How to travel further with flexible reward points
Explore credit card reward programs that offer more flexible points than frequent flyer schemes so you can get greater value from travel rewards.
While frequent flyer programs are a popular way to earn points for flights, upgrades or other travel perks, they are not the only option. Credit card reward programs such as American Express Membership Rewards or NAB Rewards also earn points that offer more flexible rewards.
In some cases, these flexible points can give you better value than frequent flyer points when you redeem them for travel. So if you want to earn points for travel rewards, here’s how to decide if a flexible rewards program will offer you more bang for your buck.
What you'll find in this guide
What flexible credit card reward programs are available in Australia?
The majority of credit card reward programs in Australia offer flexible points that you can redeem directly or transfer to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. These include:
Comparison of Australian Rewards Cards
What about flybuys and Everyday Rewards?
These loyalty programs are similar to frequent flyer programs in that they favour specific, branded rewards and have limited travel partnerships. However, it’s worth noting that flybuys does give you the option of transferring points to the Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer program, as well as using them for bookings through flybuys travel. Everyday Rewards, on the other hand, lets you transfer points to Qantas Frequent Flyer.
What are the benefits of flexible reward programs?
As with frequent flyer programs, there are differences in the benefits and features of flexible reward programs. If you want to use points for travel, these are some advantages you could get with flexible points:
The ability to switch between frequent flyer programs
Most credit card reward programs give you the option of transferring your points to several different frequent flyer programs. Some American Express Membership Rewards cards actually offer point transfers to up to 10 different frequent flyer programs.
This means you can shop around for the most competitive reward option based on where and when you want to travel. So instead of using Velocity Points for a flight to Singapore with Singapore Airlines, for example, you could transfer your credit card reward points to KrisFlyer and redeem them directly to get more value per point.
Transferring flexible points to hotel reward programs
Some reward programs also let you transfer points to hotel reward programs. If you want to use points to book a hotel stay, this option gives you a way to book it directly through the hotel’s reward program. As a result you could get more value for your points when compared to redeeming a hotel stay through a frequent flyer program.
Frequent flyer point transfer bonuses
Sometimes frequent flyer programs offer huge point bonuses when you transfer points from a flexible reward program. For example, Velocity has previously offered up to 30% bonus points when you transfer credit card points to your frequent flyer account.
While most credit card points are transferred at a lower rate (such as 2 credit card points for 1 frequent flyer point), getting a 30% bonus helps balance this out. Depending on the card and earn rate, it could mean you actually get more points through flexible point transfers than you would if you had a credit card that earns frequent flyer points.
Other travel reward options
Flexible reward programs also offer other travel reward options. Depending on the program, you could use your points to book travel directly, take advantage of exclusive travel packages or get gift cards for travel agencies such as Webjet and Flight Centre.
While frequent flyer programs offer some of these options, you’ll usually get the most value from your points when they’re redeemed for rewards with the main airline. With a flexible reward program, on the other hand, you have more opportunities to shop around for the travel option that offers the greatest value at the time you want to use it.
Example: Comparing value between travel reward options
Let’s say you’re planning a trip to Hawaii in July and want to use points to pay for some or all of your flights. In this scenario, let’s say you have frequent flyer accounts with frequent flyer Velocity and KrisFlyer and an Amplify Rewards credit card account.
With Amplify Rewards, you can search for flights and accommodation with a wide range of airlines and hotel brands. Similar to other online travel-booking services, you can search based on your chosen travel dates and see the total points required. You can also change dates to search for cheaper options or flights with different airlines.
Then, you could check the points required if you redeemed travel through Velocity and KrisFlyer, to decide which one offers the most value. If one of the frequent flyer programs had a better deal, you could transfer your Amplify Rewards points to that program before redeeming your flight.
In comparison, if you only had a Velocity or KrisFlyer account, you’d be limited to the points already available. There could also be date restrictions, fewer airline options and less variation in the number of points required for your travel.
How can I decide between a frequent flyer program and a flexible points program?
While you may have any number of reward program memberships, usually you’ll get more value from focusing on earning points for one particular account. So if you’re trying to decide between a frequent flyer account and a credit card rewards account, consider the following:
|A flexible reward program could be ideal when you:||A frequent flyer program could be ideal when you:|
Thinking about these goals and scenarios will help you figure out what type of reward program is right for you. For example, if you always fly with Qantas and use points for upgrades to business or first class, then focusing on your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership makes sense.
On the other hand, if you’re a member of Velocity, KrisFlyer and Hilton Honors, then earning points through a program like Membership Rewards could help you pick-and-choose how you redeem points so you can get the most value out of them. So remember to weigh up your options based on your circumstances, then choose the type of points that work for you.
Pictures: ShutterstockBack to top
Ask an Expert
Credit Cards Comparison
* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.