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Credit cards with a complimentary flight

Information verified correct on December 7th, 2016

Enjoy free flights with a credit card that suits your needs.

These types of cards come in two groups: cards that already have a complimentary flight offer and cards that you need to accumulate enough points for to redeem for a flight. Credit cards with a complimentary flight work similarly to other flyer reward cards, offering you perks such as flight discounts, superior travel insurance and other benefits included in the flyer reward program attached to it.

Compare credit cards with flights

Rates last updated December 7th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
Pay no overseas transaction fee on purchases and receive complimentary domestic return flight and lounge passes each year you hold the card when you spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first three months.
20.24% p.a. $225 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Qantas Ultimate Card
Enjoy up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points on eligible spend, earn up to 3 Qantas Points for every $1 spent and get a free return flight every year.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $450 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Enjoy up to 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the minimum required spend and earn up to 3 rewards points per dollar spent. Also receive a complimentary return flight every year.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee $349 p.a. Go to site More info

What are credit cards with a complimentary flight?

Credit cards with a complimentary flight come under the group of travel reward cards. Depending on the flyer reward program you are on, you will be able to accumulate reward points on your card when you sign up for the card and whenever you make a flight booking using the card. Points are earned for each dollar spent.

Once you have accumulated the required points for a certain flight offer, you will be able to claim the offer and travel for free. Complimentary flights are a great way for airlines to repay customers for their loyalty. Flyer reward programs such as Qantas and Velocity are usually linked to leading airlines in the country, enabling frequent flyers that travel for business or pleasure.

How do these cards work?

Credit cards with complimentary flights are pretty straightforward in terms of how they work, as they simply allow you to earn reward points for spending on flights and regular purchases. These points can later be traded in for various benefits, including free flights, flight upgrades and additional flight miles. Most airlines will allow you to check how many reward points you have accumulated on your flyer card online, where you can also redeem them for a complimentary flight of your choice. In most cases, you can make up the balance for the fare for your preferred flight in cash if your reward points fall short for a certain destination.

Most of the rewards offered on credit cards with complimentary flights are travel-related, meaning that you can redeem your points for a car rental, access to a VIP lounge, discounts on hotel accommodations and more. In order to earn maximum points on your card, you should know who the credit card partners are, so you can make purchases that earn you points from them. Some reward programs will only allow you to redeem reward points for free flights on local flights, while others may require the primary cardholder to be one of the guests travelling on the complimentary flight, so it is important to go through the fine print on complimentary flight offers while comparing different flyer cards.

There are a few credit cards in the market that have a complimentary flight already attached to it, but these often come with a book of terms and conditions. Be mindful that you can only travel to certain locations with these cards, and are often subject to availability.

How to compare credit cards that offer complimentary flights

While choosing credit cards with a complimentary flight, it is important to know what features to look for:

  • Customer service - In order to redeem your reward points for a complimentary flight, you may be required to call the airline and request for the offer. It helps to choose a flyer credit card from a well-known airline that offers good customer service in case anything comes up.
  • Points earning - Different credit cards will let you earn points at different rates depending on the airline and reward program used. For highest tier flyer cards, you can earn up to three points per dollar spent. The actual dollar value of each point earned must also be considered before a choice can be made.
  • Bonus points - Some credit cards may have an introductory period where new card holders earn bonus points on purchases, or sign up. Bonus points earned during this promotional period may be enough to offset annual fees or help you earn another flight.
  • Complimentary travel insurance - Generally these types of cards offer free travel insurance to cover emergencies such as flight cancellations and medical costs for overseas travellers. When comparing travel cards, be sure to pick one that suits your needs, for example,  if you are a frequent overseas traveller, complimentary travel insurance could save you money and give you peace of mind.
  • Annual fees - Credit cards with a complimentary flight may offer many travel rewards, but you should never forget that they are categorised as high end cards because of the reward programs they carry, meaning that they attract annual fees that are higher than normal. Choosing a card which allows you to earn more points could be a great way to offset such annual fees. Alternatively, go for a card with less perks but that comes with lowered annual fees.

Pros and cons

  • Pros
  • Free flights - Long distance flyers and frequent travellers are able to accumulate points on these cards very quickly and bag a free flight every now and then. This can be a great way to save money.
  • Partner flights -While your credit card with a complimentary flight may be associated with a particular airline, this will not restrict you from redeeming your earned points for free flights from partner carriers associated with your airline.
  • Travel perks - Apart from giving you free flights, your credit card with a complimentary flight may also offer other great travel perk such as complimentary travel insurance, flight upgrades.
  • Cons
  • True value - Flyer points may be worth so little in true dollar value, meaning that it may take long to accumulate enough points for a free flight.
  • Terms and conditions - If your card already has a free flight attached (or you intend to apply for one), remember to read through the terms and conditions beforehand. This will give you an idea of what restrictions you have in terms of redeeming the flight.

Things to avoid when it comes to credit cards with a free flight

Like with all reward credit cards, cards with a complimentary flight have high interest rates, meaning that you can easily offset the reward points earned and even get into debt if you don't clear your balance each month. Points accumulated may also drop in value the more they sit on your card unused, and they may have an expiry date that you may need to look out for.

If you are to make the most of credit cards with a complimentary flight, you need to watch out for hidden charges and taxes when redeeming your reward points. It is also important to avoid spending beyond your budget simply to earn points.

Frequently asked questions

How do I redeem my points?

To redeem your points for a complimentary flight, you will need to login to your personal account on your airline's website. Alternatively, you can call your airline.

Are there any restrictions on point redemptions?

Yes, depending on your particular airline, you may face some restrictions when redeeming your flyer reward points i.e. restrictions pinned on flight and seat availability, destinations and periods when you can redeem your points.

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