The easiest airline credit cards to get approved for are the LATAM Secured Credit Card and the SKYPASS Secured Credit Card. Since they’re secured cards, you can get approved even if your credit is bad. You just have to place a security deposit, which will serve as your credit line. All other airline cards are a lot harder to get because they require at least good credit for approval.
This card, co-branded with Korean Air, accepts people with bad credit, gives 5,000 miles SKYPASS bonus miles when you make your first purchase, and rewards you with 1 mile per $1 on all purchases. You must submit a $300 deposit. There is a $50 annual fee.
This card, co-branded with the Latin-American provider LATAM Airlines, accepts people with bad credit. You get 5,000 points bonus after your first purchase, and earn 1 point per $1 on all purchases. You also get a 10% discount on your first LATAM Airlines purchase ($500 or less) each year. You need to submit a $300 deposit. The annual fee is $0 1st yr, $25 after that.
If you’re a student with limited history, you can apply. If you apply online, you get 25,000 points bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. You get 1.5 points / $1 on all purchases, and 3 points / $1 at the Bank of America Travel Center. There’s no deposit, and the annual fee is $0.
You might notice that the two secured credit cards affiliated with an airline seem very similar in their terms. That’s because they’re all issued by U.S. Bank. If you’re a frequent flyer on those airlines, it might be worthwhile to apply. And if you’re a student, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students will give you the best travel value, even though it uses points rather than miles. If you want to qualify for most airline credit cards, though, you’ll have to work on getting your credit into the good or excellent range.
Travel credit cards are worth it for people who travel multiple times per year and who spend enough for the cards’ rewards and supplemental benefits to outweigh any annual fees. People who travel less frequently may also find travel credit cards with no annual fee to be worth it. In addition, it’s worth noting that a travel credit card could be one of multiple cards in your wallet. It’s not necessary to choose between travel rewards and cash back, for example.… read full answer
7 Tips for How to Decide if a Travel Credit Card Is Worth It
1. Compare expected rewards earnings to the cost of the card.
For a travel credit card to be worth it, the card’s rewards and benefits should outweigh its fees.
2. Compare the value to other credit card offers.
The travel credit card’s net value – rewards and benefits, minus fees – should be higher than what other comparable cards offer. A credit card is not truly worth it if getting that card means bypassing a better deal.
3. Take annual fees into account, but don’t rule them out.
Nearly all of the best travel credit cards charge an annual fee. But there are plenty of benefits that reduce the impact of such a fee. For example, an initial bonus is one factor that can easily make a travel credit card worth getting. The best travel rewards cards offer sizeable bonuses when you meet minimum spending requirements in the first year. Top initial bonus offers cover the cost of their card’s annual fee for several years.
4. Make sure the redemption options suit you.
Typically, you can redeem a travel card’s rewards for travel-focused purchases such as airfare or hotel stays, as well as other options like gift cards, merchandise or cash. The value of those rewards varies by card. But in most cases, you’ll get the highest value when you redeem for travel.
5. Consider co-branded travel cards if you have a favorite airline or hotel chain.
People who frequent a specific hotel or airline may get the most value from co-branded travel cards that offer enhanced rewards for loyal customers. Common perks on such cards include free checked bags, seat or room upgrades and lounge access.
However, you’ll lose flexibility when earning and redeeming rewards, relative to a general travel card. Co-branded travel cards tend to give the best rewards at their affiliated airline or hotel, and your rewards are usually tied to that company’s loyalty program.
6. Make sure there’s no foreign fee if you’re spending internationally.
The travel credit cards that are most worth it for international travelers and shoppers are ones that come with no foreign transaction fee. Foreign transaction fees can be as costly as 3% of each purchase made with a foreign merchant. But luckily, most travel cards don’t have this fee.
7. Check your credit score before applying.
It’s important to check your credit score before submitting an application for any travel credit card. The best travel credit cards tend to require at least good credit (a score of 700+), and some even require excellent credit (a score of 750+).
Yes, airline miles are worth it. Whether you earn airline miles through an airline’s frequent flyer program or from a credit card with miles, you’re earning something of value in return for money you would be spending anyway. The miles you earn can then be redeemed for free flights and flight upgrades, saving you money on future purchases.… read full answer
Frequent flyer programs affiliated with major airlines are free to join. Once you sign up, you just have to enter your membership number each time you book a flight to get your miles. Airline credit cards and general travel rewards credit cards help you earn miles much faster, since you can earn miles on tons of different purchases. Many cards also have signup bonuses.
The best airline and travel credit cards often have annual fees. So you’ll have to weigh the value of the miles you’d earn against the cost of the card to determine if the airline miles are worth it. You can also choose a credit card with a $0 annual fee, but you may not earn as many miles.
If you’re usually loyal to one airline, it makes sense to get a credit card for that specific airline. However, if you instead bounce around and book flights on whichever airline has the best and cheapest route, you should get a general travel rewards credit card that’s not affiliated with just one airline.
You can redeem miles for free flights and flight upgrades, whether you’re earning them from a frequent flyer program or a rewards credit card. Credit card miles can also be redeemed for other travel-related purchases, like hotel stays and car rentals, in most cases.
The best travel credit card for bad credit is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card because it offers 3% cash back in the category of your choice, including travel, for the first $2,500. Plus, you earn 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% on all other purchases. This card also comes with a $0 annual fee.… read full answer
Another good travel card for bad credit is the SKYPASS Secured Credit Card. It offers 5,000 miles just for making your first purchase, and you also receive 1,000 bonus miles at renewal. This card gives 1 mile per $1 spent on all purchases, but it has a $50 annual fee.
There aren’t really many other travel branded credit cards for bad credit. But there are some general secured cards that could work well instead. The Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards® Secured Credit Card is a good choice because it has rewards (1 point per $1 spent) and comes with 0% foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee.
All of these cards report to the major credit bureaus every month. So, they’ll all help you improve your credit if you pay your bills on time.
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