5 Credit Cards for Flyers Who Love Special Treatment

If you’re looking for a better flight experience, you might want to see what an airline credit card can do for you.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Frequent flyers know constantly crisscrossing the skies is a grind. Dealing with security, airline fees and other hassles can make any trip a headache.

If you’re looking for a better flight experience, you might want to see what an airline credit card can do for you. Most major airlines offer credit cards with perks that can improve your flight experience.

Here are five credit cards that get you special treatment with the airlines.

1. United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on United tickets, one mile per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 16.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Special treatment from United starts before you step foot on the plane.
For Your Flight: The first checked bag for both you and a companion is free. Plus, you’ll get priority boarding ahead of general passengers. The card also provides two one-time United Club lounge passes each year with your card anniversary.
Drawbacks: If you tend to only carry on, you won’t get the benefit of the free checked bag.

2. Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases, one mile per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95, waived for first year
APR: Variable 16.74% to 24.74%
Why We Picked It: You’ll get special treatment at the airport and save on in-flight meals. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For Your Flight: Cardholders and up to four companions get their first checked bag free with domestic American Airlines flights. Plus, they’ll get priority boarding and a 25% discount on in-flight meals and beverages.
Drawbacks: Perks like priority boarding and free checked bags are restricted to domestic flights.

3. Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines flights and with select hotel and car rental partners, one point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: 6,000 bonus points each card anniversary
Annual Fee: $99
APR: Variable 16.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Southwest’s credit card helps flyers avoid fees.
For Your Flight: Cardholders get first and second checked bags free. There are no change fees if you need to modify your flights, although fare differences may apply.
Drawbacks: Southwest does not offer priority boarding with this card.

4. JetBlue Plus Card

Rewards: Six points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases, two points per dollar spent at restaurants and grocery stores and one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, 5,000 annual bonus points on your card anniversary
Annual Fee: $99
APR: Variable 12.74%, 20.74% or 25.74% on purchases, 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers, then variable 12.74%, 20.74% or 25.74%
Why We Picked It: You’ll get deep discounts on in-flight meals and free checked bags and you can earn elite status with JetBlue.
For Your Flight: Cardholders and up to three companions get their first bags checked free. You’ll also get 50% off eligible in-flight beverages and food. If you spend $50,000 on your card in a calendar year, you can join the TrueBlue Mosaic program, which provides benefits including waived change and cancellation fees, expedited security lines, priority boarding and free alcoholic beverages.
Drawbacks: Earning Mosaic status requires a steep spending minimum.

5. Gold Delta Skymiles Credit Card

Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, one mile per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first four months, plus a $50 statement credit with your first Delta purchase in the same time frame
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
APR: Variable 16.74% to 25.74%
Why We Picked It: Delta’s credit card provides basic flight perks and the potential for Medallion membership.
For Your Flight: Your first checked bag is free and you’ll enjoy priority boarding. In-flight meals, beverages and audio headset purchases receive a 20% discount. Each year, you’ll get a round-trip companion certificate for a domestic main cabin seat. The card also provides discounted Delta Sky Club lounge access. Finally, spending $25,000 in a calendar year can earn you Medallion Member status, which includes a number of additional premium benefits including upgraded seats, additional waived fees and more.
Drawbacks: Earning Medallion membership requires a steep spending minimum or earning Medallion Qualification Dollars.

How to Choose a Card for Airline Perks

Because most cards that convey special flight perks are offered by specific airlines, you should first examine the card that’s tied to your airline of choice. If the perks that come with that card aren’t particularly impressive, you may want to check competitor cards to see if it could be beneficial to switch loyalties.

Of course, you’ll want to weigh the offered benefits against the annual fee and other associated card costs. For instance, airport lounges are great for those that frequently arrive at the airport early or experience layovers. But if you tend to get to your gate at the last second and usually take direct flights, this benefit might be worthless. Make sure to look for benefits that actually enhance the way you travel.

If you have no specific loyalty to one airline and tend to choose flights based on factors like price or convenience, you may be better off with a general travel card.

