5 Things to Know About the CheapOair Credit Card

It earns rewards on travel booked through CheapOair’s platform, rewards that are redeemable only on CheapOair.com. A general travel card offers more versatility and better point values.
Jae Bratton
By Jae Bratton 
Edited by Kenley Young

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If your go-to travel booking website is CheapOair.com — where you can book flights, hotels and car rentals — it may make sense to get the CheapOair credit card. It earns high rewards rates on CheapOair purchases, and you can use those rewards toward future travel via the site, further reducing the cost of jet-setting here and there.

But the value and flexibility of those rewards will be pretty limited. And if you favor another booking platform like Expedia or Travelocity — or if you’re interested in the world of credit card points and miles — the CheapOair card won’t do much for you.

Here’s what you need to know about the CheapOair credit card, issued by Synchrony Bank.

1. There are two versions of the CheapOair card

Image courtesy of Synchrony

You could be approved for one of two versions of the CheapOair card, both of which have a $0 annual fee: The CheapOair Visa and CheapOair Visa Signature. The CheapOair Visa Signature comes with benefits — courtesy of Visa — that include travel accident insurance and lost luggage reimbursement, among other things.

The baseline CheapOair Visa lacks those perks.

However, Synchrony wouldn’t disclose the credit score requirements for either CheapOair card.

2. Rewards rates are high

It’s possible to earn as many as 8 points per $1 spent on CheapOair.com:

  • 8 points per $1 spent on flights booked on the CheapOair/OneTravel apps. 

  • 7 points per $1 spent on flights booked on CheapOair.com.

  • 6 points per $1 spent on CheapOair.com. (Travel financed through CheapOair’s “Book now, pay later” program doesn’t earn points.)

  • 4 points per $1 spent on dining.

  • 2 points per $1 spent on everything else.

Points aren’t capped, and they don’t expire as long as a qualifying purchase is posted to the cardholder’s CheapOair rewards account at least once every two years.

While the rewards on the CheapOair card are generally high, the best rates are reserved for travel booked through CheapOair. For more booking flexibility, a credit card with travel partners is probably a better fit. Credit cards from American Express, Chase and Citi, among other issuers, earn rewards that can be transferred to various airline and hotel partners, sometimes for outsized value.

3. But points aren’t worth much

The CheapOair card’s big rewards rates become less impressive when you realize that 1 point is worth only half a penny. At that rate, to accrue $100 in rewards, you’d need to book $2,500 worth of flights via CheapOair, assuming you're earning the top 8x rate on those purchases.

Rewards on other credit cards have much better value, especially if you leverage the right transfer partners. For example, NerdWallet values American Express’ proprietary currency — Membership Rewards points — anywhere from 1 cent to 2.8 cents per point.

🤓Nerdy Tip

CheapOair charges non-refundable "service fees" that can range as high as $250 per passenger, depending on things like fare class or itinerary. These fees aren't related to the credit card itself, and indeed the card's rewards could help offset some of those costs. But it's worth keeping in mind that some other major online travel booking sites don't charge such service fees.

4. Redemption options are limited

Another knock against points earned with the CheapOair card: They can be redeemed only for more travel on CheapOair. Other travel cards have more redemption options that often include direct deposit, statement credit and gift cards.

CheapOair cardholders must have at least 1,000 points in order to redeem.

5. The sign-up bonus is paltry, too

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

New CheapOair cardholders can earn a $50 statement credit if they make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. If that feels like a chump change, it is. Other $0-annual-fee travel cards put that welcome offer to shame. For example, the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card has this sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.

You can get an extra 1,000 points, equivalent to a measly $5, by meeting some requirements: CheapOair cardholders are automatically enrolled in CheapOair’s loyalty program and get 500 points as a new member. You’ll get another 500 points on your first booking.

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