Q: I have accumulated a ton of points with my American Express card. How many points do I need to redeem them for an airline ticket?

A: Most airline tickets can be obtained for free with between 20,000 and 25,000 points. This may seem like a lot until you think about how easy it is to accumulate them.

For example, first time applicants often receive bonus points simply for signing up. In addition, they are allowed to accrue points almost immediately, sometimes after the very first use. Other times, it only requires a minimum amount being charged to the card within a certain period of time. However, this is usually very reasonable; for instance, $300 within the first 90 days of being approved for the card.


Further, you can often accrue extra points depending on the type of charges you make. Using some American Express cards at restaurants may earn you double or triple points, shopping or doing business with select merchants may earn you extra points, and using the card for travel related expenses can also help you accrue more points than you would on other purchases. All of these mean that your points add up faster.

While you should not use a credit card indiscriminately just to earn points, you can make wise decisions on purchases knowing that you are working towards a goal: that of earning a free airline ticket.

How To Get $500 in Free Airfare
Chase Sapphire(SM) Preferred is currently our top choice for earning airline miles. New cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus points (which is equivalent to $500 in free airfare or hotel rooms) after making $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. In addition you earn 2X points on airfare & hotel accommodations booked through Chase and 1 point for every dollar spent. There are no travel restrictions or blackout dates when redeeming points, and the $95 annual fee is waved for the first year.

$500 in Free Airfare with Chase Sapphire Preferred Card