Skip to content
Did you know your browser is out of date?
To get the best experience when using our website we recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers.

Airline credit cards

Find the best deals on airline credit cards

  • Earn rewards as you spend
  • See the world for less
  • A small step towards Money Calm

What is an airline credit card?

An airline credit card is specialised product aimed at (relatively) high spenders and those who travel a lot, both for business or pleasure. Each time you use one, you earn rewards which reduce the cost of your next trip.

The rewards usually come in the form of points – frequent flier miles – that can be used to pay for flights, hotels, car hire and other travel purchases. The more you spend the more you get, but these cards are usually tied to one of a handful of airline ‘networks’ – so your points will only be redeemable with certain airlines.

The ins and outs of airline credit cards can be confusing, which is where MoneySuperMarket can help: we search the market for great deals and take the stress out of finding the right credit card for you.

airline credit card illustration

The advantages of airline credit cards

Airline credit cards suit people who travel often, so if you use your card sensibly, you’ll earn a number of meaningful benefits, including:

  • Tick icon

    Cheaper flights

    Each time you spend money, you’ll earn points which you can convert into money off flights – often in the form of ‘air miles’

  • Tick icon

    Lounge access

    You might qualify for access to airport lounges, with benefits such as complimentary food, drinks, wi-fi, newspapers and magazines

  • Tick icon

    Bonus points

    Most airline credit cards offer a generous bonus when you sign up and spend a certain amount in the first three months

  • Tick icon

    Companion flights

    Some airline credit cards offer free companion tickets, so you can take someone with you when you travel

  • Tick icon

    Priority boarding

    With a sufficient tally of points, you can usually secure priority boarding, which lets you get on the plane earlier

  • Tick icon

    Points top-up

    Some airlines grant you bonus points if you use their card to buy flights, and you may also be able to top up with your own cash

The disadvantages of airline credit cards

Airline credit cards suit people who travel often, so if you use your card sensibly, you’ll earn a number of meaningful benefits, including:

  • cross icon

    High interest rates

    Airline credit cards typically charge a higher APR than standard credit cards, so you should pay off your balance in full each month

  • cross icon

    Annual fees

    Airline credit cards usually charge an annual fee, which can be as high as £150. Will you use the card enough for the fee to be worth it?

  • cross icon


    If you want to rack up points, you could find yourself spending more than you can afford to pay back each month – which will have the opposite effect


Alternatives to airline credit cards

There’s a credit card to suit almost everyone, so if airline rewards and frequent flier miles aren’t quite what you're after, consider one of the following:

gift card icon

Rewards credit cards

These cards earn you store points or
vouchers you can spend at certain retails

cashback icon

Cashback credit cards

This type of card pays you back between
about 1% and 4% of everything you spend

purchase icon

0% purchase credit cards

Instead of rewards, these cards charge 0%
interest on spending for a period

plane icon

Travel credit cards

These compliment airline cards, and make
spending cheaper while you’re overseas

balance transfer icon

Balance transfer cards

These are designed to let you consolidate
debt and reduce how much interest you pay

How to compare credit cards with MoneySuperMarket

If you feel that an airline credit card could be right for you, the next step is to use the MoneySuperMarket Eligibility Checker to see what cards are available – and which are most likely to approve you:

clipboard icon

Tell us about yourself

We’ll ask you a handful of simple questions about you and your financial circumstances, and what you need from a credit card

search icon

We browse the market

We’ll sift through dozens of credit card offers from across the market, and then show you the cards we think will suit you best

credit cards icon

Pick the card you want

You’ll be shown a range of credit cards, which you’ll then be able to sort according to APR, features and your chances of being approved

With a pre-approved credit card, the deal you see is what you get

When you apply for a credit card, it’s not always clear what deal you’ll be offered or whether you’ll be accepted. But when you’re pre-approved for a credit card, you know the deal you see is the deal you’ll get – you’ll know where you stand, with information that will help you make the right choice.

question set image

Apply with confidence

When you’re pre-approved, the interest rate, interest-free period and fee (if there is one) are all confirmed – the only thing not guaranteed is your credit limit

chance of approval image

Tailored to you

You’ll see your personalised chance of approval for all credit cards, so you can easily compare your options

Credit Monitor image

You’re in safe hands

This helps protect your credit score as you’re less likely to be rejected when you apply

Airline cards can be really worth it – provided you are a frequent enough traveller. You can earn considerable of rewards if you spend a lot of money using such a card, but you have to weigh up whether you’ll use the rewards, and whether the benefits outweigh the fees and the APR.

Airline miles do not equate to actual miles – it’s best to think of them as another type of rewards point. You accumulate these points in an online account by spending money using the card, and once you have enough you can exchange them for free or discounted flights and other benefits when you book. 

There are three major ‘air alliances’, which are groupings of airline companies that let you share points across the participating brands. These are Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld.

On top of this, most airlines have their own frequent flier programmes, which are normally separate. If you fly with one company a lot, they will reward you with points you can redeem with them.

If you’re applying for a credit card, you might be able to find a better deal if you look through offers from different providers before taking one out. With MoneySuperMarket you’ll be able to search through multiple credit cards and compare them by a range of factors, including their interest rates and any benefits and rewards they come with.

All you need to do is answer a few questions about yourself and your financial situation, and our Eligibility Checker will show your chances of being accepted for different credit cards. This won’t affect your credit score, so you can run a check without any worries.

Once you know which card you want, you can normally apply by phone, online, or in person if the provider has a high street branch. However, when you do apply, the provider will usually run a hard credit check – which will show up on your credit report – to confirm whether they’ll give you the card. If you’re accepted they’ll tell you your credit limit and interest rate, and soon you’ll be ready to start using your credit card.

MoneySuperMarket gives you lots of clever ways to save a lot, by doing very little.

  • Take control of your credit score by checking and improving it for free with Credit Monitor
  • Never overpay again with Energy Monitor, our energy monitoring service
  • Over 50 ways to Get Money Calm

So how do we make our money? In a nutshell, when you use us to buy a product, we get a reward from the company you’re buying from.

But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?

We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.