Credit Cards That Make Scoring Free Airfare Easy

By Kris Majaski. Last updated 15 September 2020. 0 comments

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Cashing in your airline miles for award seats can be an aggravating experience. Common issues include flights with unreasonable point demands, huge fuel surcharges, and limited availability.

That last part — limited availability — is often what sends people over the edge. Even if you do everything right, some airline loyalty programs make it difficult to find a flight that works with your schedule, or a flight with more than one open award seat available.

If you’re tired of earning airline miles that are hard to use, consider getting a card with a more flexible airline or opting for a travel rewards card that lets you use points in a variety of travel programs. The short list below includes co-branded airline cards that make their rewards programs especially easy to redeem, as well as flexible cards that let you use points in several ways. (See also: Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with This Guide)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a hero among co-branded airline credit cards. Why? Because the Southwest Rapid Rewards program is seamless, easy-to-use, and more flexible than competing programs. You'll earn 1x points per dollar spent on all purchases, plus 2x points on purchases made with the airline as well as with hotel and car rental partners. New cardmembers can earn up to 75,000 points. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.

Make note, however, that the card does come with a $99 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. Southwest stands out among its competitors for a few reasons. First, it offers an unusual fare-based rewards program, meaning cheaper flights cost fewer points. Second, Southwest doesn’t limit award availability on any of its flights. If you find an open seat on a Southwest flight and have the points handy, it’s yours to book. What’s more, Southwest Airlines never charges a fee for your first two checked bags, whether you pay in miles or cash. Finally, if you fly Southwest a lot, you may qualify for a one-year companion pass. You need to accrue 110,000 Rapid Reward points in a single year to qualify. With the signup bonus, you’re almost there. 

Info about the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card from Chase has been collected independently by Wise Bread. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

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Credit Cards that Make Scoring Free Airfare Easy


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