Want to earn more frequent flyer points to redeem flights, accommodation and other rewards? Read this guide to find out how frequent flyer credit cards can help you get there faster.
Frequent flyer credit cards let you earn points for every $1 spent to help you redeem flights and rewards sooner. Enjoy a range of additional features including complimentary travel insurance, bonus points offers, airline lounge access and promotional interest rates.
This guide goes through everything you need to know to do exactly that, including how they work, tips for earning and using points, comparing frequent flyer credit cards and insights that will help you choose the right card for you.
Frequent Flyer Credit Card Offer
Earn Qantas Points with the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Card.
- Receive 75,000 Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card approval and enjoy no annual fee for the first year
- Earn up to 1.5 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases using the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black American Express® card (uncapped) and 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases using ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa card (uncapped)
- Offer available to new and approved applicants
Compare Frequent Flyer Credit Cards
How do you use this table?
Compare and find a frequent flyer card easily with this table:
- To earn the most rewards points per $1 spent: use the Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/ MC) and Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) columns
- To receive the most bonus points: use the ‘Bonus Points‘ column to order credit cards in ascending or descending order of bonus points provided
- To compare Qantas frequent flyer credit cards: use the ‘Qantas Rewards Program‘ table
- To compare Velocity frequent flyer credit cards: use the ‘Velocity Rewards Program‘ table
- To compare other frequent flyer credit cards including Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Jetstar: use the ‘Other Rewards Programs‘ table
Qantas Rewards Program
Rates last updated May 26th, 2016.
- HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
Bonus points offer of 40,000 has been extended until 30 June 2016.
May 1st, 2016
- NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers + 20,000 bonus pts offer until 31 Jul 2016
May 9th, 2016
- NAB Qantas Rewards Card
0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers + 10k bonus points extended to 31 July 2016
May 23rd, 2016
Velocity Rewards Program
Rates last updated May 26th, 2016.
- Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% purchase and balance transfer offers extended until 5 June 2016.
May 2nd, 2016
- Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card - 20k Bonus Points offer
Balance transfer offer has been extended until 5 June 2016.
May 2nd, 2016
- NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
20k bonus points, 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers w/ 2% balance transfer fee
May 2nd, 2016
Other Rewards Programs
Rates last updated May 26th, 2016.
- Bankwest More Gold MasterCard
Receive 15,000 bonus points + an introductory balance transfer offer of 2.99% p.a for 9 months.
May 16th, 2016
- Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard
Bonus points offer has been changed from 80,000 to 28,000.
May 16th, 2016
- Bankwest More MasterCard
Receive 8,000 bonus points if you spend at least $1,500 within the first 2 months.
May 16th, 2016
How does a Frequent Flyer Credit Card work?
When you use a frequent flyer credit card, you’ll earn rewards points as you spend on eligible purchases. These cards have a set earn rate of rewards for every dollar spent (e.g. 1 point per $1). So the more you pay with plastic, the more frequent flyer rewards you can get.
Depending on the type of reward credit card you use, there are different ways to earn and redeem frequent points, which we explain in detail below.
Benefits and drawbacks
Below are some of the most common pros and cons of frequent flyer credit cards to be aware of before you apply. Please keep in mind that these factors may vary depending on the card.
- Redeem flights and travel upgrades faster. By earning points on your everyday spend you can reach your rewards goals in less time.
- Large range of rewards. Use your points to redeem rewards including flights, hotels, online shopping and other lifestyle benefits.
- Increase membership status faster. By earning more points you can reach the next membership tier sooner.
- Travel perks. Get access to airline lounges, 24/7 concierge service and travel insurance.
- Sign up bonus points (where available). Banks often provide an amount of bonus points upon sign-up as an added incentive for joining.
- Complimentary insurance. Get peace of mind with complimentary insurances including purchase security insurance, travel insurance and interstate flight inconvenience insurance.
- High interest rates.
- Can charge higher annual fees.
Types of Frequent Flyer Credit Cards on the market
- I want a frequent flyer credit card with a low annual fee
- I want a frequent flyer credit card with low interest rates on purchases
- I want to consolidate a debt and get frequent flyer benefits
How to compare Frequent Flyer Credit Cards
The wide range of frequent flyer credit cards on the market gives you a chance to compare options and find one that suits your individual goals and circumstances. Below you’ll find a checklist of the different factors you should consider when looking at credit cards that earn frequent flyer points.
1. The frequent flyer program. Choosing a credit card that earns points for a frequent flyer program (or programs) you already use will help you maximise your rewards.
2. Point earning rate. Check the standard rate of points per $1 and be aware of any differences if it is a dual credit card (with an AMEX and a MasterCard of Visa), or if a different earning rate is applied for certain purchases (i.e. overseas spending).
3. Reward values. Consider the types of rewards you will want to claim and check how their values measure up between programs so that you know exactly how many points you will need – and how much spending that requires – before you apply for a card.
4. Annual fee. Ideally, the annual fee should be worth less than the rewards and any complimentary extras on the card that you intend to use.
