How do airline credit cards work?


You earn points or miles doing your normal everyday spending and when you’ve collected enough, they can be converted into flights (though you still need to pay taxes and charges). Availability is much more limited than when paying for flights normally, so ensure you’re flexible when booking.

You can combine any miles you earn from spending with those you earn from flying, or through other credit card reward schemes, such as converting Tesco Clubcard points. Added together, your stash can build up much more quickly. Our Tricks to boost and max Avios Points guide has full info on that scheme, though there are others.

Use our eligibility calculator to find cards you’re most likely to get, without hitting your credit score

Making an application is recorded on your credit file. While a single one is not a big problem, especially if you’ve got a good credit score, lots in a short time are problematic.

So use our Airline Credit Cards Eligibility Calculator to show air miles credit card you’re most likely to get, so you don’t waste an application. And it’s NOT recorded as a hard search on your credit file.

Here’s all you need to know to get the best from airline credit cards…

The eight need-to-knows

  • 1. If you can’t repay in full every month, DON’T get an airline card
  • 2. They work best for high spenders
  • 3. Don’t borrow or withdraw cash on these cards
  • 4. Use these cards for all NORMAL spending to max rewards
  • 5. Use our eligibility calculator to find the card you’re most likely to get…
  • 6. Carefully consider getting one if you need other credit soon
  • 7. Free flights are a myth as you’ll still pay taxes and charges – but you can still save a significant amount
  • 8. Reward flights are limited, so you’ll have to be flexible


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