Can you Really Travel Now and Pay Later?
Paying for your entire trip upfront can be a big financial burden, especially if you need to not only book flights but accommodation and tours as well. If you don’t have the money to pay for your flights/travel up front, and prices rise during the period, then you may end up paying even more than you planned to. If you’re finding yourself in this situation, then fly now pay later plans which allow you to pay for your travel in instalments over time could be a good option for you. There are several payment plans for both flights and travel which allow you to book now and pay later so you can pay off your travel more managable chunks rather than one lump sum. You should be cautious with any kind of credit for a commodity like travel, however, they can be a useful tool for a responsible budget minded travelers who do their research.
There are several options available depending on where you are located. These travel payment plans are most popular in western countries, namely the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Though, perpaps strangely, there is a wildcard: The Philippines, as you can see from Google search data below:
This guide will be split up into the most popular countries for fly now pay later options. But before we dive into this list, I will start with a word of caution. For many, this is stating the obvious, but the ‘travel now pay later’ approach can easily get you into trouble if you are irresponsible. Many of the best travel payment plans have an interest free term, but, the catch here is that interest free means you might pay in other ways, like transaction fee’s and yearly payments for the credit service. Most importantly: Don’t rush into it. Don’t get sold on the pictures. Always read the fine print and understand exactly what you will have to repay.
Pro tip: here are some tools to plan and manage your travel budget.
Fly Now Pay Later without the Credit Checks?
Understanding the difference between hard and soft credit checks and why it matters.
When applying for a Credit card the issuing authority will conduct ‘hard‘ credit check. Getting denied a hard credit check can remain on your credit report for around 2 years. If you’re worried that you have a bad credit rating already and don’t want to harm it further, you should probably avoid applying for credit cards to book airline tickets or travel plans with.
Conversely, flight payment plans usually conduct ‘soft‘ credit checks, this means that you can travel now and pay later without a credit card. This type of flight financing doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to approve your credit request and allow you to book flights, but, a soft credit check doesn’t have any effect on your credit rating in the event that they deny your application.
You can read more about hard and soft credit checks here.
Soft credit checks are relatively new and seem to be geared toward the younger generation who, as a percentage own far fewer credit cards than the older generation. A recent study by Bank Rate found that just 33% of people aged 18 – 29 own credit cards in the US, compared with 68% of the 65+ age group:
Can You Book Flights Now & Pay Later With a Credit Card?
Discussing the best credit cards for flight hacking is a little outside of the scope of this post, but check out this article best credit cards for booking flights and travel. They have a comprehensive breakdown on the best credit cards for frequent flyer points and other signup bonuses. There are many flight hackers who work the system to book flights for free, though this takes a lot more work.
In short, yes, you can book now and pay later with credit cards. For some travelers, credit cards are the best option and allow you to manage your own book now pay later travel plan whilst including attractive perks and building your credit.
This guide on the best travel now pay later programs is for those who want to book now and pay later without credit cards. It’s meant as a starting point, and information included here is subject to change, so always to your own research!
The Best Fly Now Pay Later Options For The United States
Paypal Travel Now Pay Later Program
BEST FOR: Integrating with your regular payments, and widely used across travel merchants.
Paypal may not be the name that comes to mind when you think of flight financing, but as they are already integrated into so many travel merchants, it seems logical that they would want to explore this rapidly expanding sector of finance. This is especially true seeing that Paypal and eBay are splitting due to a change in strategic direction.
Paypal is a trusted, secure and easy way to fly now and pay later with some great features that set it apart from other travel financing plans.
Paypal Credit for Travel Now & Pay Later Review & Key Information:
To travel now and pay later with Paypal, you’ll need to signup for Paypal Credit. If/when you are approved, you can book through one of the many travel companies which accept Paypal. These include widely used companies like Flight Centre, Emirates and Air Asia.
- No Payments + No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more.
- Quick approval process which only requires your social security no. and date of birth.
- No annual fees, unlike many credit cards.
- 19.99% APR with a minimum interest amount of $2.
- Automatic or manual payments.
- Payments up to 36 months.
Cheap Air Fly Now Pay Later Program
BEST FOR: Price drop payback, quick application process and soft credit checks.
Cheap Air is a flight booking site for booking flights, hotels and car hire. Its designed to find you the cheapest offers available and even offer a ‘price drop payback‘ where you get paid back the difference if the price decreases after booking your flights. Cheapair.com have partnered with Affirm, a financing company, to allow customers to pay for their flights in instalments over time. Affirm conducts soft credit checks, so it won’t affect your credit score if you don’t get approved. If you have bad credit, you can apply for fly now pay later program without credit checks.
Cheap Air Fly Now Pay Later Review & Key Information
Unfortunately, the Cheapair travel now pay later program is not interest free, but seeing as they have some of the cheapest flights around, their travel financing program is still a good option if flight prices are set to rise nearer the date you want to travel.
