Frequent flyer credit cards reward you with free flights, upgrades and other travel perks just for doing your everyday spending. There’s a card for everything: you can choose from basic, no-frills options to cards that dish out big points and big features.
Plenty of frequent flyer credit cards come with epic sign-up bonus points to kickstart your rewards stash, and some have balance transfer features if you want to shift your debt to a new card for 0% interest and pay it off faster.
Or, if you’re just saying “show me the points!”, look for credit cards that pay out the highest number of frequent flyer points for every dollar you spend.
We’ve made it easy by summarising the features of each card right here. You can click the card to see the card’s full details on the bank’s website, and apply from there too.
Check out our top frequent flyer deals for this month. Click ‘go to offer’ for a full rundown of the card’s features, and to apply.
Enjoy a bountiful 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply for a new Citi Premier Qantas Credit Card by April 28, 2022 and spend $4,000 on eligible transactions within the first 90 days from card approval. Boost earned points with 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on eligible transactions online and internationally, and 0.5 points per $1 on domestic spend elsewhere. To add more the attractiveness of this card, Citi now offers a half discount on annual fee which saves you $175 for the first year when you meet the annual spend requirement of $48,000, currently $375. You can also take advantage of the 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 6 months with no balance transfer fee. Add up to four additional cardholders at no extra costs. Cashback and discounts with participating retail and service provider partners plus complimentary lounge passes and travel insurance at hand.
The ANZ Frequent Flyer Black credit card can give you up to 130,000 plus a cashback. Earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points and $255 back to your new card when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from approval and an additional 30,000 Qantas Points when you keep your card for over 12 months. You’ll earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 on eligible purchases per statement period up to $7,500, then 0.5 Qantas points thereafter, and get a bonus point when you buy selected Qantas products and services. This card also has first-class benefits like two Qantas Lounge invites per year, free international travel and purchase protection insurance, access to invite-only events through Exclusives by ANZ, and a 24/7 personal concierge service. The annual fee is a little higher at $425 p.a. because this is a premium card with above average rewards.
The Citi Rewards Card does what it says: it offers 90,000 Citi reward Points (the equivalent of $300 in digital gift cards with participating dealers), plus a $100 Coles eGift Card when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days from approval. You’ll earn 1 Citi rewards Point per $1 spent on all eligible transactions, including overseas spending. One big point of difference is that you can earn reward points on paying rent, taxes, education fees and childcare using Citi PayAll, and 2 Citi rewards Point per $1 spent on all eligible transactions made using the Linked Diners Club Card. Citi reward Points can be converted to some travel rewards programs like Flybuys. The annual fee is discounted to $49 for the first year, and $149 onwards, and you’ll get free travel insurance, and cashback offers with partner businesses. Currently, it offers 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
With the Qantas Premier Platinum Credit Card, you’ll get 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply for a new card by 28 February 2022, and spend $3,500 or more on eligible purchases within 3 months from card approval. Their rewards program is solid too, giving you 1.5 points per $1 spent on international purchases, 1 point for domestic spending (up to $10,000 per statement period, then reverts to 0.5 points) and a bonus point when you buy selected Qantas products and services. This card has some other good perks, like a concierge service, discounted flights for up to 8 companions, lounge access and a reduced annual fee for the first year, plus 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
Big on rewards, the ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card offers 180,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. It’s got great earn potential too, giving you 2 Reward Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases (up to $5,000 per statement period, then 1:1 after that). ANZ Reward Points can be converted to a variety of travel partners like Velocity Frequent Flyer points, Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars, Singapore Airlines and Asia Miles. ANZ is also waiving the $375 annual fee for the first year.
The NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Credit Card dishes out some good rewards and a reduced annual fee of $295 for the first year. You can get up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points as a new applicant, with a few conditions: you’ll unlock 90,000 points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 60 days, and another 20,000 if you hold the card for 12 months. The earn rate is decent too, at 1 Qantas point per $1 spent up to $5,000 per month, and then 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 up to $20,000. This card also comes with free travel insurance for overseas and domestic travel (conditions apply), and concierge services.
Frequent flyer points (and the redemption programs they’re attached to) can be a confusing world to dive into, but they’re also some of the best perks a credit card can offer.
