The best free flight credit card is Chase Sapphire Preferred because it gives new cardholders up to 3 free flights (round-trip) between New York and Los Angeles for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Specifically, Sapphire Preferred’s initial bonus is 80,000 points, which is worth $1,000 in travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. And that in turn is worth around 3 free flights, based on current fares. You can also transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to Chase’s 9 airline partners, including Southwest, United and JetBlue. How many free flights you can get that way depends on those transfer partners’ ticket prices.
Chase Sapphire Preferred will also help you earn free flights over time, giving 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining (1 per $1 on everything else). And it has a $95 annual fee. But for all that if offers, Sapphire Preferred is still a general travel card. That means it lacks a lot of the perks normally found on airline-specific cards, such as free checked bags and priority boarding. The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard offers both. And it gives 50,000 miles when you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months, plus 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines purchases, dining and gas.
Another good free flight credit card is the Capital One Venture card, which offers 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. The bonus miles are worth $500 in free flights or other travel. The annual fee is $95. Also, the co-branded United MileagePlus Explorer card gives you 65,000 miles when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. There’s a $0 annual fee for first year. After that, it jumps to $95.
Sometimes, airline credit cards will actually say straight up that they’ll give you free flights, rather than a certain number of miles worth a certain amount in airfare. Plus, several airline cards currently offer companion tickets – allowing a guest to travel with you for free (or close to it) – as part of your sign-up bonus, as an annual renewal bonus or both. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles card is a good example.
Free flight credit cards obviously offer a lot of perks. And while you will likely have to contend with an annual fee, the card should more than pay for itself if you travel a lot and take advantage of all the benefits at your disposal. Just make sure to pay your entire balance each month so that interest charges don’t cancel out your rewards earnings. Also, it’s worth noting that you will need good to excellent credit to qualify for most of these cards.