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Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Earn free flights and flight upgrades and enjoy perks such as complimentary travel insurance and concierge services with a travel rewards credit card.

Travel rewards cards can be a great way to save up for trips and enjoy extra benefits when you travel. By spending on a travel rewards credit card, you can earn points that can be redeemed for flights, flight upgrades, accommodation, car rental, merchandise and a host of other lifestyle rewards. This guide will explain the different types of travel rewards credit cards available, how to compare them, and everything else you need to know about travel rewards credit cards.

American Express Credit Card Offer

Qantas American Express Ultimate Card

Receive 100,000 bonus
Qantas Points

Offer ends 14 April 2020

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

American Express Credit Card Offer

The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card offers 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, complimentary travel benefits and up to 2.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.

  • Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved by 14 April 2020 and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months
  • $450 annual fee and 20.74% p.a. purchase interest rate
  • Receive a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year
  • 4 yearly complimentary airport lounge passes: 2 Qantas Club and 2 Amex Lounge
  • Minimum income requirement of $65,000 p.a.
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Travel rewards credit card comparison

Updated April 6th, 2020
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
100,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
20.74% p.a.
$450 p.a.
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations. Ends 14 Apr 2020.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
50,000 bonus points
Velocity Frequent Flyer
20.74% p.a.
$375 p.a.
Get 50,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 for the first 3 months. Plus, 100 Status Credits and luxury travel perks.
American Express Platinum Business Card
150,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards
$1,750 p.a.
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 150,000 bonus points and up to 2.25 points/ $1 spent on eligible business purchases.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Velocity Frequent Flyer
20.74% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Velocity Points on purchases and save with a $0 annual fee for life.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card - Online Offer
100,000 bonus points
Membership Rewards Gateway
16.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 100,000 bonus points and a $0 annual fee for the first year. Plus, complimentary insurance and lounge passes.

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What types of travel rewards can I get with a credit card?

There are two ways to earn your travel rewards when it comes to credit cards. You can either opt for a credit card that is directly linked to your preferred frequent flyer program, or choose a credit card that has its own membership rewards program. With the latter, you can also transfer your accumulated rewards points to your frequent flyer program afterwards (if they’re affiliated), or simply spend your points via your credit card’s internal rewards program which usually offers a similar spectrum of redemption possibilities.

Frequent flyer points

Frequent flyer credit cards let you earn points with your preferred airline loyalty program for every $1 spent on your credit card. You can then redeem these points for flights, ticket upgrades, accommodation, car hire or other lifestyle goods and services.

With this type of card, you also earn membership tier points that count towards your membership status. And you could get complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access and concierge services (for premium cards).

Reward points

Rewards credit cards are similar to frequent flyer options, except you earn reward points that are not linked to a specific airline loyalty program. Many rewards credit cards let you earn points per $1 spent that can be redeemed directly for flights, travel upgrades, accommodation, car hire, gift cards, shopping or fuel vouchers, electronics, clothes, concert tickets and even cashback.

You also have the option of transferring your accumulated points over to a partner frequent flyer program. This gives you more flexibility if you have several frequent flyer memberships and want to switch between them.

Complimentary extras

Some of the perks you can expect to find on travel rewards credit cards include:

  • International travel insurance. Many travel rewards credit cards include international travel insurance for cardholders at no extra charge. Usually, their only requirement is that you charge a specific amount or the total cost of your prepaid return ticket and other travel expenses (including accommodation, car rental, tour package, etc., but excluding taxes, airport or travel agent charges) to your eligible credit card. Your spouse and children can often also enjoy the same complimentary travel insurance if they are travelling with you for the entire trip and satisfy the same expenditure requirements using your credit card. Always consult your card provider or credit card Product Disclosure Statement about the specific criteria for your card.
  • Transit accident insurance. Similar to the above, most cards provide coverage for transit accident as long as you fulfil the eligibility criteria. You and your spouse and children would usually receive automatic cover as long as you’ve prepaid your travel expenses using your credit card and met your card’s specific requirements.
  • Interstate flight inconvenience insurance. Some travel rewards credit cards also offer domestic travel insurance for you and your family. You automatically enjoy cover as long as you meet certain criteria specified by your credit card, e.g. prepay the entire cost of your return interstate flight fare (excluding taxes, or airport or travel agent charges) to your eligible credit card account prior to commencing the journey. Most interstate flight inconvenience insurance covers you for up to 14 days.
  • Flights. Some credit cards offer complimentary flights or include airline gift vouchers yearly, e.g. the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card or Virgin Velocity Flyer card.
  • Airport lounge access. Airport lounge access is also a common feature with these types of cards. Some cards offer a free airport lounge pass each year, while more premium cards may offer unlimited business class and first class lounge access.
  • Concierge services. Premium platinum and black credit cards often provide you with a personal concierge service that you can use to book travel, accommodation, restaurants and entertainment packages anywhere in the world.
  • Flights and flight upgrades. You can use your points to get rewards flights, or to bump up existing flights to the next class. This is usually the main draw for people using travel rewards credit cards. Even if they’re not frequent flyers per se, saving up points for that yearly holiday is also a great way to maximise your credit card rewards.
  • Hotel stays and car rentals. Even if you don’t enjoy flying, your travel rewards credit card can earn you a staycation or road trip. Redeem your rewards points for hotel accommodation, Australian package tours or car rentals.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Travel rewards credit cards may also offer a 0% foreign transaction or currency conversion fee, which is an apt benefit for frequent travellers. The foreign transaction or currency conversion fee is usually worth around 2-3% of transactions so cards without this fee can save you a lot of money when you go overseas.
  • Free international ATM withdrawals. This is another feature that frequent travellers can appreciate because ATM withdrawals can amount to a fair bit at 3% per transaction. Note that even when the withdrawal is free, cash advance fees and cash advance interest charges will still apply.

