A selection of credit cards come with a yearly complimentary free flight or travel credit that you can use to pay for eligible flights or upgrades. As well as giving you the chance to enjoy a free flight, upgrades or major discounts each year, this perk can help offset the cost of the card’s annual fee. This means if you play your cards right, you could get a lot more value from your credit card than what you pay for it.
American Express Cobalt Card
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
Purchase interest rate
American Express Cobalt Card
Apply today and earn up to 5 points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases. Terms apply.
- Purchase interest rate: 19.99%
- Cash advance rate: 22.99%
- Annual fee: $120
- Credit rating: Fair, Good, Excellent
- Minimum age: Age of majority in province/territory of residence
Compare credit cards that offer flights and travel credit
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How can I get a complimentary flight or travel credit through my credit card?
If you have a credit card that gives you an annual complimentary flight or travel credit, you’ll usually have to meet a number of requirements in order to use this perk. While these details vary between cards, some of the most common include:
Annual benefit. Complimentary flights or travel vouchers are usually an annual benefit and can’t be rolled over for use in future years. Typically, you’ll have 12 months to use the credit before it expires.
Spend requirement. In most cases, you’ll need to meet a spend requirement before you can use your flight or travel credit. On some cards, this could be a complimentary benefit, while on others you’ll have to spend over $20,000 annually.
Access to benefit. Some providers will offer a complimentary partner ticket, which means you will need to book and pay for one ticket before the second one is complimentary, while other providers may outright provide you with one complimentary flight. Some providers will require that you redeem points to gain access to your complimentary flight.
Eligible airline or travel partners. The complimentary flight or travel credit can only be used with an eligible airline or travel partner. For example, you may get a complimentary flight that you can use only with Air Canada, or you may get a $300 travel credit that you can use to reimburse eligible travel purchases made with your credit card.
Booking conditions. You usually need to book in advance through a particular service. For example, you may need to redeem the credit directly through an associated airline or through the credit card company’s travel booking service.
Stipulations. The complimentary flight will have certain stipulations, which may include a maximum distance or dollar amount value. In addition, some providers may offer a round-trip, while others may provide complimentary one way flights only.
Taxes and fees. Typically, you’re responsible for paying taxes and fees on a complimentary flight.
Your credit card terms and conditions should include details of the complimentary flight or travel credit requirements, so make sure you read this section of the Product Disclosure Statement carefully. Alternatively, you can call your credit card company to find out exactly what steps you need to take to get your free flight or travel credit.
What other features can I get with a credit card that offers a complimentary flight or a travel credit?
As well as flights or travel credit, these are some of the other features typically offered by these credit cards:
Rewards or travel rewards points. Most credit cards that offer complimentary flights or travel credits also earn points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, which you could redeem for rewards such as flights, hotels, car rentals, merchandise or gift cards.
Airport lounge access. Premium credit cards that offer complimentary flights or travel credit could also offer you airport lounge access to hundreds of airport lounges worldwide.
Travel insurance. This perk helps you save on buying separate travel insurance for your trip. Usually, you’ll have to pay the entire trip with your credit card to activate the travel insurance. Check your credit card’s insurance booklet for full details of how to activate the coverage.
Purchase protection. Many of these credit cards offer complimentary insurance for items you buy with the card. Coverage can range from protection against accidental damage, theft or loss to extended warranties and price matches.
Foreign transaction fees. Some cards come with a currency conversion fee up to 3.5% of the amount of each transaction made overseas. Some travel credit cards will waive this fee, which can save you a lot of money overseas.
Promotional welcome offer. Occasionally credit cards come with a generous welcome offer worth $500 or more after you meet certain spending requirements within the first three months of card ownership. Once you receive the offer, you can easily redeem it for flights or other travel rewards. These promotional offers are usually for new customers only.
Costs of credit cards with complimentary flights and travel credit
The rates and fees for these credit cards play a huge part in how much value you’ll get from them. To work out if one of these cards will offer you value for money, here are the key details to consider:
Annual fee. This is the biggest upfront expense you’ll have with a credit card that offers complimentary flights or travel credit. Ideally, look for a card that has an annual fee worth the same amount as your flight or travel credit so that they cancel each other out. If that’s not the case, make sure the other benefits on the card are collectively worth more than what you’re paying on the annual fee.
Purchase interest rate. This is the interest rate charged when you carry a balance on your credit card. Cards that offer complimentary flights or travel credit usually have purchase interest rates on the higher end of the scale. Make sure you pay your balance on time to avoid making your card cost more than it’s worth.
Cash advances. If you use your credit card to get cash out, buy foreign cash, gamble or make any other cash advance transactions, you’ll be charged a cash advance fee and the cash advance interest rate, which is usually around 22.99%. This rate is also charged immediately and does not have a grace-period like a purchase interest rate.
If you’re interested in getting a credit card that offers complimentary flights or travel credit each year, start by comparing different card options to find one that suits your spending habits and financial needs. Remember to check the eligibility requirements, as well as the conditions around the travel voucher and complimentary flight, so you can apply for a card that works for you.Back to top
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