Frequent flyer credit cards
Upgrade your seat, your status and your wallet with a frequent flyer credit card. Compare Qantas, Velocity and more.
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Best frequent flyer credit cards* for June 2021
Check out this list of frequent flyer credit cards in Australia to decide if one is right for you:
- NAB Qantas Rewards Signature. Collect up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points and save with a discounted annual fee of $295 for the first year, reverting to $395 p.a. thereafter.
- Qantas Premier Platinum. Get up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points, a long-term 0% balance transfer offer, lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
- Citi Rewards Card - Velocity Points Offer. Save with a $99 annual fee for the first year and earn 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days.
How do frequent flyer credit cards work?
You can use a frequent flyer credit card to earn points on everyday, eligible purchases. These cards are linked to an airline loyalty program (such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer) and offer a set number of points per $1 you spend. For example, 1 point per $1 spent. Many cards also come with thousands of introductory bonus points, which can give your rewards balance a quick boost.
With a frequent flyer credit card, you’ll earn points on most everyday purchases, although transactions that aren’t eligible for points usually include cash advances, balance transfers and BPAY payments. Once you’ve earned enough points, you can redeem your points for flights, flight upgrades, accommodation or even retail rewards.
'Points give me access to money-can't-buy experiences'
Sarah Megginson, Finder's senior editor for home loans
For the last five years, Sarah Megginson has used frequent flyer points to get flight upgrades and book luxury holidays for her family of five – including a business class trip from Brisbane to LA in 2018.
"Flying in business class with kids is a joy," she said, "but to pay for a business class flight to the US for my family would be tens of thousands of dollars. I would never buy business class flights!"
Megginson said she also enjoys frequent flyer perks when she's traveling domestically.
"I usually fly to Sydney five or six times a year for work and will either buy economy and use points to upgrade, or use points for a Business Rewards Flight."
"If I can get the upgrade, it's only 8,000 points but the cash value for a business class flight is around $600-$700."
Megginson collects Qantas Frequent Flyer Points in just about every way she can, and typically gets around 500,000 in a year. Some of the ways she earns them include:
- Credit card bonus point offers: She'll sign up for a card and keep it for 18 months or so, then change to a new one. Her husband does the same, which doubles their point-earning power. Based on bonus point offers in recent years, this could earn them between 80,000 and 260,000 Qantas Points combined.
- Paying with a frequent flyer credit card: "I pay for as much as I can by card to earn points. Bills can really add up, so it's an easy win for points." But Megginson also said it's important to check the payment will earn points. "I remember once I paid a big tax bill with a card that didn't earn points for ATO payments. It ended up costing a lot in fees for nothing, so I always check cards to see if this type of spending earns points."
- Shopping at Woolworths: Her Everyday Rewards account is linked to her Qantas Frequent Flyer account, and she said they often do bonuses of 1000-2000 points, which can quickly add up. "I earn around 50,000 points a year through this", she said.
- Utilities: "I transferred my energy plan to Red Energy and got bonus Qantas Points, as well as earning points when I pay my bills," she said, adding that in the past she's also taken advantage of deals on phone plans.
Depending on the mix of credit cards, Megginson said she would spend around $300 to $800 per year on fees – but the experiences she and her family have been able to get using points are more than worth the annual fees she pays on her credit cards.
"I see the fees as an investment into this lifestyle I'd never have otherwise," she said, noting that her family's Brisbane to LA trip was worth around $29,000.
You don't need to be a jet-setting executive or have platinum status to benefit from frequent flyer points – anyone can take advantage of them with simple strategies like these. Whether you get a yearly holiday or a one-off business upgrade, rewards can give you something for the money you were going to spend anyway.
Types of frequent flyer credit cards
Earn Qantas Points per $1 spent
Earn Velocity Points per $1 spent
Earn points and pay $0 annual fee
Save 2%-3% on international transactions
Earn points for your business expenses
Pros and cons of frequent flyer credit cards
A frequent flyer credit card can be a great way to reward your spending with points, but they usually come at the cost of high annual fees and interest rates. Before you apply, you should weigh up the different benefits, costs, and features to help you decide if a frequent flyer credit card is worth it for you.
- Bonus points offers. Many frequent flyer credit cards come with introductory offers of tens of thousands of bonus points. These will vary based on the card tier.
- Points per $1 spent. Get rewarded for the money you're going to spend anyway, including on groceries, petrol and retail.
- Perks. Many frequent flyer credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance, purchase insurance covers, airport lounge passes, status credits or travel credits.
- Offer spend requirements. Promotional offers usually require you to spend a fair amount of money in a short period to get the bonus points (eg. $3,000 in 90 days).
- High annual fees & interest rates. To pay for the rewards and perks you get, most cards charge annual fees and relatively high interest rates.
