The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, May 30, 2024

How to Get Free Flights With Credit Cards (May 2024)

How To Get Free Flights With Credit Cards
Choncé Maddox

Written by: Choncé Maddox

Choncé Maddox
Choncé Maddox

Choncé is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and a nationally recognized personal finance and budgeting expert. She's paid off $50,000+ of personal debt and her debt story has been highlighted in Essence Magazine and on "Good Morning America" as part of its 2020 Debt-Free Decade series. Her work has been featured on sites, including Business Insider, LendingTree, Credit Sesame, Barclaycard, and The New York Post. Choncé was named one of the top financial experts to follow on Instagram by Black Enterprise.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewed by: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Traveling can be one of the most exciting experiences, but depending on where you want to go, the costs will easily add up. One of the most expensive travel expenses is airfare. 

Certain rewards credit cards can help you earn points or miles that can be redeemed for eligible travel expenses, including airfare. With the right card and strategy, you may even be able to book flights for free using your rewards. If you’re wondering how to get free flights with credit cards, you have plenty of options to choose from. 

1. Choose a Card That Complements Your Purchases and Travel Preferences

Some credit cards are a better fit for travel rewards if they offer more opportunities to earn points and special bonuses. Travel rewards credit cards typically offer tiered rewards or flat-rate rewards based on how you spend. 

For example, a tiered rewards card may offer you 2X points per $1 spent on gas and groceries as well as 5X points per $1 spent on travel. Meanwhile, a flat-rate rewards card will give you the same amount of points per $1 spent on every purchase. 

Card With the Best Overall Travel Rewards

Using one of the best travel credit cards is crucial to turn your everyday spending into travel rewards. Our top suggestions for general-purpose cards that reward points and miles good toward flights include: 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review

at Chase’ssecure website

TRAVEL RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 75,000 points are worth $937.50 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.
  • Member FDIC
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
21.49%-28.49% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a generous signup bonus after spending a certain amount with your card during the first three months. While this card has an annual fee, you’ll earn tiered rewards on purchases in categories like restaurants, streaming services, rideshare purchases, hotel, car rentals, and all other travel purchases made through Chase Travel.

Cardholders also get an annual credit to use on a hotel stay redeemed through Chase. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides 25% more value when you redeem your points for travel. This means your points will go a lot further when you use them to book flights and hotels through the Chase platform. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review

at Chase’ssecure website

TRAVEL RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 75,000 points are worth $1125 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™; Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
22.49%-29.49% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a step up from the Sapphire Preferred, providing a higher rewards earning and redemption rate. For example, the same 60,000 points would be worth $900 toward your travel with this card, but it does have a $550 annual fee, much higher than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

That said, you’ll also get lounge access, an annual travel statement credit, and more robust travel insurance. 

TRAVEL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is also good for getting free and reduced flights thanks to its large signup bonus. This card has a $95 annual fee, but it makes up for it through generous rewards and travel benefits. 

If you’re looking to skip the annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is another option, but you’ll earn fewer rewards per dollar spent.

TRAVEL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
$395
Excellent

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers a large signup bonus and an annual travel credit which is enough to book at least a one-way domestic flight. Cardholders also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit. Purchases made in the Capital One Travel portal earn the highest rewards rate. 

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has a $395 annual fee, so using it as an everyday card to maximize the miles you earn may be a smart choice. You’ll also want to try to use all the benefits that come with the card to justify the annual fee. 

The Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

TRAVEL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $8,000 in purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Also earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.
  • $200 annual hotel credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, $25 monthly Equinox credit, $15 monthly Uber cash credit, $50 bi-annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, and more.
  • Platinum Card Members have unlimited complimentary access to all locations of The Global Lounge Collection, including 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries.
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status. Enrollment required.
  • Choose among three card designs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
21.24% – 29.24% Pay Over Time
$695
Excellent

The Platinum Card® from American Express has the highest annual fee of the cards on this list, but it also provides the most credits, travel and otherwise. You can get over $1,500 in value with benefits like hotel and airline fee credits, a Walmart+ membership credit, and monthly digital entertainment and Uber credits.

You’ll earn the highest reward rate on flights booked through AmexTravel.com on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year.

Best No-Annual-Fee Travel Cards

Scoring free and discounted flights with a rewards credit card is one thing, but you also have to consider other costs and fees you may incur to use the card. Sometimes, a travel card with no annual fee is an option worth looking into.

If you don’t want to pay an annual fee, it may take longer to accumulate enough rewards good for a free flight, but solid card options are still available, such as the:

Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

TRAVEL RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers—only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. You could turn 35,000 Miles to 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 17.24% – 28.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 months
0% Intro APR for 15 months
17.24% – 28.24% Variable APR
$0
Excellent/Good

With the Discover it® Miles, you can earn unlimited miles at a flat-rate per $1 spent on any purchase. Discover will match all the miles you earn during the first year. So if you earned 35,000 miles in your first year of card membership, Discover would add another 35,000 miles to give you a total of 70,000 miles, which could be redeemed for $700 in travel-related expenses. 

