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The Best Credit Cards for Earning Airline Elite Status [2024]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...
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Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...

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If you fly frequently, you know the value of having airline elite status. Free checked bags, priority boarding, assistance when things go wrong, and complimentary upgrades can really make travel more comfortable.

Qualifying for elite status year after year, however, has become more difficult. In addition to flying the required number of elite qualifying miles, some airlines have added levels of hefty spending requirements (elite qualifying dollars) in order to achieve any level of elite status.

It can be easier to qualify for elite status with the help of an airline credit card. While none of the major domestic air carriers offers a credit card that offers complimentary airline elite status, there are credit cards that do offer a faster path to elite status.

Being a cardholder and spending on specific airline-branded cards can earn you miles that help you qualify for elite status. You may also earn elite qualifying dollars on certain airline-branded credit cards that count towards elite status revenue requirements or earn a waiver of those spending requirements.

Let’s take a look at the airline-branded cards that can expedite your path to airline elite status and explain how the process works for each card.

American Airlines

AAdvantage Elite Status Qualifications

American Airlines has simplified the path to elite status with the introduction of the Loyalty Points program. For each $1 you spend on any co-branded American Airlines credit card, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point which will count toward your elite status.

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These cards also offer a faster path to elite status:

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* The AAdvantage Aviator Silver card is not open to new applicants but can be requested as a product change once you have an AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®.

The AAdvantage Executive World Elite card comes with premium travel benefits such as Admirals Club lounge access for the cardholder, immediate family members, or up to 2 guests plus authorized users. The card also comes with priority boarding and a free checked bag.

Hot Tip: Use your AAdvantage-branded Mastercard or other Mastercard to shop via SimplyMiles or the AAdvantage eShopping portal to earn more elite-qualifying Loyalty Points and reach elite status even faster.

American AAdvantage Credit Cards Snapshot

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Status lovers will enjoy the variety of benefits that come with this card. From free bags to reduced-price inflight beverages, AA still flies in style.

Status lovers will enjoy the variety of benefits that come with this card. From free bags to reduced-price inflight beverages, AA still flies in style.
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
50,000 miles
$700
$99, waived for first 12 months
21.24% - 29.99% Variable

Blue skies and fair winds make for a good day to fly! Choosing your airline can be difficult, since factors like location, time, and destination all go into whether or not you can fly somewhere.

An easy choice for many people is American Airlines, because they’re the largest airline in the world. If you’re an American, you’ve probably flown American Airlines at least once.

Frequent fliers tend to enjoy the treatment they can get, from boarding privileges to free bags to lounge access. There’s many reasons to fly with AA, and if so then getting a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® could be for you.

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 0%
Rewards Center

American Airlines AAdvantage Program

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Access to Admirals Clubs, tons of added benefits, and a way to spend towards elite status make this a great option for American Airlines loyalists.

Access to Admirals Clubs, tons of added benefits, and a way to spend towards elite status make this a great option for American Airlines loyalists.
Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
70,000 miles
$980
$595
21.24% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a go-to card thanks to its exclusive perks and benefits for people who love to fly American Airlines. With a complimentary Admirals Club membership, free checked bags, inflight discounts, and the ability to earn Loyalty Points for every $1 you spend, there is plenty to love about the card.

Pros
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 10 miles per $1 spent on eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars
  • Earn 10 miles per $1 spent on eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels
Cons
  • $595 annual fee
  • Doesn’t earn many miles on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 
Rewards Center

American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Earn 2x miles per dollar spent on American Airlines flights and at grocery stores, all without needing to pay an annual fee.

Earn 2x miles per dollar spent on American Airlines flights and at grocery stores, all without needing to pay an annual fee.
Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
10,000 miles
$140
$0
21.24% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® is perfectly suited for those looking for a way to earn more American Airlines miles and earn Loyalty Points, all without needing to pay an annual fee.

Pros
  • 2x mile per $1 on American Airlines and grocery store purchases
  • 1x mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases
Cons
  • Other cards are more rewarding for frequent American Airlines flyers
  • Charges a 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flight
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A low annual fee, a free checked bag, and tons of perks and discounts make this card valuable for business owners who travel.