- Temptation to spend. If you struggle to stick to a budget and don't pay your balance in full each month, the promise of frequent flyer points could tempt you to overspend.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature CardUp to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points (90,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 20,000 after 12 months). Plus, a $295 first-year annual fee ($395 thereafter) and complimentary insurances.
How do I find the best frequent flyer credit card for me?
Frequent flyer credit cards have their perks, but these are the traps you should watch out for:
- How much is the annual fee? Although some frequent flyer cards come with a $0 annual fee for the first year or for life, others charge fees that can set you back hundreds of dollars. You can work out if an annual fee is worth it by looking at whether the yearly value of the rewards you're redeeming and extra features you're taking advantage of (such as travel credits, complimentary flights and airline lounge passes) give you more value.
- How many bonus points can I get? Introductory bonus points offers generally vary between 20,000 and 120,000 points (or more). You can also judge how much value you can get from the bonus points based on the rewards you can redeem, as well as the spend requirements to get it. For example, let's say you have to spend $4,000 in 60 days to get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points. That boils down to roughly 25 Qantas Points per $1 spent. You can redeem 100,000 Qantas Points for a return economy or one way business class flight overseas, so that could help you justify the spend to get the points.
- How many points can I earn for my spending?
There are two different factors to look at when it comes to earning points with a frequent flyer credit card:
- Earn rate. As well as the bonus points offer, you should also compare how many points you can earn per $1 spent. These earn rates can be as low as 0.5 points per $1, but 1 point per $1 (or higher) is considered competitive.
- Points tiers. Depending on the card, the number of points may vary depending on the purchase. For example, you may earn 0.75 points per $1 spent in Australia, 1 point per $1 spent on foreign transactions and an additional point when per $1 spent with a partnered airline. So if you regularly travel overseas or shop with international merchants, a card with a higher earn rate on foreign transactions could boost your rewards.
- Points caps. Some cards cap or reduce the number of points you can earn after you reach a spend threshold each statement period. For example, you may earn 1 point per $1 up to $10,000 per statement period and either a reduced earn rate or no more points until the next statement period. If the card does have a points cap, consider how much you spend each month and opt for a card with a higher or no points cap if you spend more than the threshold. Otherwise, you'll restrict your points potential.
- How much does it cost to join a frequent flyer program? Most frequent flyer programs are free to join, although Qantas Frequent Flyer has a one-time $99.50 joining fee. However, you can check out our guide to joining the Qantas Frequent Flyer program for free to save on this fee.
- Are there extra features? Most frequent flyer credit cards come with extras that can help you get more value from your card. These can range from complimentary flight vouchers or travel credits to airline lounge passes, complimentary travel insurance and concierge services. Make sure you compare the extra features and ask yourself if you would actually use them before you apply for the card.
Do you really need a frequent flyer credit card?
- Frequent flyer credit cards are designed to suit regular spenders who pay their balance in full each statement period. This is because you'll earn more points based on how much you spend and your rewards won't be outweighed by interest if you clear your balance each month.
- Frequent flyer credit cards also benefit frequent travellers who will make use of the extra features such as airline lounge passes, complimentary travel insurance and travel credits that can help you offset some of the weighty annual fees.
You can decide if a card is worth it by comparing the value of the bonus points offer, how many points you'll earn per $1 spent, as well as extra features (such as airline lounge passes or travel credits) to the cost of the annual fee. The value of these rewards and extra perks should exceed the cost of the card.
As there are a bunch of competitive frequent flyer credit cards on the market, get started by comparing your options now so you can find the most rewarding one for you.
What are my frequent flyer points worth?
The dollar value of your frequent flyer points depends on what you redeem your points for – but here’s an example to show how far your points can take you.
Let’s look at where you could travel with a credit card with 100,000 bonus points. For example, it would cost 90,000 Qantas Points or 89,600 Velocity Points to fly return in economy from Melbourne to Los Angeles. Neither of these examples account for the extra taxes and fees. But let’s look at how much these flights would usually cost in cash anyway.
The cost of a flight will vary depending on the time and date of the booking, but an economy return Qantas flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles can start at $1,099 at the time of writing. This means that one Qantas Point is roughly worth 0.81 cents if you use points to redeem this flight. You can find return economy Virgin Australia flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles for around the same price, so you can expect roughly the same value of points for this reward flight.
As another example, you could get $500 worth of Woolworths digital gift cards for 95,000 Qantas Points if you didn't want to fly (two $250 gift cards for 47,500 points each, as of August 2020). But this reward offers less value in comparison to the flight example above. To get the most value from your frequent flyer points, compare a few options and redeem the one that offers the highest dollar value for your points. You can see Finder’s guide to how much 1 Qantas Point is worth for more examples.
