Why Apple Card isn’t a good credit card choice for frequent flyers
Apple is rolling out a credit card, but points fans should look elsewhere.
Apple Card will be tightly integrated with the existing Wallet/Apple Pay app on iOS. In other words, it's an iPhone-only card. It will offer spending tracking, a titanium physical card for use in stores which don't accept Apple Pay, and its own bonus points scheme.
Before you get too excited, right now this is a US-only proposition, with the card to become available this US summer (that is, mid-2019). Apple hasn't announced any plans for the card to be released in other countries.
Given how slow the progress of Apple Pay integration has been in Australia (our largest bank, CommBank, only added it this year after a long multi-bank battle that involved the ACCC), I won't be holding my breath.
But even when it does appear in Australia, the card is unlikely to be a good choice for frequent flyers. Daily Cash, Apple's rewards scheme, is a straightforward cashback scheme. You'll get 2% back on purchases made through the card app, 1% on purchases made through the physical card and 3% on purchases from Apple itself.
So let's consider a $1,000 purchase. That will get you $20 in Daily Cash. If you had (as an example) the Qantas Premier Platinum, you would get 1,000 Qantas Points for the same purchase.
The value of points depends on how you spend them, but our rule of thumb here at Points Finder is that the minimum value you should redeem your points for is $20 per 1,000 points. Spend wisely and you can double or triple that amount. From that perspective, Apple Card is simply not as appealing.
On top of that, we also don't know what the interest rates on the card will be. That's essential information when comparing credit cards.
Apple has said there will be no annual fees or late fees. The "late fees" point is a semantic trick, since the card will charge additional interest if you don't make regular payments.
Bottom line? It's an interesting development, and a sign that our card choices aren't always going to come from traditional financial brands. However, if your top goal is earning points, jumping to Apple Card won't make much sense.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
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