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Frequent flyer credits cards with no annual fee

Qantas or Velocity Points and a $0 annual fee? You can get both with one of these credit cards.

Name Product Purchase rate p.a. Balance transfer rate p.a. Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 24 months, then 20.99%
$0 first year ($149 after)
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months (with no BT fee) and a $0 annual fee in the first year.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Earn uncapped Qantas Points for every $1 dollar spent, plus a $0 annual fee.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Save with a $0 annual fee and earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 on everyday purchases.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
0% for 6 months, then 20.74%
Save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
$0 first year ($195 after)
Save with a $0 annual fee in the first year. Plus, $200 Travel Credit every year.

How do frequent flyer credit cards with no annual fee work?

A frequent flyer credit card with no annual fee gives you a way to earn Qantas Points, Velocity Points or reward points that you can transfer to a frequent flyer program. These cards also help you save money on account costs by offering a $0 annual fee – either for the first year you have the card, or for life.

Usually you won't get as many perks (like travel insurance or lounge passes). But if you pay the card balance in full each month and make use of interest-free days, you can basically earn frequent flyer points without any extra costs on one of these credit cards.

Types of no annual fee frequent flyer credit cards offers

You can choose between a frequent flyer credit card with no annual fee in the first year or one with an ongoing $0 annual fee. Here's a look at both.

hand with three starsNo annual fee in the first year

Some frequent flyer credit cards offer a reduced or waived annual fee in the first year you have the card, then charge an annual fee from the second year on. Depending on the card, this can save you between $50 and $700 or more, but only for the first 12 months.

These cards give you a way to test out the account and perks such as bonus point offers or complimentary lounge access. If you decide the card is worth it, you can keep it and pay the fee when it is applied. If not, you can cancel the card before the end of the first year and avoid the annual fee.

hand with coin No annual fee for life

A limited selection of frequent flyer cards offer no annual fee for life, including the Qantas American Express Discovery and BankVic Qantas Visa. With these cards, you won't pay an annual fee at all.

The trade-off is that you won't usually get big bonus points offers, complimentary travel insurance, lounge passes or other premium perks on these cards. But they do give you a way to earn more Qantas or Velocity Points per $1 spent without ever paying a yearly fee on your credit card.

How long will it take me to earn enough points for a reward?

The time it takes to earn enough points for a flight or other reward depends on how many points you earn per $1 spent, whether you get bonus points and the reward you want to redeem.

But as a basic guide, you'd need 7,800 Velocity Points or 8,000 Qantas Points to redeem a reward flight between Sydney and Melbourne. That means you'd need to spend around $8,000 on a frequent flyer card offering 1 point per $1 or around $16,000 on a card offering 0.5 points per $1.

Example: Earning Qantas Points with a no annual fee credit card

To give you an idea of the points potential of a frequent flyer credit card with an ongoing $0 annual fee, let's look at the Qantas American Express Discovery Card, which has the following earn rates:

  • 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday purchases.
  • 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent with government bodies in Australia.
  • 1.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on selected Qantas products and services in Australia.

Based on an average monthly credit card spend of $2,100, you would get around 1,575 points per month or 18,900 points per year from everyday spending.

In 6 months, you'd have enough points for a one-way economy flight between Sydney and Melbourne (8,000 points).

In 12 months, you'd have enough for a return flight (16,000 points) or a one-way business class flight (18,400 points) on the same route.

✈️ Keep in mind
You could also save these points for higher-value rewards. And if the card came with a bonus point offer or you used it to pay for Qantas Points, it could help fast-track your frequent flyer goals.

How to compare frequent flyer credit cards with no annual fee

Weigh up these features when you’re looking for a credit card that earns frequent flyer points and has no annual fee.

  • Annual fee details

Before choosing one of these frequent flyer credit cards, check whether the $0 annual fee is for the first year only or an ongoing feature of the card so that you know exactly what you’re getting in the long run.

  • Bonus points

Many frequent flyer credit cards offer thousands of introductory bonus points when you meet the spending requirements as a new cardholder. This could give you a huge amount of value in the first year – especially without an annual fee.

