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The Credit Cards You Should Pick Based on Airline Frequent Flyer Program

Bla bla bla Chase Sapphire Reserve. But kinda pointless if you’re an Emirates flyer.

The point is not to be opening up credit cards willy nilly, but based on the airlines and hotels that someone is going to stay or fly with the most, because, honestly, that’s where you’re going to get the most value at the end of the day. It’s going to be a hard, hard sell to still get me on a Delta plane.

Credit cards points, generally, are pretty useless within their own program. However, when they are transferred to an airline or hotel’s program, that is when they are worth the most. Just watch out for the transfer ratio—though Chase does advertise a 1:1 transfer—cause they’re not all the same, even within the same program.

Quick note: Some credit cards are linked to a bank’s rewards programs, which will then allow credit card users to transfer over to a particular program. The star players here are Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, which allow transfers to a ton of airlines and hotels. (Ultimate Rewards seems to have lost a few partnerships recently, whereas American Express seems to have more international partners.)

However, definitely don’t underestimate the Starwood Preferred Guest cards, which offer the most partnerships and which has been a longtime perennial favorite.

Here’s a quick chart showing which airlines are associated with what credit cards for your flying pleasure. 1

Airline & Frequent Flyer ProgramCredit Cards
Aeromexico Club PremierAeroMexico Visa Signature® Card
AeroMexico Visa Card
American Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Air Berlin topbonusairberlin Visa Card basic
airberlin Visa Card plus
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Air Canada AeroplanAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
TD AeroplanTM Visa Signature® Credit Card
Air China PhoenixMilesAir China PhoenixMiles Peony Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Air France and KLM Flying BlueAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Freedom
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Flying Blue World MasterCard®
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Air New Zealand AirpointsANZ Airpoints Visa Card
ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum Card
Air New Zealand Airpoints Low Fee MasterCard®
Air New Zealand Airpoints Platinum MasterCard®
Air New Zealand Airpoints Standard MasterCard®
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Westpac Airpoints™ Credit Card
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAlaska Airlines MasterCard® Credit Card
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Alitalia MilleMigliaAlitalia American Express® Card
American Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
All Nippon Airways ANA Mileage ClubAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
American Airlines AAdvantageAviator Silver MasterCard®
Aviator Red MasterCard®
Aviator Blue MasterCard®
Aviator MasterCard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive Card
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Card
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Card
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Select® Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Asia Miles2American Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Asiana Airlines Asiana ClubAsiana Visa Signature® Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
British Airways Executive ClubAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Freedom
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Cathay Pacific Airways Marco Polo ClubAmerican Express® Cathay Pacific Credit Cards
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
China Eastern Airlines Eastern MilesStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl ClubStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Delta Air Lines SkyMilesAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
El Al Matmid ClubAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Emirates/Sri Lankan Airlines SkywardsAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Etihad GuestAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
GOL SmilesStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Crédito Smiles Gold
Crédito Smiles International
Crédito Smiles Platinum
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings ClubStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMilesAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Iberia PlusAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Iberia Sendo Oro
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage BankStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Jet Airways JetPrivilegeStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
JetBlue TrueBlueAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
The JetBlue CardThe JetBlue Plus Card
Korean Air SKYPASSChase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Freedom
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom Unlimited
SkyBlue SKYPASS Visa Card
SKYPASS Visa Classic Card
SKYPASS Visa Secured Card
SKYPASS Visa Signature Card
LATAM Airlines LATAM PassLANPASS Visa Signature® Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Lufthansa Miles & MoreStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
The Miles & More® World Elite MasterCard
Qatar Airways Privilege ClubStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Saudi Arabian Airlines AlfursanStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Freedom
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Southwest Airlines Rapid RewardsChase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Freedom
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Thai Airways International Royal Orchid PlusStarwood Preferred Guest from American Express
United MileagePlusChase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Freedom
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
United MileagePlus® Club Card
Virgin America ElevateAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express
Virgin America Visa Signature® Card
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubAmerican Express Green Card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
American Express Platinum Card
American Express Centurion Charge Card
American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Freedom
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Black Card
Virgin Atlantic World Elite White Card

2 footnotes

  1. This chart does not include business cards that also earn points. Some cards are not available to U.S. residents, and some Asian co-branded bank cards have been left out. Each card is available in Visa or MasterCard unless specifically mentioned. Map Happy does not have a relationship with any credit card issuer on this list.
  2. Technically not an airline, but a regional frequent flyer program. Most major Asian carriers participate.





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