You’ll earn rewards points just for doing your day-to-day spending, and convert those points into travel freebies and privileges, or even retail products.
Now sure how to find your best card? We’ve got you covered. Below is an easy guide on frequent flyer points, how they work, and how to find the credit card that’ll give you the most bang for your buck.
Once you’re ready to compare, you can check out our list of the top frequent flyer credit cards for this month, or use our comparison tool to sort frequent flyer cards by different features, and check how many points you might earn in a year based on your normal spending habits.
Let’s take a look at some in detail.
Some frequent flyer cards give you bonus rewards points on sign-up, up to the tune of 120,000 points (or even more). But there’s a small catch – you’ll need to meet the eligibility criteria to get your points, which usually means spending a minimum amount on your card within a certain timeframe. Check the amount required and make sure you can meet it – it’s often in the vicinity of $3,000 spent within 90 days of approval, but can be more or less.
Rewards points are handed out for the dollars you spend on eligible purchases. Some things won’t earn rewards points, like Bpay transactions, cash advances (where you withdraw money from your credit card) and some government payments.
Most times, rewards also won’t apply on balance transfers, where you move your balance remaining from one credit card to a new one that has 0% or low interest applied to the transferred amount. Check the card’s PDS and the TMD to make sure.
We explain all about balance transfer credit cards in our guide to using balance transfers to help pay down debt.
The amount of points you can earn depends on a few things:
To make the most points from your spending, you can think about how much you spend on your card each month, and choose an offer with uncapped points or a higher spending tier so you don’t lose out on valuable rewards by hitting the points earning limit.
Also, consider the things you buy often. If you use your card for supermarket spending, look for a card with the best earn rate on those purchases. Or, if you use your card for travel, find a card that rewards spending on flights, accommodation and car rentals.
The balancing act of finding a great frequent flyer card for you is weighing up the annual fee, the earn rate and the introductory offer.
Super handy tips on annual fees:
Finding a card that hits your trifecta sweet spot means looking at the value you’ll get from the frequent flyer rewards, and deciding if it outweighs the annual fee.
For example, if you earned 45,000 points per year on a Qantas frequent flyer credit card that offered 1 point per $1 spent, and had an annual fee of $350, you would have to weigh up if your points earn was worth the slightly higher yearly fee.
Considering 36,000 points can get you to Christchurch and back from Sydney using Qantas points (plus any normal taxes and airline fees), and adding in any other perks the card offers like free travel insurance, the card may work out well in your favour even with a higher annual fee.
And of course, that example doesn’t include any bonus offer points when you sign up.
On that point, some cards offer reduced annual fees for the first year, or lower ongoing annual fees if you spend a minimum amount per year. Check for the latest annual fee deals using the ‘annual fee’ toggle on our one-click comparison tool.
When you use your credit card and don’t pay off the balance (the amount you owe) before the due date or within any interest-free periods the card offers, you’ll have to pay interest on the balance.
It’s also called the purchase rate, and frequent flyer credit cards tend to have higher purchase rates because they’re a high-value card.
Check the purchase rate and make sure you’re confident you can keep on top of your repayments so you’re not slugged with high interest charges, because that will reduce the value of your travel rewards.
Some frequent flyer points never expire, but some expire within a certain timeframe, or if you don’t use your card for a specified amount of time.
|Frequent Flyer program||Points expiry policy||How to keep points active|
|Velocity Points||Yes, after 24 months of inactivity|| |
|Qantas Points||Yes, after 18 months of inactivity on your account|| |
|American Express Travel Points||No expiry, but points will be lost if all cards connected to the program are cancelled|| |
Happily, if you’re choosing a frequent flyer credit card, it’s easy to keep your account active because you’ll be earning points every time you spend on your card.
Always check the fine print of the frequent flyer program for expiration policies, and any situations where they may cancel the rewards program.
Each frequent flyer credit card is linked to a specific frequent flyer program that you can redeem the points through.
Here’s a snapshot of the frequent flyer programs available that cover Australian and international airlines:
As you’re comparing cards, you’ll notice most link up with Qantas Frequent Flyer, Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer or American Express programs. However, you may still use your frequent flyer points for other airlines within the same network, like Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Air New Zealand Airpoints, Emirates Skywards and Etihad Guest.
When you apply for a credit card attached to a frequent flyer program, you’ll need to become a member to start earning and spending points.
