Aussies everywhere are whipping out their holiday planners after Scomo announced flights may open up mid-November. Here’s how you can earn mega-sized rewards points in 90 days and then travel free – with perks – in 2022 (can we get a yay?!).
Maybe you’d like some extra perks with that free travel? Many credit card providers give you complimentary travel insurance, passes for swanky airport lounges, and discounts with business partners, making your trips even cheaper and glitzier.
Credit card companies have been shelling out enormous introductory sign-up bonus rewards points to new cardholders.
What are introductory bonus rewards points? Besides being a mouthful, it’s a lump-sum of rewards points offered as an incentive for you to sign up with a credit card provider. Points can be spent on free products, services, technology, flights and accommodation.
Unlocking the bonus points usually requires hitting a spending target within 90 days.
From now, until the new year is a points goldmine, with multiple big-ticket shopping events on our calendar for November and December that will help you meet the spending targets, pocket the points, and use them for flights.
We’re talking about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and Boxing Day, where regular Aussies spend the most money each year.
Before we show you exactly how to snap up the big points, let’s look at frequent flyer miles and how rewards points turn into free flights.
No matter who you fly with, you’ll have to pay taxes and fees, so there’s no such thing as a completely free flight. For example, a flight from Melbourne to Sydney on Virgin Australia will cost around $28 in taxes and carrier charges.
Any extra costs are calculated when you make your booking.
Rewards points usually give you the most bang for buck when you spend them on flights and travel, compared to physical products. The longer the flight, the more value you’ll get from your points.
Qantas Frequent Flyer points for flights:
For example, you could fly economy class Sydney to Adelaide for 9,600 points, or Melbourne to Perth for 18,000 plus applicable taxes and fees.
Internationally, you could head to London from Melbourne for just 62,000 each way (with a stopover via Frankfurt) which may be within reach with an introductory offer.
Examples of Virgin Australia’s Velocity points for flights:
Velocity points are calculated in units of miles, with as little as 7,800 points needed for a free short-haul domestic flight, plus taxes.
An economy one-way flight from Sydney to Adelaide will cost 11,800 points, while Melbourne to Perth is 17,800 points.
You can also use Points + Pay, where every 2,500 points deducts $15 from your flight, and you pay any remaining costs.
Credit cards with introductory bonus rewards points are the fastest way to amass big points quickly.
You can use our Credit Card Bonus Point Special Offers comparison table to find the best cards with all types of bonus points and other features. Or, you can look at the Frequent Flyer comparison table to see the best cards for earning frequent flyer points like Qantas or Velocity points with your spending.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the best introductory offers on the table right now:
Credit cards with introductory bonus point offers:
|Citi Rewards Credit Card – Velocity Points Offer||150,000 bonus Virgin Australia Velocity Points||Spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in 90 days of approval to get 80,000 points, then 70,000 points when you keep the card for 12 months||1 Citi Rewards point per $1 on eligible purchases. 2.5 Citi points convert to 1 Velocity point||$99 for the first year, then $199 p.a.|
|Citi Rewards Card – Points & Gift Card Offer||90,000 Citi Rewards points (can convert to frequent flyer miles at varying rates)||Spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in 90 days of approval||1 Citi point per $1 spent on eligible domestic transactions||$49 for the first year, then $149 p.a.|
|Citi Premier Qantas Credit Card||100,000 Qantas Points||Spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in 90 days of approval||1 point per $1 spent on eligible online and international transactions, 0.5 points per $1 on domestic buys||$175 for the first year, then $350 p.a. if you spend $48,000 on eligible purchases each year|
|ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card||180,000 ANZ Rewards Points (can convert to frequent flyer miles at varying rates)||Spend $2,000 on eligible purchases in 90 days of approval||2 points per $1 spent on eligible transactions||Waived for first year, then $375 p.a.|
|Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card||130,000 Altitude points||Spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in 90 days of approval||1 Altitude point per $1 spent on eligible purchases||$49 for the first year, then $150 p.a.|
|St.George Amplify Platinum Credit Card (Qantas)||60,000 Amplify Rewards points (convert to Velocity points or selected frequent flyer programs)||Spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in 90 days of approval||0.5 Amplify points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, uncapped||$99 p.a.|
|Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum Credit Card (Qantas)||60,000 bonus Amplify Points |
(convert to Velocity points or selected frequent flyer programs)
|Spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in 90 days of approval||0.5 Amplify points per $1 spent on eligible purchases, uncapped||$99 p.a.|
|Qantas American Express Ultimate Credit Card||110,000 Qantas Points + $450 annual travel credit||Spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in 90 days of approval||1.25 Qantas points per $1 spent on eligible purchases||$450 p.a.|
All rates, fees and offers correct at the time of publication as of 11th October 2021. Offers are subject to change. We’ve chosen the cards on this page based on the offers available to CreditCard.com.au. The credit cards on this page are not representative of the entire market. The use of terms ‘Best’ or ‘Top’ are not product ratings and are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Use. Read the provider’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before applying.