This card is easy to manage because you don’t have to worry about maximizing your rewards — all purchases earn the same rewards rate and your miles are easily redeemed online for statement credits good toward recent travel purchases.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Review

at Bank Of America’ssecure website

TRAVEL RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 as long as your account remains open.
  • 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% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% – 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you’re a Bank of America 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.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days (Balance Transfer Fee 3% for 60 days from account opening, then 4%)
19.24% – 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
$0
Excellent/Good

Additional Disclosure: Bank of America is a CardRates advertiser.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is another travel card with no annual fee. Points don’t expire and there are no blackout dates when you book your flight. That’s because your points are redeemed as a statement credit for recent eligible travel purchases, among other things.

This card also has a signup bonus that can earn you a sizable rewards sum shortly after opening a new account.

TRAVEL RATING

★★★★★

4.9

OVERALL RATING

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X 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
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
19.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card gives you flat-rate miles for every $1 spent. Plus, you get a higher rate of miles on travel-related expenses, including hotels and rental cars, booked through Capital One Travel. For example, 30,000 miles are equivalent to $300 toward travel. 

No-fee travel cards can help you maximize rewards when you use them for everyday purchases. Still, there are a few other strategies you’ll want to implement to increase your opportunity to get free flights with credit cards.

Cards Co-Branded With Partner Airlines

Co-branded credit cards offer exclusive benefits to cardholders by partnering with specific companies. Different airlines and card issuers partner together to offer special discounts and upgrades to people who prefer to fly with a specific airline. 

This is why co-branded rewards cards can come in handy if you have a favorite airline for travel or want to build loyalty rewards. Below are some of the best co-branded airline credit cards to consider. 

JetBlue Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.3/5.0
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Earn 3X points on eligible JetBlue purchases, 2X points at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1X points on all other purchases
  • Enjoy 50% inflight savings on cocktails and food purchases
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening (transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • No foreign transaction fees, no blackout dates, and points never expire
  • $0 Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 12 billing cycles
21.24% – 29.99%
$0
Good

The JetBlue Card is issued by Barclays bank in partnership with JetBlue Airlines. It has no annual fee and offers tiered rewards. Cardholders also get 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases and can pool points together, meaning you can earn and share points with family and friends. 

The JetBlue Card allows you to use a combination of points and cash to book flights if you’re short on rewards, and there are no blackout dates. 

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
21.24% – 29.99% (Variable)
$99, waived for first 12 months
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: (The information related to Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by CardRates.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.)

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is a partnership between Citibank and American Airlines. This card allows you to earn rewards good toward flights and upgrades on American Airlines, among other options. 

This card has no foreign transaction fees and gives cardholders one free checked bag and the opportunity to earn a cash flight credit as a signup bonus.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months
  • Earn 3X miles on Delta purchases and hotels, 2X miles at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and U.S. supermarkets, all other purchases earn 1 point per $1
  • With MQD Headstart, you can receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to elevated Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Get your first bag free on Delta flights booked with your card
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your card
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
20.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
$350
Good/Excellent

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers a signup bonus and Delta SkyMiles for every dollar spent. The card also provides a discount on in-flight purchases and a fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Another benefit of this card is the Annual Companion Certificate that allows you to choose a companion each year to receive one round-trip main cabin ticket to fly with you anywhere within the United States.

FRONTIER Airlines World Mastercard® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Earn 40,000 travel miles after spending $500 on purchases and paying the annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. Plus earn 20,000 travel miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months with the card.
  • Earn 5X miles on eligible purchases at flyfrontier.com, 3X miles on restaurant purchases, and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening (balance transfer fee applies), then a variable APR applies
  • Earn a $100 flight voucher every account anniversary after spending $2,500 or more on purchases with your card during your card membership year
  • Cardmembers enjoy Zone 2 priority boarding
  • Annual fee $89
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 15 months
21.24% – 29.99% Variable APR
$89
Good

The FRONTIER Airlines World Mastercard® offers a signup bonus and tiered rewards for purchases made on Frontier.com and at restaurants. It also offers an annual flight voucher, priority boarding, no blackout dates, and the opportunity to share miles with family.

2. Use Your Rewards For Free (Or Reduced) Flights and Upgrades

You may receive enough points through a new cardmember signup bonus to book a free flight right away. If not enough to cover the full expense, you can still reduce your out-of-pocket costs by applying your rewards toward the total. Just be sure to follow the card’s terms for the signup bonus to avoid losing out on these bonus rewards.

There are a few different ways to redeem rewards for flights. Some cards allow you to book travel through the card issuer’s travel portal, including flight and hotel accommodations. Other cards let you apply your rewards as a statement credit to reimburse what you spent on booking your flight. And other travel cards allow you to transfer your rewards to partnered programs to combine rewards and potentially earn even more value. 

