Packaged Facts reports US airlines generate billions in revenue from loyalty programs, co-branded credit cards

Market research firm Packaged Facts has reported four US airlines (American, Delta, Southwest and United) generate billions from consumer use of co-branded and affinity credit cards, the company said.

In it recently released report Co-Branded and Affinity Cards in the US, 7th Edition, Packaged Facts estimates that co-branded credit cards generated USD 990 billion in purchase value last year. Travel and entertainment brands commanded 55% of spending, 70% of which was attributable to airline-branded credit cards. Packaged Facts further estimates that 44% of co-branded/affinity credit card users have a credit card affiliated with a travel and entertainment entity, most prevalently those affiliated with airlines, followed by hotels.

Co-branded credit cards play a very important role for airlines and their card issuers and networks, each of which benefit from credit card engagement and purchasing behavior. The cards play an integral role in frequent flyer loyalty programs, helping to drive flyer loyalty while generating billions of dollars of revenue for the airlines, much of it from partnerships with card issuers.

Approximately 26 airline brands have US co-branded credit card programs. All major US airlines offer a co-branded credit card, as do smaller players such as Allegiant and Sun Country, for a total of 12 US carrier card programs. Packaged Facts also counts 14 foreign carriers that offer co-branded cards issued in the US, bringing the total number of U.S.-based airline co-branded partners to 26.

Packaged Facts, a division of, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, and pet products and services.