Best frequent flyer and rewards credit cards February 2017
Collect up to 100,000 bonus points and maximise the points you can earn per $1 with this month’s frequent flyer and rewards credit card roundup.
Whether you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer, a Velocity Points collector or prefer the flexibility of credit card rewards, this month’s roundup of the best frequent flyer and rewards credit cards has you covered. Similar to last month, we’ve based our comparison on the cards with the most competitive bonus points offers. A few offers have changed since January, though, so this month is a fresh batch of credit cards with killer bonus points deals that can help kickstart your points balance.
Best Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card
Winner: ANZ Frequent Flyer Black credit card
Now that the American Express Qantas Ultimate card has dropped its bonus points offer from 100,000 to 50,000 bonus points, the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black card has one of the highest bonus Qantas Points offer on the market. When you spend $2,500 within the first three months of card approval, you’ll receive 75,000 bonus points. Plus, you’ll also continue to earn uncapped points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases. As a dual card, you’ll earn 1.5 Qantas Points when you spend on the American Express card and 0.75 Qantas Points when you charge to the Visa card.
As well as bonus points and a competitive earn rate, the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black boasts travel-centric features such as two complimentary Qantas Club Lounge invitations each year, access to Véloce airport lounges around the world and complimentary travel insurance. All of these bonus features don’t come cheap, though. The card has an annual fee of $425, $370 of which goes to the annual account fee and the remaining $55 covering a rewards program services fee. The card also has a purchase rate of 19.99% p.a, which you should be wary of if you regularly carry a balance from month to month.
So, are the rewards worth the costs? If we look at the bonus points, 75,000 Qantas Points could get you a one-way flight from Sydney to New York (60,000 points) or London (60,000 points) or return trip to Shanghai (70,000 points). As such, the monetary value of the bonus points and the complimentary Qantas Club invitations should be more than enough to offset the annual fee.
The HSBC Platinum Qantas credit card offers 60,000 bonus points and 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent for an annual fee of $199 p.a.
Best Velocity Frequent Flyer credit card
Winner: Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer credit card
There’s not usually as much competition in the Velocity credit card space as there is for Qantas, so it’s probably not surprising that there hasn’t been much movement since January. As such, the Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer credit card scores the title of best Velocity Frequent Flyer credit card for the second month in a row.
The Velocity Frequent Flyer card offers 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of approval. Plus, you can earn 3 Velocity Points per $1 spent with Virgin Australia and 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent up to $10,000 per month on all other eligible purchases. Once you this pass this points threshold, you’ll earn 0.5 Velocity Points per dollar thereafter.
The travel benefits don’t end there either. You’ll receive an exclusive $129 Virgin Australia gift voucher and two complimentary single entry Virgin Australia domestic lounge passes to fly in style each year.
You can also save with a reduced annual fee of $144 for the first year, which will revert to $289 every year thereafter. The card has a relatively high purchase interest rate of 20.74% p.a., though. You’ll want to make sure you were paying your balance in full each month to ensure the interest costs don’t outweigh the rewards.
The 30,000 bonus points could get you from Sydney to Fiji (17,800 points), Melbourne to Auckland (17,800 points) and almost all the way from Brisbane to Singapore (35,000 points). Otherwise, 30,000 points could easily get you a return flight from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane (14,800 points). The potential of your bonus points plus the complimentary Virgin Australia gift voucher is also more than enough to outweigh the cost of the card.
The American Express Velocity Platinum card offers a higher bonus offer of 50,000 points but has a much higher annual fee of $349 p.a. The card also lets you earn 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Best rewards credit card
Winner: Westpac Altitude Black credit card
The Westpac Altitude Black blows the other rewards cards out of the water with its 100,000 bonus Altitude points offer. While it previously shared the title of highest bonus points offer with the American Express Explorer card, the Westpac Altitude Black card is the only product that offers 100k bonus points on the market.
As long as you apply by 28 February 2017 and spend $5,000 on eligible transactions within the first 90 days, you can take advantage of the generous bonus points offer. Depending on your points preferences, you can choose to opt into the Altitude Rewards program or to earn Qantas Points. If you opt into the Altitude Rewards program and use your MasterCard, you will earn 1.25 points per $1 spent in Australia and 3 points per dollar spent overseas. Meanwhile, the American Express card lets you earn 3 points on all eligible transactions. If you choose the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, you will earn 0.625 points per $1 spent in Australia with your MasterCard and 1.5 points on overseas merchants. Your American Express card, on the other hand, lets you earn 1.5 points on all eligible transactions.
If you’re a regular traveller, you’ll enjoy the two complimentary VIP airport lounge passes. Plus, this card comes with one complimentary Priority Pass membership per account and two complimentary passes to the Qantas Lounge for Qantas Frequent Flyers who use their Altitude card to make a purchase with the airline. The Altitude Black Card also fast tracks you to Preferred Guest Gold Membership status with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, giving you better rooms, later checkouts and additional Starpoints when you stay with Starwood.
Other premium services include the Altitude Black Travel Service, the Altitude Black personal shopper, complimentary international travel insurance and the Westpac concierge.
The card comes with a high annual fee of $395, so you’d need to make full use of the cards features to get value from it. The card has a high purchase rate of 20.24% p.a., so it’s best suited to cardholders who pay their balance in full each statement period.
The American Express Explorer card offers 50,000 bonus points, a $400 travel voucher and two complimentary airline lounge passes for an annual fee of $395.
While each of these cards is a competitive deal, you'll benefit from comparing all of your frequent flyer and rewards credit card alternatives to ensure you’re applying for the right one for you. Rewards cards are renowned for enticing new customers with attractive bonus points offers and extra features, so make sure to pay attention to annual fees, interest rates and any bonus points spending terms and conditions to ensure the costs don’t outweigh the benefits.