What Is Required to Get a Credit Card With Special Treatment at Airlines?

Cards that provide special flight perks and elite status with airlines usually require excellent credit. You should be reasonably confident you can get approved before you apply, because a hard credit inquiry from a credit card application can ding your credit score a few points. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: beer5020

At publishing time, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select, JetBlue Plus and Gold Delta Skymiles credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 5 Credit Cards for Flyers Who Love Special Treatment appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Credit Cards That Could Help You Get Out of Debt Faster

0% credit cards

Are you struggling under the weight of credit card debt? As unsecured debt, credit cards can have much higher interest rates than loans secured by your home or your car. And unlike a home mortgage or a student loan, credit card interest charges are never tax deductible.

When you have credit card debt, you continue to incur interest charges each day on your balance, and it can consume a substantial proportion of your monthly payments. Thankfully, there are some credit cards that can actually help you to get out of debt sooner than staying with your current credit card.

Many credit cards offer interest-free promotional financing on balance transfers. When you open an account with one of these cards, you can transfer your existing balance to your new card and enjoy 0% APR financing for more than a year. However, nearly all credit cards with interest-free promotional financing on balance transfers will charge a fee of 3% or 5% of the balance you want to carry over to the new card.

During this promotional financing period, 100% of each payment you make goes directly towards paying down the principal. As a result, you can pay off your credit card debt sooner without making larger payments each month. Better yet, you can use the end of the promotional financing offer as a goal for paying off your entire debt. When you have an added incentive to pay off your debt before interest begins to accrue, you can work even harder towards avoiding all interest charges.

Here are some of the best credit cards that can help you to get out of debt faster.

1. Chase Slate

This is the only credit card from a major bank that offers 0% APR balance transfers with no balance transfer fee or annual fee. New applicants receive 15 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with no fee for transfers completed within 60 days of account opening. 

In addition to its outstanding balance transfer offer, this card also features Chase’s Blueprint program at no additional cost. Blueprint allows you to set a date for paying off your debt and it provides you with the amount you have to pay each month to reach that goal. Or, you can input the amount you are able to pay each month, and it will tell you how much time it will take for you to pay off your debt. Blueprint also allows you to avoid interest on some charges by paying them in full while carrying a balance on others. There is no annual fee for this card, and it has no penalty interest rate.

2. Citi Simplicity

Citi’s Simplicity card offers the longest promotional financing offer available from a major bank. It features 21 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Simplicity also has no late fees and no penalty interest rate. Other benefits include extended warranty coverage and access to Citi’s Price Rewind service. There is no annual fee for this card. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

3. BankAmericard From Bank of America

This card offers 18 months of interest-free financing on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening, with a 3% balance transfer fee. And since it’s issued by one of the nation’s largest banks, those who have an existing checking or savings account with Bank of America can have the convenience of making transfers between accounts rather than payments between institutions. This card is also compatible with mobile payment systems including Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. There’s no annual fee for this card.

4. JetBlue Plus Card From Barclaycard

This card allows you to pay down your balance faster, while also offering travel rewards and benefits. New cardholders receive 12 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers completed within 45 days of account opening. You also earn 6x points for JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores and 1x on all other purchases. Travel benefits include a 50% savings on in-flight purchases, 10% of your redeemed points back and a free checked bag on JetBlue flights. There’s a $99 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

A Note on Balance Transfers

Once you transfer your balances to a 0% APR card, it can be tempting to spend again on the clean, debt-free card, but it’s important to try to keep your balances as low as possible on both cards. Card balances and a heavy amount of debt influence your credit scores in a negative way, and a low credit score can limit your options in the future. Mortgage rates, car loan rates and even cellphone down payments are influenced by your credit score. If you’re curious to see how your debts are influencing your credit scores, you can see two of them for free, updated every 14 days on Credit.com. 

At publishing time, the Chase Slate, Citi Simplicity and the JetBlue Plus card from Barclaycard are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: LuminaStock

The post 4 Credit Cards That Could Help You Get Out of Debt Faster appeared first on Credit.com.