The Top Travel Credit Cards for Business Class Upgrades

Written: Vagabondist Staff| August 2, 2023

1. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card offers an impressive array of benefits for frequent flyers, including airport lounge access and booking award flights.

  • Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, allowing frequent fliers to quickly accumulate airline miles for future travel.
  • Enjoy a free checked bag not only for yourself but also for up to six guests on the same reservation, saving significantly on baggage fees for frequent fliers.
  • Receive an annual Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22), which is ideal for business owners who frequently travel with companions or employees.

This credit card provides substantial value in terms of air travel perks, making it a valuable tool for those who frequently fly with Alaska Airlines. The ability to earn miles at an accelerated rate through credit cards can greatly enhance one’s ability to book award travel or upgrades.

With its focus on providing benefits tailored specifically towards air travel, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card stands out as an excellent choice for individuals seeking a dedicated travel credit option that aligns with their lifestyle.

2. Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card offers great benefits for travelers, especially those who frequent restaurants and flights. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent at restaurants worldwide with credit cards: This feature is particularly advantageous for business travelers who often dine out while on trips. It allows them to accumulate miles quickly through their dining expenses.
  • No annual fee: The absence of an annual fee means that credit cardholders can enjoy the pros and travel benefits without incurring extra fees, making it an attractive option for those looking to maximize rewards without additional financial burden.
  • Get 20% off in-flight purchases with the credit card: This discount provides a tangible advantage during air travel, allowing cardholders to save money on various in-flight purchases such as meals, beverages, and entertainment options.

Utilizing the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card for eligible delta purchases and booking award travel further enhances its value proposition. By leveraging credit cards strategically, users can optimize their mileage accumulation and take advantage of potential savings on essential travel expenses.

3. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a top choice for business class upgrades, offering exceptional benefits for frequent travelers and credit cards.

  • With this credit card, you can earn double points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, making it an ideal option for those who frequently spend in these categories.
  • Transfer points to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs: This feature allows cardholders to transfer their earned points to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 value. This provides flexibility when redeeming rewards for business class upgrades or other travel perks using credit card.
  • Enjoy trip cancellation/interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver: The credit card offers valuable trip cancellation/interruption insurance, providing peace of mind during travels. The auto rental collision damage waiver can save money by covering damages due to collision or theft when renting a car using the card.

With its focus on rewarding travel-related spending and providing essential travel protections, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stands out as an excellent option for individuals seeking to earn credit while enjoying additional benefits such as trip insurance coverage.

4. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers a multitude of benefits for frequent travelers, making it a top choice for business class upgrades.

  • You can earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, allowing you to accumulate rewards at an accelerated pace.
  • With the Priority Pass™ Select membership, cardholders gain access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. This is particularly advantageous for business travelers during long layovers or when seeking a comfortable space to work or relax before a flight.
  • The card provides up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®, streamlining the security process and saving valuable time during travels.

The features and credit card details make the Chase Sapphire Reserve® an ideal option for business travelers who value convenience and luxury while on the go. The ability to earn points quickly and enjoy exclusive lounge access using a credit card can significantly enhance the overall travel experience.

5. American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card offers excellent perks for dining and travel enthusiasts. Here’s a closer look at what this business card has to offer.

  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide, making it an ideal choice for those who frequently dine out or entertain clients with the card.
  • Enjoy up to $120 dining credit annually at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This benefit can significantly offset dining expenses.
  • Receive up to $100 airline fee credit per calendar year when you select a qualifying airline. This annual statement credit can be used towards incidental fees like baggage charges and in-flight purchases.

6. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is a valuable tool for frequent business travelers, especially those who prefer American Airlines.

  • The card allows users to earn 2X miles at gas stations and restaurants, catering to everyday spending while accumulating points for future travel upgrades.
  • Enjoying preferred boarding on American Airlines flights as a business cardholder provides a seamless and stress-free travel experience, allowing cardholders to settle into their seats without the hassle of jostling for overhead space.
  • The perk of getting the first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries, particularly for business travelers or those with specific needs such as transporting equipment or samples, can result in substantial savings over time.