For example, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to more than a dozen transfer partners, including Emirates, JetBlue, and Southwest Airlines, among other airlines and hotel programs.

It is important to evaluate which redemption option will help your rewards stretch further before you redeem them. Each redemption option may apply your rewards in different ways, so be sure to:

  • Visit your card issuer’s travel portal and see how many points are required to book certain flights.
  • See how many points are required to receive a statement credit for previous travel purchases.
  • Determine whether you can transfer your rewards to another program for higher value and whether any fees are involved

After you evaluate these three options, you’ll know which makes the most sense for you and your rewards.

3. Explore Mile and Point Transfers to Maximize Your Rewards

Transfering your rewards to loyalty programs can help you get more value out of your travel rewards. 

Screenshot of AMEX Travel Partners
Some featured AMEX travel partners and how much you could earn if you transferred your Membership Rewards points.

For example, one of the loyalty programs Chase partners with is Aer Lingus AerClub. Let’s say you have rewards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and want to book a flight to Ireland. You can do this through the Chase travel portal, or you can transfer your points to your AerClub account (you’ll have to create an account if you don’t already have one) and then book a flight using the Aer Lingus website and your AerClub Avios, the reward currency of AerClub.

Chase travel cards allow you to transfer your points to any of its partners at full 1:1 value. This means your rewards may be worth more or allow you to save more money on your travel with a partner rather than just booking through the Chase portal. 

A 1:1 transfer value is the best option you can have since you can take 1,000 of your rewards points or miles and still have the same 1,000 points after transferring them to a partner. 

Other transfer ratios include:

  • 2:1 – Where 1,000 points would equal 500 
  • 2:1.5 – Where 1,000 points would equal 750 

Even with these ratios, it’s always important to thoroughly review the loyalty partner program to see if your points would be worth more or get you better travel benefits if you transfer them. 

4. Take Advantage of Issuer Bonuses

Travel cards offer several types of bonuses to help you earn free flights. The first one that we’ve already mentioned is the signup bonus that can net you thousands of points or miles for spending anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000, on average, during the first few months of having your card open.

Each card has a different signup bonus that may change at any time, so aim to apply for the travel card of your choice when the bonus offer seems to be the highest. 

In addition to signup bonuses, some cards offer bonuses like a cash voucher or annual credit you can use toward the cost of a flight, such as the annual travel credits you receive from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Come co-branded cards offer discounted or free companion tickets so a friend or family member can fly with you. The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card is one example of a card that offers a companion bonus. 

And don’t forget referral bonuses — most issuers award referral bonuses of 10,000 points/miles or more when you get a friend to sign up for their own card using your referral link, which is available in your online account. 

All of these bonuses can help you quickly earn your first free flight.

How Many Points or Miles Are Needed to Earn a Free Flight?

The number of points or miles needed to earn a free flight depends on the credit card and how its rewards are valued. It’s important to consider where you may want to travel and how much a flight typically costs. Also, keep in mind that flight prices change often, sometimes by the day.

Compare options between a co-branded airline credit card and a general travel credit card to approximate reward redemption options and values. For example, one card may offer $400 toward travel for 40,000 reward points. If a typical domestic flight from your home city costs more than $400 round trip, you may need to earn more reward points to cover the whole cost of the flight.

What Credit Score Is Needed to Get a Travel Card?

You typically need good to excellent credit to get a travel rewards credit card. Your credit score should be close to 750 or higher, but some student and secured cards offer travel benefits and don’t require a credit history for approval.

FICO Score Ranges
You typically need at least good credit to qualify for a travel rewards card, but a few cards for lesser scores exist.

The Bank of America Travel Card for Students and the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card are two examples of student cards that offer travel rewards. The U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card offers travel benefits and may accept credit scores of 600 or less.

Is It a Good Idea to Book a Flight Using a Credit Card?

Yes, it’s a good idea to book flights using credit cards, especially if you can lower your costs by redeeming travel rewards. Many travel cards offer additional travel benefits like insurance for your trip — one of the most valuable travel benefits — and reimbursement when you pay for TSA PreCheck with the card.

Some cards even offer coverage for lost or damaged luggage, free checked bags, and priority boarding. But you only receive these benefits when you use the card to pay for the trip, not just for being a cardholder.

Take Flight With the Help of Your Credit Card

Whether you’re interested in travel hacking or just scoring a free flight for an upcoming trip, these travel credit cards can help you leverage your everyday spending to earn miles and points for travel. 

Before choosing a travel credit card, consider your spending patterns and which card offers the highest rate for those types of purchases. Then look at how those rewards can be redeemed, and weigh those factors against any fees, including the APR and annual fee. The goal is to choose the card that will give you the most benefits and quickest path to sky travel based on your spending and preferences. 

Advertiser Disclosure

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