mileage.

How can I Find the Best Airline Credit Card for Me?

Your travel needs and spending habits will determine the best airline credit card for you. Those who travel often may benefit from a card that offers free or discounted airfare rewards. An annual fee-free card may be a good choice if you travel infrequently.

Airline credit cards, including free checked bags and priority boarding, offer other benefits. The best airline credit card for you may be found by comparing offers from different issuers and selecting the one that best suits your needs.

Do Airline Miles Expire?

There can be an expiration date for airline miles, but the date and time will depend on the airline concerned. The miles you earn with Delta, JetBlue, United and Southwest never expire, but American Airlines will expire after 24 months of inactivity. When your frequent flyer account stays active, some airline miles won’t expire, but they will if you don’t use them for one year. Check with your loyalty program to ensure that your airline miles do not expire.

Can You Get an Airline Credit Card If You Have Bad Credit?

If you include other types of travel rewards in your search, selecting airline credit cards for people with bad credit only improves a little. There are few credit cards with rewards for bad credit.

About the author

Vishal Agrahari

Vishal Agrahari is an experienced content writer and financial expert. With his creative and technical expertise in finance and credit cards, he creates content on AquilaResources that is both engaging and useful for readers. He brings a strong background in finance and credit cards that make bring authenticity to his content along with an interest in research to every project he works on.

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