This credit card offers practical benefits that align with the specific needs of frequent flyers. With its focus on everyday spending categories like gas stations and restaurants, the card caters to both personal and business use. Furthermore, by providing perks directly related to air travel—such as priority boarding and free checked bags—it enhances the overall journey experience.

7. United℠ Explorer Card

The United℠ Explorer Card is a good travel credit card for frequent flyers who prioritize business class upgrades and hotel expenses.

  • Rewards Structure: Cardholders earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel accommodations purchased directly with the hotel, making it an attractive option for those who frequently dine out or stay in hotels.
  • The card offers up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee credit, providing value for business travelers looking to expedite their airport experience. Priority boarding privileges, two one-time United Club℠ passes, and card each year enhance the overall business travel experience.
  • Companion Benefits: With perks like priority boarding and United Club passes, cardholders can elevate their travel experiences when flying with companions or colleagues.

This card is particularly beneficial for individuals who have significant business expenses related to dining out and staying in hotels. Its rewards structure aligns with common business expenses while also offering valuable travel benefits that cater to frequent flyers seeking comfort and convenience during their journeys.

8. The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers exceptional benefits for frequent travelers and business owners:

  • Access over 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries through the Global Lounge Collection, providing a luxurious and convenient travel experience with the card.
  • Receive up to $200 airline fee credit annually for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline, helping to offset travel expenses effectively.
  • Enjoy complimentary benefits when booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts, such as room upgrades, daily breakfast for two, Wi-Fi access, and other exclusive amenities.

This card is an excellent choice for those seeking premium travel perks and business. With its extensive lounge access and annual airline fee credit, the card presents significant value for frequent flyers or business owners looking to enhance their travel experiences while saving on expenses. The complimentary benefits with Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings and card add further value by offering enhanced accommodations during travels.

9. JetBlue Plus Card

The JetBlue Plus Card offers a compelling rewards structure, making it an excellent choice for frequent flyers.

  • With 6X points on JetBlue purchases, 2X points at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1X points on all other purchases, cardholders can quickly accumulate points for flights or hotel stays.
  • A standout benefit of the card is the opportunity to attain TrueBlue Mosaic membership after spending $50,000 in a calendar year. This elite status provides various perks such as expedited security lines and waived change and cancellation fees.
  • The card grants a complimentary first checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to three companions when booking JetBlue-operated flights—a valuable perk that enhances the overall travel experience.

Whether you’re looking to earn bonus points on everyday expenses or seeking benefits like free checked bags and elite status with an airline, the JetBlue Plus Card presents a strong value proposition.

10. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card offers enticing benefits for frequent travelers.

  • Earn 7,500 anniversary points each year after your cardmember anniversary, adding substantial value to the card’s rewards program.
  • Receive four Upgraded Boardings per year when available with the card, ensuring a more comfortable and convenient travel experience.
  • Enjoy 20% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi, providing cost-saving perks during flights.

Southwest’s rapid rewards system, including their card, is renowned for its flexibility and generous redemption options. The loyalty program allows members to earn points not only through flight purchases but also via partner activities such as hotel stays, car rentals, and card.

With a reward rate that aligns with the spending habits of frequent flyers, this credit card stands out as an excellent choice for those who frequently travel with Southwest Airlines. The ability to earn tier qualifying points toward A-list status further enhances the appeal of this credit card among loyal Southwest customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers perks like a $300 annual travel credit, airport lounge access, and 3x points on travel and dining. It also provides a card Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

How does the American Express® Gold Card stand out for travelers?

The American Express® Gold Card offers 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year). It provides up to $120 in dining credits each year.

Can you explain the advantages of using the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card for business class upgrades?

With this card, you can earn 2X miles at restaurants worldwide and on eligible Delta purchases. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees, making it ideal for international travel with the card.

What makes the United℠ Explorer Card suitable for business class upgrades?

The United℠ Explorer Card allows you to receive priority boarding privileges on United-operated flights. You get two one-time passes to the United Club℠ each year.

Why is The Platinum Card® from American Express recommended for frequent flyers seeking business class upgrades?

This card offers access to more than 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries through Priority Pass™ Select membership. It also provides up to $200 airline fee credit annually.