The big takeaway from this week’s Co-Op is that the best airline credit card for you will depend largely on the airport you fly out of most. Live in Houston? You’ll probably want to start your search with a United or Southwest card. Atlanta? Go for a Delta card.

But still, it can be instructive to see the different offerings available from various airlines, if you aren’t lucky enough to live in a hub city, or just prefer to utilize a less popular airline out of your large airport. These were the four most-nominated cards this week, along with what our readers loved about them. At the end of the post, be sure to return your seat backs and tray tables to their upright and locked positions, and vote for your pick!


Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

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The Benefits pay for the annual cost (7,500 anniversary miles, $75 Southwest travel credit, and four upgraded boardings [based on availability], etc.)

The miles don’t seem to depreciate as much as other cards/airlines

Simple and easy to redeem rewards, a nice integration between Southwest and Chase

If you have other Chase cards, it’s in one easy-to-use website and app

20% cash back on in-flight internet/snacks/etc. - PtSlopoke

This! When we signed up we got 40,000 free points for spending what amounted to normal grocery/gas budget in the first three months. It was enough to get us “free” flights to Denver in October and a free flight for the mrs.’ mom to San Diego to see family. - UnderSTeerEnthusiast - Now Featuring RWD

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Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

Delta Reserve Amex. Yes, it has a $450 annual fee. But, as a frequent traveler, I’m always looking for a Delta Sky Club, and not having to pay for one (an annual sky club membership is $450) gives me the chance to get to the airport, set my things down, and relax or get some work done away from the hustle of the rest of the airport. At the same time, the spending bonuses are great to help keep me at Gold Medallion or better - $60K in spending gets an extra 30,000 Sky Miles and MQMs (15,000 of each at $30,000, and another 15,000 at $60,000) which means Gold Medallion status on Delta is only 20,000 MQMs away, meaning you’ll likely see yourself upgraded on a larger portion of your flights. - tgrwillki

The SkyClub and First Class Companion pass pay for the card on its own for me - Ryan

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Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Photo: The Points Guy

One free checked bag per person on your itinerary up to eight other people.

Annual $99 companion ticket anywhere (+$22 or more in taxes and fees).

20% cash back on in-flight purchases. - the ghost of eazy e

Alaska... annual $99 companion fare. Free checked baggage. Best overall ariline experience too.....way better than Southwest with the cattle call boarding process. - storrey

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United Explorer Card

Photo: The Points Guy

I guess my favorite is the one I’ve got, the United Explorer. 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in first three months, 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases/restaurants/hotel stays, 1 mile per $1 on everything else, and two [one-time] United Club passes per year. Assuming you buy your ticket with the card, you and a companion get your first checked bag free and priority boarding. You get TSA precheck paid for, 25% off in-flight purchases, no blackout dates for reward booking and no foreign transaction fees.

I guess I’d get more mileage (heh) out of it if I lived closer to Dulles, but I usually take advantage of the free checked bag mostly to be a good citizen to my fellow travelers, even though boarding early means I could carry on and not give a shit. - O’s, Poes and Bohs

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