A low annual fee, a free checked bag, and tons of perks and discounts make this card valuable for business owners who travel.
For a limited time, earn 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $5,000 in purchases within the first 5 months of account opening.
75,000 miles
$1,050
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99
21.24% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

With the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, you get a card that gives you perks like boarding privileges, free checked bags, and discounts on inflight purchases, while also earning more miles for your next award redemption.

Pros
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on cable and satellite providers, at gas stations, on car rentals, and on select telecommunications merchants
  • 1x mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Cons
  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Designed for businesses
  • For a limited time, earn 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $5,000 in purchases within the first 5 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program

United Airlines

United MileagePlus Elite Status Qualifications

Each calendar year, the MileagePlus frequent flyer member must complete the required levels of activity to qualify for United Premier elite status. The first requirement is to meet the appropriate amount of Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF) and/or Premier Qualifying Points (PQP).

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Top-level United Premier 1K members receive complimentary PlusPoints that can be used to upgrade domestic and international paid flights, plus cancellation or award fee waivers, and more.

Hot Tip: We also have 2 in-depth dedicated posts for what United MileagePlus elite status is worth — one in terms of perks prior to departure and at the airport and another for benefits related to seating and upgrades.

How United MileagePlus Credit Cards Can Help You Qualify

United credit cardholders can earn Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) through their annual credit card spend. For every $12,000 spent on your qualifying United-branded card, you will receive 500 PQP. Maximums apply depending on the card.

United MileagePlus Credit Cards Snapshot

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United℠ Explorer Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

With priority boarding privileges, no foreign transaction fees and more, MileagePlus members will definitely enjoy their partnered card.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
With priority boarding privileges, no foreign transaction fees and more, MileagePlus members will definitely enjoy their partnered card.
Limited-time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
60,000 bonus miles
$720
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
21.99% - 28.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

You travel United all the time, but you have heard that there could be ways to make your travel experiences even better, including priority boarding, free bags, and more miles.

You should consider the United℠ Explorer Card, because this card does all that and more!

Pros
  • 2x miles per $1 on United purchases, dining purchases (including delivery services), and hotel stays
  • 1x mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • First checked bag free for you and up to 1 traveling companion
Cons
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Limited-time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Explorer Card
  • Free first checked bag - a savings of up to $160 per roundtrip. Terms Apply.
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.99% - 28.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

United MileagePlus Frequent Flyer Program

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United Club℠ Infinite Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Perfect for frequent United flyers who want premium perks like United Club access and free baggage benefits.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
Perfect for frequent United flyers who want premium perks like United Club access and free baggage benefits.
Limited-time offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 90,000 bonus miles
$1,080
$525
21.99% - 28.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

The United Club℠ Infinite Card is a premium card designed for the most dedicated of United frequent flyers who are looking for a card that provides the opportunity to earn extra United MileagePlus miles and receive lounge access via a yearly United Club membership.

United frequent flyers will find that the United Club Infinite card provides an enhanced experience on their United flights thanks to the money saved on each flight and the conveniences it provides.

Pros
  • 4x miles per $1 on United purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 on travel and dining purchases
  • Complimentary United Club membership
Cons
  • $525 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Limited-time offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $360 per roundtrip (terms apply) - and Premier Access® travel services
  • 10% United Economy Saver Award discount within the continental U.S. and Canada
  • Earn up to 10,000 Premier qualifying points per calendar year (25 PQP for every $500 you spend on purchases)
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.99% - 28.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
LIMITED-TIME OFFER
United Quest℠ Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The United Quest card is a fantastic option for United flyers looking to earn more miles and enhance their flights.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The United Quest card is a fantastic option for United flyers looking to earn more miles and enhance their flights.
Limited-time offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
70,000 miles
$840
$250
21.99% - 28.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The newest addition to United’s lineup of cards is the United Quest℠ Card. With it, you can bolster your United MileagePlus miles, thanks to the bonus categories, while enjoying the card’s many perks designed to help save you money on each United flight.

