Travel credit cards vs. airline credit cards

Which one is right for you – a travel credit card or an airline credit card? Here’s everything you need to know to help you choose.

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A travel credit card or an airline credit card – how do you choose the right card for you? Well, it really all depends on what you need from your card. So, to help you decide which type of credit card might suit you best, here’s a rundown of the differences between travel credit cards and airline credit cards.  

What’s the difference between travel and airline credit cards?

While these types of credit cards may sound similar, there are some key differences in how they work and what perks they offer.

Travel credit cards

A travel credit card lets you pay for things like goods and services while you’re travelling abroad. Depending on the card, you’ll enjoy benefits such as:

  • Free cash withdrawals from ATMs abroad (no withdrawal fees)
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases abroad

So, put another way, travel credit cards are a special type of rewards credit card. What’s unique about them is that they’re designed with regular travellers in mind.   

Airline credit cards

An airline credit card gives you air miles when you use your card. You can use the air miles towards perks such as:

  • Flight upgrades
  • Free flights
  • Priority boarding
  • Discounts on in-flight purchases

Just like any other rewards credit card, the exact perks on offer vary by card.

Should you get a travel or airline credit card?

If you’re a jet setter or you often travel long distances, you might benefit most from earning air miles when you shop. On the other hand, if you’re a casual traveller or you often shop in foreign currencies, a travel credit card might be a better option.

Here are some points to consider to help you decide which card is right for you.

Reasons to get a travel credit card

For travellers, there are several benefits to getting a travel credit card:

  • No foreign transaction fees – If you’re shopping in foreign currencies, it might be cheaper using a travel credit card than a regular credit card, since you often don’t pay foreign transaction fees.
  • Not tied to one place – Your rewards aren’t tied to a single airline, which can be a bonus for travellers.
  • Extra benefits – Depending on the card, you might enjoy extra benefits, such as free balance transfers.

Reasons to get an airline credit card

Here’s why you might prefer an airline credit card:

  • Loyalty rewards – If you always fly with the same airline, you can build great loyalty rewards over time, such as free flights.
  • Welcome bonuses – Some cards, like the British Airways American Express Credit Card, offer attractive welcome bonuses to new customers.
  • A better flying experience – Extra perks, like in-flight discounts, can make flying more enjoyable.

Still not sure which card is right for you? If your finances allow, there’s no reason you can’t opt for both cards. Then you can benefit from the perks of a travel credit card and an airline credit card at the same time.

How can you get the best card for you today?

If you’re ready to get a travel or airline credit card, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve evaluated the pros and cons of both types of cards and listed our top picks to help you decide.

Check out our guides to travel credit cards and airline credit cards to find which is the best fit for your needs.