Jason signs up for the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card. He has until mid-January (90 days from application approval) to spend $3,000. He knows he needs to pay down the balance by the due date each month, so he’s going to decide what he’ll use the card for and stick to it most of the time.
Spending on his credit card:
Black Friday: Jason spends $400 on a new couch, and $100 at The Iconic
Cyber Monday: he buys a discounted $209 Apple watch, and $95 wireless Bluetooth ear buds
Christmas gifts: $850 for his family
Passes to the Sydney Christmas Family Show: $125
Boxing Day sales: Jason nabs a $150 Dyson vacuum cleaner on sale
Pays the group bill for dinner and has everyone give him cash: $250
Groceries and other: $850
Jason earns 120,000 Qantas points after spending $3,000 in three months.
He also earns the full rate of 1 Qantas point per dollar spent, because he didn’t reach the limit of $7,500 spent in one month, earning him an extra 3,029 Qantas points.
Jason has 3,000 Woolworths Everyday Rewards points, which he converts to 1,500 Qantas points.
Total points: 124,529
Jason also received free Qantas Flyer program membership, complimentary international travel insurance, two Qantas club lounge invitations, and $200 cash back onto his credit card.
With his points, Jason books two return flights from Sydney to Auckland for his family of three to visit relatives for 120,000 points, plus taxes.
He uses the remainder of his points to hire a car with Qantas partner Budget at a discounted rate.
Even though the card comes with a premium annual fee of $450, Jason received $200 cash back on his card as part of the introductory offer.
He saved on travel insurance for their trip. Best of all, the free concierge service that comes with ANZ premium credit cards organised the flights on his behalf.
These examples and dollar amounts are for illustrative purposes only, based on standard on-sale prices for these items.
While you’re reaching the minimum spend to access the bonus points, you’ll also be earning points on every dollar you spend as well.
For example, the Citi Rewards Credit Card offers 150,000 bonus Velocity points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of approval, and pays 1 Citi point per $1 on your regular spending. That means you’ll earn another 3000 Citi points (that can be converted to Velocity points) just for meeting the minimum requirements.
Your total Velocity points would be 151,200.
You can make sure you hit the spending targets by using your credit card for the big buys in the leadup to 2022.
Black Friday, November 26 2021: a day when retail stores worldwide offer heavy discounts and deals on retail products and technology
Cyber Monday, November 29 2021: an extension of Black Friday where retailers often dish out even bigger discounts, particularly in technology, gaming, and electronics.
Christmas, December 25 and Boxing day December 26 2021: they come every year, but this year you can use your regular Christmas gift shopping to meet minimum spend requirements and earn extra rewards points
To get the most out of your card, you’ll need to pay your balance in full each month before the due date. Otherwise, you risk being charged interest on your purchases, which could negate any travel savings you make.
Similarly, you’ll need to weigh up the annual fee against your travel goals too. Many cards offer a discount on annual fees, like the Citi Rewards Credit Card – Velocity Points Offer, or waive the annual fee for the first year, like the ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card.
The Qantas American Express Ultimate Credit Card offers 110,000 bonus points and a higher than normal earn rate of 1.25 Qantas points per dollar, with a $450 annual fee. However, the card also offers a $450 Qantas travel credit that renews each year, effectively cancelling out the annual fee (as long as travel is your goal).
You can optimise your points by being smarter about how and where you spend. For instance, the Citi Premier Qantas Credit Card earns 1 Qantas point per eligible online and international purchase, compared to 0.5 points per dollar spent in-store and domestically. That’s a good perk for the upcoming worldwide online sales events and Christmas.
The Qantas American Express Ultimate Credit Card earns one bonus Qantas point when you buy Qantas products.
You can also boost points by:
Keep an eye on airline offers to make your points go further, too. Qantas has been encouraging travel by offering flights at the lowest Classic Award Flight rate when booking using Qantas Points. Jetstar also released $22 flights and 500,000 other discounted fares across all 59 domestic routes until late December 2021, to inspire interstate travel.
To get the best out of your credit card you can follow some basic guidelines:
Always make sure you read the fine print for any credit card before you sign up. Look for points expiry timeframes, annual fees, interest-free periods and their cancellation policy. This is crucial if you’re planning to close the card after collecting the rewards points, as some providers require you spend the points before cancelling or you’ll lose them.
By using introductory signup bonus rewards points, you could earn thousands of points – translated into free flights plus tax – between now and Christmas just by using a credit card to buy the things you would have bought anyway.
Travel home to see family, finally lay eyes on a new grandchild, or just simply lie on a beach somewhere new. It doesn’t matter why you want to go; credit cards and their frequent flyer points might be your ticket to getting there.
(And the only thing sweeter than a flight home for Chrissy is one that cost you almost nothing at all!)
Pauline is a personal finance expert at CreditCard.com.au, with 8 years in money, budgeting and property reporting under her belt. Pauline is passionate about seeing Aussies win by making their money – and their credit cards – work smarter, harder and bigger.
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