Bonus Frequent Flyer points with no annual fees

Information verified correct on September 23rd, 2016
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You rarely see ‘bonus frequent flyer points’ and ‘no annual fee’ in the same sentence, but here are some of the credit cards that meet halfway.

Who doesn’t love a Frequent Flyer point rewards program that returns value? The only negative is, they tend to have fairly high annual fees. This usually means that you’ll need to spend a lot of money each year to outweigh your annual fee along with the value of your redeemed rewards or flyer points.

This breed of cards provides an ideal combination of zero annual fee and bonus frequent flyer points. They come with features like complimentary travel insurance, concierge service and zero foreign currency conversion fee.

ANZ Frequent Flyer Black

ANZ Frequent Flyer Black

Earn up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points within the first three months when you meet the minimum required spend. Also earn 1.5 points per $1 spent, get complimentary airport lounge access, 24/7 concierge, and enjoy a annual fee in the first year.

  • $425 p.a. annual fee
  • 19.99% p.a. on purchases
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • Minimum Income Requirement of $75,000 p.a.

Bonus Frequent Flyer points with no annual fees

Rates last updated September 23rd, 2016.

American Express Velocity Escape Card

Bonus Velocity Points field has been updated from 15,000 to 7,500.

February 29th, 2016

American Express Qantas Discovery Card

7,500 bonus points and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months

August 17th, 2016

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Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Bonus Points Annual fee
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Enjoy 7,500 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the minimum spend requirement and earn up to 2 points for every $1 you spend, together with a $0 annual fee.
1 0 7,500 bonus points $0 p.a. Go to site More info
American Express Qantas Discovery Card
Enjoy up to 7,500 extra Qantas Frequent Flyer Points and 1 point per $1 spent, plus 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months, all for a $0 annual fee.
1 0 7,500 bonus points $0 p.a. Go to site More info

bonus frequent flyer card with no annual feeWhat is a bonus frequent flyer with no annual fee card?

Credit card firms are in a continuous race to provide better options for their customers. The biggest drawback of earlier bonus frequent flyer points system was that one had to undertake a large number of trips to accumulate the requisite number of points. This was not suitable for customers who did not travel on a regular basis as they would have to fork out a higher annual fee without getting the equivalent benefit of points. However with a no annual fee card system, any flyer can look forward to accumulating bonus frequent flyer points and take advantage of the rewards available on the points.

These cards are available with two options:

  • No annual fee for first year - Few cards like Westpac Altitude Business Gold offer this option in the first years only. After the first year, the annual fee on the card reverts to a specified rate mentioned.
  • No annual fee for life - Other cards like Amex Express Qantas Discovery card and Amex Express Velocity Escape card, offer no annual fee feature for life.

Customers who are looking to merely try this scheme can choose the first option. This will allow them to keep the cost of the card at a minimum and, at the same time, provide an idea of how many points they can collect by using the card throughout the year. For regular travellers who already use the bonus frequent flyer points, the second option of getting a no annual fee for life card may be more suitable. This will help to accumulate points on a single card with zero annual fees for life.

How do bonus frequent flyer points with no annual fee cards work?

Frequent flyer cards with no annual fee or bonus points work in the same way other frequent flyer credit cards work. When you use your credit card, you’ll accumulate rewards on eligible purchases. However, credit cards that provide bonus points with no annual fee may come with a limited selection of rewards.

Similarly, although there may not be an annual fee, you may find that these types of cards come with other high rates, such as interest on purchases or balance transfer. As with any credit card, make sure to read the terms and conditions to confirm whether this is the right option for you.

What are the types of frequent flyer bonus points with no annual fees cards?

Bonus points with no annual fee can be found on many frequent flyer cards. They are:

  • No annual fee for lifetime
    These cards are designed for customers who know the benefits of bonus frequent flyer points and would like to use them for a long time. The no annual fee for lifetime feature ensures the cost of maintenance is minimal. This includes cards like Amex Express Qantas Discovery card which have good bonus points systems for frequent flyers.
  • No annual fee for first year
    Another type of card provides zero annual fees for the first year. This is useful for customers who have never tried these cards and would like to see if they can accumulate enough points to make this card useful. Westpac Altitude Business Gold card is an example of this type. In return for an annual fee from second year it adds other benefits like complimentary travel insurance and lower interest rate on purchases for first year.

Features of credit cards with signup bonuses and no annual fees

The features of a credit card are the main differentiating point for customers. Depending on their requirement they can choose a card which is most beneficial for a particular feature.

Some of the main features are:

  • Zero foreign currency conversion fees
    This is a very important feature for customers who regularly require this facility. Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard provides this feature along with bonus frequent flyer points. However it comes with an annual fee of $160 which reduces the benefit if the cardholder does not require this feature substantially. Other cards with no annual fee require a transaction fee of 3-3.5%.
  • Available to temporary residents
    Temporary residents with a heavy travel schedule can also benefit from these cards.Options like Amex Express Qantas Discovery card provide the services to temporary residents whereas others don’t.
  • Concierge services
    This is again limited to a few cards. Cards like the Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard provide 24/7 concierge services.
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Cards with Frequent Flyer sign up bonuses and no annual fee

American Express Qantas Discovery

Key benefits:

  • Earn up to 7,500 extra Qantas frequent flyer points when applying for a new Qantas American Express Card online by .
  • This card has no annual fee and you can earn up to 1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point per dollar spent on purchases. You can also earn 1 additional Qantas Frequent Flyer point per dollar spent on selected Qantas products and services.

