The best credit cards to compare this Christmas
From low interest rates to big bonus points offers, these are the most competitive credit cards to use this Christmas.
As Christmas fast approaches, your spending is likely to skyrocket in the coming weeks. According to new research from Finder, the average Australian credit card holder spends $4,750 between November and January, with $1,325 of that used to cover Christmas costs.
In the lead up to December, many credit card issuers run promotions including 0% on purchases, cash back and bonus points to entice new cardholders. With so many competitive offers on the market, it's crucial to compare your options before you pick a card.
Whether you're looking to save with 0% interest rates or reward your generosity with frequent flyer points, here's a line-up of some of the most competitive credit card offers you can apply for through Finder this Christmas season.
Low interest rates
Interest-free credit cards can be a useful way to free up your cash flow and give yourself more time to pay off your Christmas purchases. You won't collect any interest for a promotional period of up to 14 months, which could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. The Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer card is our pick for 0% purchase interest rates as it offers one of the longest interest-free periods for a competitive annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer card (Finder exclusive)
Our fave features:
- 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months.
- $64 first year annual fee ($129 p.a. thereafter).
- Earn up to 0.66 Velocity Points per $1.
- Annual $129 Virgin Australia gift voucher.
The Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer card boasts one of the most competitive interest-free purchase offers on the market right now. You can pay off your Christmas purchases with no interest for up to 14 months. After this, the ongoing 20.74% p.a. purchase interest rate will apply.
The savings don't end with the 0% purchase rate offer. If you are a new cardholder and apply through Finder by 31 January 2019, you'll save with a reduced $64 first year annual fee. If you get this card anywhere else, you'll pay the standard $129 p.a. annual fee.
If you're a Velocity Frequent Flyer, you can reward your spending with 0.66 Velocity Points per $1 spent up to $1,500 per statement period and 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent thereafter.
You'll receive a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year when you use your card to make a retail purchase within two months before requesting your voucher. You can use this voucher to book Virgin Australia flights or holiday packages within six months from the issue date. Plus, you can travel with peace of mind and save with complimentary travel insurance.
Interest-free purchase offers are a popular choice at this time of year, so you can check out our guide to 0% purchase credit cards to compare more deals.
Frequent flyer points
You can use a frequent flyer credit card to reward your gift giving with points this month. This is another popular option for Aussie shoppers, with new research from Finder showing that almost half (44%) of Australian credit card holders plan to earn points on their Christmas shopping this year.
If you're one of these savvy spenders, we've highlighted two competitive offers for Qantas and Velocity Points frequent flyers this month. We've based this on the cards with the highest bonus points offers with spend requirements that align with the average credit card spend at this time of year. We also factored in the earn rates, extra features and fees.
Qantas Points: NAB Qantas Rewards Signature card
Our fave features:
- 90,000 bonus Qantas Points.
- Earn up to 1 Qantas Point per $1.
- Concierge service.
- Complimentary international travel insurance.
The NAB Qantas Rewards Signature rewards new cardholders with 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days from card approval. Based on the average credit card spend at this time of year, most of us in the Christmas spirit will hit that spend requirement between gifts and other costs.
This is one of the higher bonus Qantas Points offers on the market right now. You could use 90,000 Qantas Points to fly return in economy from Sydney to Los Angeles or from Melbourne to Hong Kong in first class, just to give you a few ideas.
You'll earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent up to $5,000 and 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent thereafter up to $20,000 per statement period. This is one of the most competitive Qantas earn rates, although you should factor in the reduced earn rate if you plan to spend more than $5,000 per month.
This card offers a 24/7 Visa Concierge, which you can use for anything from booking your next overseas trip to finding the perfect gift for a loved one. If you are travelling, you can save with complimentary international travel insurance.
You can save $100 in the first year with the reduced $295 annual fee, which reverts to $395 p.a. after that. Like most frequent flyer cards, it's best suited to cardholders who can pay their balance in full each month. This is because it charges a relatively high purchase interest rate of 19.99% p.a. If you pay your balance in full, you can also take advantage of up to 44 interest-free days on purchases.
Want to compare more ways to earn Qantas Points? See our guide Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards.
Velocity Points: American Express Velocity Platinum
Our fave features:
- 50,000 bonus Velocity Points.
