Airline Credit Cards Offering Free Tickets

by Beverly Blair Harzog on 05/31/2011

Summer’s almost here and perhaps you’re feeling a bit of wanderlust. What if you could hop on a plane and go somewhere for free? The credit cards in this roundup offer sign-up bonuses that are good enough for a free flight. Not bad, huh?

Just one reminder: Rewards cards have APRs on the high side. But as long as you pay off your balance every month, these cards can be a good deal for you. The cards I’ve picked do have annual fees, but they’re fairly reasonable considering the perks involved.

All-New Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

After your first purchase, you earn 20,000 bonus points. Unlike most cards that offer these sign-up bonuses, there’s no spending requirement. You need 13,080 points for a $218 roundtrip “Wanna Get Away” ticket. So the bonus is more than enough for a free flight.

Additional perks: Earn 3,000 bonus points on your enrollment anniversary date, which is $50 towards a flight. This is a Visa Signature card so you get exceptional benefits, such as special access to concerts and sporting events.

Annual fee: $69

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

You get 20,000 bonus miles after your first purchase, which is enough for a free flight. There’s no spending requirement to get the bonus. You can earn an additional 5,000 bonus miles if you add two authorized users to your account. You need exactly 25,000 SkyMiles for an economy class roundtrip flight within the United States.

Additional perks: You get to check your first bag for free on every Delta flight. Up to nine people in your reservation can check their first bag for free. Each year when you renew your card, you receive a complimentary $99 companion ticket.

Annual fee: Waived for the first year, then it’s $95. If you fly Delta at least twice a year, you’ll save enough on checked bag fees to pay for the annual fee.

Citi Gold / AAdvantage World MasterCard

You can earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles if you spend $750 within the first four months of opening your account. This is more than enough for a roundtrip domestic travel award.

Additional perks: This card has no pre-set spending limit so you get more purchasing power. You also get access to the Reduced Mileage Award program, which offers mileage discounts to destinations that change quarterly.

Annual fee: Waived for the first year, then it’s $50.

At publishing time, the Citi Gold / AAdvantage World MasterCard is offered on product pages and may be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for the card. However, this relationship does not result in ANY preferential editorial treatment.

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Beverly Blair Harzog's Credit Card Expert, Beverly focuses on credit card issues and provides insight about current news that affects the credit card industry and consumers. She's a nationally recognized expert on credit card issues and is also the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Person-to-Person Lending. Reach Beverly at


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