CheapOair/OneTravel credit card review

Our rating

3 stars 3/5

See explanation of our ratings system

See breakdown of this card’s rating

Fareportal (the owner of both CheapOair and OneTravel) has launched rewards credit cards for both brands. If you use either of these sites frequently, our review will help you decide if applying for the affiliated card is a good idea.

The cards

The CheapOair cards are as follows:

  • CheapOair credit card (can be used on CheapOair.com ONLY)
  • CheapOair Visa card
  • CheapOair Visa Signature card
  • OneTravel credit card (can be used on OneTravel.com ONLY)
  • OneTravel Visa card
  • OneTravel Visa Signature card

The version you get will be based on your creditworthiness, with the Visa-Signature version being reserved for those with excellent credit. The Visa Signature tier offers extra benefits and protections like lost luggage reimbursement, travel insurance and roadside dispatch.

The benefits of each brand’s corresponding cards are identical. So, the CheapOair Visa Signature will have the same benefits and rewards structure as the OneTravel Visa Signature. The only difference is in the rewards currency. You’ll earn CheapOair points (which can be redeemed only via CheapOair) with the CheapOair cards. You’ll earn OneTravel points (which can be redeemed only via OneTravel) with the OneTravel credit cards.

Rewards and benefits

This table compares the rewards of the site-only credit cards and the Visa versions:

CheapOair/OneTravel card benefits and rewards
Site-only credit cardsVisa versions
6 points per dollar spent on CheapOair.com/OneTravel.com
No points on dining4 points per dollar on dining
No points on all purchases2 points per dollar on all purchases
6 months special financing on purchases of $399 or more made on CheapOair.com and OneTravel.com
Sign-up bonus: $50 statement credit on purchases of $500 or more during first 90 days

In addition to earning points on the card’s affiliated site, you’ll also also earn points on dining and other purchases with the Visa versions.

There’s special financing on purchases over $399 throughout the life of the card. However, note that this interest is retroactive — if you do not pay off the entire balance within six months, you’ll owe back-interest from the date of purchase.

As a sign-up bonus, you get a $50 credit after spending $500 during the first 90 days.

When it comes to redeeming, you can do so for flights, hotels and car rentals on the card’s affiliated site — or for gift cards with partner retailers like Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart (options vary). The card’s rewards portal is vague about the redemption value you’ll, get, but the Points Guy has determined your points will be worth half a cent each when you cash them in for gift cards or travel.

Should you apply?

If you shop at either CheapOair or OneTravel.com frequently, these cards will earn you some money back on your spending. And, because they have no annual fee, you don’t have to fret about not earning “enough” rewards to justify the yearly cost of keeping the card open.

However, because getting a new card entails a hard inquiry (which can decrease your chances of getting other cards in the future), we’d like to direct your attention to a few important details:

You might get stuck with a sub-par version of the card: If your credit isn’t good enough for the Visa versions, you might end up with one of the site-only cards that can’t be used outside the co-branded sites. If you’re trying to rebuild your credit and just want a card (any card), you might be OK with that. Just don’t assume you’ll get the more perk-heavy Visa Signature.

The sign-up bonus is weak: The spending threshold for the sign-up bonus on this card is low ($500), but so is the return $50. Other no-annual-fee cards have sign-up bonuses worth $100 or more.

Your points have a low value: Your points will be worth only half a cent each when you redeem them, which takes the excitement out of the 4X points you get on dining and the 6X points you get with affiliated-site travel bookings.

There are other options: Whenever we review co-branded cards, we like to point out some of the more flexible options out there. You’ll need good (or even excellent) credit to qualify, but you’ll earn points that you can redeem practically anywhere (not just for CheapOair/OneTravel site bookings and limited gift cards):

Capital One Venture ($0 the first year, $59 after that): Earn 2 generic miles per dollar and redeem them for any travel expense.

Chase Freedom Unlimited (No annual fee): This card allows you to earn 1.5 percent cash back on everything, guaranteed, which can be applied toward travel or any expense.

American Express EveryDay card (no annual fee): With this card, you earn Membership Rewards points which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, online shopping and cash back. You can also transfer directly to American Express’s travel partners, which maximizes the value of your points. American Express is a CreditCardForum advertising partner.

Why we gave it 3 out of 5 stars

Because the site-only cards are so limited in their use, this rating applies only to the Visa versions of the cards. Our rating is based on our standards for loyalty program co-branded cards, as the cards let you earn points in the CheapOair/OneTravel loyalty programs.

Compared to other cards in the co-branded loyalty-program space, the CheapOair/OneTravel Visa cards performed quite well but lost stars for their low rewards value and lack of unique perks/bonus-earning opportunities.

Full starRewards-earning rate: These cards fit our requirements, as they earn at least 2X in 2 bonus categories.
Empty starRewards value: The cards don’t meet our requirements for this star, as there’s no redemption option guaranteed to give you a value of 1 cent per point.
half starUnique perks: This card is short on unique perks, but does offer special financing for purchases over $399 – a unique perk in this space.
Full starFair annual fee: There’s no annual fee, so no worries about justifying it.
half starBonus opportunities: The cards get half a star for their (admittedly small) sign-up bonus. However, they offer no ongoing bonus opportunities (like redemption bonuses, anniversary bonuses or bonus-shopping programs)

Updated Nov. 14, 2016

 
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