Credit Score Ranges Required for Popular Airline and Travel Credit Cards
If you’re looking for an airline or travel credit card, you may be under the impression that those cards are reserved for people with the highest credit scores.
But many lucrative airline and travel credit cards don’t require anywhere near a “perfect” credit score to qualify. However, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact credit score requirements of a new card since issuers use different credit bureaus and criteria to determine eligibility.
The data listed below shows the low and high credit score range required by major issuers for a particular card.
Know that some issuers also impose restrictions on the number of cards you can have or apply for. For example, Chase won’t approve you for a new Chase card if you’ve applied for more than five cards from any issuer in the past 24 months (known informally as the Chase 5/24 rule), and American Express limits the number of American Express cards you can carry to five.
Know also that issuers will also look at your income and current debt levels when reviewing your application to determine whether to approve you for a card.
|Credit score ranges for popular airline and travel credit cards|
|Low score||High score|
|The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express*||Excellent||Excellent|
|The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express*||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|Bank of America|
|Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|British Airways Visa Signature® Card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Excellent||Excellent|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||Excellent||Excellent|
|United℠ Explorer Card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|Citi Premier® Card||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||Excellent/Good||Excellent/Good|
As expected, the combined average credit score for the cards mentioned above falls in the good-to-excellent range (670-850, according to FICO). This isn’t a surprise since these cards are often targeted to the banks’ best customers, and people who travel a lot tend to be a bit more well off than average.
What stands out is the lower credit scores for many cards. The credit scores listed above show that you may not need a 700+ credit score to qualify for the best mile and travel credit cards. Some cards like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the United℠ Explorer Card offer wider acceptance beyond just “perfect” credit scores as issuers try to make rewards more accessible.
Credit card approval can also depend on your income or relationship with a bank, or even how many other rewards cards you’ve recently applied for.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
- Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
- MORE REWARDS: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month. 1X is earned for other purchases.**
- **4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
- PAY OVER TIME OPTION: Decide whether you want to pay eligible purchases in full each month—or pay over time with interest.*
- *Terms Apply
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
- Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- New: Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
- Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
- $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.
- Want even more flexibility? Take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.
- Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases after using your Card.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- With Send & Split®, you can send money and split your Card purchases with any other Venmo or PayPal user, directly from the Amex App. Enroll today.
- Terms Apply.
- Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
- Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
- A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
- Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
- Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $1,000 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
- Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
- Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
- Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or Stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
- $650 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, The New York Times, and other participating providers. Enrollment required.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
- American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card.
- $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back each year on an Equinox+ subscription, or any Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
- $189 CLEAR® Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
What to know before applying
If your credit score is below 700 and you’re looking to open a miles or travel credit card, keep a few things in mind:
Consider an airline-branded credit card. It’s not clear why, but co-branded airline cards from the major airlines, including American, Delta, Southwest and United, tend to have some of the lowest typical credit scores approved. That means if you have just good or fair credit, you may have a better shot at getting approved for an airline card.
Consider checking prequalified offers. See if you’re prequalified for a card before you apply. Many major travel rewards card issuers, including Capital One, Discover, Citi and American Express, have pre-qualification tools that allow you to see if you have a good chance of being approved before you fill out an application. Pre-qualification helps you shop around for the best card offers without hurting your credit score. While pre-qualification isn’t a guarantee of approval, it can help you narrow down your choices.
Review your credit report. Before you apply for a credit card, review your credit report from all three bureaus so you can make sure everything that’s on there is correct. Credit card issuers can pull one or all three reports from the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Applicant comments on CreditBoards.com show which credit bureaus the most reports were pulled from for each issuer:
- Amex: Experian
- Bank of America: Experian
- Barclays: TransUnion
- Capital One: Tends to pull all three
- Chase: Experian
- Citi: Experian
- Discover: Mix of the three
Once approved for a card, make sure you pay off your balance on time and in full each month. Any earned miles aren’t worth the interest charges and late fees that you’ll incur if you carry a balance month to month or pay late.
Other than that, you shouldn’t be too afraid of rejection. If you have a steady income, aren’t carrying a lot of other debt and a solid credit history, you could be eligible for that coveted miles or travel card.
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
- 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
- Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
- Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
- 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 17.49% - 27.49% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee applies to all balance transfers.
- If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
- Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
- This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 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
- Earn 50,000 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 $140 per roundtrip. Terms Apply.
- Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
- Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
- Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through the Partner Lounge Network
- Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
- Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
- Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
- For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply
*The information related to British Airways Visa Signature® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, United℠ Explorer Card and Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® have been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.
To see rates & fees for American Express® Business Gold Card please click here.
To see rates & fees for Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card please click here.
To see rates & fees for Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card please click here.
To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.