To meet the performance goals of advanced fossil power generation systems, future coal-gas fired turbines will likely be operated at temperatures higher than those in the current commercial natural gas-fired systems. The working fluid in these future turbines could contain substantial moisture (steam), mixed with carbon dioxide, instead of air or nitrogen in conventional gas turbines. As a result, the aerothermal characteristics among the advanced turbine systems are expected to be significantly different, not only from the natural gas turbines but also will be dependent strongly on the compositions of turbine working fluids. Described in this paper is a quantitative comparison of thermal load on the external surface of turbine airfoils that are projected to be utilized in different power cycles the U.S. Department of Energy plans for the next 2 decades. The study is pursued with a computational simulation, based on the three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics analysis. While the heat transfer coefficient has shown to vary strongly along the surface of the airfoil, the projected trends were relatively comparable for airfoils in syngas and hydrogen-fired cycles. However, the heat transfer coefficient for the oxyfuel cycle is found to be substantially higher by about 50–60% than its counterparts in syngas and hydrogen turbines. This is largely caused by the high steam concentration in the turbine flow. Results gained from this study overall suggest that advances in cooling technology and thermal barrier coatings are critical for developments of future coal-based turbine technologies with near zero emissions.