With an annual fee that falls between the United℠ Explorer Card and United Club℠ Infinite Card, the United Quest card makes for a fantastic card option for United frequent flyers.

Pros
  • 3x miles per $1 on United purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on travel, dining, and select streaming services
  • $125 annual United credit
Cons
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Does not offer airport lounge access
  • Limited-time offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 PQP after qualifying purchases
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel, dining and select streaming services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $360 per roundtrip (terms apply) - and priority boarding
  • Up to a $125 United® purchase credit and up to 10,000 miles in award flight credits each year (terms apply)
  • Earn up to 6,000 Premier qualifying points per calendar year (25 PQP for every $500 you spend on purchases)
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.99% - 28.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
LIMITED-TIME OFFER
United Gateway℠ Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The United Gateway card is a great option for those looking to earn more United miles without paying an annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The United Gateway card is a great option for those looking to earn more United miles without paying an annual fee.
Limited-time offer: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. Learn more.
30,000 miles
$360
$0
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months; after that, 21.99% - 28.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The United Gateway℠ Card is a great option for those looking to earn more United miles without wanting to pay a credit card annual fee. Plus, the card offers other solid benefits like a 25% back on United inflight purchases, purchase protection, and rental car insurance.

Pros
  • 2x miles per $1 on United purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 at gas stations and on local transit and commuting, including rideshare services, taxicabs, train tickets, tolls, and mass transit
  • 1x mile per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • If you are a frequent United flyer, other cards offer more perks
  • It does not earn transferable rewards
  • Limited-time offer: Earn 30,000 bonus miles
  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at gas stations, on local transit and commuting
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks when you pay with your Gateway Card
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months; after that, 21.99% - 28.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
United Club℠ Business Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The United Club Business card is a great option for frequent United flyers looking for United Club access.

The United Club Business card is a great option for frequent United flyers looking for United Club access.
Earn 50,000 bonus miles + 1,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
50,000 miles
$900
$450
21.99%–28.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The United Club℠ Business Card is a premium card option for dedicated United loyalists seeking a card that offers complimentary United Club access, helps them earn and retain status, and doesn’t skip on the benefits.

From free checked bags to upgrades on award tickets and the ability to earn Premier qualifying points, there is plenty to the United Club Business card that United flyers are sure to love.

Pros
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on United purchases
  • 1.5x miles per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Complimentary United Club membership
Cons
  • $450 annual fee
  • Earning rate for United purchases is poor compared to other United cards
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles + 1,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • Earn 2x miles on United purchases
  • Earn 1.5x miles on all other purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • United Club membership — up to a $650 value per year. Relax in comfort while waiting for your flight with complimentary beverages, snacks, high-speed Wi-Fi, and more
  • Free first and second checked bags for you and a companion, save up to $320 per round-trip
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.99%–28.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

Air Canada

Air Canada Aeroplan Elite Status Qualifications

Aeroplan frequent flyer members have several levels of elite status for which to strive. Requirements include meeting both flying and Status Qualifying Dollar (SQD) levels in a calendar year.

Here are the various Aeroplan elite levels and the requirements for each one.

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How the Aeroplan® Credit Card Can Help You Qualify

As an Aeroplan cardholder, you will receive Aeroplan 25K elite status just for holding the Aeroplan card. Your status begins when you are approved and continues for the remainder of that year and for the entire following calendar year.

To maintain your 25K Aeroplan elite status, just spend $15,000 in a calendar year on the card. Or, you can qualify by meeting the SQM/SQS and SQD requirements listed above.

Spend $50,000 in a calendar year on the card and receive a status boost of 1 level up from your qualification level. For example, if you qualified for 25K in a calendar year, you would be bumped up to 35K.

25K elite members receive priority seat selection, 50% discount on preferred seats, priority check-in/boarding/standby, 2 free checked bags, and Star Alliance Silver recognition. Additionally, 25K members receive select benefits that can include upgrade credits, bonus Aeroplan points, reduced reward pricing, and more.

