Inflight WiFi is a first-world necessity for many travelers. Internet access allows us to work while zipping across the sky to our next destination.
Some airlines provide complimentary WiFi access for certain apps (iMessage, What’s App, etc). This helps us communicate with (and annoy) your friends and family stuck on the ground. (“Hiiii! I’m sipping a margarita in first class during my flight to somewhere fun. What R U up 2? Hahahaha!”) 😉
But using email, web browsers, and other apps require paid access. Because airlines contract with outside vendors for Internet access, you don’t receive any credit card bonuses for “onboard purchases.” (i.e. the 20% statement credit perk featured on most Delta Amex cards).
So are there any options that earn credit card bonus points when buying inflight WiFi access?
Yes! In fact, there are two no-annual-fee cards that award 5X points for some inflight Internet purchases!
Gogo Internet: The Current Industry Standard
Gogo is pretty much the inflight WiFi provider available to most of us. After all, they serve:
- Air Canada (including Rouge)
- Air France
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Delta Air Lines
- GOL Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
(Yes, some Delta aircraft will soon use a new WiFi provider. We’ll talk about that in a minute.)
And it turns out that Chase considers Gogo an Internet service provider!
5% Cashback / 5X Ultimate Rewards on Gogo Purchases!
Two Chase Ultimate Rewards cards offer bonuses on Internet, cable, and phone service purchases.
The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers 5% cashback (issued as 5X Ultimate Rewards points) on those purchases. (5% cashback can be earned on a combined $25,000 spent annually on Internet, cable, and phone service purchases and office supply stores).
Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Flex sometimes features Internet, cable, and phone service purchases as part of its quarterly 5% bonus cashback categories. It did so during Q1 2021. (A maximum of 7500 Ultimate Rewards points can be earned in the Flex’s 5X categories each quarter.) This is yet another reason to add the Chase Freedom Flex to your points/miles credit card arsenal.
I recently used my Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card to purchase a Gogo day pass for Delta flights.
I’ll transfer those 95 Ultimate Rewards points to my Chase Sapphire Reserve card — where I can redeem them at 1.5 cents each for travel.
Both are great credit cards with a bunch of bonus point possibilities. And neither has an annual fee.
“Yeah But Delta is Rolling Out Viasat WiFi! And It’ll Be Free — Right?”
Delta just announced it’s introducing Viasat-provided inflight WiFi. The process likely won’t be completed until the end of 2022. And it sounds like only narrow-body planes will be involved, at least for the time being.
WiFi will cost $8 a flight on these planes. So that whole “free WiFi” deal Delta CEO Ed Bastian mentioned a couple of years ago isn’t panning out yet.
And don’t plan on Gogo go-going away anytime soon.
Glenn Latta, Delta’s Managing Director – In-Flight Entertainment & Wi-Fi, said, “To meet our long-term goals, we will work closely with multiple Wi-Fi suppliers, including both Gogo and Viasat. Working with multiple partners means we can pair the right technology with the right fleet. We want to ensure customers always have access to Wi-Fi when available.” (Bold mine.
It looks like quality inflight WiFi will require us to shell out a few bucks — at least for the foreseeable future.
I hold both of these cards for their excellent 5X bonus categories — and will use them for my inflight WiFi purchases.
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