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How to Book a Flight Without a Credit Card

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Want to learn how to book a flight without a credit card? Then you are in the right place. Continue reading to discover unique ways to book flights without credit cards you might not even know existed.

Although most people use credit cards to book their flights, we offer you some options today. We’ll show you how to book a flight without a credit card. Yes, that’s right! Credit cards are popular in the booking and purchasing air tickets, and it’s not without a valid reason.

From getting your money back in case something wrong happens to earning airline miles or getting travel insurance coverage, a credit card has multiple advantages.

However, it’s not the only way to book a flight. There are several other ways that will still allow you to enjoy some of these benefits. In that light, let’s glimpse exactly how to book a flight without a credit card and why you should try it out.

Ways to Book Flights Without Credit Cards

travel around the globe

Different payment methods have different benefits. Whether you are paying in cash or through a debit card, each method offers a myriad of benefits, as well as some setbacks.

You should note, however, that although there are many ways to book a flight without that credit card, most airlines only allow electronic payments to purchase air tickets.

They don’t expect you to provide cash to pay for the ticket. If you wish to make or book a flight reservation without a credit card, here is the best way.

  1. Use Online Travel Agencies

Couple Talking to a Travel Agent

Online travel agencies have become quite popular in the air travel industry over the past years. Unlike in the past, when there were just a few large corporations in the industry, currently, there are even home-based travel agencies.

And this influx of travel agents has brought numerous advantages for customers. These agencies will accept various payment methods for purchasing flight bookings and air tickets.

You can pay for your tickets through online platforms like PayPal, use your debit card, or even a check. This means you have more options now and don’t always have to use your credit card.

Since there are too many travel agencies in the market, they have to compete wisely, and this is one way they are using to attract and retain customers – offering options. If you plan a tour soon, check out our guide on the best sites for booking tours for more details.

See Related: Things to Do in Amsterdam, Netherlands

  1. Online Payment Methods by Carriers

Holding a Card and Using a Laptop

Quite often, many airlines, through their online portals and websites, also allow several online payment options. For instance, American Airlines allows electronic checks to purchase airline tickets.

However, you must provide the routing number and details of an active, US-based bank account. Also, the personal data that you provide must have an address based in the US.

In other cases, some websites also offer other online payment options, including PayPal. All you have to do is fill in the correct account information and be ready to purchase. Don’t be constrained to using credit cards only – there are more, even easier options.

Payment MethodBenefitsDrawbacksBest For
Debit CardDirectly linked to checking account, no credit check requiredLimited fraud protection, potential for overdraft feesQuick transactions without credit
PayPalSecure transactions, buyer protection, no need to share financial details with the airlineMay charge transaction fees, not accepted by all airlinesSecure online payments
VenmoEasy person-to-person payments, no transaction feesNot widely accepted by airlines, limited buyer protectionSplitting costs with friends or family
Apple PaySecure, easy to use, no need to enter card details for each transactionRequires an Apple device, not accepted by all airlinesQuick, secure payments for Apple users
Online Travel Agencies (e.g., Expedia, Orbitz)Can compare prices and book flights without a credit cardMay charge booking fees, limited customer supportFinding the best deals and comparing options
Buy Now, Pay Later (e.g., Affirm, Klarna)Split the cost into installments, no credit check requiredInterest charges and late fees may apply, not available for all flightsSpreading out the cost of expensive flights
Gift CardsPrepaid and can be used like cash, no credit check requiredLimited to the balance on the card, not accepted by all airlinesUsing gift cards or travel vouchers

See Related: Why Are Flights So Expensive?

  1. In-Person Flight Booking

Buying Flight Tickets

Can you buy a plane ticket with cash? Yes, it’s possible. Although not widely used, cash booking for a flight is also a great option. If you are not into online options, you can book a flight with cash from the airline ticket-selling centers.

Some airlines, such as American Airlines, accept cash payments whether you visit their airport ticket offices or travel centers. Depending on your airline, you can also pay via Wise (Formerly Transferwise). You must, therefore, confirm first if your favorite airline accepts such payments.

Other regional carriers such as JetBlue allow several other payment methods, including traveler’s checks, US money orders (Post Office, MoneyGram, or bank-issued), as well as personal checks.  All these payments must, however, be accompanied by personal identification.

  1. Using a Debit Card

book a flight via a debit card

A debit card can purchase airfare, just like a credit card. But, for any debit card to qualify for the purchase, it must be affiliated with a major credit card. This means it must be a Mastercard, Visa, or Discover card. A great option is the Sable Bank Account and Debit Card, where you’ll still earn 1% cash back on your airfare purchase.

But how does a debit card work? When you want to book a flight with a debit card, here’s what you need to know:

  • Funds

Firstly, you must have sufficient funds in your bank’s checking account. This allows the merchant to deduct the air ticket amount directly from your account.