5. Interest rates. A lower interest rate is preferable to help save money on these charges – and remember that the standard purchase and balance transfer rates could be different to any introductory offers that are available when you apply. If the interest charges you have to repay on your purchases are greater than the value of your rewards, you might want to reconsider another type of card.
6. Interest free days. If you pay your balance in full before the due date on every statement, you will get access to a number of interest free days, ranging from 25 to 62 per statement period. Interest free days give you more flexibility with your repayments and a greater opportunity to avoid interest charges.
7. Promotional features. Frequent flyer credit cards sometimes have promotions for new customers, such as bonus points, 0% purchase rates, balance transfer offers or even no annual fee for the first year. These benefits can add a lot of value to the card that you choose, but make sure you read the terms and conditions for details of the requirements and honeymoon period so that they work for you (and not the other way around).
8. Complimentary extras. Reward and frequent flyer credit cards often come with a wide range of complimentary extras, such as international travel insurance, extended warranties, concierge services and airline lounge access. The value of these perks can be used to offset the cost of the annual fee – as long as you know you will actually use them – and they are often handy to have available just in case you ever need them.Back to top
Earning and redeeming points
Points are a key factor when choosing and using a frequent flyer credit card, and there are two main options to consider.
1. Direct earn cards
These credit cards earn you points for a specific airline rewards program, which are credited directly to your frequent flyer account. For example, the American Express Qantas Premium card earns 1 Qantas point per $1 spent, and the Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer card earns 1 Velocity point per $1.
Direct earn cards generally have a better earn rate as well, so you could potentially get more rewards for your spending if you’re loyal to one program.
2. Indirect earn cards
Other reward credit cards earn points that can be transferred to a wide range of frequent flyer programs.
For instance, the ANZ Rewards Black credit card earns 3 ANZ Reward points per $1 spent, which can then be exchanged for Air New Zealand Airpoints, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles or Velocity Frequent Flyer reward points.
Unlike direct earn frequent flyer credit cards, the point values of these cards may differ when transferred to a frequent flyer account. For instance, 2.5 CommBank Award points is worth 1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point, so you would need to factor in this exchange rate when choosing the card.
FAQs about Earning Frequent Flyer Points
How can I maximise my frequent flyer credit card points?
While the amount of frequent flyer points you earn varies between credit cards, there are a number of ways you can maximise your rewards, including:
- Bonus point offers. Many reward credit cards offer thousands of bonus points to new customers when they are approved for a card and spend a certain amount in the first few months. These additional points are often worth hundreds of dollars, and may even be enough to fly overseas in some cases.
- Spending with program partners. Some credit cards partner with airlines, retailers, fuel providers or supermarkets to offer additional points when you spend money on your card with them. Check the credit card issuer’s website for details of participating partners, and try to shop with them more to boost your rewards.
- American Express dual credit cards. To maximise points potential, some credit card issuers offer reward cards with both an AMEX and MasterCard or Visa. For example, the ANZ Frequent Flyer credit card, which earns 0.5 points per $1 on the Visa and 1 point per $1 on the AMEX card.
- Supplementary credit cards. Requesting an additional credit card means you can share your account with a partner or family member, giving them a chance to use it for their spending and boost your points balance.
- Gold, platinum and black cards. Gold, platinum and black credit cards are more premium than standard options, and many offer more points per dollar and/or higher points caps as a result.
How do points caps work?
Earning frequent flyer/ rewards points are capped or uncapped. Capped points allow you to earn points at the normal rate up to a specified amount during a given period e.g. 7,500 points per statement cycle. After you have reached the points cap you will either be unable to accumulate points for the remainder of the period or given a lower points earning rate for the remainder of the period.
Choosing your frequent flyer program will ultimately depend on the type of rewards and benefits you are after. Redeeming frequent flyer points can be summarised into two types of main benefits 1) Airport/ flight benefits and 2) retail/ lifestyle rewards.
- Airport/ flight benefits. Points can be used for flight upgrades, lounge benefits and other frequent flyer membership benefits.
- Retail/ lifestyle rewards. Can benefit you at home or abroad. Get access to hotels, car rentals, travel insurance whilst overseas and shopping online. Frequent flyer programs can enrich your lifestyle at home with holiday benefits, food and wine, online shopping and even mobile phone and internet perks.
FAQs about Redeeming Frequent Flyer Points
How do I redeem points?
While credit card and airline reward programs all have their own specific steps for redeeming or transferring points, the following steps can be used as a guide for most of online reward point redemptions:
- Log in to your reward account
- Check your point balance to see how many points you have to use
- Select the “Redeem” option
- Choose the type of redemption you want to make (e.g. “flights”)
- Select the specific option you want (e.g. single flight from Sydney to Melbourne)
- Follow the prompts to book or secure the reward; and
- Confirm the redemption.
Some frequent flyer credit cards also give you a “points plus pay” option, which means you can use a combination of points and cash to redeem your reward.
How can I claim missing points?
Did you forget to quote your frequent flyer number at the time of booking or have your points not appeared in your account? Discover how you can claim missing points.
How much are my credit card points worth?
