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Updated on Thursday, December 26, 2019
Norwegian Air might not be a household name in the U.S. the same way that airline brands such as American Airlines and Delta are, but if you’re an avid traveler, the low-cost airline is likely on your radar. And if that’s the case, you might be interested in the new Norwegian Reward Card the airline just rolled out, which lets you earn CashPoints rewards for a $0 annual fee.
We’ll break down what you can earn with the card, benefits that can make your travel easier, and alternative options if you decide an airline card isn’t quite what you need.
Where the Norwegian Reward Card stands out
Flexible rewards. This card earns CashPoints, which are Norwegian Air’s digital currency. It’s possible to earn CashPoints without the card through the Norwegian Reward loyalty program, but the credit card offers a chance to earn more. With the Norwegian Reward Card, you’ll earn 2% extra on Norwegian, 2% on dining + grocery and 1% on all other purchases.
It’s also worth noting the 2% you’ll earn is for LowFare tickets. You’ll earn a higher rate of 10% on Flex tickets. Details about how different ticket types work can be found here.
You can redeem Norwegian CashPoints for the following options:
- Flight tickets (points can cover all or part of the ticket)
- Extra luggage
- Cancellation insurance
- Seat reservations
- Ticket changes
Priority boarding. If you fly Norwegian Air frequently, this perk could make your trips more convenient.
Sign-up bonus. Earn $50 in CashPoints with $500 in purchases in the first 90 days. It’s not the biggest sign-up bonus on the market, but it does have a low spending requirement, meaning it should be fairly easy to earn.
Anniversary bonus. Make $20,000 in eligible purchases during your card anniversary year and you can earn a $100 bonus in CashPoints.
No annual fee. The annual fee for this card is $0. This is a plus because all rewards you earn are a net benefit right from the start — you don’t have to worry about recouping the cost of an annual fee, which is the case with some competing airline credit cards.
No foreign transaction fee. This card is aimed at helping Americans travel to Europe, according to a press release. So it’s a good thing there is no foreign transaction fee, meaning you can use it without fear of being charged extra when you’re abroad.
Where the Norwegian Reward Card falls short
Points expire. Having the credit card means your points can last longer than they would without the card, but they still have an expiration date. Your CashPoints will expire 48 months from the end of the calendar year in which the points were earned.
Can only redeem with Norwegian. If you’re a frequent Norwegian Air traveler, you might not mind this limitation. But if you find yourself traveling with other airlines from time to time, or if you want to be able to redeem your rewards toward non-airplane travel, a travel card that’s not tied to a specific airline could be a better choice to help you fly, drive or ride in style.
Earning rate can fluctuate. The rewards structure may seem simple at first. For example, if you make a purchase of $100 on dining, you’ll earn 2% in rewards — or $2 in CashPoints. That’s true, but it’s not the end of the story. You should understand that the actual number of CashPoints you get for that dollar amount varies based on the currency exchange rate.
So, how much are Norwegian CashPoints worth? Each CashPoint is worth 1 Norwegian Krone. This means there isn’t a set number for how many CashPoints you earn per $1 spent — it depends on the exchange rate as of the day the CashPoints post to your Norwegian Reward account. The example given in the card’s terms and conditions is that if the conversion rate is 9:1, and you have $50 worth of CashPoints post that day, you’ll receive 450 CashPoints.
Compare it to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
If you want a card that can help you travel, but you’re not loyal to a particular airline, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a strong choice. Here’s how the two cards compare:
|Norwegian Reward Card||Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn $50 in CashPoints with $500 in purchases in the first 90 days.||One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.|
|Rewards||2% extra on Norwegian, 2% on dining + grocery and 1% on all other purchases.||2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.|
|Annual fee||$0||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that.|
Foreign transaction fee
|Credits||None||Get a statement credit of up to $100 every four years when you use this card to pay the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.|
You can either book your travel through Capital One or redeem your miles toward a past purchase via the Purchase Eraser feature (just remember that you have to do so within 90 days from the date your purchase posts to your account). Miles earned on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card can be redeemed toward the following types of purchases:
- Rail lines
- Car rental agencies
- Limousine services
- Bus lines
- Cruise lines
- Travel agents
In short, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is significantly more flexible than the Norwegian Reward Card. And your Capital One miles don’t expire (though you’ll lose them if your card account is closed). You can also transfer your miles to the following 15 partners:
- Aeromexico (Club Premier)
- Air Canada (Aeroplan)
- Air France KLM (Flying Blue)
- Alitalia (MilleMiglia Program)
- Asia Miles (Asia Miles)
- Avianca (LifeMiles)
- Emirates (Emirates Skywards)
- Etihad Airways (Etihad Guest)
- EVA Air (Infinity MileageLands)
- Finnair (Finnair Plus)
- Hainan Airlines (Fortune Wings Club)
- JetBlue (TrueBlue)
- Qantas (Qantas Frequent Flyer)
- Qatar Airways (Privilege Club)
- Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
If you like the benefits of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card but don’t want to pay an annual fee, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card might be a better choice. It offers a lower rewards rate (1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day), but charges a $0 annual fee.