Credit cards with free flights or travel credits

You can fly for free or save on your travel bookings every year with one of these credit cards – here's how.

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Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months. Plus, a yearly $450 Travel Credit.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Membership Rewards
$0 for the first year ($195 thereafter)
Save with a $0 first-year annual fee, $200 yearly Travel Credit and up to 3 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
Membership Rewards
Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $400 Travel Credit each year.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Velocity Frequent Flyer
Earn 120,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,500 in the first 3 months. Plus, a complimentary return domestic flight per year.
American Express Platinum Card
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
Up to 200,000 bonus points (150k when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and 50k in year 2). Plus, a $450 Travel Credit each year.

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What credit cards offer free flights?

There is a selection of rewards and premium credit cards in Australia that offer you a free flight or travel credit. Usually, you'll be able to redeem a free flight or other travel booking once per year for as long as you have the card.

As well as helping you save money on travel, this type of perk can help offset the cost of the card's annual fee. So, let's take a look at how it works and what else to think about when you're deciding if this type or card will work for you.

The Finder list of credit cards with free flights or travel credits

Compare these credit cards that offer you a free flight or travel credit.

How can I get a free flight with a credit card?

If you have a credit card that offers a free flight or travel credit, you’ll usually have to meet some requirements to use this perk. These vary between cards but some of the most common include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

You can check your credit card terms and conditions for details of the flight or travel voucher requirements. Or, call your credit card company to find out exactly what you need to do to get a free flight or use your travel credit.

Example: How to get a free flight with a Qantas American Express Ultimate Card

To give you an idea of how redeeming flight or travel credit works, let's look at the steps we'd take with the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card. This card offers a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year, which you could use to fly for free depending on your flight.

For this example, let's say we want to fly from the Gold Coast to Sydney. Here are the basic steps we'd need to take:

  1. Log in to your American Express account and check your eligibility. Note that you need to have paid your most recent annual fee and at least the minimum repayment required for your most recent statement.
  2. Go to the American Express Travel Online website. If you need help, you can also chat online or call the Amex Travel team on 1300 303 877.
  3. Search for Qantas flights. The prices will be shown in dollars, so aim to keep the total under $450 if you want to fly for free.
  4. Select the Qantas Travel Credit option at the checkout. Once you've chosen your flight, follow the prompts to book it and click on the travel credit button when you get to the payment section.

Keep in mind that your Qantas Travel Credit can only be used once and has to be used for one booking. If you book a flight that's worth less than $450, you lose the remaining value. If your flight is worth more than $450, you can use the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card to pay the difference.

Remember: With other cards, the process could be slightly different, but this gives you a general idea of how it works.

Other travel benefits you can get with a credit card that offers a free flight

As well as flights or travel credit, these are some of the other features you could enjoy with a credit card:

  • 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.
  • Status credits. Some frequent flyer credit cards also offer bonus status credits for Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer. This can help you reach a higher status tier that unlocks more travel benefits.

How much does a free flight credit card cost?

The rates and fees for these credit cards determine 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 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. You can avoid this cost altogether by paying your balance in full every month.
  • Foreign transaction fee. If you pay with your credit card overseas or online with an international retailer, you’ll typically pay a fee of between 3% and 3.4% of the total transaction amount.

If you’re interested in getting a credit card that offers free flights or a 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.

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