Credit Cards with High Rewards Points Earn Rates

Information verified correct on September 27th, 2016

Compare credit cards with high rewards point earn rates

In our guide to the highest earn rate credit cards in Australia we go in to a comparison of the cards available in market as well as an in-depth analysis between two high earn rate credit cards. Enjoy your guide beginning with our comparison below

High Earn Rate Credit Cards Analysis: Citibank Select & Westpac Altitude Black

In this review, we compare two ultra-premium rewards credit cards in Australia. The Citibank Select which comes in two Visa card options, one linked to the Citibank Rewards Program, while the other is a direct Qantas Points earn card. Similarly, Westpac Black cards come with two rewards program options, the Westpac Altitude Black earns Altitude points or Qantas Points directly. Westpac Black cards come with both a MasterCard and American Express companion cards.  All cards have uncapped points earning potential along with no points expiry.


Earn rates

Earn rates are the essential measure of the worth of a rewards credit card. An earn rate is the amount of rewards points that are earned per dollar spent on eligible purchases. Generally, the higher the rate per dollar, the better. However, there are some other important considerations that are compared in detail further below. For one, reward points are not created equal. Therefore earn rates are only important if the points earned are actually worth more than a comparable rewards program. See the section below that compares the transfer rates of Citibank Select and Westpac Altitude Black, as transfer rate give an indication of the relative value of points in the rewards program of each credit card provider.

Here is the earn rates comparison for the Citibank Select range and the Westpac Black range:

Citibank Select

Points earned per dollar spent

2 points with Australian merchants

3 points with overseas merchants

Citibank Qantas Rewards Program for Select*

Points earned per dollar spentBonus points per dollar spent
1 point with Australian and Overseas merchants1 point on selected Qantas products and services

*Cardholders must elect to participate exclusively in the QFF program for a $49 annual fee

Westpac Altitude Black*

Altitude Black MasterCard

Normal points per dollar spentBonus points per dollar spent

1.25 points with Australian merchants3 points when booking with Altitude Travel

3 points with overseas merchants

Altitude Black American Express

Normal points per dollar spentBonus points per dollar spent

3 points with Australian and overseas merchants

3 points when booking with Altitude Travel

3 points with the Premium Bonus Partners

*MasterCard and American Express are companion cards on this product

High Earn Rate Credit Cards Comparison

Summary

As far as earning general rewards points which can be transferred to the many airline programs, it is close to a dead heat — with Westpac Altitude Black slightly ahead for spending at Australian merchants, earning a generous 3 points per dollar on the American Express card and Citibank Select pretty well clear ahead for earning points at overseas merchants, with 5 points per dollar spent.

Admittedly the Citibank Select doesn’t have the bonus points of the Westpac Altitude Black, but for mine, the type of transactions you’d earn bonus points probably wouldn’t figure as frequent transactions.

Westpac Premium Bonus Partners

Getting to know the Premium Bonus Partners is pretty important if you want to earn an extra 3 bonus points per dollar spent. At the time of writing, the bonus partners were:

  • Toko Restaurant & Bar, Sydney.
  • Netanya Noosa resort
  • ESCADA at flagship stores in Sydney and Melbourne
  • Fairfax & Roberts, Sydney. A couture jewellery store.
  • Gambaro Restaurant & Function Centre, Brisbane.
  • Sony Online
  • Vendome, Sydney. A european jewellery and luxuries store.

Rewards comparison

Here, the Citibank Select and Westpac Altitude Black credit cards are compared for their flight rewards.

Citibank Select

Westpac Altitude Black

Airline rewards programs

  • Asia Miles (Aer Lingus, airberlin, Air China, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, Dragonair, Finnair, Gulf Air, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Jet Airlines, Jet Airways, LAN, Mexicana Airlines, Qantas, Royal Brunei, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines)
  • Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program
  • Virgin Australia’s Velocity Rewards
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints
  • Asia Miles (Aer Lingus, airberlin, Air China, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, Dragonair, Finnair, Gulf Air, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Jet Airlines, Jet Airways, LAN, Mexicana Airlines, Qantas, Royal Brunei, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines)
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program
  • Virgin Australia’s Velocity Rewards

Summary

Both these cards have an incredible range of flight rewards to choose from, and most customers would be happy with the choice of either of the options. The Westpac Altitude Black edges slightly ahead with the extra options of Air New Zealand and Malaysia Airlines — although that difference may not be too much of a consideration for many people.


Transfer rates

Citibank Select

Transfer rates are important as they indicate how much the points of each credit card provider are actually worth. Points are essentially worthless unless they have a value that can be redeemed. Here are the transfer rates for Citibank Select and Westpac Altitude Rewards.

Program

Number of Altitude points per to redeem 1 airline program point

*Minimum points transfer (in Altitude points)

Asia Miles

2

5,000

Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program

1.5

15,000

Virgin Velocity Rewards

1.5

15,000

*Points transfer and redemptions must be in multiples of respective blocks of Citibank reward points

Transfer rates: Westpac Altitude Rewards

Program

Number of Altitude points per to redeem 1 airline program point

First minimum points transfer (in Altitude points)

Subsequent minimum points transfer (in Altitude points)

Air New Zealand Airpoints

160

1,920

480

Asia Miles

2

3,000

500

Malaysia Airlines Enrich

2

3,000

500

Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program

2

3,000

3,000

Velocity Rewards

2

3,000

500

Summary

Customers who choose a rewards card to fly Singapore Airlines or on Virgin Australia get a better transfer rate on the Citibank Select credit card. Other than that, it is even-stevens.


Eligibility comparison

Citibank Select cards

Westpac Black cards

Minimum income

$120,000

$75,000

Credit rating requirement

Good

Good

Summary

Westpac Black credit cards are far more accessible, requiring a $75,000 annual income as opposed to a minimum $120,000 income on Citibank Select credit cards.


Annual fee comparison

Annual fees are the barriers in the way of customers getting net value from a credit card. The lower the annual fee, the less credit card spending required to break even on the card — whereby rewards value equals the cost of the annual fee.

Therefore, the lower the annual fee, the quicker customers can come out ahead on a rewards credit card.

Citibank Select cards

Westpac Black cards

Annual fee

$700 p.a.

$395 p.a.

Approximate annual spend required to equal rewards value of annual fee*

$52,500

$29,625

*Based on assumption of 1.5% rewards value on eligible purchases

Summary

Westpac Black cards are cheaper in annual fee by $305 than Citibank Select cards, a large margin if there ever were one. As such, based on an assumption rate on ultra-premium rewards card return, a minimum annual spend of $52,500 is required to break even on the Citibank Select, against $29,625 on Westpac Black.

On this metric, Westpac Black cards come out as an advantage compared with the other cards.


Conclusion

Both these cards are deservedly high-end rewards cards with great earn rates. In the end, any decision to choose a credit card is going to be based on your own financial needs and your spending habits. This comparison is purely based what card earns the most points for particular purchases. There are and should always be more factors that guide a decision to choose a credit card.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated September 27th, 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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