- To fly now pay later with Cheap Air, you will need to apply with Affirm, which you can do at checkout. The application process is quick and easy.
- Affirm only conducts a soft credit check, so theres no need to worry if you have bad credit or you’re worried about affecting your credit score.
- All payments are handled through Affirm rather than Cheap Air.
- Instalments can be paid over 3, 6, or 12 months.
- Interest varies between 10% and 30% APR. This varies based on a number of factors, but you can use their cost calculator to give you an idea.
- To apply, you must be a United States resident 18 years or older.
- You will need to provide your name, email, cell phone number, date of birth and the last 4 digits of your SSN.
Expedia Travel Now Pay Later Program
BEST FOR: A wide variety of fly now pay later booking options on holidays, flights and packages.
Similarly to Cheapair.com, Expedia has partnered with Affirm to bring their own book now pay later program. Expedia is one of the leading travel companies offering almost any flight and travel combination you can think of.
Expedia Travel Now Pay Later Review & Key Information:
- To travel now pay later with Expedia, you will need to apply with Affirm, which you can do at checkout. The application process is quick and easy.
- What sets Expedia Travel Now Pay Later program apart is the huge variety of travel options.
- The travel now pay later is only available on select packages with Expedia.
- All payment instalments are handled through Affirm rather than Expedia.
- Instalments can be paid over 3, 6, or 12 months.
- Interest varies between 10% and 30% APR.
- To apply, you must be a United States resident 18 years or older.
Bliss: Fly Now Pay Later (Coming Soon)
Bliss is a technology startup in the fly now pay later market. They are currently in beta – meaning they haven’t launched yet. However, their site has some promising features, and we look forward to writing a more in depth Bliss review.
Bliss Fly Now Pay Later Review & Key Information:
- Book now and pay in installments with up to 6 months with 0% APR.
- Earn points when you book. This sounds sort of like frequent flyer points with credit cards and airlines.
- Bliss automatically searches 200+ airlines and search engines to find the cheapest fares.
What we like about Bliss is their startup mentality to create something different in the fly now pay later niche. Their site is beautifully designed and their approach could be quite disruptive. We will eagerly be awaiting the launch!
To find out more about Bliss, and signup for the launch click here.
The Best Fly Now Pay Later Options For The United Kingdom
After looking through the possible fly now pay later programs in the UK, I really can’t recommend any of them as a cost effective way to book flights. The fee’s and interest involved for most of the fly now pay later programs are 10 – 20% more than the price of your ticket, which in most cases will outweigh the cost of price increases before your departure date. If you can’t pay for your flight upfront right now, my recommendation is put your flights on lay by (i.e. pay them off in instalments before you fly), or, book with a credit card. Regardless, we have included a list of flight lay by options in the UK below.
1) Flynowpaylater.com – Book Now Pay Later for Flights and Holiday Packages
BEST FOR: fly now pay later options with a range of flight and holiday companies in the UK.
FlynowPayLater.com is a company that provides fly now pay later options across multiple travel companies for flights, hotels, car hire, and insurance which you will pay back over 3 – 10 monthly installments. FlyNowPayLater.com are a credit company that also partner with other fly now pay later programs, some of which are listed below.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can select FlynowPayLater.com as your payment method at checkout, like you would a regular payment method like a credit or debit card.
After looking at some of FlynowPayLater.com’s partners, it is unclear what their interest free term is, and their website FAQ states:
Depending on the product type, a transaction fee or interest charges may apply. Please check your credit agreement for more information. We may also request a small deposit on selected bookings.
This is slightly confusing, as some of the companies partners claim that you can pay off your holiday with interest free payments. So, make sure you read the fine print with this fly now pay later company!
Flynowpaylater.com Review & Key Information:
- Unclear whether they offer an interest free period. Be sure to check the credit agreement when applying.
- There may be additional fees for booking, again, check your credit agreement.
- There is an approval process which should take less than minute which conducts a soft credit check.
- Available for 18+ UK residents who have a mobile number and a UK debit card.
- Available credit from £100 – £2,000.
- Pay off your holiday in 3 – 10 monthly installments.
- Available with select merchants.
2) Flymble Fly Now Pay Later
BEST FOR: Booking flight tickets instantly and paying off over 3 – 10 monthly installments.
Flymble is a new flight financing program launched in 2017 and is available for UK residents. Flymble allows eligable applicants to put down a small deposit upfront (roughly 10% of your flight) with your debit card and pay the rest over time. Financing is handled by flynowpaylater.com and, judging by the fee’s as you’ll see below, it’s unclear why you would book through Flymble rather than Flynowpaylater.com
Flymble Review & Key Information:
- Flymble charge a rather hefty booking fee of 10.5% – 17% depending on your departure date, plus 1.5% per month.