Most programs are free to join, or give you opportunity to join for free through other partnerships.
For example, joining Qantas Frequent Flyer usually costs $99.50, but some credit cards offer free membership, or you can join via your Woolworths Everyday Rewards card.
Before you apply, it’s a good idea to check the small print on the card to find out how and when the points you earn are transferred to your frequent flyer account. Some cards offer direct transfer, others transfer points at the end of each month, while others only offer manual transfer at the cardholder’s request – with a minimum transfer amount required.
Check out how you can maximise your points-earning potential on your chosen card. This may mean using your card with certain partners within the travel industry, such as hotels and car hire companies, or with certain retailers.
Yes, it’s a bit tedious, but learning a bit about your frequent flyer card can really give your points earning a boost.
It’s a great idea to check the frequent flyer program and its store, so can choose one that offers the things you want (and, it’s more fun when you’ve already chosen the reward you want to get for free!).
Typically, you can use frequent flyer points for:
If you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost of the purchase, many cards offer points-and-pay, where you can pay cash to cover any shortfalls in your points.
Many credit cards offer a bunch of other features besides rewards points, and frequent flyer cards – especially the fancier, more expensive ones – are often choc-full of them.
Features you might find on a frequent flyer credit card:
All the extra ‘dazzle’ on a card can help offset the higher annual fee, especially if you love to travel, dine and enjoy social events.
If you’re after points to spend on retail, you might want to look at the best rewards-earning credit cards, which are linked to bank rewards programs (not specific frequent flyer memberships) and have lower annual fees.
Introductory offers are one big benefit of frequent flyer credit cards, but you can also look for discounts on annual fees and any cashback offers.
Some cards waive the annual fee for the first year, or if you hit a minimum spend annually.
There are also cashback or travel credits on offer, where you’ll have a nominal amount paid back to your account, or earn a travel voucher to spend each year. Both features help offset any ongoing fees on the card.
Some lenders offer 0% interest on balance transfers, which is where you move the debt from a credit card to one that won’t charge interest for a certain timeframe.
Before you ask, you won’t earn points when you transfer a balance. Which means combining a balance transfer (where the goal is to pay off debt) with a card that’s about earning rewards on big spending may not be the best combination.
If you’re keen to get ahead of your credit card balance, use our one-click comparison tool to find a balance transfer card that will help you most.
An eligible transaction usually means regular spending on everyday items, like groceries, eating out and booking tickets (including flights). Normally, you won’t earn points on cash advances (where you withdraw money from your credit card) and any balances transferred from a different card.
Often, you won’t earn points on government transactions either, like paying your rates bill.
The credit card’s PDS will outline which transactions are eligible for earning points.
No, each frequent flyer program has their own value system. For example, a $100 Bunnings gift voucher will cost 23,170 Qantas Points, or 21,800 Velocity Points.
If you want to get the most from your points, you can search the different rewards programs and choose the one with the better points redemption on things you’re most likely to buy.
Adding family members to the account is a good way to bump up your points earnings faster, but not all cards allow additional cardholders, and some make you pay.
The additional cardholder fee might be minimal, like $10 per year, but may also require a fee to join the membership program.
Always check the terms for adding extra cardholders to make sure it’s not going to add ongoing expenses that outweigh the benefits.
If you know which frequent flyer program you want to join, you can compare the cards attached to your program by using our one-click comparison tool:
Compare all Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards.
Compare all Velocity Frequent Flyer credit cards.
Or, you can compare bonus points for all rewards cards, including non-frequent-flyer programs, on our bonus points comparison page.
If you’re still not sure, you can compare all credit cards offering frequent flyer points and click each card to read its pros and cons.
Most credit cards don’t offer points on government transactions, and those that do are most often business credit cards. However, some American Express frequent flyer cards offer points on payments to government bodies.
As always, check the card’s details to find out.
Founder of Creditcard.com.au. Roland has extensive knowledge about credit cards in Australia. Known as a credit card expert, he has been featured on tv and in various publications. Some popular offers on our site right now include the ANZ Low Rate. This special offer has no annual fee first year, a low purchase rate and long 0% balance transfer. Have a look also at the huge 0% for 30 months balance transfer from Citi with no balance transfer fees.
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