About the Qantas American Express Discovery Card here

American Express Velocity Escape (includes bonus points)

Key benefits:

  • Along with no annual fee, you can earn up to 1 velocity points for every $1 spent.
  • This only applies to Virgin Australia purchases made in Australia, otherwise an earn rate of 1 points per $1 spent applies.
  • You can also earn up to 7,500 bonus points for applications approved by and spend $750 in the first 3 months of issue.

About the American Express Velocity Escape Card here

Westpac Altitude Business Gold (includes bonus points)

Key benefits:

  • Enjoy Altitude rewards points on your purchases with the Westpac Altitude Business Gold credit card as well as a $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. thereafter) with online applications only by 31 October 2016.
  • There is $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. thereafter) from anniversary onwards.
  • The annual fee will then revert back to $150 p.a.
  • You can earn up to 2 Altitude points per $1 spent on purchases with American Express and 1 Altitude point per $1 spent on Visa or Mastercard.

About the Westpac Altitude Business Gold Credit Card here

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Cards with no foreign transaction fees that earn Frequent Flyer points (with an annual fee)

Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard

Key benefits:

  • A credit card that offers platinum insurance benefits and an accelerated rate of rewards earning. For online and overseas purchases, there’s no foreign transaction fee and it offers a free worldwide emergency card replacement.
  • Earn up to 0.5 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases and earn up to 200,000 points per year, with an annual fee of $0
  • This card has a competitive interest rate of 20.49% p.a. variable on purchases along with complimentary international travel insurance in accordance with the Qantas policy. There’s also purchase protection available along with a 24/7 concierge service.

About the Bankwest Qantas Platinum here

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Travel rewards credit cards

Even though you receive rewards for spending, it shouldn’t mean that you go crazy and buy items you don’t need. The more you spend on your travel rewards, to more points you accumulate. You may want to shift some of your regular spending to your travel rewards credit card to bump up the monthly balance. Make use of any introductory offers on your travel rewards credit cards as they allow you to build up bonus points very quickly, which can usually allow you to receive a reward from the get-go.

Compare Frequent Flyer and Airline Rewards Credit Cards

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The benefits and limitations of credit cards with bonus points and no annual fee

Every credit card mixes benefits to suit a particular type of cardholder. Customers should always weigh the pros and cons of the cards to finalise a particular credit card.

Pros

  • Zero or minimum annual fee: All the cards in this category have either zero annual fee or minimum annual fee. This allows the customers to use these cards with minimal maintenance cost.
  • Higher credit limit: If adequate usage of these cards is to be done, customers would require a higher credit limit. Most of the cards which offer bonus frequent flyer points will offer a higher credit limit than the general cards. Some of the cards like Amex Express Qantas Discovery card provide a maximum credit limit of $100,000.
  • Complimentary travel insurance: This feature gives eligible cardholders peace of mind when travelling and helps reduce the effort required to find insurance elsewhere.

Cons

  • Lower benefits: When providing this feature at zero annual cost, credit card firms reduce benefits on other features.
  • Balance transfer rate: The balance transfer rate are generally more than other cards. If customers are looking for low balance interest rates or low purchase interest rates they should go for other cards which are built towards providing that specific feature.

Things to be wary of?

Some of the biggest issues to consider while using these cards are:

  • Overspending - Many customers are known to overspend in order to get the requisite points. Instead of using the features of these cards to their advantage they change their spending behaviour to meet the requirements of the card. This can lead to unnecessary financial burden and derail long term financial plans.
  • Other benefits - Cards which are designed for providing bonus frequent flyer points with no annual fees will often offer lower benefits on other features. It is important to consider this issue before using these cards for all the purchases.
  • Requirement mismatch - For many customers this card might be a mismatch to their regular purchasing habit.

A frequent flyer credit card with bonus points and no annual fee could be of benefit to regular spenders who want a little extra from their rewards card. Although these cards can be used to minimise maintenance costs while gathering points, it is important to compare your options and ensure that any other fees that are associated with the card will be outweighed by the benefited.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any restrictions or eligibility requirements?

Most credit cards come with restrictions or eligibility requirements, so make sure to read the terms and conditions while comparing your options. For example, many frequent flyer cards require a minimal income. Some of these cards also pose restrictions for temporary residents. In regards to points, make sure you know if your card has a cap on points or if your miles have an expiry to ensure the card doesn’t limit your earning potential.

Do all the cards provide lifetime no annual fee?

This is the biggest attraction for these cards. However some cards provide no annual fee for the first year whereas others provide lifetime no annual fee benefit. Make sure to confirm how long the no annual fee period is for and what the revert rate is to avoid any nasty surprises.

Is this an ideal card for me?

This will depend on your own unique financial situation, spending habits and your ability to repay your balance. If you are looking to get a frequent flyer and want to get bonus frequent flyer points with minimal annual fees than these cards are ideal for you. However if you are looking to use balance transfer option or want minimum interest rates, this card may not be for you. As with any comparison, compare your options and consider your individual circumstances before making a decision.

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Marc Terrano

A passionate journalist who loves to tell a story. Learning and teaching personal finance is my main lot at finder.com.au. Also enjoys video games and fitness.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 23rd, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Visa
Introductory offer of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers and 1% p.a. for 12 months on purchases, plus a low annual fee.
1% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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