Air Miles Credit Cards

Find out how an air miles credit card can help you get more frequent flyer points and perks – even when you’re not flying.

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Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate Annual fee
Citi Premier Qantas Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
21.49% p.a.
$175 annual fee for the first year ($350 p.a. thereafter)
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days and a first-year annual fee discount.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
20.74% p.a.
Receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a yearly $450 Travel Credit.
Qantas Premier Platinum
Qantas Frequent Flyer
19.99% p.a.
$199 annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,500 in the first 3 months and save with a reduced first-year annual fee.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
Qantas Frequent Flyer
20.24% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($295 p.a. thereafter)
Now offering Cashrewards Max. Receive 70,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within 3 months. Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
19.99% p.a.
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points (90,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 20k after 12 months).
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
Qantas Frequent Flyer
20.24% p.a.
Cashrewards Max benefit. Up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points (100k first year, 30k second year) and $255 back when you meet the spend criteria.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
Qantas Business Rewards
0% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($450 p.a. thereafter)
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 150,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 2 months. Plus, save with a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
20.74% p.a.
Enjoy 70,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year and the protection of complimentary insurance covers.
St.George Amplify Platinum
Amplify Rewards
19.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 130,000 bonus Amplify Points (worth $550 in gift cards) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
Membership Rewards
20.74% p.a.
Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $400 Travel Credit each year.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
Westpac Altitude Rewards
19.99% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. thereafter)
Get 130,000 bonus Altitude Points (worth $450 cashback) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days, a 0% balance transfer offer and a $49 discounted annual fee.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Membership Rewards
20.74% p.a.
Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 within the first 3 months. Plus, a $200 statement credit offer. Ends 01 Feb 2022.
NAB Rewards Business Signature Card
NAB Rewards
18.5% p.a.
Get 100,000 bonus NAB Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on everyday business purchases in the first 60 days. ABN required.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
20.74% p.a.
Save with a $0 annual fee for the life of the card plus uncapped Qantas Points on your purchases.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Velocity Frequent Flyer
20.74% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 28 months (with no BT fee). Plus, $0 annual fee in the first year. Ends 31 January 2022.

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What is an air miles credit card?

Also known as a frequent flyer credit card, you can use an air miles credit card to earn points per $1 on your everyday spending. You can then redeem your points for flights, upgrades, accommodation and more.

Many air miles credit cards in Australia also come with perks like airport lounge passes, complimentary insurance and even flight vouchers or travel credits. And if you get a new card, you could also enjoy a big bonus points offer.

How do air miles credit cards work?

Air miles credit cards earn frequent flyer points or miles when you use them to make payments. You'll typically earn between 0.5 and 2 frequent flyer points for each $1 of eligible spending on an air miles credit card.

These points or miles are added to your linked airline loyalty account, and you can then use them to get reward flights, upgrades, accommodation and other rewards.

What is an "eligible transaction"?

The eligible transactions that earn points or airline miles usually include most of your everyday spending on things like dining, fashion, supermarket shopping, petrol and entertainment. But transactions that don't usually earn points include:

  • Cash advances
  • Balance transfers
  • BPAY payments
  • Card fees and charges
  • Refunded purchases

If you're not sure whether a transaction will earn points, you can also check the terms and conditions or ask the credit card company.

How to earn points for more than one airline loyalty program with a credit card
As well as direct frequent flyer credit cards that earn points with one program, some rewards credit cards also allow you to transfer your points to several partnered frequent flyer programs (otherwise known as indirect earn cards).This type of card offers more options if you belong to more than one frequent flyer program or if your preferred airline loyalty scheme isn't directly linked with a credit card in Australia.

How to compare air miles credit cards

Points, reward flights and other perks add to the appeal of these cards, but they also come with costs. So when you're looking at air miles credit cards, these are the key features to look at:

  • Bonus points offers. These cards often have introductory offers that give you a way to earn thousands of bonus points. Usually, you'll need to meet a spend requirement to earn the points (such as spending $3,000 in the first 90 days). As long as this spend requirement lines up with your budget, these bonus points offers are an easy way to earn a lot of points quickly.
  • Earn rate. This term refers to the number of frequent flyer points or miles you earn per $1 spent. Note that credit cards with higher earn rates also usually come with higher annual fees and interest rates, so you should weigh these up when deciding.
  • Points cap. Some cards limit the number of points you can earn in a month or year. For example, a card may have a points cap of 50,000 points in a year, meaning you won't be able to earn more than that no matter how much you spend. Or, you could earn 1 point per $1 spent up to $5,000 in a statement period, then 0.5 points per $1 for the rest of that monthly statement period. If you think you'll spend less than the points cap, it probably won't affect you. But if you think you'll spend more, compare cards with higher point caps so you can find one that works for you.
  • Annual fee. Credit cards with airline rewards and perks typically have higher annual fees than more basic cards. Ideally, you should get more value from the rewards and other benefits than what you pay for the card. If you want to check whether a card will give you more value, you can calculate the value of your points, as well as any other perks you'll use.
  • Interest rates. Air miles credit cards often charge higher purchase interest rates than other cards. These cards are best suited to people who can pay off their balance in full and avoid interest each month.
  • Card perks. Air miles credit cards can come with a variety of complimentary benefits such as free travel insurance, airport lounge access, airport transfer services and personal concierge services. If you use these benefits, they could help justify the card's costs. But if you don't use them, they won't really add any value.
Can you earn air miles without a credit card?
Yes – if you're a member of an airline loyalty program, you'll earn miles or points when you fly with the airline and its partners. Some loyalty programs also offer other ways to earn points, such as with retail partners. Check the airline loyalty program website for details of the different ways you can earn miles, or learn more about frequent flyer programs with Finder's guides.

How to redeem your air miles

You can redeem frequent flyer points or miles directly through your airline loyalty program – either online or over the phone. Each loyalty program has a slightly different process but, to give you an idea of the process, here are the basic steps you'll usually follow when you redeem air miles online.

  1. Go to the airline loyalty program's website and login with your account details.
  2. Check how many points or miles you have earned so that you know what rewards you'll be able to redeem.
  3. Search for the reward that you want and follow the prompts to redeem it.

Keep in mind that a lot of frequent flyer programs give you the option of using a combination of points and cash to redeem rewards – including flights – if you don't have enough points for the reward that you want.

Types of air miles rewards

The rewards you can get with air miles or points will depend on the loyalty program. But usually it includes:

  • Flights. You can redeem your points for flights with the relevant airline and its partners. If you have a flight booking, you may be able to use your points to upgrade your flight to a higher flight class.
  • Hotels, car rental and travel packages. You can often use your points to pay for accommodation with partnered hotels, car rental and travel packages that include flights, hotels and activities.
  • Products from a rewards store. Use your points to shop at the online store, with rewards ranging from clothing, jewellery, homewares, electronics and toys.
  • Shopping and gift vouchers. Most frequent flyer programs have large retail partners, so you can exchange your points for store vouchers either to be used online or at their bricks-and-mortar outlets.

As a general rule, always make sure your air miles credit card gives you more value than it costs. A simple way to calculate this is by adding up the value of rewards you’d receive in a year and comparing that with the fees. While air miles credit cards may be rewarding for some people, they’re not for everyone. Consider your spending habits, lifestyle and rewards goals before deciding if an air miles credit card is right for you.

Not a member of a frequent flyer program yet? Check out different loyalty programs you can join from anywhere in the world. Or compare a wider range of reward credit cards to find one you want.

Images: Shutterstock

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