Fly for free or save on your travel bookings every year with one of these credit cards.
Use this guide to compare credit cards that offer flights or travel credit and find out how you can enjoy this perk. We also go through the key details you need to consider so you can find a credit card that works for you.
Compare credit cards that offer flights and travel credit
The finder.com.au list of credit cards with free flights
Compare these credit cards that offer you a free flight or travel credit.
- Qantas American Express Ultimate Card. Receive an introductory 55,000 bonus Qantas points and $450 Qantas Travel Credit every year.
- ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card. Get a domestic return flight each year you hold the card and you meet the spend criteria, plus complimentary airport lounge passes.
- Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card. This credit card offers a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher if you meet the spend criteria.
- American Express Velocity Platinum Card. Enjoy a complimentary domestic Virgin Australia return flight every year, plus an introductory 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the spend requirements as a new cardholder.
How can I get a free flight or travel credit through my credit card?
If you have a credit card that gives you a complimentary flight or an annual travel credit, you’ll usually have to meet a number of requirements in order to use this perk. These details vary between cards but some of the most common include:
- Annual benefit. Complimentary flight or travel vouchers are usually an annual benefit and can’t be rolled over for use in future years. Typically you’ll have 12 months to use the credit before it expires.
- Spending requirement. In most cases, you’ll need to meet a spending requirement before you can use your flight or travel credit. This could be a minimum spend, such as $500 on everyday purchases, a retail purchase, or payment of your annual fee.
- Voucher request. Some credit cards that offer complimentary flight vouchers require you to request the voucher before you can use it. Make sure you're aware of this requirement and give yourself enough time to request and use the voucher before it expires.
- Eligible airline or travel partners. The complimentary flight or travel credit can only be used with an eligible airline or travel partner. For example, you may get a $129 flight voucher that you can only use with Virgin Australia, or $450 travel credit that you can use for bookings made through American Express.
- Booking conditions. You usually need to book in advance through a particular service. For example, you may need to redeem the credit directly through an associated airline or through the credit card company’s travel booking service.
Your credit card terms and conditions should include details of the flight or travel voucher requirements, so make sure you read this section of the product disclosure statement or booklet carefully. Alternatively, you can call your credit card company to find out exactly what steps you need to take to get your free flight or travel credit.
What other features can I get with a credit card that offers complimentary flights?
As well as flights or travel credit, these are some of the other features you could enjoy on one of these credit cards:
- Reward or frequent flyer points. Most credit cards that offer complimentary flights or travel vouchers also earn points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, which you could then redeem for rewards such as flights, shopping or gift cards.
- Airport lounge access. Premium credit cards that offer complimentary flights or travel vouchers could also offer you airport lounge access so you can start your trip in style.
- Travel insurance. This perk helps you save on buying travel insurance for your trip. Usually you’ll have to pay for a certain amount of your trip with the card to activate the travel insurance, and the complimentary flight or travel credit may not count towards this spend requirement. So check your credit card’s insurance booklet for full details of how to activate the cover.
- Purchase insurance. Many of these credit cards offer complimentary insurance for items you buy with the card. Cover can range from protection against accidental damage, theft or loss to extended warranties and price guarantees.
- Interest-free days. If you pay your account balance in full by the due date on each statement, this benefit will give you a way to make interest-free purchases for a set number of days in the next statement period. This can help you keep your card costs down so you get more value out of the account than what you spend on it.
What are the costs of credit cards with complimentary flights?
The rates and fees for these credit cards play a huge part in how much value you’ll get from them. To work out if one of these cards will offer you value for money, here are the key details to consider:
- The annual fee. This is the biggest upfront expense you’ll have with a credit card that offers flights or travel credit. Ideally, look for a card that has an annual fee worth the same amount as your flight or travel credit so that they cancel each other out. If that’s not the case, make sure the other benefits on the card are still worth more than what you’re paying on the annual fee.
- Purchase interest rate. This is the interest rate typically charged when you carry a balance on your credit card. Cards that offer complimentary flights or travel credit usually have higher standard variable purchase rates than other options.
- Foreign transaction fee. If you pay with your credit card overseas or online with an international retailer, you’ll typically pay a fee worth between 3% and 3.4% of the total transaction cost. This can add up when you’re using your card for travel or online shopping, so make sure you factor it into your budget.
- Cash advances. If you use your credit card to get cash out, buy foreign cash, gamble or make any other cash advance transactions, you’ll be charged a cash advance fee that’s usually worth 3% of the total transaction cost. You’ll also be charged interest at the cash advance rate, which is usually around 19% p.a. to 22% p.a.
Which cards offer flights or travel credits that are worth the same amount as the annual fee?
Currently, there are three cards that offer flight or travel credits that can cancel out the annual fee in one fell swoop:
- Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer. Offers a $129 Virgin Australia flight voucher each year and has a standard annual fee of $129. To get the flight voucher, you need to make a retail purchase within the two months before you request it.
- Qantas American Express Ultimate. This card gives you $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and has a $450 annual fee. To use the travel credit, you need to pay the card’s annual fee and have made at least the minimum payment required. You also need to book online through American Express Travel and can only use the credit for eligible international or domestic Qantas flights with a QF flight number.
- American Express Explorer Credit Card. This card has an annual fee of $395 that’s completely offset by the $400 Travel Credit you can use every year you have the card. You can redeem your $400 Travel Credit for flights, car hire or other travel bookings made through American Express Travel.
Keep in mind that some other cards with flights or travel credit could offer more value through other features, or have fluctuating value based on the flights or travel you redeem through this complimentary perk.
If you’re interested in getting a credit card that offers complimentary flights or travel credit each year, start by comparing different options based on your spending habits and goals. Remember to check the eligibility requirements, as well as the conditions around the travel voucher, so you can apply for a card that works for you.