14 Credit Cards for Frequent Flyers: Free Tickets, Rewards, Miles & more

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With rising globalization, people have to travel across countries. And especially business class people who have to travel frequently, are always on a look out for saving money on their travel. This includes cheaper air tickets, dining, etc.

However the most expensive part of travel is the flight ticket which is typically booked online or at the airports. Credit card is the most commonly used payment mode for booking air tickets by businessman or other frequent travelers. Although any card can be used for booking airline tickets, there are credit cards for frequent travelers offering exclusive benefits keeping travel in mind.

Listed in the table below are the best credit cards for frequent flyers. All of these cards offer complimentary lounge access:

Card NameIssuing BankReward Points / Cashback / Air Miles EarnedAnnual Fee (In INR)
Platinum CardSBI> 20 Reward points for every ₹ 100 spent on AI tickets (1 Reward point = 1 AI Air mile)
> 20,000 Reward points as a welcome gift on payment of joining fee
4999
Yatra CardSBI6X points on spends at Yatra.com499
EliteSBI> Upto 50,000 Bonus points worth Rs. 12500/year
> 15,000 bonus points on spending Rs. 5 lakhs and 8 lakhs every year
4999
Elite AdvantageSBI> Upto 50,000 bonus points worth Rs.12500/year
> 10,000 bonus points on spending Rs. 3 lakhs & 4 lakhs annually
4999
Vistara InfiniteAxis Bank> Complimentary Business Class ticket on spending Rs.2,50,000 or Rs.5,00,000 or Rs.7,50,000
> 10,000 bonus points on spending Rs.1,00,000
10000
Vistara SignatureAxis Bank> Complimentary Premium Economy class ticket on spending Rs.1,50,000 or Rs.3,00,000 or Rs.4,50,000
> 7500 bonus points on spending Rs.75,000
3000
VistaraAxis Bank> Complimentary Economy class ticket on spending Rs.1,50,000 or Rs.2,50,000
> 1000 bonus points on spending Rs.50,000
1500
PremierMilesCitibank> 10 Miles for every Rs.100 spent on all airline transactions
> 10,000 Miles on spending Rs.1,000 or more
> 3,000 Miles on renewing the card
3000
British Airways ClassicICICI Bank> 25,000 Avios on travelling from British Airways return ticket from India to England
> Up to 5 Avios per ₹ 100 spent
3500
Jet Airways SapphiroICICI Bank> 10,000 welcome bonus JPMiles
> Upto 7 JPMiles/Rs.100 spent
> 5,000 bonus JPMiles on card renewal
> 5% discount on Base Fare for all domestic / international air ticket (revenue flights) bookings made Jet airways website
5000
AllMilesHDFC Bank> Spend Rs. 150 and earn 3 points. 100 Reward Points = 75 Air Miles / INR. 75 worth of air coupon.Communicated at the time of application
InfiniaHDFC Bank> 5X Reward Points i.e., 20 Reward Points for every Rs. 150 spent on Make My Trip10000
Regalia & Regalia FirstHDFC Bank> On both the cards, earn 8 Reward Points by spending INR 150 and convert into airmilesCommunicated at the time of application
RegaliaKotak Mahindra Bank> On joining, get air ticket voucher worth Rs. 2000Communicated at the time of application

What benefits you should expect from such premium cards?

When you pay high annual and joining fees, you would certainly expect best return/benefits out of it. Here are the features frequent travelers should look for while buying credit card especially for travel:

Easily redeemable on domestic & international airlines or dining, shopping & others: Redemption of reward points earned should be easy. For frequent flyers, points should be redeemable on any flight (domestic/international) and most importantly at any airline.

Lounge access: Flight delays/cancellation, noisy crowd, and other types of chaos are very cumbersome and very common at the airports. And at the world’s busiest airports the situation becomes more irritating especially for frequent flyers. This is the reason why such people want quiet secluded environment and comfort even at the airport. This is why facilities offered at airport lounge are helpful as they provide best amenities/facilities and most importantly complete peace. Exclusive lounge access is must to have benefit in cards specially designed for individuals who travel frequently.

Personal accident insurance: This provides coverage when the card holder meets any accident while travelling via air/rail/road. Such situations are quite common and paying such a high fee for travel credit cards should definitely come with protection through insurance. Imagine a situation, when you meet any unfortunate event in some foreign country, who will take care of your family in the home country? Coverage offered by card issuing company will come to rescue your dependents in the form of fixed sum assured.

Priority pass access: It is the world’s independent airport lounge access program. Exclusive card owners can get priority passes before their flight so that they can relax in peace.

Renewal privileges: It should not happen that the benefits offered after buying a card is limited in the first year only.

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