- There aren’t any late fee’s – I guess the interest is high enough already!
- You can pay off your flight earlier without paying any extra fees on top of what you’ve already paid.
- The minimum booking amount is £250, the maximum is £2000.
- Flights are to be paid off with 3 – 10 monthly installments.
- Similarly to FlyNowPayLater.com, Flymble is only available for 18+ UK residents who have a mobile number and a UK debit card.
- There is a soft credit check which apparently only takes a few seconds to be calculated.
- If you don’t pass the credit check, there is an option to pay for your flights in installments before your departure date.
A full list of Flymble’s FAQ’s can be viewed here.
3) Airfordable Fly Now Pay Later
BEST FOR: Fly now pay later with no credit checks.
Airfordable is another company servicing the UK fly now pay later market. What sets them aside from the companies above is that they claim you can use their fly now pay later service without credit checks. Alarm bells start ringing when I see something too good to be true, and indeed, you can expect to pay around 10 – 20% interest.
Airfordable Review & Key Information:
- Fly Now Pay later without credit checks.
- 10 – 20% interest depending on demand, the date of travel and the price of your trip. To break that down, with a 3-month repayment, a 20% fee works out to be a huge 80% APR.
- Without signing up, you are unable to see the interest fee calculator.
- They also charge an undisclosed booking fee, which is variable depending on your booking.
- Minimum travel booking of $200.
- Airfordable requires you to take a screenshot with all your travel information and send it to them.
- Airfordable will allow you to book with practically any travel site you want, including:
- Google Flight
- Any airline website except Spirit.com
The Best Fly Now Pay Later Options For Australia
Out of all the countries offering fly now pay later programs, Australia seems to have the most sensible. It may well work out better financially to use one of the interest free options below to book your flight or holiday in advance for a cheaper price.
1) Afterpay Fly Now Pay Later – Exclusively with Jetstar
BEST FOR: Booking domestic Australian flights interest free.
Afterpay is a new modern credit company that has taken the Australian and New Zealand shopping scene by storm. It’s integrated into the checkout of many merchants as a payment gateway and allows shoppers to select Afterpay as your payment method at your flight checkout. You then have to pay your flight off in 4 equal monthly installments (they also allow paying earlier).
What’s more, Jetstar offers a ‘price lock guarantee’, so the price you book at is the price you will pay. You can view Jetstars Afterpay terms here. This will save you if you have to fly on a date but can’t afford the fare at the time of booking.
Jetstar flights with Afterpay Review & Key Information:
- Interest free if you pay your installments on time.
- You are required to pay 4 equal installments every 2 weeks.
- There is an $11 booking fee from Afterpay.
- If you haven’t signed up for Afterpay before, you will need to complete the Afterpay approval process (approx 5 minutes)
- Available for Australian domestic flights priced between $200 and $1000 AUD.
- If you pay your installments on time, then the flight payment is interest free.
- You will be charged for late payments. You can read the Australian Afterpay terms here.
2) ZipMoney Travel Now Pay Later
BEST FOR: Booking full travel itineraries and luxury holidays with fly now pay later plans.
ZipMoney is a competitor to Afterpay and is partnered with WebJet, Ther8 and Luxury Escapes who offer not just flights, but full travel itineraries with book now pay later plans. If you are looking to finance your whole holiday with a book now pay later option, then ZipMoney could the best option for Australians.
Review of ZipMoney Travel Now Pay Later & Key Information:
- If you haven’t signed up to ZipMoney before, you will need to complete the ZipPay approval process (approx 3 minutes).
- Available for select travel itineraries. Have a look at the links above to browse itineraries and flights.
- Geared toward larger, more expensive trips. $250 minimum spend and up to $6,000 Credit. Be careful ?
- Up to 12 months interest free with a monthly payment plan. Additional payments can be made at any time.
- May be subject to a small admin fee and an initial establishment fee.
Other Australian Airlines & Tour Companies Offering Fly Now Pay Later, and Lay by Programs
In addition to the two flight financing options above, several Australian airlines also offer their own fly now pay later programs with similar options and interest free terms, so long as you pay your installments on time.
There are also some lay by flight and holiday options which are a good route if you want to pay off your your flights or travel in instalments before you travel. Whilst they’re not technically a fly now pay later program, they are a financing option which will allow you to pay off your travel over a period of time.
3) Flight Centre – tours, flights and all-inclusive holidays which you can book now and pay later
BEST FOR: holiday and trips, and all inclusive package deals.
Flight Centre Lay By Review Key information:
- Interest free holiday finance if you pay your weekly, fortnightly and monthly repayments on time.
- Subject to an approval process.
- 23.99 % p.a. (variable) payable after the interest free term.
- Minimum booking cost: $999.
