How your credit card can help you get more legroom on your next flight

If you try to save money by buying a basic economy ticket, you may be paying the price in other ways. Basic economy tickets may be cheap, but they also come with their own complications—less legroom, no checked luggage, and sometimes (on U.S. flights) no free carry-on bags.

Want to have a more enjoyable airline passenger experience? Sometimes legroom is worth the price. The best credit cards can help.

Here are some of the perks and points on the best travel credit cards that can help you get more legroom on your next flight.

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1. Use an airline credit card to check in a bag for free

The best airline credit cards offer free checked bags. Simply becoming a member of an airline's frequent flyer program and signing up for an airline credit card can help you avoid the hassle and extra costs of baggage fees. Getting a free checked bag also gives you more legroom on the plane.

As an air traveler on most U.S. domestic flights on major airlines, you can usually bring one carry-on bag and one small personal item (such as a laptop bag or backpack). When you check a carry-on bag (for free) instead of stuffing it into the overhead bin, you can store your personal items in the overhead bin, freeing up more space under the seat in front of you. Extra legroom!

2. Use credit card points to buy better tickets

When you sign up for one of the best travel credit cards, you can earn credit card bonus points that can be used to book travel. It’s like setting up an additional, separate alternative currency “savings account” that you can use to buy flights, book hotels, etc.

If you're a long-time budget air traveler (like me), it's sometimes hard to overcome the knee-jerk reaction of just buying the cheapest basic economy ticket available – even if buying a higher-class fare (such as premium economy) can make your The flight took off smoothly and was more comfortable. If you don't want to spend your hard-earned money on a higher fare class, it might feel easier to redeem your points for a better ticket. Spend your points! Please help yourself!

3. Use credit card points to upgrade seats

Another way a travel credit card can help improve your flight experience is by giving you an easy way to upgrade your flight. Many airlines will let you use frequent flyer miles to upgrade your flight – for example, from economy to premium economy or even to business class.

The best travel credit cards let you transfer your credit card reward points to a partner airline's frequent flyer program and instantly convert your points into frequent flyer miles. You can then use points/miles to upgrade your ticket to a more spacious area on the plane with more legroom.

Depending on the airline, flight date, and overall demand for higher-priced seats, you can redeem points for better upgrade deals. For example, you might find an opportunity to upgrade your airline seat with 30,000 points (converted to miles), which costs $400 in cash.

bottom line

The best travel credit cards can help you avoid tight legroom and extra baggage fees on your next flight. Earning credit card reward points provides you with a powerful way to reward yourself with an upgraded airline experience. Sometimes it's easier to splurge on credit card points than pay with cash, and airlines may offer great upgrade deals that make your points worth more than you expect.

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