Your purchase will likely be denied if your checking account has insufficient funds. But if you qualify for an overdraft, your bank might pay the cost and charge it as an overdraft on your account.

  • Process

You’ll be prompted to fill in your credit card details when paying via a debit card. However, since you’re not using a credit card, fill in the debit card details. The necessary details are your full name, active account number, debit card’s security code, and expiration date.

Since your debit card has a credit card affiliation, your secret PIN won’t be necessary. The purchase will be considered credit, although the money will be deducted from your bank account.

  • Protection

Although a debit card is an excellent alternative to credit cards during air ticket purchases, you should note that it has its drawbacks. Unlike credit cards, most debit cards don’t protect your money if anything goes wrong. This is despite the card being affiliated with a credit card.

For instance, while a credit card protects your money and offers cashback if your flight gets canceled or the company closes business, debit cards don’t. If you book with a debit card and such an event occurs, you will likely lose your money unless the airline reimburses you.

For such reasons, you should research and know whether the benefits of using that debit card outweigh its risks. Remember, you might also not qualify for airline miles when you book your flight via a debit card.

See Related: Do Hotels Take Cash?

  • Fees

If you are worried about excessive charges while using a debit card, you shouldn’t. Airlines usually don’t charge extra fees because you use a debit card. This means that whichever card you’re using, debit or credit, the air ticket amount remains the same.

See Related: Ways to Get Free Flights

  1. A Credit Account with the Airline

Sounds cool, right? Well, that’s because it is. Some airlines offer credit programs such as book now and pay later flights. This is one way to make a flight reservation without payment and pay the amount later. But how does it work? First, you need to know if your favorite airline offers such programs.

Airlines, like American Airlines, have a “Fly Now Pay Later” program, while JetBlue Airlines is called “the Bill Me Later” program. These credit programs enable eligible travelers to enjoy credit services directly from their airlines.

A customer can enroll for a direct line of credit from the airline during the online or physical air ticket purchase. However, one must qualify for the program per the airline’s requirements.   The book flight pay later option is handy, especially when you don’t have enough money but need to travel.

  • How to Reserve Flight Tickets Without Pay

In addition to direct credit with the airline, some companies allow you to fly and pay for the flight later. This approach is referred to as an alternative booking method.

The technique is designed to bear the burden of ticket costs for you while you enjoy your trip and make the payment at a future date. With companies such as Alternative Airlines and OneTravel, you don’t have to worry about paying for the air ticket immediately.

They allow you to travel and pay the amount in favorable installments.  These companies allow you to book your flight with almost any airline and enjoy your travel without pay.

See Related: Travel Hacking 101: Travel the World For Next to Nothing

  1. Use a Prepaid Card

prepaid card for flight booking

A prepaid card is also an excellent payment option for your air ticket. If you don’t want to use a credit card and you can’t use a debit card, this will be a great alternative.

However, just like with a debit card, the prepaid card has to be affiliated with a major credit card network, such as Visa, American Express, or MasterCard.

Most banks offer these prepaid cards, which you can buy at various retail stores or online. Once you buy the card, you can easily use it to pay for that air ticket and take your vacation or business trip.

In addition, some airlines sell gift cards redeemable for flights. Most of these cards are preloaded with specific amounts, and you can pay for them via cash, check, or debit card. Also, you can select the amount you want on the card before the purchase, depending on your travel needs.

So, can you book a flight with a prepaid card? The answer is definite, yes! You can buy a prepaid card and use it to reserve that flight. One thing you should be careful about, however, is the fees that come with these cards. You should ensure that you get value for your money.

Also, that card should contain the amount it purports to hold. You don’t want to get disappointed when buying a ticket, and the amount on the card is less.

See Related: Key Things to When Flying With Cash

  1. Online Banking

Online Bank

Online banking involves paying directly from your bank for the air ticket. This is possible only for banks offering online banking services. With the help of some companies like Chime, Aspiration Bank, or Klarna, you can easily book that flight without any delays. I like Aspiration due to its environmental practices, which help offset my carbon footprint.

This is similar to direct deposit, except that these companies make the process much more efficient. This means you don’t have to forego the efficiency of using a credit card.

With these companies acting as a medium, you can reserve your flight with an airline or a travel agency. Such companies guarantee the ticket amount, ensuring you get your ticket in time without waiting until your money gets to the merchant’s account.

As for the transaction fees, you will pay a nominal fee or even none, as most of these transactions are processed as debit transactions.

Despite the ease of using a credit card when booking a flight, it’s not your only option. Most airlines and travel agents have embraced multiple other payment methods to ensure convenience for their customers.

Therefore, if by any chance you can’t use your credit card but need to travel, you need not panic as there are alternatives that might even be better. With this guide, you have more than enough options to book a flight without a credit card, and you should probably try one.

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