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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.

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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:

Many hotel loyalty programs also offer flexible points, including Hilton Honors, Marriott Rewards and InterContinental Hotel Group’s IHG Rewards Club.

Comparison of Australian Rewards Cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate Annual fee
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
130,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 100k when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
130,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
20.24% p.a.
$425
Earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and $150 back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months with this premium card.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
19.74% p.a.
$99
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months and complimentary insurance covers. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher Offer
N/A
Citi Rewards Program
1
21.49% p.a.
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Get a $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB Hi-Fi or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, earn points with the Citi Rewards Program.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
30,000
Velocity Frequent Flyer
0.66
20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. for 22 months on balance transfers and a reduced first-year annual fee. Plus, earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum - Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
19.74% p.a.
$99
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn up to 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Qantas Premier Platinum
80,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$199 annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Get up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and a 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for 18 months. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
N/A
flybuys
2
19.99% p.a.
$99
Earn 2 flybuys points / $1 spent and save with a 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, 0% international transaction fees on purchases.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
20,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$99
Receive 20,000 bonus Qantas Points and a long-term balance transfer offer. Plus, complimentary travel insurance. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
20.49% p.a.
$99 annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a long-term balance transfer offer.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
N/A
Velocity Frequent Flyer
0.66
0% for 14 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months, a reduced first-year annual fee and Velocity Points per $1 spent. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
150,000
Qantas Business Rewards
1.25
N/A
$450
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 150,000 bonus points, 3x points on eligible Qantas flights & 2 lounge passes per year.
BankSA Amplify Platinum - Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
19.74% p.a.
$99
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn up to 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
55,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.25
20.74% p.a.
$450
Get 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations.
Qantas Premier Everyday
25,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.75
19.99% p.a.
$49
Get up to 25,000 bonus Qantas points, a 0% balance transfer offer and complimentary insurance covers. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
N/A
Membership Rewards Ascent
1
20.74% p.a.
$195
Receive a yearly $200 Travel Credit and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance, plus up to 3 Membership Rewards Points / $1.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
N/A
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.75
20.74% p.a.
$0
Earn 0.75 Qantas Points for your everyday purchases, uncapped, and pay $0 annual fee for the life of the card on this no-frills frequent flyer card.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
50,000
Membership Rewards
2
20.74% p.a.
$395
Get 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the Amex Lounge.
St.George Amplify Platinum
N/A
Amplify Rewards
1
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. interest rates on purchases and balance transfers. Plus a $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
American Express Platinum Business Card
150,000
Membership Rewards
2.25
N/A
$1,750
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 150,000 bonus points and up to 2.25 points/ $1 spent on eligible business purchases.
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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.

couples' hands on laptop

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:
  • Fly with a range of airlines based on where you’re travelling
  • Are a member of several frequent flyer and/or hotel rewards programs
  • Have worries about blackout dates and restrictions
  • Want to earn points through a credit card without being limited to one frequent flyer program
  • Fly everywhere with the same airline
  • Mainly use rewards for flight upgrades
  • Want other frequent flyer benefits, such as lounge access or priority boarding
  • Are happy to just earn points through travel, existing program partners and affiliated credit cards

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: Shutterstock

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Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Skye Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
23.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$99
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases and flexible instalment plan options.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a one-time 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 100k when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
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* 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.

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