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Score free and discounted inflight Wi-Fi with these credit cards


Staying connected to the ground while in flight is very important for many of us. For business travelers, it can be crucial. Without consistent and functional Wi-Fi on a six-hour transcontinental flight or a 12-hour international stretch in the air, information or even whole deals can slip away.

Even if we just want to post on social media while airborne, inflight access is valuable and becoming more common. Many airlines now offer free Wi-Fi. Some airlines have even started implementing gate-to-gate connectivity, so you will always be online.

And luckily, there are travel rewards cards that offer the opportunity to stay connected at 30,000 feet in the air. The key to free Wi-Fi may already be in your wallet.

Credit cards that offer inflight Wi-Fi passes

Several cobranded airline cards provide statement credits and discounts toward Wi-Fi purchases on their respective airlines.

Alaska Airlines cobranded credit cards

For Alaska Airlines flyers, the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card both offer 20% back on Alaska Airlines inflight purchases, including Wi-Fi.

American Airlines cobranded credit cards

For American Airlines passengers, there’s the $99-a-year AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® that offers up to $25 in statement credits toward Wi-Fi purchases on AA flights and the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard (not currently open to new applicants) that offers up to $50 in statement credits per year.

Another option is 25% back in statement credits for Wi-Fi purchases made on the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®.

THE POINTS GUY

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Red, the AAdvantage Aviator Silver and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: American upgrades inflight Wi-Fi, but stops short of making good on free messaging promise

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Southwest Airlines cobranded credit cards

For internet on Southwest Airlines flights, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, with a $199 annual fee, includes reimbursement for up to 365 inflight Wi-Fi purchases on Southwest each year. Southwest charges $8 for an all-day Wi-Fi pass, so this card effectively gets you free Wi-Fi on Southwest every day of the year. Just pay for passes with the card, and your account will automatically be credited for the cost.

Related: Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card review

However, if you don’t have that particular Southwest card, you can receive 25% back on inflight purchases (including Wi-Fi) with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

United Airlines cobranded credit cards

United Airlines offers a similar 25% discount on Wi-Fi (and other onboard purchases) through its MileagePlus credit cards, issued by Chase.

Certain American Express and Bank of America cards

It’s also worth noting that airline fee credits on certain American Express cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and Bank of America cards like the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card will generally not cover inflight Wi-Fi purchases on your selected airline. However, that is changing with some of the newer Wi-Fi systems on planes.

You must enroll in advance and choose a preferred airline for American Express cards. With Bank of America, credits only apply to U.S.-based airlines on flights departing from the U.S.

Airlines with free inflight Wi-Fi

Like most things in the tech world, the state of inflight Wi-Fi is fluid. It’s becoming more commonplace for airlines to offer internet access of some type, but finding a free connection can be challenging on some carriers.

Luckily, T-Mobile customers may be eligible for free Wi-Fi on domestic flights with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

Here are some carriers that offer a free internet connection (assuming the plane is equipped with Wi-Fi):

  • Aer Lingus: Free for business-class passengers and AerClub Concierge members, but Wi-Fi is only available on A330 aircraft (Wi-Fi, texting and data) and A321neoLR aircraft (Wi-Fi only)
  • Air Baltic: Free
  • Air New Zealand: Free
  • British Airways: Free for first-class
  • China Eastern: 258 yuan (about $37) worth of free Wi-Fi; must apply in advance
  • Delta: Free for all SkyMiles members; will be available on all domestic and international flights by end of 2024
  • El Al: Free for passengers in business class flying to/from North America
  • Emirates: Free access to messaging apps for Skywards members in business class or Gold members traveling in any class; passengers in first class and Platinum members traveling in any class can access web browsing without being restricted to messaging apps
  • Etihad: Free for Platinum members and those in first class. Free inflight messaging for all passengers
  • Finnair: On long-haul flights, Wi-Fi is free for one hour for business-class passengers and Finnair Plus Gold members; free for the whole flight for Finnair Plus Platinum and Finnair Plus Platinum Lumo members. On short-haul flights, Wi-Fi is free for 30 minutes for business-class passengers, Gold members and Plus Platinum members. All Finnair Plus members receive free messaging on short-haul flights.
  • Hainan: Free trial worth 298 yuan (about $43) on Boeing 787-9 aircraft
  • Hawaiian: Free Wi-Fi coming with future installation of Starlink
  • Iberia: Free access to messaging apps for business-class passengers and Iberia Plus members on long-haul flights
  • Icelandair: Saga Premium and Saga Premium Flex passengers and Saga Gold members get free Wi-Fi for two devices
  • JetBlue: Free
  • Jet Suite X: Free
  • Nok: Free
  • Norwegian: Free
  • Philippine Airlines: Free 10MB of data and messaging; 10MB for all business-class passengers get an additional 100MB of data
  • Qantas: Free; currently only on domestic flights
  • Qatar: Up to one hour for free on some flights; free messaging on most flights, but the duration of access varies. Free Wi-Fi is coming for all passengers with the installation of Starlink in the future.
  • SAS: Free for SAS Business and Plus passengers and EuroBonus Gold and Diamond members
  • Singapore Airlines: Free unlimited Wi-Fi for Suites Class and first- and business-class passengers and PPS Club and KrisFlyer members
  • SWISS: Free for first-class passengers and HON circle members. All passengers receive free messaging regardless of class.
  • Turkish Airlines: Free for business-class passengers (up to 1GB), Miles&Smiles Elite/Elite Plus members (up to 400MB and free messaging) and Miles&Smiles Classic Plus members (up to 250MB and free messaging). Miles&Smiles Classic members receive free messaging. Business-class passengers who are Miles&Smiles Elite or Elite Plus members get unlimited free internet usage
  • Virgin Australia: Virgin Australia Beyond, Velocity Platinum and Business Class guests enjoy complimentary access
  • Xiamen Air: Free, but registration is required prior to flight
ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

In addition, the following airlines offer free inflight messaging through data-based services like iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France
  • Alaska
  • Delta
  • Etihad
  • Iberia
  • KLM
  • Saudia
  • Southwest
  • Swiss
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • United

Related: Fast, free Wi-Fi coming to Delta’s international jets with latest upgrade

Bottom line

You may not want to apply for a credit card for the Wi-Fi benefit alone, but it’s a nice perk to have if you’re a U.S.-based traveler.

To summarize, complimentary internet — or at least free access to messaging apps — is becoming more common. It’s also possible to get free or discounted Wi-Fi on Alaska, American Airlines and United with their cobranded credit cards.

Related: The best credit cards for airport lounge access

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