If you have bad credit or a limited credit history and are looking for an airline credit card, it’s important to understand that your options may be somewhat limited. Most airline credit cards require at least a fair or good credit score for approval. However, there are a few options that are more accessible to individuals with less-than-perfect credit. In this guide, we will introduce you to some of the airline credit cards that are relatively easier to get approved for with bad credit, these cards are designed to provide a pathway for rebuilding your credit while still enjoying some travel perks. These cards can be a valuable tool for improving your credit score and eventually qualifying for more premium airline rewards cards. Let’s dive into the options that could help you take flight with your credit journey.
Understanding Bad Credit
Before delving into the specifics of airline credit cards for bad credit, it’s essential to grasp the concept of bad credit. A low credit score can result from various factors, such as late payments, defaults, or high credit card balances. Individuals with bad credit often face limitations when it comes to accessing financial products, making it challenging to rebuild their credit histories.
The Role of Airline Credit Cards
Airline credit cards, traditionally associated with travel perks and rewards, may not seem like an obvious choice for those with bad credit. However, some financial institutions recognize the need to provide opportunities for credit repair, even within the travel credit card niche. These specialized cards offer a pathway for individuals with bad credit to improve their financial standing while enjoying travel-related benefits.
Traveling With Bad Credit: Airline Credit Cards You Can Qualify For
Flying is an expensive endeavor, even more so if you have less-than-ideal credit. Balancing the costs of airfare, baggage fees, and other travel incidentals can be challenging on a tight budget. Fortunately, there are airline credit cards designed specifically for consumers with poor or fair credit (typically under 650 FICO). These cards have more relaxed qualification guidelines, allowing those rebuilding their credit an opportunity to enjoy travel rewards and perks.
The Frontier Airlines Mastercard is a popular option for bad credit applicants, with no minimum FICO score requirement. Cardholders enjoy 5x miles on Frontier purchases and get 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in the first 90 days. There’s also a $79 annual fee waived the first year. Benefits include priority boarding, inflight discounts, and your first checked bag free.
Another airline card welcoming applicants despite low FICO scores is the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard. Spirit is known for its bare-bones base fares, and this card helps offset additional fees with a 50% discount on in-flight purchases. Plus new cardmembers get 10,000 bonus miles after first use, and it carries no annual fee.
Lastly, bad credit consumers may have better odds qualifying for the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express. While Delta requires credit reports be submitted for approval, they are currently more forgiving of certain negative items in light of the pandemic. In addition to Delta flight discounts and fee waivers, cardholders get 20,000 bonus miles towards their next trip after meeting minimum spend.
Check card eligibility requirements closely, as approval for those with bad credit isn’t guaranteed. Perks and rewards can make these airline cards worthwhile, but read the fine print to avoid unwanted charges or headaches redeeming offers. Consider all costs before applying, always pay balances promptly, and with responsible use an airline card can help repair your credit over time.
Key Features of Airline Credit Cards for Bad Credit
Credit Building Opportunities: These cards typically come with features designed to help users rebuild their credit. Timely payments and responsible credit management can contribute to an improvement in credit scores over time.
Limited Rewards: While the rewards may not be as lucrative as those offered by premium travel credit cards, airline credit cards for bad credit often provide modest rewards, such as cash back or miles. These rewards can be earned on everyday purchases, offering an incentive for responsible card usage.
Security Deposits: To mitigate the risk associated with lending to individuals with bad credit, some issuers may require a security deposit. This deposit acts as collateral and is typically refundable once the cardholder demonstrates responsible credit behavior.
Annual Fees: Many airline credit cards for bad credit come with minimal or no annual fees, making them more accessible to individuals on a budget. This feature is particularly advantageous for those looking to rebuild their credit without incurring significant additional costs.
Educational Resources: Recognizing the challenges faced by individuals with bad credit, some issuers provide educational resources to help cardholders better manage their finances. This may include budgeting tools, credit monitoring services, and financial literacy materials.
Here are a few airline credit cards that are generally considered easier to get approved with bad credit:
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
While not an airline-specific card, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a secured credit card that can be a great option for those with bad credit. It allows you to earn rewards on your purchases and provides flexibility in using your rewards for travel, including booking flights. Plus, Discover is known for being more lenient with credit approval for secured cards.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
This card, as mentioned earlier, is a secured credit card designed for credit-building. While it’s not an airline credit card, Capital One may offer credit limit increases over time, which can be helpful for travel expenses. Building good credit with this card could eventually qualify you for better airline rewards cards.
