Guide for Using Credit Card Rewards for Flights

Anjali June 17, 2024

Table of Content:

  1. Understanding Credit Card Rewards
  2. Choosing the Right Credit Card
  3. Earning Rewards Efficiently
  4. Redeeming Points and Miles for Flights
  5. Managing Your Rewards

Credit card rewards can significantly cut the cost of flights, making it easier to turn your travel dreams into reality. These rewards, which come in the form of points or miles, can be earned through everyday spending and then redeemed for flight tickets. However, understanding how to earn and use these rewards effectively can be challenging.  But don’t you worry we will help you to explain every detail. 

Not just this, for discounts and deals you can check EaseMyTrip while booking a flight ticket and you can pay with credit card for seamless payment. 

The world of credit card points and miles involves various rules, reward programmes, and redemption options, which can be confusing if you're not familiar with the details. Navigating this system requires some knowledge and planning to maximise your benefits and ensure you get the best value from your rewards.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand how to maximise your credit card rewards for flights, ensuring you get the best value and the smoothest booking experience. 

  1. Understanding Credit Card Rewards


Credit card rewards come in several forms, but they generally fall into three main categories: points, miles, and cashback. Among these, points and miles are particularly useful for booking flights.

       (a) Points

Points are typically accumulated based on your spending and can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, such as flights, hotels, and merchandise. Some well-known examples include Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.

Key Features of Points:

  • Earning: Points are earned on everyday purchases, with certain cards offering higher earning rates for specific categories like dining or travel.
  • Redemption: Points can be redeemed through the credit card issuer’s rewards portal or transferred to travel partners for potentially greater value.
  • Flexibility: Points offer a wide range of redemption options, from booking flights and hotels to purchasing gift cards and merchandise.


       (b) Miles

Miles are designed specifically for travel and are typically earned through airline-branded credit cards or general travel credit cards. 

Key Features of Miles:

  • Earning: Miles are accumulated through purchases made with airline credit cards, often with bonus miles for spending on travel-related expenses.
  • Redemption: Miles can be redeemed for flights, seat upgrades, and other travel-related expenses through the airline’s rewards program.
  • Travel Focus: Miles are tailored towards travel rewards, making them ideal for frequent flyers looking to offset the cost of airfare.

          (c) Cashback

While points and miles are essential for those focusing on travel rewards, cashback offers a straightforward benefit by returning a percentage of your spending as cash. This can be applied as a statement credit, deposited into your bank account, or used for other expenses.

Key Features of Cashback:

  • Earning: Cashback is earned on all purchases, with certain cards offering higher percentages for specific categories.
  • Redemption: Cashback is easy to use, often directly reducing your credit card bill or being transferred to your bank account.
  • Simplicity: Cashback rewards are straightforward and easy to understand, with no need for conversion or complex redemption processes.

2. Choosing the Right Credit Card


Selecting the right credit card involves considering your spending habits and financial goals. Start by identifying the categories where you spend the most, such as travel, dining, or groceries. Look for cards that offer higher rewards rates in these areas. Consider the type of rewards that best suit your needs.

Here are more factors to consider while choosing the right card:

  • Sign-up Bonuses: Many travel credit cards offer significant sign-up bonuses if you spend a certain amount within the first few months. These bonuses can sometimes cover the cost of a round-trip flight. Sign-up bonuses are a great way to boost your rewards balance quickly and can provide substantial value right from the start.
  • Earning Rates: Look for cards that offer high earning rates on categories you spend the most on, such as travel, dining, or groceries. For example, if you dine out frequently, a card that offers extra points or cashback on dining purchases would be ideal. High earning rates in relevant categories can significantly increase your rewards over time.
  • Redemption Flexibility: Some credit cards offer more flexible redemption options than others. Cards linked to airline alliances or those that offer transferable points to multiple travel partners can provide more value. Flexible redemption options allow you to use your rewards in a way that best suits your travel plans and preferences, whether it's for flights, hotel stays, or other travel-related expenses.
  • Annual Fees: Weigh the annual fee against the potential rewards and benefits. Some cards with higher fees offer perks like airport lounge access, travel credits, and elite status. It's important to consider whether the value of these perks outweighs the cost of the annual fee. In many cases, the additional benefits can make a high-fee card worthwhile if you utilise them frequently.

Suggested read: Tips for First Time Flyers

3. Earning Rewards Efficiently


Maximising your credit card rewards involves smart spending and smart use of card benefits. Focus on concentrated spending by using your travel credit card for most purchases to quickly accumulate points or miles. Take advantage of bonus categories like dining or flights, which often offer higher rewards rates. Plan your spending to meet sign-up bonus requirements, providing a substantial points boost.