girls comparing credit cards

How to compare travel rewards credit cards

It is important to consider the following key features when comparing travel rewards credit cards:

  • Bonus point offers. Credit card promotions generally pack some pretty good perks these days, such as bonus points for new customers. For example, a card could give you 30,000 bonus points when you sign up before 31 October and spend $300 in the first month. You should factor in the value of these points when considering which card offer to take, because a sizeable amount of bonus points can immediately equate to a return air ticket.
  • Promotional interest rates. Card promotions also generally include attractive promotional interest rates. For example, a new card could offer 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months or 0% on purchases for 15 months. The catch is knowing when the promotional period ends, and what the rate reverts to, as well as any conditions you need to meet to take advantage of the offer.
  • Standard interest rates. These rates will apply after any promotional period has ended. Make sure you consider the standard purchase rate and cash advance rate for the card if you plan on travelling with it, because interest costs could add up when you carry a balance.
  • Annual fees. Weigh up the annual cost of a credit card against the benefits it offers. Depending on how much you spend on your card and how much value you derive from the rewards benefits, a card with a high annual fee may not be worthwhile for you.
  • Reward points earn rate. Some premium credit cards give higher earn rates when it comes to reward points. While you can earn 2 points per $1 spent instead of 1, these cards may also charge high annual fees and high interest rates for the ability to double your earn rate.
  • Points cap. Some cards put a points cap on your earning capacity. For example, you could earn 1 point per $1 spent up to $2,000 a month, and 0.5 point per subsequent $1. This will limit your ability to collect points if you usually spend above that amount, which means you should probably consider a different card.
  • Reward expiry. There can sometimes be an expiry date set on your reward points or complimentary extras. For example, to be eligible for the Virgin Australia gift voucher, you need to make a retail purchase with your Virgin Velocity Flyer card within two months. You must also book your Virgin Australia flight(s) or selected Virgin Australia holiday package(s) within six months of your voucher issue date.
  • Blackout periods. Some rewards may be limited by blackout periods, which means you can’t redeem them at certain times. This usually applies to flights and hotel accommodation.

Should I get a travel rewards credit card?

Travel rewards credit card are suited to people who are:

  • Frequent travellers. The more you travel, the greater the potential value you can get out of a rewards credit card that offers points and other perks such as airport lounge access. You also have the option of a card that allows you to transfer your reward points to different frequent flyer program accounts, or one that directly earns you points for a specific frequent flyer program.
  • Regular credit card users. Travel rewards credit cards are a great way to monetise your expenditure. Since you already spend this much on your credit card, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be getting something back for it.
  • High income earners. Even though premium credit cards charge higher annual fees and have higher minimum income requirements, they also offer premium luxury perks such as airport limousine services, personal concierge services and lounge access benefits.

Travel credit cards may not be suited to people who are:

  • Infrequent travellers. If you travel infrequently, there may be a more suitable credit card out there for you with low annual fees and lower interest rates. However, if you are a high spender you might still find travel rewards credit cards useful for their non-travel rewards.
  • Impulse spenders. Rewards cards tend to charge higher interest rates when compared to no-frills options, so using these cards for impulse purchases can lead to high interest fees, especially if you don’t pay your account’s closing balance in full each month.
  • Struggling to manage a credit card. The potentially high interest rates and annual fees on these cards mean they are not recommended if you’re having trouble managing your finances because you could end up in a lot of debt.

When shopping for your travel rewards credit card, remember the importance of comparison. Always compare a card relative to your own spending habits and lifestyle preferences. No credit card is perfect, but there can be one out there that is suitable for you.

Frequently asked questions

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    johnNovember 6, 2014

    hi. i want to travel overseas with a card with no foreign currency fees
    which one has that

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethNovember 6, 2014Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can compare a range of these cards on this page.

      I hope this has helped.



Credit Cards Comparison

Updated April 6th, 2020
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Earn flybuys points for your spending and save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations. Ends 14 Apr 2020.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$45 p.a.
A no-frills credit card with a competitive annual fee and 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 18 months.

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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards 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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