First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
This secured credit card is designed for people with bad or limited credit histories. While it’s not an airline card, using it responsibly can help improve your credit over time, making you eligible for better travel rewards cards in the future.
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is another option for individuals with poor credit. It doesn’t require a credit check during the application process, making approval more accessible. While it’s not an airline card, responsible use can help you rebuild your credit for future travel rewards.
Credit Union Secured Credit Cards
Many credit unions offer secured credit cards with more lenient approval criteria. While not airline-specific, these cards can be a stepping stone to better credit and eventually qualifying for airline rewards cards.
It’s important to note that these cards may not offer the same level of travel rewards and benefits as traditional airline credit cards for individuals with excellent credit. However, they can serve as a starting point for improving your credit and working your way up to more lucrative travel rewards in the future.
Before applying for any credit card, it’s advisable to review the specific terms, fees, and features of each card, as they can vary widely. Additionally, responsible credit card use, such as making on-time payments and keeping balances low, is crucial for improving your credit score and eventually qualifying for more desirable credit card.
What is the easiest airline credit card to get approved with bad credit frequently asked questions?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Easiest Airline Credit Cards to Get Approved with Bad Credit:
1. Can I get approved for an airline credit card with bad credit?
While it’s challenging to get approved for traditional airline credit cards with bad credit, there are secured credit card options that can help you build or rebuild your credit, making you eligible for airline rewards cards in the future.
2. What is a secured credit card, and how does it work?
A secured credit card requires a security deposit, which serves as collateral. Your credit limit is typically equal to the amount of your deposit. Responsible use of a secured card can help improve your credit score.
3. What are the benefits of using an airline credit card?
Airline credit cards often offer rewards such as miles or points that can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, or other travel-related expenses. Some cards also provide perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and airport lounge access.
4. Are there any airline credit cards specifically designed for bad credit?
There are no airline credit cards specifically designed for bad credit. However, some secured credit cards can be used for travel expenses and may provide travel-related benefits.
5. What should I look for in an airline credit card for bad credit?
When considering an airline credit card for bad credit, focus on factors like the annual fee, credit-building potential, and any travel-related perks. Make sure the card reports your payment history to the credit bureaus to help improve your credit.
6. Are there any airline credit cards that don’t require a credit check?
Some secured credit cards, like the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, do not require a credit check during the application process. These cards are more accessible to individuals with bad credit.
7. Can using a secured credit card for travel expenses help me build credit?
Yes, responsible use of a secured credit card for travel expenses, along with making on-time payments, can help improve your credit score over time.
8. How long does it take to rebuild credit to qualify for traditional airline credit cards?
The time it takes to rebuild your credit and qualify for traditional airline credit cards varies depending on your individual credit history and how responsibly you manage your credit. It can take several months to a few years.
9. Should I close my secured card once I qualify for a traditional airline credit card?
It’s generally advisable to keep your secured card open, especially if it has no annual fee, as it can help maintain a positive credit history and credit utilization ratio.
10. Can I earn rewards with a secured credit card for travel expenses?
While secured credit cards may not offer traditional airline rewards, some offer cashback rewards that can be used for any expenses, including travel.
In conclusion, while it can be challenging to secure traditional airline credit cards with bad credit, there are viable options available for individuals looking to build or rebuild their credit while enjoying some travel-related benefits. Secured credit cards, such as the Discover it® Secured Credit Card or the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, can serve as valuable tools for credit improvement and potentially pave the way to qualifying for more rewarding airline credit cards in the future.
It’s important to approach credit card selection carefully, considering factors like annual fees, credit-building potential, and any travel perks offered. Additionally, responsible credit card use, including timely payments and keeping balances low, is key to achieving better credit scores and improving your overall financial outlook.
Before making a decision, thoroughly review the terms and conditions of each card, and take your individual financial situation and credit goals into account. Remember that building good credit takes time and patience, but with the right approach, you can work toward a brighter financial future and the possibility of enjoying more robust travel rewards.