- There is a $99 annual fee for using this financing service.
- You can book flights, holidays, hotels, tours, cruises and more. They have many all inclusive options available which can be booked now and paid later.
- Price match guarantee. This is a significant point as even though you will incur a $99 annual fee for financing your holiday, this may be a more economical option if your holiday is actually cheaper overall through Flight Centre.
4) STA Travel Layby Flights
BEST FOR: Layby flights for students and people under 30.
STA Travel’s target market is predominantly students and people under 30, however, as they offer flights with up to 60 airlines and many exclusive deals, it’s definitely worth taking a look, even if you older than 30.
STA Travel Lay By Review & Key Information:
- Interest free, but the balance of your flights must be paid 10 weeks before you fly.
- $99 non-refundable deposit which is taken off the total cost of your flights.
- There is a $10 fee for booking.
- Layby flights are only available for exclusive tickets.
5) G Adventures Book Now Pay Later
BEST FOR: Planned well in advance layby adventure tours.
G Adventures Payment & Layby Options Review & Key Information:
G Adventures only just made it into this list of the best book now pay later travel options, its really more of a traditional travel agent deposit on flights, but, if you are planning a big trip sometime in the future that includes adventure tours, then G Adventures is a great company to book now and pay later with.
- Full payment is required 60 days before your trip. If you are booking within 60 days, there are no other payment options with G Adventures, you must pay in full
- A deposit of $250 is required to secure your trip.
- Interest free, flexible payment terms that you can pay at your own pace, but you must be fully paid 60 days before your trip.
The Best Travel Now Pay Later Options For New Zealand
New Zealand doesn’t have as many options for flight financing and paying flights in installments. The options seem to mainly consist of layby flights which allow you to hold a fare at the current rate and pay over time before your departure. This is still a good option to get the best price on a flight, as you can book earlier at a cheaper price, but doesn’t technically count as flight financing as you will still have to pay for your travel before you fly. STA Travel is a prominent company which offer layby flights with a small ($99) deposit. Whilst its designed for students and under 30’s, there isn’t anything stopping older folks enquiring as well.
1) Escape Travel, Travel Now Pay Later Program
Escape Travel allows you to book now and pay later with 12 months interest free, giving you the financial freedom to book that dream holiday now, and pay it off in installments.
- Instalment plans of 6, 9 or 12 months.
- Up to 12 months interest free. 23.99 % p.a. (variable) after the interest free term.
- Small card fee for repayment transactions.
- $99 Annual Fee, plus other terms and conditions.
- Repayments can be made weekly, fortnightly or monthly
- Your travel plans must he $999+
The promise of interest free can sometimes fool people ready to jump on a plane and pay later. But interest free doesn’t neccissarily mean that there are no costs involved. This isn’t to say that the Escape Travel fly now pay later program is a bad choice, but its worth noting that a $99 fee, plus card fee’s is likely to add up to a large percentage of what you would pay with a credit card anyway, depending on the price of your holiday.
The Best Fly Now Pay Later Options For The Philippines
The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands and there are many low cost airlines that service the many different flight paths across the country. Whilst most places are accessible by boat, the quickest and easiest way to travel is certainly by plane. If you can’t afford your flight fare and you need to travel now, whether it’s for a friends wedding, a family emergency or something else, then it might be more practical to finance your trip by flying now and paying later. If the below options aren’t suitable for your situation, an alternative option is to apply for a BDO installment card, which will allow you to book your flights/travel now and pay in installments.
On the other hand, if you are a tourist rather than a local Filipino, then you might be looking for travel now pay later tours or trips. We have come across several tour companies that offer travel now pay later programs, but as we have been unable to verify their legitimacy, we have decided to leave them off this list for the time being.
Philippine Airlines Fly Now Pay Later Program
BEST FOR: Local Filipinos with HSBC accounts, 0% interest.
Philippine Airlines is the national airline of The Philippines and one of the leading low cost carriers. They have partnered with HSBC to offer installment plans on flights. To be eligible for the Philippines Airlines installment plan, you must meet several conditions. We have highlighted the most important information below, and a full list of terms can be viewed here.
Philippine Airlines Fly Now Pay Later Installment Plans Review & Key Information
- To use this program, you must be a Filipino HSBC card holder with good credit standing.
- 0% Installment plan (minimum transaction amounts can be viewed via the link above).
- 3, 6 and 12 month payment plans available.
- 0% Installments are available only through the Philippine Airlines website.
- Tickets may not be refundable.
Conclusion: Are Fly Now Pay Later Promotions Worth it?
Whether a travel now pay later program is beneficial to you is subjective to your personal location and situation, this guide is meant as a starting point to help you take a look at your options.
If you have any questions about fly now pay later travel, or any suggestions, please leave us a comment below and add to the discussion.