How to get to India with credit card rewards

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

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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

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

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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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.

To get a return flight, you need to spend at least $15,500 on dining and travel.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

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.
miles redemption for a flight to India

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, althogh it’s 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.

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card
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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.
miles redemption for a flight to India image 2

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.

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

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
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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.
miles redemption for a flight to India image 3

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.

Compare similar travel credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
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
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
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
16.49% variable
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
16.49% variable
$995
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
United Club℠ Infinite Card
4x miles on United purchases, 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x miles on all other purchases
16.49% to 23.49% variable
$525
Get United Club membership with access for you and two guests at any United Club or Star Alliance lounge -- a value of up to $650 annually.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
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Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
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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

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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