Aeroplan Card Snapshot

Aeroplan® Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Aeroplan card is a great option for Air Canada flyers looking to earn more points and receive automatic elite status.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The Aeroplan card is a great option for Air Canada flyers looking to earn more points and receive automatic elite status.
Earn 70,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
70,000 points
$1,050
95
21.74% - 28.74% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Flyers based in the U.S. may think they wouldn’t have a need for a card like the Aeroplan® Credit Card, it might be much better suited for you than you think.

Not only does Air Canada offer fantastic award redemptions, but adding the card to your wallet makes the program even more rewarding by offering elite status, more points, travel coverage, and more. Let’s take a closer look and see why the Aeroplan card might make a lot of sense for you.

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 on Air Canada purchases, at grocery stores, and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services)
  • 500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend in a calendar month (up to a maximum of 1,500 bonus points)
  • Receive Aeroplan 25K status for the remainder of the calendar year, plus the following calendar year, and continue to extend it beyond that by spending $15,000 on the card per calendar year
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 70,000 bonus points
  • Earn 70,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Redeem points for both international and domestic flights with the Aeroplan® Credit Card.
  • Fly to another continent and travel the world with the Aeroplan® Credit Card.
  • Earn 3X points for each dollar spent at grocery stores, on dining at restaurants, and Air Canada directly. Earn 1X point for each dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend in a calendar month - up to 1,500 points per month.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.74% - 28.74% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Hot Tip: Learn more about the best ways to use your Air Canada Aeroplan points, check out this list of options.

JetBlue

JetBlue Elite Status Qualifications

There are 4 levels of JetBlue Elite status that can be earned by spending on travel, spending on a JetBlue credit card, or by a combination of both (through earning JetBlue tiles).

  • Earn 1 tile for every $100 in qualifying spend on JetBlue flights, JetBlue Vacations, Paisly by JetBlue, JetBlue extras and fees, and American Airlines flights.
  • Earn 1 tile for every $1,000 in eligible JetBlue credit card purchases.

You can earn JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic elite status each calendar year by flying, using a JetBlue credit card, or both. To earn status, you either need to hit the travel spend minimum or the credit card spend minimum or the tile requirement.

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JetBlue Mosaic status comes with free checked bags, waived cancellation or change fees, priority boarding, bonus points, and free alcoholic beverages onboard. You also receive a dedicated customer service phone line.

How JetBlue TrueBlue Credit Cards Can Help You Qualify

You can earn JetBlue Mosaic status simply by spending $50,000 or more in a calendar year on The JetBlue Plus Card or The JetBlue Business Card.

JetBlue TrueBlue Credit Cards Snapshot

The JetBlue Plus Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Earn major points to redeem for JetBlue flights and more! Earn up to 6x points in various categories and a yearly point bonus.

Learn More(at Barclays' secure site)
Earn major points to redeem for JetBlue flights and more! Earn up to 6x points in various categories and a yearly point bonus.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.
60,000 points
$99
21.24 to 29.99% variable

The information regarding the JetBlue Plus Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


You can’t complain about spending so much time with your head in the clouds when JetBlue makes it so easy! Whether booking flights for business or pleasure, they are your go-to airline every time.

Between free entertainment (DirectTV, SiriusXM), Wi-Fi, and unlimited snacks and (non-alcoholic) beverages, what’s not to love?

Now, you can earn and redeem points for those flights when you sign up for The JetBlue Plus Card. It allows you to earn free flights even faster than The JetBlue Card and comes with some pretty nice features too!

  • Limited-Time Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.
  • Earn 6X points on eligible JetBlue purchases 2X points at restaurants and eligible grocery stores and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • Enjoy Mosaic benefits if you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card.
  • Enjoy an annual $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card.
  • 50% inflight savings on cocktails and food purchases.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24 to 29.99% variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

JetBlue TrueBlue Frequent Flyer Program

The JetBlue Business Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, free checked bag, a 10% points rebate, and bonus points each year on your account anniversary.