- Earn 1.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent.
- Complimentary domestic return Virgin Australia flight.
- Virgin Australia airport lounge passes.
The American Express Velocity Platinum rewards new cardholders with 50,000 Velocity Points! That's enough points to fly from Sydney to Bali or from Melbourne to Auckland in business class (both 49,500 points).
It isn't the highest bonus Velocity Points offer available through Finder, but the spend requirement does align with the average credit card Christmas spend. You need to spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card approval to get the 50,000 bonus Velocity Points.
This card offers 1.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent on everyday purchases and an additional Velocity Point per $1 spent on eligible Virgin Australia purchases. This is one of the most competitive Velocity earn rates on the market.
This card gives you the opportunity to book your next trip sooner with a complimentary domestic return flight with Virgin Australia. You'll receive your voucher after your first card spend each year. You can travel with peace of mind and save with complimentary international travel insurance.
Cardholders receive two single entry passes to Virgin Australia lounges to use at selected domestic airport lounges annually. You'll also receive two complimentary entries to the American Express Lounges at Sydney and Melbourne international airports each year.
These perks come at the cost of a $375 p.a. annual fee. It also charges a 20.74% p.a. purchase interest rate, so you should aim to pay your balance in full each statement period.
There are a few competitive Velocity offers available right now, so make sure to check out our guide to Velocity Frequent Flyer credit cards for more.
Credit card rewards
You can also look forward to big bonus points offers with credit card rewards programs this holiday season. We've picked the American Express Explorer as it boasts a 100,000 bonus points offer with a low spend requirement, a competitive earn rate and lots of extra features compared to other rewards cards on the market.
American Express Explorer
Our fave features:
- 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards.
- Earn up to 2 Membership Rewards points per $1.
- $400 travel credit every year.
- American Express airport lounge passes.
If you apply for the American Express Explorer card online by 7 January 2019, you can score 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards! You'll need to spend $1,500 on your new card within the first three months to get the points. There are a few credit cards that offer 100,000 bonus credit card reward points, but the American Express Explorer currently has the lowest spend requirement.
This card also offers 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible purchases and 0.5 points per $1 on government transactions, which is a competitive earn rate.
You can use your Membership Rewards to buy gift cards, cover costs on your account or shop online with partners like David Jones and Ticketmaster. You can also exchange them for points with partnered frequent flyer programs. For example, you could get 75,000 Velocity Points with your bonus points bounty. The Membership Rewards redemption rates are changing from 15 April 2019, so make sure to consider this before you apply.
Each year you have the card you'll receive a $400 Travel Credit which you can use on a single booking made via American Express Travel. You'll receive two complimentary passes to the American Express lounges at Sydney and Melbourne airports, where you can enjoy complimentary food and beverages, free Wi-Fi and comfortable seats. This card also offers complimentary international travel insurance.
The Amex Explorer charges a $395 p.a. annual fee and a 20.74% p.a. purchase interest rate. So it's better suited if you pay your balance in full each month and take advantage of the extra features to justify the annual fee.
You can compare credit cards linked with other bank rewards programs on Finder.
If you prefer cash over points, you can treat yourself to money back to your account this spending season.
Virgin Low Rate credit card
Our fave features:
- 10% cashback in the first 3 months.
- Reduced $49 annual fee.
- Low purchase interest rate.
The Virgin Low Rate credit card suits Aussies who want to enjoy a cashback while limiting their interest costs. You'll get 10% cash back (up to $100) when you make an eligible purchase for the first three months from card approval. This is an easy way to get $100 back when you're doing your Christmas shopping.
We've highlighted this card because it offers one of the lowest annual fee and purchase interest rates in the cashback category right now. If you apply by 31 January 2019, you'll save with a reduced $49 p.a. annual fee (which is usually $99 p.a.) for the life of the card. This card also charges an 11.99% p.a. purchase interest rate, which is low compared to other cashback cards.
A credit card can be a useful way to free up your cash flow or reward your spending this Christmas. But it's important to remember that there is no one best credit card for every Aussie shopper and there are a lot of competitive offers on the market at this time of year. To find the right card for you, consider the rates, features and fees and compare more credit card offers on Finder.
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