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Credit cards with free flights or travel credits

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

Name Bonus points Points per $ spent Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer image
Finder Award
Velocity Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
0.66
Purchase rate p.a.
20.74%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($149 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months (with no BT fee) and a $0 annual fee in the first year.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card image
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
90,000
Points per $ spent
1.25
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$450
Go to siteMore Info
Get a yearly $450 Travel Credit and up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points (70,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and 20,000 points in year 2).
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
American Express Velocity Platinum Card image
Velocity Frequent Flyer
Bonus points
60,000
Points per $ spent
1.25
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$375
Go to siteMore Info
Get 60,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus a return domestic flight each year. Ends 26 June 2024.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card image
Membership Rewards
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
1
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($195 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Save with a $0 annual fee in the first year. Plus, $200 Travel Credit every year.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
American Express Explorer Credit Card image
Membership Rewards
Bonus points
50,000
Points per $ spent
2
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$395
Go to siteMore Info
Get 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.
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What credit cards offer free flights?

These rewards and premium credit cards give you a way to save on travel by offering you a discounted or free flight, or travel credit. Usually, you'll be able to use this travel perk once a year for as long as you have the card, which can help offset the cost of the annual fee.

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?

You'll usually have to meet a few requirements to use a free flight or travel credit offered by a credit card. Some of the most common conditions include:

  • Spending requirement. This could be a retail purchase, a minimum spend – such as $500 on everyday purchases – or payment of your annual fee.
  • Annual benefit. Complimentary flights or travel credit are usually offered once a year and can't be rolled over for future use. So you'll typically 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 Travel Online.
  • Booking conditions. You usually need to book in advance through a specific airline or travel booking service to redeem the flight or travel credit.

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. Here are the basic steps we'd need to take to use it:

  1. Log in to your American Express account and check your eligibility. This includes paying your most recent annual fee and at least the minimum amount listed on 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 (but can't make the booking over the phone).
  3. Search for Qantas flights. Make sure it is a Qantas flight with a QF number (e.g. Qantas Flight 410 or QF410).
  4. Pay for the booking with your Qantas American Express Ultimate Card. The booking needs to be worth $450 or more and the travel credit will be added back on your card account within 3 business days (but it could take up to 30 days in some cases).

Keep in mind that your Qantas Travel Credit can only be used once and has to be used for one booking. 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

  • 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:

  • Annual fees

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.

  • Interest rates

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 fees

If you pay with your credit card overseas or online with an international retailer, you’ll typically pay a fee of between 2% 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 and the travel credit conditions to help you apply for a card that suits you.

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Written by

Amy Bradney-George

Amy Bradney-George was the senior writer for credit cards at Finder, and editorial lead for Finder Green. She has over 16 years of editorial experience and has been featured in publications including ABC News, Money Magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald. See full profile

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