Example: Value per 1,000 Qantas/Velocity points
The guaranteed amount of points varies based on your fare class, the airline and the destinations, with the following average ranges available:
|Flight||Cost||Qantas Pts||Velocity Pts||Value/1,000 Qantas Pts||Value/1,000 Velocity Pts|
|Sydney to Melbourne return (Economy)||$321||16,000||15,600||$20.06||$20.58|
|Sydney to Melbourne return (Business)||$998||36,800||31,000||$27.12||$32.19|
|Sydney to Los Angeles return (Economy)||$1,503||132,400||89,600||$11.35||$16.77|
|Sydney to Los Angeles return (Business)||$10,416||318,000||191,000||$32.75||$54.53|
(All calculations are based on 17 September, 2020 prices. Points values for purchasing flights are for Classic Flight rewards.)Back to top
Frequently asked questions
What credit card transactions and purchases don't earn points?
You can usually only earn points on what your bank considers an eligible transaction. This usually includes everyday spend at the grocery store, on travel bookings and more. You usually can’t earn points on gambling transactions, cash advances, balance transfers and sometimes government transactions.
Read your credit card product disclosure statement for a complete list of the transactions you can and can’t earn points on.
Can I earn points on payments to the ATO?
Most Australian banks consider government transactions (such as ATO bills) ineligible to earn points. Currently, most of the cards that allow you to earn points on ATO bills and government transactions are issued by American Express. You can compare cards that earn points on tax bills and government transactions on finder.
Can I earn status credits with a frequent flyer credit card?
Some credit cards boast promotional offers that allow cardholders to earn status credits. You can check the comparison table above for any offer that come with status credits. Unlike points, you can use status credits to move up the status tiers of your frequent flyer program. The benefits vary between different programs and tiers, but you can usually expect perks such as more competitive earn rates, lounge passes and priority check in as you ascend the status levels.
Check out our guide to Velocity and Qantas status tiers for more information.
How can I redeem my frequent flyer points?
When you earn frequent flyer points with your credit card, they’re debited to your linked frequent flyer account. To redeem your points, log in to your frequent flyer account and follow the prompts to redeem your rewards.
Can I transfer points to another program?
You can often transfer credit card rewards (such as American Express Membership Rewards or St.George Amplify Rewards) to frequent flyer programs, but you can’t usually transfer frequent flyer points between programs. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Virgin Australia’s Velocity are one exception to this rule.
Even if you can’t transfer your frequent flyer points to another program, you can use your frequent flyer points to redeem flight rewards with a partnered airline. For example, Qantas belongs to the oneworld Alliance, so you can use your Qantas Points to redeem flight rewards with British Airways, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and more.
Will I lose my points after I close my credit card account?
No, but it can sometimes take a few weeks for the frequent flyer points to appear in your account. Make sure the points have moved across to your frequent flyer account before you close your card.
How much are my points worth?
The value of your points will vary depending on your program and the reward you’re redeeming. Generally, redeeming your points for flights and upgrades offers the best value.
Let’s look at Qantas Frequent Flyer as an example. At the time of writing, you can redeem a $250 David Jones gift card for 41,250 points from the Qantas Store. Meanwhile, you could redeem a business class flight from Sydney to Auckland for 36,000 points (RRP starting at $858 at the time of writing) or a one-way economy flight from Sydney to Johannesburg for 40,000 points (or RRP approximately starting at $691 at the time of writing).
As you can see, both of these flights require fewer points but offer better monetary value than the $250 gift card. With this in mind, make sure to compare the monetary value of what you can redeem with your points before you cash them in. See our guide to how much is 1 Qantas Point worth for more examples.
Are all frequent flyer points worth the same amount?
No, frequent flyer points are worth different amounts across programs. At the time of writing, you can redeem a $100 Westfield voucher for 24,850 Qantas Points or 18,000 Velocity Points. So in this example, you’ll get more value if you redeemed your Velocity Points for the $100 gift card.Want to stay on top of the latest frequent flyer deals? Visit Points Finder for all of the latest news, offers and reviews.
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How to transfer credit card rewards points to Velocity
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KrisFlyer Credit Cards
Earn KrisFlyer Miles on your everyday spending and get introductory bonus points with a credit card linked to the Singapore Airlines frequent flyer program.
How can you earn Qantas Status Credits with a credit card?
Find out if there are any credit card offers that let you earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Status for your eligible spending and learn more about how to reach Silver, Gold or Platinum Qantas status.
Frequent flyer credits cards with no annual fee
How to pay less for your card while still earning points.
The best ways to spend 100,000 Velocity Points
From flights and hotel stays to travel packages, gift cards and merchandise, here’s how to make the most of 100,000 Velocity Points based on your lifestyle and goals.
How many points you need to upgrade to business class with Qantas and Velocity
Discover how many Qantas or Velocity points you need to book or upgrade to a business class flight ticket.
Are frequent flyer credit cards worth it?
Frequent flyer credit cards can reward your spending, but how can you ensure that the perks outweigh the costs?
Can I earn points when I pay bills with a credit card?
Compare the card issuers that allow you to earn points on everyday costs such as bills and utilities.
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