So, You Want Free Travel? Search for Airline Credit Card Deals

by | May 31, 2023

Woman sitting on the couch with a laptop holding a credit bank card, looking for airline credit card deals.
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Featured image: Are you utilizing credit cards for free flights? There are many airline credit card deals to take advantage of! | Photo by voronaman111 on Envato

There are deals to be had to save money on travel

By Karen Gershowitz, Contributor, Quirky Places

In November, I was on a JetBlue flight headed to Denver when the announcement came over the PA system. At first, I thought, “I couldn’t have heard that correctly.” Then I heard it again and thought, “sign me up.” The airline had a special deal—apply for their credit card while on the flight and, if approved, get a bonus of 80,000 miles. The fee would be waived for the first year. It required spending $1,000 during the first three months. (I spent money that would have been charged on other cards and repaid it immediately).

Normally, I wouldn’t have considered getting another credit card, I really didn’t need one. But when I did the math, it was clear this was a good deal. Eighty thousand miles is worth about $800. Since then, I’ve used the miles to buy flights to Florida and Vancouver from New York City.  I’ve still got enough miles for another flight. 

When I recently looked online, there were no JetBlue or other airline deals that were nearly as good. Most offers either required spending a lot on the credit card ($4,000-$5,000) before the bonus miles kicked in, or immediate payment of an annual fee or both. But there are deals to be had.  Keep in mind that terms and conditions change often. Read the fine print. 

Three airline credit card deals

These were the best deals I found. But try searching for others by googling: (airline name) credit card deals 2023. 

  • Alaska Airlines is currently running an offer of 50,000 bonus miles. There is a $95 annual fee, but that is offset by a $100 statement credit after qualifying purchases of $2,000 within the first 90 days of opening the account.  Do the math, this isn’t a bad deal. The miles are worth roughly $500. 
  • American Airlines has a current deal that will earn you 60,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after making one purchase (no minimum required) during your first 90 days of holding the card and paying the card’s $99 annual fee. 
  • Delta has a special at the moment– Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 6 months, $99 annual fee waived for the first year.

Questions to ask to find airline credit card deals

If you are thinking about getting and using an airline miles credit card, consider the following:

  • How many free miles will you get? What are the requirements for getting them?
  • Is this an airline you want to travel on?
  • What is the annual fee and APR? (APR means Annual Percentage Rate) 
  • What other perks come with the card? (Early boarding, free checked bag, etc.)
  • How will this impact your credit score?

I’m glad I signed up for the JetBlue card but will probably drop it when they want me to pay an annual fee. Three free flights made it a great deal. And if I’m on another airline and hear an equally good offer, I’ll do it again.  

Have any great credit card tips to share?  Share them in the comments.

Read More on Budget Travel

Karen has been traveling solo since age seventeen, when she flew to Europe and didn’t return to the US for three years. She got severely bitten by the travel bug and since then has traveled to over ninety countries and has visited all fifty states -- many of them multiple times. In her career as a marketing strategist she traveled the world conducting thousands of meetings, focus groups and interviews. Her skills as an interviewer have persuaded total strangers to talk candidly about the most intimate of subjects, personal bankruptcy, illness and religion. When traveling for pleasure, those same skills helped her to draw out people’s stories. Karen’s first book of travel stories, Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust, explores the confluence of travel and life events, and how travel has changed her beliefs and life direction. Wanderlust: Extraordinary People, Quirky Places and Curious Cuisine continues those stories, addressing memorable food, people and places she experienced in her travels.


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