           (a) Concentrated Spending

Using your travel credit card for most or all of your purchases can significantly boost your points or miles accumulation. Here’s how to make the most of this strategy:

  • Everyday Purchases: Charge your everyday expenses, such as groceries, fuel, and utility bills, to your travel credit card. This ensures you are earning points or miles on transactions you would be making anyway.
  • Large Expenses: For bigger purchases, like electronics, furniture, or holiday expenses, using your travel credit card can result in a substantial points or miles haul.
  • Automate Payments: Set up automatic payments for recurring bills and subscriptions. This not only ensures you never miss a payment but also consistently adds to your rewards total.

           (b) Bonus Categories

Many travel credit cards offer higher points or miles earning rates in specific spending categories. Taking advantage of these bonus categories can significantly enhance your earning potential. Here’s how:

  • Know Your Card’s Categories: Understand which categories your card rewards the most. Common bonus categories include travel, dining, groceries, and fuel.
  • Strategic Spending: Plan your spending to maximise these categories. For example, if your card offers 3x points on dining, use it every time you eat out or order takeaway.
  • Seasonal Promotions: Keep an eye out for special promotions that offer increased rewards in certain categories during specific times of the year. Take advantage of these opportunities to boost your points or miles.

         (c) Sign-up Bonuses

Sign-up bonuses are one of the fastest ways to accumulate a large number of points or miles. To effectively earn these bonuses, consider the following:

  • Meet the Minimum Spend: Sign-up bonuses typically require you to spend a certain amount within the first few months of card membership. Plan your spending to ensure you meet this requirement without going over budget.
  • Combine with Regular Expenses: Use the card for regular expenses like groceries, utility bills, and other essential purchases to meet the minimum spend requirement.
  • Time Your Applications: Apply for new credit cards when you have upcoming major expenses (such as a holiday or large purchase), making it easier to hit the spending threshold.

    (d) Additional Benefits

Many travel credit cards offer extra points or miles for spending at specific merchants or with particular travel partners. Here’s how to take advantage of these additional benefits:

  • Partner Merchants: Identify merchants that offer extra rewards through your credit card’s partnership programmes. These can include airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and online retailers.
  • Exclusive Offers: Stay informed about exclusive offers and promotions from your credit card issuer. These can provide opportunities to earn additional rewards points or miles for spending in certain categories or with specific partners.
  • Loyalty Programmes: Enrol in loyalty programmes of your card’s travel partners. This can sometimes earn you extra points or miles when you book through these partners using your travel credit card.

Suggested read: Best 20 tips to grab the cheapest flight tickets

4. Redeeming Points and Miles for Flights

When it comes to redeeming your rewards, the process can vary depending on your credit card and the airline. Here’s how to navigate this:

(a) Transferable Points: If you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or American Express Platinum, you can transfer points to a variety of airline partners. This often provides better value than booking through the credit card's travel portal.

(b) Airline Credit Cards: Use the airline’s own website to search for award flights. Be flexible with your dates and routes to find the best deals. Airlines often have an award chart that can help you understand how many miles you need for different routes.

(c) Travel Portals: Some credit card issuers have their own travel booking portals where you can use your points to book flights directly. While convenient, this method might not always offer the best value compared to transferring points to airline partners.

(d) Combine Points and Cash: If you don’t have enough points for a full award flight, many programs allow you to use a combination of points and cash to book your travel.

5. Managing Your Rewards


Keeping track of your points and miles is essential for making the most of your credit card rewards.

Here are some tools and suggestions to help you manage your rewards efficiently:

       (a) Reward Tracking Apps

Use reward tracking apps to consolidate your points, miles, and loyalty programs in one place. These apps help you monitor your balances, track expiration dates, and receive notifications about changes to your accounts. This centralised tracking ensures you always know your rewards status.

        (b) Regular Monitoring

Regularly check your accounts to avoid missing out on expiring points or special promotions. Log in to your loyalty programs and credit card accounts periodically to stay updated on your points and miles. This habit helps you act on opportunities, such as promotional bonus offers or new partnerships that can boost your rewards.

         (c) Set Alerts

Set up alerts for fare drops and award seat availability. Many reward tracking apps and airline websites allow you to create alerts for specific routes and dates. By staying informed about fare changes and award availability, you can take advantage of better deals and maximise the value of your points and miles.

Using credit card rewards for flights can significantly reduce your travel costs and enhance your overall travel experience. By choosing the right credit cards, earning rewards efficiently, and strategically redeeming points and miles, you can unlock a world of travel opportunities. Remember to stay flexible, plan ahead, and utilise the tools and strategies available to maximise your rewards.

If you are travelling internationally like Bali and looking to book a flight at a reasonable cost then you can check out EaseMyTrip. The platform provides various filters and tools to help you identify the best deals and make the most of your rewards. Go and check out the flight tickets from Delhi to Bali and find out the best deals to make the most of your rewards.

With a little effort and knowledge, you’ll find that using credit card rewards for flights is indeed worth the time and investment.

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