Want to know how much your credit card reward points are really worth? Find out more about different point values and compare reward programs here.
Reward programs earn you points for every $1 that you spend on your credit card. These points can then be redeemed for a wide range of products and services including flights, gift cards, cash back and shopping.
While these rewards are designed to add value to the credit card that you choose, costs such as interest rates and annual fees can outweigh the benefits they provide. This guide compares the value of different reward programs to help you choose a rewards credit card that offers you as much value as possible.
How much are my rewards points worth?
The following table compares rewards programs based on the amount of points required for a $100 gift card and a one-way economy flight from Sydney to Melbourne. These point values highlight the differences between each rewards program and give you a clear idea of how much you would have to spend on a credit card to benefit from the rewards.
In order to make our comparison consistent across each reward program, we have made some assumptions about the redemptions. The key details to keep in mind are listed below:
- The $100 gift card. This value is primarily based on the cost of a generic $100 gift card, such as a Coles Myer Group or Woolworths WISH card. For reward programs that don’t include these options, we have used the next closest option, such as a David Jones or Westfield gift card.
- The one-way flight from Sydney to Melbourne. The flight redemption is based on the most affordable airfare option from Qantas, Virgin Australia or Jetstar and excludes additional taxes and fees. The point value is based on direct redemptions. If no direct reward redemptions are available, the value is based on a point conversion from the rewards program to the Qantas and Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer programs.If both airline redemptions are available in a rewards program, they are listed, as are any exceptions if another airline redemption is possible. To determine the dollar value of this redemption, we have referred to the average economy airfare price as reported by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional development, which listed it as $120 in May 2016.
Points for $100 gift card
Points for a one-way Sydney to Melbourne flight
|American Express Membership Rewards||13,500|
|ANZ Rewards Program||22,225|
|Bankwest More Rewards Program||28,000|
|Bendigo Bank Reward||36,667|
|Citibank Rewards Program||40,000|
|Commonwealth Bank Awards Program||20,000|
|Heritage Credit Rewards||64 credits||N/A|
|HSBC Rewards Plus||20,000|
|Jetstar Dollars Program||N/A|
|Krisflyer Rewards Program||N/A|
|Macquarie Credit Card Rewards Program||19,250|
|Q Rewards (BOQ)||28,600|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||17,250||8,000|
|Skywards Rewards||32,000||N/A (Emirates does not offer redemptions for domestic flights)|
|Suncorp Bank Rewards||17,900|
|Westpac Altitude Rewards||19,000|
* Only available for credit cards that earn Qantas frequent flyer points. Opt-in may be necessary and fees may apply.Back to top
Reward Program Credit Cards Comparison
What reward programs offer the best value?
This table highlights how much the value of points and redemptions vary between different programs.
Based on these details, we can see the three rewards programs that offer the greatest value for gift card redemptions are:
- Heritage Credit Card Rewards: 64 credits
- Myer One: 10,000 points
- American Express Membership Rewards: 13,500
The values for flight redemptions, on the other hand, vary significantly depending on whether the redemption is direct or via points transfer. For example, the Citibank Rewards Program requires just 8,000 points for a Qantas flight when you opt-in to earn Qantas Rewards, or 15,600 points if you convert your points to Velocity Rewards and then redeem a Virgin Australia flight.
The airline used for the flight also has a huge impact on the number of points you need and the overall value of the rewards. For example, the Macquarie Credit Card Rewards Program requires 17,700 points for a Qantas booking and 19,070 for a Virgin Australia booking.
These differences make it hard to work out a definitive value for each reward program, as it can vary based on your redemption method and airline preferences. Here, we outline the credit card reward programs that offer the greatest value based on whether points are redeemed directly through the credit card rewards program or indirectly by transferring points to a frequent flyer program.
Direct credit card program reward program redemptions
Frequent flyer points transfer program redemptions
|Bankwest More Rewards: From 13,200 (Webjet booking)||American Express Membership Rewards: 7,800 (Velocity points transfer)|
|flybuys rewards: From 15,000 (Jetstar)||ANZ Rewards: 15,600 (Velocity points transfer)|
|Macquarie Credit Card Rewards: 17,700 (Qantas)||Citibank Rewards: 15,600 (Velocity points transfer)|
|ANZ Rewards:18,185 ($100 travel voucher)||Suncorp Bank Rewards: 19,500 (points conversion from Suncorp Bank Rewards points to Velocity points at a rate of 2.5:1)|
What about credit cards that directly earn frequent flyer points?
As the table shows, directly redeeming points through the Qantas, Virgin Velocity or Jetstar frequent flyer reward programs offers the greatest value in terms of point requirements, with 8,000 points, 7,800 points and 160 Jetstar Dollars required respectively. Similarly, cards that give you the chance to opt-in to the Qantas frequent flyer program will also offer a top rate on redemptions. Credit card reward programs that provide this option include:
- ANZ Rewards
- Bankwest More Rewards
- Citibank Rewards
- HSBC Rewards Plus
- Jetstar Dollars (through the Jetstar credit card)
- Q Rewards (BOQ)
- Suncorp Bank Rewards
- Woolworths Rewards
Just remember that additional steps and fees may apply to directly earn Qantas points through a credit card rewards program, and the amount of points per $1 required for a credit card that directly earns frequent flyer points could also impact on the value of this option. As a general rule, the key to getting the most out of any of these rewards programs is to choose redemptions that offer the best value to you based on your individual preferences and needs.
How to compare rewards programs
There are a number of other elements you need to consider when you compare different reward programs and credit cards. So keeping the following key points in mind will help you choose an option that suits your needs:
- Earn rate. The more points you earn per $1 spent, the faster you will be able to make a redemption and the greater value you will get from the rewards program. For example, a credit card that offers 0.5 Qantas points per $1 will require double the amount of spending to get a redemption when compared to one that earns 1 point per $1.
- Points expiry. Some reward programs require you to use points within a set amount of time, such as 12-24 months. If you don’t use them in that time, they will expire and you won’t get any value from them.
- Points capping. Depending on the rewards program and credit card you choose, you may only be able to earn a certain amount of points within a month or year. You can work out if a points cap will affect you by comparing your average spending to the points you would earn. If it’s more than the cap, then you may want to consider other options.
- Membership fees. Some reward programs charge a registration fee, such as the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program, which has a one-off joining cost of $89.50. Make sure you factor this into the cost of the rewards program or try to find a credit card that waives it.
- Annual fees. Reward credit cards have annual fees ranging from $49 to $450 or more. It’s important to weigh this cost up against the potential rewards you earn to make sure you get value out of the card you choose.
- Interest rates. Reward credit cards often have high interest rates that will apply if you carry a balance. These charges take value away from the rewards that you earn, so aim to pay off your card in full for each statement period.
- Other fees. Credit cards have a range of other charges that apply in certain situations, including international transaction fees, late payment and over limit penalties and charges for opting into a particular rewards program.
Reward programs offer a wide range of benefits for members, with gift cards and flights just two of the popular redemption options. Now that you know how to compare the value of these points against different rewards and program features, you will be able to choose a credit card and a rewards option that suits your needs.Back to top