Learn More(at Barclay's secure site)
Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, free checked bag, a 10% points rebate, and bonus points each year on your account anniversary.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, plus 10,000 bonus points when a purchase is made on an employee card in the first 90 days.
60,000 points
$99
21.24% variable or 29.99% variable

The information regarding The JetBlue Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


As a small business owner, you don’t have time to waste. That’s why you look for products and services you can depend on.

You already spend money on airline tickets, office supplies, and dining out. Sign up for The JetBlue Business Card and you’ll automatically earn points (and bonus points!) for your expenses.

Even better, give your employees cards at no extra cost and you’ll get the points earned from their purchases too. Then redeem your points for free trips and more!

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, plus 10,000 bonus points when a purchase is made on an employee card in the first 90 days
  • Earn 6x points on eligible JetBlue purchases
  • Earn 2x points at restaurants and office supply stores
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to three companions on the same reservation when you use your card to book JetBlue-operated flights
  • No foreign transaction fees
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24% variable or 29.99% variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

JetBlue TrueBlue Frequent Flyer Program

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Rapid Rewards Elite Status Qualification

Here’s what it takes to qualify for Rapid Rewards elite status with Southwest Airlines:

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A-List Preferred members receive priority check-in, boarding, and security lane access. Free onboard Wi-Fi, 100% bonus points for flights, and the ability to stand by for other same-day flights are also valuable benefits of being A-List Preferred.

A Companion Pass allows a member to purchase a ticket and add a preselected companion for the cost of just taxes and fees. The pass can be used unlimited times during the valid time period for which the member has qualified.

Hot Tip: Are you a frequent flyer with Southwest? If yes, see our complete guide to the best credit cards for Southwest flyers.

How Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards Can Help You Qualify

Rapid Rewards-branded credit cards earn qualifying tier points, when spending on the cards, that count toward elite status and bonus points that count toward the Companion Pass. In addition, anniversary points granted when you renew your Rapids Rewards credit card count toward Companion Pass status.

The generous welcome bonus you receive after meeting minimum spending requirements also counts toward Companion Pass requirements.

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Rapid Rewards Credit Card

Renewal Points (Count Toward Companion Pass)

Elite Tier Points (Don’t Count Toward Companion Pass)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

3,000

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

6,000

Earn 1,500 elite tier points for each $10,000 spent on the card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

7,500

Earn 1,500 elite tier points for each $10,000 spent on the card

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

3,000

Earn 1,500 elite tier points for each $10,000 spent on the card

There are several ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points that count toward the Companion Pass and free flights. To review some creative ideas and learn more about the Rapid Rewards loyalty program, you’ll want to check out our guides.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards Snapshot

NEW OFFER
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card focuses on the Southwest traveler with anniversary points, travel credit, upgrades, and money back on inflight purchases.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
This card focuses on the Southwest traveler with anniversary points, travel credit, upgrades, and money back on inflight purchases.
Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 85,000 points
$1,105
$149
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal Southwest card offering from Chase. When you peel back the curtain, it is easy to see why.

Not only does the card offer multiple bonus categories to help you earn more Southwest Rapid Rewards points, but it is also loaded with benefits that are sure to offer quite a bit of value to Southwest flyers.

Here is a full overview of the card to help you decide if it is a good fit for your wallet.

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on local transit and commuting, including rideshare purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases
Cons
  • $149 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable points
  • Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Earn Southwest points on every purchase, plus anniversary points, Tier Qualifying Points, and points toward the Companion Pass!

Earn Southwest points on every purchase, plus anniversary points, Tier Qualifying Points, and points toward the Companion Pass!
Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 50,000 points
$650
$99
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Another week, another flight. Flying weekly can get tiring, but you know that every flight gets you closer to taking some great vacations with your significant other or your favorite travel buddy.

To save money on the flights, you like to use Southwest Airlines.

So why not get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card to help you earn extra Rapid Rewards points?

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2x points per $1 on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
Cons
  • $99 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 6,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
Rewards Center

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 85,000 Points
$1,105
$69
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If you spend a lot of time in the air, it’s important to get a great deal on your plane tickets.

