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United MileagePlus Explorer best airline credit card

Staff Writer |
The United MileagePlus Explorer card is the top airline credit card, according to

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Card experts point to the United MileagePlus Explorer's generous sign-up bonus (50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in first three months) and money-saving travel perks like free checked bags and two free United Club airport lounge passes per year as benefits that can help even the not-so-frequent flier easily overcome the $95 annual fee.

Big spenders are also further rewarded with 10,000 bonus miles each year after charging $25,000.

Next up is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard, a good card for value seekers who want to earn a big sign-up bonus (60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in first three months), but don't want to pay an annual fee the first year.

After that, the Citi AAdvantage card helps make up for the $95 annual fee with free checked bags and a 10% reimbursement of redeemed miles each year.

Its superior redemption options, including inexpensive off-peak rewards and the ability to transfer miles to a wide variety of international airlines, make the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card a good option for those who fly American regularly.

The British Airways Visa Signature card, with its generous spending bonus and tiered sign-up bonus that amply rewards moderate to heavy spenders, rounds out the top three.

Though it sports a $95 annual fee, British Airways points tend to be worth more than average and can be transferred to a wide variety of partner airlines, making the British Airways Visa Signature card a sound choice for big spenders who travel abroad frequently.

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