Best Airline Credit Card Bonuses With a Free Ticket

We’ve rounded up the best airline credit card bonuses worth up to $770. You can rack up miles and bring a companion along for free.

A happy couple takes a selfy on an airplane, headed to a beach vacation.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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Spring is prime time for vacation planning, so we’ve gathered the best airline credit card bonuses and companion fare offers to help get you started. These two travel rewards cards provide solid benefits and value relative to their annual fees. 

If you already have an airline rewards card, you’re not alone. One in four U.S. households has one, according to a recent polling study by Airlines for America. Their research also found that in 2022, a whopping 63% of all frequent flyer points or miles earned by consumers came from airline credit cards. 

What are the best airline credit card bonuses? 

Here is a summary of two cards that will give new cardholders a solid boost in frequent flyer points or miles. Each card also comes with a free or discounted companion fare and other perks.

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<a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank">Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

This mid-tier card has an annual fee of $350, but the intro offer is a generous 50,000 miles (worth about $600) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months of Card Membership. You also receive a free companion ticket each year, with some limitations. The ticket must be on Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. Terms apply.

The rate of earning rewards is strong. You'll rack up three miles per dollar on Delta purchases, two miles per dollar on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and one mile per dollar on all other qualified purchases. Terms apply.

Read our article on all three <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Delta SkyMiles credit cards from American Express. 


<a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card

The card recently increased its welcome offer. For a limited time, new cardholders get a free companion pass and 70,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 or more on purchases within the first 90 days of opening the account. According to <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Bankrate, Alaska Air Miles are worth about 1.1 cents each, so the bonus miles are worth about $770. This card offers three points for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines travel, two points on gas, cable, streaming and local transit, and one point on all other purchases. Please read <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">our article detailing the Alaska Airlines credit card for more details.

How do the cards' perks and fees compare?

Both cards offer solid miles bonuses to new cardholders. Your decision to sign up for one card over another may be based on which airline you use most frequently and whether you need access to a wide variety of partner airlines.

Hot tip: if you already hold a Bank of America or American Express Card, it's worth considering an airline card by the same issuer. In some cases, you may be able to share or transfer the points or miles from one card to another. 

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Bonuses and Perks Comparison
PerkDelta SkyMiles Platinum American ExperesAlaska Airlines Visa Signature
Number of bonus miles50,00070,000
Estimated cash value of bonus according to$600$770
Free or near-free companion fare?YesYes
IssuerAmerican ExpressBank of America
Black-out datesNone on DeltaNone on Alaska Airlines
Airline partner allianceYes, though no major US carriersYes, extensive, including American Airlines. Partners with One World Alliance.
At least one free bag check per flightYesYes
Priority boardingYesYes

What additional perks do the cards offer?

Both cards provide a companion fare for every card anniversary. However, Alaska Airlines is facing some serious challenges that may make you pause before hitching your vacation strategy to its frequent flyer program. Recently, Alaska Airline's flight attendants voted overwhelmingly to go on strike and a door plug of a Boeing Max plane detached during an Alaska Airlines flight.

Hot tip: Check out our reviews of the other airline credit card tiers offered by the Delta SkyMiles cards. You may find a card with annual fees and perks that are better for you than the cards profiled here. 

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Additional perks
Header Cell - Column 0 Delta SkyMiles PlatinumAlaska Airlines Visa Signature
Benefit 115% discount on award travel on Delta flightsGet $100 off an annual Lounge+ Membership when you pay with your card
Benefit 2$100 discount on Delta Stays, $120 rideshare credit (enrollment required) and $120 Resy creditBank of America customers get a 10% rewards bonus on all miles earned by the card
Benefit 3$50 discount on flights for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.comGet 20% back on Alaska in-flight purchases

What are the card rates and fees?

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Rates and Fees
Row 0 - Cell 0 Delta SkyMiles PlatinumAlaska Airlines Visa Signature
Annual Fee*$350$95
Interest Rates*20.99% to 29.99% variable APR for purchases; see rates and fees*20.24% to 28.24% variable APR for purchases and balance transfers
Foreign Transaction FeeNoneNone

*Delta SkyMiles Platinum rates and fees.

Airline cards dos and don'ts

As with any rewards credit card, be sure to weigh these benefits against fees and make sure you understand how to use the card effectively. That said, the top annual fee of $150 should be easily offset if you travel enough to benefit from card perks.

Reward credit cards are great if you use them wisely. However, always pay them off in full and on time each month to avoid interest, which can dwarf the gain. And don't spend any more than usual to meet the required spending amount for a given offer. 

If this is your first foray into credit cards, or you just want a refresher, make sure you know how to choose a credit card. And ensure you are familiar with what counts as a good credit score

Other travel cards to consider


As an independent publication dedicated to helping you make the most of your money, the article above is our view of the best deals and is not the opinion of any entity mentioned such as a card issuer, hotel, airline etc. Similarly, the content has not been reviewed or endorsed by any of those entities. 

Ellen Kennedy
Personal Finance Editor,

Ellen writes and edits personal finance stories, especially on credit cards and related products. She also covers the nexus between sustainability and personal finance. She was a manager and sustainability analyst at Calvert Investments for 15 years, focusing on climate change and consumer staples. She served on the sustainability councils of several Fortune 500 companies and led corporate engagements. Before joining Calvert, Ellen was a program officer for Winrock International, managing loans to alternative energy projects in Latin America. She earned a master’s from the U.C. Berkeley in international relations and Latin America.