One of the trickiest things about reward credit cards are point caps and expiration dates. Not knowing and understanding how your rewards card caps and expires points will cause you to miss out on precious rewards. The high interest rates and annual fees on rewards credit cards aren’t worth it if you don’t redeem your rewards because they expired. Read on to find out how to make the most of your rewards even if there’s a cap on your earnings.
What Are Reward Caps?
A rewards ‘cap’ is the maximum amount of rewards you can earn in a certain period of time. Your credit card might cap rewards monthly, annually, or a combination of both. The BP-Citibank MasterCard, for example, only gives rewards on the first $60,000 in purchases each year. If you sign up for this card and end up charging $70,000, you won’t receive any reward on the last $10,000 you charge.
What Are Reward Expiration Dates?
If your rewards credit card has an expiration date on your rewards, it means you must use your rewards by that date or you’ll forfeit them. For example, the terms and conditions of your rewards credit card might state rewards expire 36 months from the month in which they were accumulated. So, if you accumulated 300 points in May 2009, you’d have until May 2012 to use those points before they expired.
Tiered Rewards Rates
Some credit cards have different levels of rewards you can earn. You might receive one interest rate within a certain spending range and a different interest rate in the next spending range. In the case of the Citibank Cash Back Visa, you’d earn 0.5% on balances up to $1,999; 1% on balances between $2,000 and $3,999; 2% between $4,000 and $5,999; and 4% on balances greater than $6,000.
With this type of credit card, you gain more rewards points when you charge more money on your credit card. There are some credit cards that do the reverse and give higher interest rates on the first dollars charged with the credit card. Using the BP-Citibank Visa as an example again, cardholders earn 5% cash back on the first $300 purchased at a BP station (monthly) and just 0.5% on purchases after that.
Tips for Making the Most of Caps and Expiration Dates on Rewards
Read the terms and conditions before you sign up. Before you even apply for a rewards credit card, make sure you know and understand if and how that card will cap your reward points. Not only that, read to find out if your rewards points will expire.
Ideally, you want a card that doesn’t cap your points and doesn’t expire them. This might not be the case with the card you ultimately sign up for, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The key is making sure you manage your spending so you get the maximum rewards possible. Use a different rewards credit card once you reach the cap.
Having multiple rewards credit cards in your wallet can be beneficial, especially when one or more of them has a cap on the reward points you can earn. When you max out your rewards on one card, you can start using another to continue earning rewards. You can maximise your rewards benefit even further by signing up for cards that allow you to convert points to a common type.
Know your Expiration Dates
Many rewards credit card companies print the expiration date for rewards on your billing statement. Pay attention to your statement each month to stay aware of points that may be expiring soon. If your statement doesn’t let you know you have rewards expiring, keep track of them on your own. Or, call your customer service representative to find out how you can be automatically alerted when your rewards are expiring. Adjust your spending to fit tiered reward rates. If your credit card has a tiered rewards program, adjust your spending to match it, as long as you can manage the payments. You’ll have to charge more on a card that rewards you on the higher end of dollars purchased (like the Citibank Cash Back Visa does).
You can maximise your spending by putting all your purchases on your credit cards (even groceries and gas). Make sure you put the cash aside so you can pay your balance in full when the due date comes. Visit our reward point capping and expiry details to find out more specific details about reward credit card’s programs.
Note: Credit card features were accurate at the publishing of this article and are subject to change.
What is my rewards program points cap?
We’ve outlined the points caps for different credit card rewards programs and products below.
This is the number of points you can earn with your ANZ Rewards or frequent flyer credit cards in a statement period.
|Visa / MasterCard||American Express|
|ANZ Rewards Platinum||Uncapped||Uncapped|
|Frequent Flyer Platinum||3,000||9,000|
CommBank puts a cap on the number of points you can earn in 12 months using your CommBank Awards credit cards.
|Diamond Awards (Qantas)||1,000,000 points|
|Platinum Awards||250,000 points|
|Platinum Awards (Qantas)||200,000 (reduced earn rate after the first 120,000 points)|
|Gold Awards||125,000 points (reduced earn rate after the first 75,000 points)|
|Gold Awards (Qantas)||100,000 points (reduced earn rate after the first 60,000 points)|
|Awards (Qantas)||50,000 points (reduced earn rate after the first 30,000 points)|
This is the maximum number of HSBC Rewards and frequent flyer points you can earn using your HSBC credit card per statement period.
HSBC Credit Card
|HSBC Platinum Credit Card||Uncapped|
|HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card||2,500|
|HSBC Premier World MasterCard||Uncapped|
Citibank lets you earn up to the following number of frequent flyer and Citibank Rewards points per statement period.
|Citi Rewards Credit Card – Classic Card||5,000 points|
|Citi Rewards Credit Card – Platinum Card||12,500 points|
|Citi Rewards Credit Card – Signature||30,000 points|
|Citi Prestige Card||Uncapped|
|Citi Prestige Card – Qantas Rewards||Uncapped|
|Citi Qantas Signature Credit Card||10,000 points|
|Emirates Citi World MasterCard||10,000 points|
American Express caps the number of points you can earn in a statement period.
|David Jones American Express||Uncapped|
|American Express Qantas Premium Card||Uncapped|
|American Express Qantas Ultimate Card||Uncapped|
|American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card||Uncapped|
|American Express Platinum Card||300,000 points|
|American Express Qantas Discovery Card||Uncapped|
|American Express Velocity Platinum Card||Uncapped|
|American Express Velocity Escape Card||Uncapped|
|David Jones American Express Platinum Card||Uncapped|
|American Express David Jones – Qantas Rewards||Uncapped|
|David Jones American Express Platinum Card – Qantas Rewards||Uncapped|
|American Express Essential Credit Card||Uncapped|
The Altitude Rewards points cap per statement period.
|Westpac Altitude Platinum Card||7,500 points|
|Westpac Altitude Card||5,000 points|
|Westpac Altitude Black||Uncapped|
|Westpac Altitude Card – Altitude Qantas||2,500 points|
|Westpac Altitude Platinum Card – Altitude Qantas||3,750 points|
|Westpac Altitude Black – Altitude Qantas||Uncapped|