If you’ve ever walked past the first class cabin on your way to a middle seat in coach and thought to yourself there has to be a better way, well, maybe there is.
JPMorgan Chase brought the allure of premium credit cards to a new level when it introduced theChase Sapphire Reserve card last year, making a $450 annual fee seem reasonable – if not a downright steal – thanks to generous travel credits and a six-figure sign-on bonus.
But the popular credit card leaves one thing to be desired: airline-specific loyalty rewards. Though Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed on many different airlines, perks such as priority boarding and free checked bags aren’t included.
If you’re a frequent traveler – or even just a beleaguered one craving a more luxurious vacation experience – paying the annual fee for a premium airline credit card allows you to buy the benefits of elite status so you can save time (and maybe money), maximize your trip value, rack up miles, and restore some peace of mind.
To help figure out which airline credit card is best, we compared the top-tier offerings from the three largest US carriers: Delta, United, and American Airlines.
Before we dive in, please note all the usual credit card disclaimers apply: Don’t spend more than you can afford to pay in full each month. Credit card interest is expensive and a waste of money. And so on .
Scroll through to see how each card stacks up when it comes to annual fees, spending bonuses, airline miles, and hotel and airport perks – and which one emerged victorious in our match-up.