4 Ways Credit Cards Can Make Flying Better

by Christy Bieber | Published on Aug. 31, 2021

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A smiling airplane passenger listening to music and looking out the window.

Image source: Getty Images

Flying isn't always fun, but credit cards can make the experience better in key ways.

Flying has become a less-than-pleasant experience on many airlines. There's often too little leg room; airports can be crowded; and airlines can tack on fees and nickel-and-dime you for things that used to be free.

The good news is that there are ways to make airline travel more enjoyable. If you have the right credit card offering travel-related perks, you might land some of these benefits that make flying more fun and affordable.

1. Free checked bags

Paying a fortune to bring a suitcase isn't anyone's idea of a good time -- nor is stuffing all your clothes in your carry-on and hoping there's room in the overhead compartment. If you have the right travel card, you won't have to. Some cards offer checking a bag for free.

This can provide significant savings, as airline baggage fees can be expensive. And when you don't have to pay for a checked bag, you can hand your suitcase to the airline upon check-in and walk unencumbered through the airport instead of lugging a carry-on.

2. Airline lounge access

Airline lounges can provide a more relaxing and comfortable atmosphere than the typical overcrowded airline gate. Airline lounges typically offer free food and drink, comfortable seating, fast Wi-Fi connections with plug sockets, and a host of other amenities.

Paying for lounge access can be expensive, though. But you won't have to break out your wallet or struggle to find a seat if you have one of the many cards offering airline lounge access. Your card is your ticket to a peaceful paradise where you can await departure in comfort.

3. Free companion fares

Travel is always better with a friend -- especially if that friend doesn't have to pay for airline tickets. That's why companion passes are such an attractive cardholder perk. These are sometimes offered once you've hit a spending threshold, or your card may offer them as a standard feature, and there are usually a limited number available per year. But if you have a card that offers one and you qualify, you can provide a free ticket to a loved one.

4. Free priority boarding

Finally, waiting to board the plane can be annoying -- especially if you're worried about the airline running out of space in the overhead bin. But with a travel card offering free priority boarding, this concern can be a thing of the past.

Cards often make it possible for you to be one of the first passengers aboard the plane. You can get comfy and settle in your seat, secure a spot for your carry-on, and sit back and watch everyone else file on.

Not every credit card offers all of these cardholder perks, but many travel credit cards offer some of them. If any of these benefits particularly appeals to you, research credit card companies carefully to see which provide them. Choosing the right card can mean that getting to your destination won't leave you so stressed out that you need another vacation.

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