The value of credit card rewards depends on how much it costs to use the card vs. the amount of rewards you will earn. You can work it out easily using the following formula:
TOTAL POINTS EARNINGS = (Estimated credit card spending x points earning rate) – Annual fee charge + (Estimated points earned on flights)
How does this work?
- Calculating the points earned from your credit card spending and their value against the annual fee will assess whether you are breaking even with the cost of receiving the frequent flyer benefits on the card.
- Your frequent flyer activity includes all transactions that earn points, including destinations you will be visiting in the future/flights, eligible retail purchases, travel cards and other exclusive benefits.
What rewards can I redeem?
Credit card and frequent flyer reward programs offer a wide range of rewards that you can claim using your points, including:
- Flight upgrades
- Travel packages
- Gift cards
The amount of points required varies between redemptions, and not all of them are equal. For example, you need 10,200 points (or 6,900 plus $21.11) to redeem a one-way flight from Sydney to Melbourne via Virgin Australia’s Velocity Rewards, and 18,000 points to get a $100 gift card for Westfield.
The different amounts of points required for each redemption has a direct impact on the value of your rewards, so comparing these costs before you use points will help you get more out of them in the long run.
How to choose a frequent flyer program for you
This section will compare frequent flyer programs based on credit card points earnings. To learn the benefits of each frequent flyer program and decide which one suits your needs please see to the link below.
- Qantas frequent flyer. Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards can earn between 0.25 and 1.5 Qantas Frequent Flyer points per $1. These points can be redeemed for flights with over 400 program partners and products from the Qantas store.
- Jetstar rewards. Jetstar is directly linked to Qantas, so you can actually redeem Qantas Frequent Flyer points for Jetstar flights. There are also two Jetstar credit cards that earn Jetstar Dollars that can be used exclusively for flights with the airline and you won’t have to pay the booking fee.
- Velocity frequent flyer. Velocity frequent flyer credit cards typically earn between 0.5 and 1.5 points per $1 spent, with membership perks including express boarding, complimentary baggage, flight upgrades and lounge access. You can redeem rewards for flights with Virgin Australia and its partners plus rewards from the Velocity store.
- Tigerair. As it’s partnered with Virgin Airways, you can use your Velocity Frequent Flyer credit card to earn points that can be redeemed for rewards with either Virgin or Tigerair. Just log in to your Velocity Frequent Flyer account, select the “Redeem” option and choose “Tigerair Australian Redemption” in the flights section.
- Emirates Skywards rewards. You can earn 1 mile per $1 up to 10,000 Skywards Miles with the Emirates Citi World credit card. Otherwise, you can earn Membership Rewards with an American Express credit card and redeem these for Emirates Skywards Miles. You can redeem your miles for flight rewards and upgrades with Emirates and its partners.
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program. There aren’t any KrisFlyer direct earn credit cards on the Australian market, but you can trade American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Rewards and Westpac Altitude Rewards for KrisFlyer miles. You can redeem these for flights with Singapore Airlines, SilkAir or any members of the Star Alliance airline network.
Frequent Flyer alliances
Frequent flyer programs all have their own networks of partner and alliance airlines that let you earn and redeem points all around the world.
A network of 15 of the largest airlines in the world, including Qantas, British Airways, American Airlines, AirBerlin and Cathay Pacific. Any Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card will give you access to the oneworld alliance network, which means you can earn and spend your points with a broader range of airlines.
This is the world’s largest airline association, with 28 different members including Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, SWISS, THAI and United. You can gain access to the Star Alliance network by becoming a member of one of these airline loyalty programs, and can boost your points with an indirect earning frequent flyer credit card.
Virgin Australia airline network
While Virgin Australia is not a member of either of these networks, you can directly redeem Velocity reward points with it’s following network of partners: Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and selected codeshare flights operated by Virgin America. Just select the “Book a Flight” option when redeeming, and choose where you want to go.
Credit cards have become one of the most popular ways to earn frequent flyer points, with both direct and indirect ways to boost your balance when you pay with plastic. Now that you know more about how they work, the potential benefits and pitfalls and what you should consider when comparing frequent flyer credit cards, you can make a more informed decision about the next credit card you apply for so that it really works for you.Back to top
Q&As about frequent flyer credit cards from our users
How do I get complimentary access to lounges?
You can compare and apply for cards that provide complimentary lounge access here.
How many points do I need to fly from A to B?
The number of points you’ll need will depend on the route you take and the status of your flight seat (e.g. business, first class). Most frequent flyer programs offer an online and free points calculator that can be used to estimate how many points you’ll need.
Can I transfer my points to another program?
This will depend on the program you’re with. Generally, this is a no. However, although you may not be able to directly transfer your points to another program, you can redeem your points with a partner airline for flights, upgrades and other rewards.
What happens if my points expire?
As a general rule, most frequent flyer points cannot be redeemed after they have been expired. Some will expire after a certain amount of time, whereas others will expire if your rewards account has remained inactive (meaning you haven’t earned or redeemed any points) over a particular period. Make sure to confirm when and how your points can expire before signing up.
How many frequent flyer points do I have?
To check your current points balance, you can either log in to your frequent flyer account or contact the airline directly.