Just remember that this value is temporary, so you need to think about the costs that apply beyond the first 12 months if you plan to keep the card. Also keep in mind that cards with an ongoing $0 annual fee won't typically have the biggest bonus point offers.

  • Points per $1 spent

The amount of points you’ll earn per $1 can help you figure out how much value you’ll get from the card based on your typical spending.

Keep in mind that although you’ll earn points for most everyday purchases, you usually won’t get any for transactions such as cash advances, BPAY payments and government charges.

  • Interest rates

These types of frequent flyer credit cards typically have high interest rates, which means costs will add up if you carry a balance.

You can usually avoid interest charges on purchases if you pay your balance in full each month, so check the details for interest-free days to decide if a card will work for you.

  • Additional cardholders

If you want to boost your frequent flyer point balance by sharing the account with a partner or family member, check whether they’ll also get the option to have a card with no annual fee.

Otherwise, you could end up paying more for the account than what you earn in points.

  • Complimentary extras

Weigh up the value of any perks, such as complimentary insurance, lounge passes or annual travel credit. If the card offers a $0 annual fee in the first year, also consider whether these benefits will outweigh the cost of the standard annual fee once that applies.

Is a no annual fee frequent flyer credit card right for me?

These cards are for people who want to earn frequent flyer points with a credit card but don't want to pay an annual fee. They can also be a good starting point when you are new to frequent flyer programs or credit cards because they give you a chance to test the waters without paying any upfront costs.

But if you're a big spender, a frequent flyer card with an annual fee and more points per $1 spent could give you more value than the savings you'd get from a $0 annual fee.

What's next?

If you’re interested in a frequent flyer credit card with no annual fee, start by comparing different options currently on the market. You can also compare a wider range of frequent flyer credit cards if points are your priority, or look at other no annual fee cards if your goal is to save on account costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Keith Kilcourse as part of our fact-checking process.
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Amy Bradney-George was the senior writer for credit cards at Finder, and editorial lead for Finder Green. She has over 16 years of editorial experience and has been featured in publications including ABC News, Money Magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald. See full bio

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8 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JohnAugust 16, 2017

    I was going to apply for the new Qantas Premium Credit card but I need to have a Frequent Flyer card first, is that right?

      DeeAugust 16, 2017Finder

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can apply for this card even if you are not yet a member of the Qantas frequent flyer program. However, to receive points, you need to sign up for Qantas membership.


    Default Gravatar
    EileenApril 22, 2016

    Are there credit cards that are better to use when travelling? I used a credit card when I travelled previously and found the costs quite high.

      YsaApril 23, 2016Finder

      Hi Eileen,

      Thanks for your question and for getting in touch with Finder.

      If you are considering other credit card options for your next trip, please refer to our Travel Money Credit Cards page.

      I hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    steveFebruary 3, 2015

    Hi, which frequent flyer card allows use of airline lounges? as well as accumulating points. Or is a different program (card) REQUIRED. Thanks Steve

      JonathanFebruary 4, 2015Finder

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Please see a list of credit cards which include free airline lounge access. You may also refer to a list of Frequent Flyer cards and other airline rewards. The airline lounges’ benefits will vary from card to card, generally possessing higher annual fees for the benefits.

      I hope this has helped.


    Default Gravatar
    MFebruary 18, 2014

    My husband & I are on the aged pension so our income is under $35,000. We pay the majority of our bills on our ANZ QFF Visa card & pay the full balance each month so do not attract interest.

    How can we switch to another card eg. Virgin which may be may be of more benefit to us?

      JacobFebruary 18, 2014Finder

      Hi M,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can use our credit card comparison page for a range of credit cards that may be suited to your needs. If you would like to change your current credit card to another provider, you can close your existing account. You can call your card issuer and let them know you would like to close the account once it has been paid in full. Then apply for another card through the application links provided on our credit card review pages. If you have a balance on your current card, you can apply to transfer this balance to your new card under a balance transfer promotion.

      I hope this has answered your question.


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