Southwest Airlines can help you get those deals.

One way to save is by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. This card helps you earn points for all your spending, and earning more reward points is always a good thing for a busy traveler!

Pros
  • 2x points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
  • 2x points per $1 on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
Cons
  • $69 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

Bottom Line: Southwest Airlines elite status offers several benefits, but the Southwest Companion Pass has become a holy grail of travel and a sought-after perk for those who frequently fly Southwest Airlines. 

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines Elite Status Qualifications

Frontier Airlines has 3 tiers of status in its FRONTIER Miles program. Here’s how you qualify for each level during any calendar year:

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Top-level Elite 100K status includes priority boarding, priority security, award and travel fees waived, discounted lounge access, and a bonus mileage multiplier.

How the Frontier Airlines World Card Can Help You Qualify

Earn 1 Elite Qualifying Mile for every dollar spent on the Frontier Airlines World card. Having the card also opens up the option to pool miles between family members. In addition, you’ll earn 5 reward miles per dollar spent on the card, 3x miles for dining, and 1 mile on all other purchases. Another benefit to this card is that when you spend $2,500 on the card each year, you’ll earn a $100 flight credit.

Hot Tip: Because you earn 1 Elite Qualifying Mile for every dollar spent on the Frontier Airlines World card, you could qualify for elite status just by spending on the card. 

Final Thoughts

If you frequently travel on several airlines and elite status isn’t important to you, you may fare better with a premium travel rewards credit card. These cards offer benefits such as worldwide lounge access, accelerated earnings on all airlines, a large card welcome bonus, and travel statement credits.

The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are 2 such alternatives to consider if an airline-branded card isn’t right for you.

But, if you frequently fly 1 particular airline, you can experience additional benefits, earn frequent flyer miles quickly, and even enjoy a faster path to elite status, by having that airline’s branded card. Many airline-branded credit cards also come with elite-style benefits such as free checked bags, priority boarding, no additional fees, companion tickets, and more.

The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information regarding the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information regarding the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the United Club℠ Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The JetBlue Plus Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The JetBlue Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information regarding the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best credit card for airline elite status?

The best credit card for airline elite status will be one that aligns with your flying habits and your spending profile.

If you frequent United Airlines, for example, the best card for you may be a United-branded credit card because you’ll receive travel benefits and elevated earnings specific to United.

If you frequently fly a lot of different airlines, a travel rewards credit card may be a better match.

Selecting a card that offers elevated earnings on airline flight and travel purchases, has premium travel benefits, and offers statement credits for purchases you’re making anyway could be equally beneficial.

Do the miles I earn on the credit card count toward elite status?

Bonus miles you earn by spending on an airline credit card don’t count toward elite status.

However, some airline credit cards do earn elite qualifying miles for spending a lot on their branded credit card.

If the miles will be counting towards elite status they will be described as such. For example, look for statements such as “spend $25,000 in a calendar year on the card and receive 10,000 elite (or Medallion, Premier, etc.) qualifying miles.”

Can I earn airline elite status just by spending on the credit card?

The short answer is yes. It’s possible to earn elite status by just spending on a credit card.

For example, spending on an American Airlines AAdvantage-branded credit card can earn Loyalty Points that count toward qualification for elite status.

How do elite qualifying dollars work?

Airlines normally require you to fly a certain number of miles on their airline (or their partner airlines) each year in order to achieve elite status in their frequent flyer program.

In addition to flying miles with the airlines, most airlines have added a revenue requirement that’s measured in the form of elite qualifying dollars.

Elite qualifying dollars are earned by spending money on flights with the airline. They’re calculated in different ways but normally the base cost of the flight is included plus a portion of the surcharges and fees.

If you fly with partner airlines, the revenue can be calculated not based on price but on miles flown.

The metrics can be confusing, but the bottom line is that in order to make elite status with an airline you’ll normally have to fly the required miles and spend a certain amount with the airline.

Some airlines will waive the revenue requirement (elite qualifying dollars) for some elite status levels if you spend a specified level on their branded credit card each calendar year.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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