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How to get to India with credit card rewards

A signup bonus or accelerated rewards categories may get you there.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked
Most travel credit cards with an annual fee offer a high enough signup bonus to get you a one-way flight to India. To get a round trip, you’ll need to do additional spending on categories that offer more miles per dollar.

Credit cards that get you to India

If you want to use rewards to get a flight to India, consider either an airline credit card or a travel rewards credit card.

Our pick for getting to India

United℠ Explorer Card

  • $0 first-year intro annual fee, then $95.
  • Signup bonus: 60,000 miles after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus an additional 10,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months.
  • 2x miles on United purchases, hotel stays and restaurant purchases.
  • Credit every four years for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • 25% back as statement credit on United inflight purchases. Plus, priority boarding and your first checked bag free on United-operated flights.
  • 2 United Club one-time passes each card anniversary.
Read less
Read more
See Rates & Fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on Chase's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
Up to 5x
Points
60,000
Points welcome offer
How many Chase Ultimate Rewards points do I need to fly to India from New York?
With this card, you can transfer your points to frequent flyer miles at a 1:1 ratio. According to the United website at the time of writing, if you transfer to United Airlines miles you'll need 42,500 points plus $5.60 for taxes and fees to board an Economy flight. Alternatively, redeem your points for flight tickets through Chase Ultimate Rewards and get 25% higher point value.

How do I earn the points?
Get 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within your first 3 months of card membership. That's enough points to either transfer to United Airlines miles or to redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for a one-way flight to India.

According to the example above, the Sapphire Preferred's signup bonus alone is almost enough for a roundtrip flight. To make up the difference, you'll need to spend enough to earn 5,000 points. This is $2,500 on travel or dining, or $5,000 on non-accelerated categories.

  • Earn points. Use your card on travel and dining at restaurants and cafés and earn 2x points. Lyft rides earn 5x points until March 2022, while everything else you buy earns you 1x points.
  • Travel insurances. Get trip cancelation insurance, auto rental collision coverage, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and more.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards high value. Use your points to book flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards and get a 25% boost to your point value.
Annual Fee $95
Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable
Welcome offer 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $750 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Rewards 5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$99 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Miles
35,000
Miles welcome offer
How many SkyMiles do I need to fly to India from New York?
Delta is more expensive when you're considering miles redemption for a flight to India. According to the Delta website at the time of writing, expect to use 85,000 miles plus $30.30 for fees and taxes for an Economy flight.

How do I earn the miles?
The card comes with a decent welcome offer of 35,000 miles once you spend $1,000 within 3 months of your account opening. But this isn't enough to redeem a flight to India, although it is close.

To get there with credit card rewards, you need to earn enough miles on top of the welcome offer to get to a total of around 85,000 miles.

  • Earn miles. Delta purchases including flights booked through Delta.com, Sky Club membership or passes, Delta packages, seat upgrades and in-flight purchases earn 2x miles. Earn 2x miles at restaurants worldwide and US supermarkets. All other purchases earn 1x miles. Plus, SkyMiles members can earn an additional 5x miles on Delta flights.
  • First checked bag free. Get first checked bag free for you and up to nine passengers on your reservation. Each time you use this perk you save $60 per person on a round trip with Delta.
  • Priority boarding. Board your plane sooner with a Main Cabin 1 priority boarding. This perk usually costs $15.
  • In-flight savings. Every time you use your card to pay for food, beverages or headsets on Delta flights you get 20% back as a statement credit.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Purchase APR 15.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance transfer APR N/A
Welcome offer 35,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Miles
60,000
Miles welcome offer
How many United miles do I need to fly to India from New York?
You need at least 42,500 miles plus $5.60 for taxes and fees on an economy flight to get to India according to the United website at the time of writing. Your options include either a United Airlines flight or a flight on one of their Star Alliance partners, including Air India and Lufthansa.

How do I earn the miles?
This card comes with a generous signup bonus of 60,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months of card membership.

  • Earn miles. Earn 2x miles when booking stays directly at a hotel, eating at restaurants and on all United Airlines purchases. Everything else you buy earns 1.5x miles.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit. Use your card to pay for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application and get reimbursed for up to $100 once every four years.
  • In-flight purchases discount. Food, beverages and Wi-Fi bought with your card on United Airlines flights get you 25% back as a statement credit.
  • First checked bag free. Save $30 on the first checked bag for a one-way trip per person. This perk is available for you and one companion traveling on your reservation, which can save you up to $120 on a round trip for two.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Purchase APR 16.49% to 23.49% variable
Balance transfer APR 16.49% to 23.49% variable
Welcome offer 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus an additional 10,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
Rewards 2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® logo
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
Read review
740
Min. credit score
$99 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 2x
Miles
50,000
Miles welcome offer
How many AAdvantage miles do I need to fly to India from New York?
Economy MileSAAver flights from New York to Delhi, India start at 50,000 miles + $5.60 for taxes and fees according to the provider website at the time of writing.

You can board either an American Airlines flight or any of its Oneworld alliance partner airlines, including Qatar Airways, British Airways and Finnair.

How do I earn the miles?
This card has a solid signup bonus of 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $2,500 within 3 months of your account opening.

Clearing the bonus is enough for a one-way trip to India. If you want to pay the return ticket with miles you need to spend $15,000 at restaurants, gas stations or on American Airlines purchases.

  • Earn miles. Restaurant, gas station and American Airlines purchases earn 2x miles. All other purchases return 1x miles.
  • First checked bag free. On domestic flights you get first checked bag free for you and four companions traveling on the same reservation.
  • Preferred boarding. Settle in your seat sooner with preferred boarding perk.
  • In-flight savings. Every time you buy food and beverages with your card on American Airlines flights you get 25% back as statement credit.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Purchase APR 15.99% to 24.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.99% to 24.99% variable
Welcome offer 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, at gas stations and restaurants and 1x miles on all other purchases
The information about Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

Compare similar travel credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express
10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases. Starting January 1, 2021, your 5x points on flights will be capped on up to $500,000 annually (then 1x points).
See rates & fees
$550
One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $4,500, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
16.99% to 23.99% variable
$550
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$450
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 or more within your first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021). Rates & fees
Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
14.99% variable
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$95
With a big welcome offer worth up to $650, up to 12x points on spending, and free Gold status, this is an upgrade from the entry Hilton card. Rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Get a one-way ticket to India by clearing certain travel card’s signup bonuses. You can do so by choosing a general travel credit card or a cobranded airline credit card. Make sure the card has an annual fee, otherwise you’ll fall short of getting a reward flight using only the signup bonus.

However, if you find that none of these cards fit your spending style or travel needs, consider other travel credit cards and compare your options.

Frequently asked questions

  • What credit cards are accepted in India?
    Mastercard and Visa are accepted worldwide, but in India you should be able to use an American Express card. For more details, check out our guide on using a credit card in India.
  • What is the difference between an American Airlines MileSAAver and AAnytime tickets?
    MileSAAver costs less than AAnytime ticket, but you won’t have the same flexibility to change your date. If you’re looking to shift your date after booking, be ready to pay fees with a MileSAAver ticket.
  • Which of these cards offer TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit?
    Only the United℠ Explorer Card offers TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit

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