Take your rewards further with a frequent flyer credit card that lets you earn unlimited points with no expiry.
Frequent flyer credit cards enable you to earn rewards for your everyday spending, but some cards limit or cap the amount of points you can earn per statement period or per year. This makes it harder to use rewards as a way of balancing out credit card costs and can reduce the overall value of the card. Similarly, if your points expire before you use them, you won’t get any extra benefit from paying with plastic.
Fortunately, not all credit cards carry these restrictions. Compare frequent flyer credit cards that have no points caps, learn how they work and discover ways to avoid points expiry with our handy guide.
Comparison of frequent flyer credit cards with no points cap and no points expiration
How do credit cards with no points cap and no points expiration work?
While the specific terms and conditions vary between cards, here are the basic details of these two features:
No points cap
This feature means you can spend as much as you like and still enjoy the standard amount of points per $1 for eligible purchases. If you regularly spend a lot on plastic, a reward or frequent flyer credit card with no points cap will ensure that you get the most value out of your spending. This is especially pertinent for high spenders.
Premium platinum and black credit cards usually have higher points caps or no points caps, while standard cards are more likely to limit the points you can earn. For example, the standard Virgin Flyer card earns 0.66 points per $1 spent on eligible retail purchases but caps this at $1,500 per statement period, offering a reduced rate of 0.5 points per $1 spent above $1,500. In comparison, the premium Virgin High Flyer card offers 1 point per $1 spent up to $8,000 per statement period and 0.5 points per $1 spent above $8,000.
But if you wanted the flexibility to spend over $10,000 per statement period, a card with no points cap at all, such as the American Express Velocity Platinum or American Express Qantas Ultimate, could be more suitable.
No points expiration
While some reward programs impose an expiry on the points you accumulate, some cards let you earn points and save them up for as long as you want. This is more important for infrequent travellers and smaller spenders who may take a while to earn enough points for their ideal reward.
The shelf life of your points usually depends on the rewards program. For example, Qantas Frequent Flyer states that your points won’t expire as long as you’re earning or redeeming points at least once every 18 months. Virgin Australia’s Velocity points are valid as long as you’ve earned or redeemed points within the last 24 months. As such, using a credit card linked to one of these frequent flyer programs can help reduce the risk of point expiry.
Pros and cons of frequent flyer credit cards with uncapped points and no expiry
- Higher earning potential. With no points caps, every dollar you spend while using the card goes toward building your rewards balance.
- Ability to save your points. Since your points don’t expire, there is no pressure to travel every year. Instead, you can stockpile your points for that one big trip where you can make multiple travel redemptions all at once.
- Bonus points. Some cards will offer you bonus points, either as a large lump sum when you meet certain criteria, or as double or triple points when you shop with affiliated retailers. With no points expiry, you can save your bonus points up if you don’t want to use them straight away.
- Easier to estimate the value of the card.Since you don’t have to factor in points caps or earn rates, you can more easily estimate the potential points you can earn to decide if a particular card is best.
- Temptation to spend more. If you’re spending just to redeem a particular reward, you may find yourself using your credit card unnecessarily and overspending in order to earn points.
- Eligible purchases only. Note that only eligible purchases qualify for earning points. Ineligible transactions typically include cash advances, balance transfers, BPAY and government payments, bank charges and gambling activities.
- “No expiry” limitations. Points expiration ultimately depends on your rewards program’s terms and conditions, so your points could still expire if you don’t meet certain criteria (eg, Qantas and Velocity points expire if accounts are inactive for 18 months and 24 months respectively).
- Rates and fees. Other possible terms, conditions and fees may apply and redemption rates offered could be less favourable than other programs.
What other features should I consider when comparing these types of cards?
Here are some other features to consider when comparing these cards:
- Annual fee. Factor in the annual fee and other costs associated with these credit cards when calculating whether the rewards will be worth it.
- Purchase rate. This is the applicable interest rate for purchases, which is important to consider if you’re going to be carrying an outstanding balance on your card.
- Balance transfer rate. This is the interest rate that applies when making a balance transfer to the card. Promotional offers often feature a low or 0% balance transfer interest rate, which will save you a lot of money if you have existing debt.
- Cash advances. Cash advances refer to ATM withdrawals and other cash equivalent transactions including prepaid card and gift voucher purchases, gambling transactions and certain bill payments. Cash advance fees and higher cash advance interest rates apply immediately to such transactions.
- Foreign transaction fees. This is particularly relevant if you plan to use your card overseas, but foreign transaction fees can also be applied to Internet shopping transactions made with international merchants.
- Complimentary extras. Complimentary extras can include travel and purchase insurance, concierge services, airport lounge access and flight rewards. If you regularly make use of these features, they will add to the value of the card and help offset the annual fee and any other costs involved.
- Reward program details. Also factor in the program’s terms and conditions, such as blackout dates or seat limitations.
While a frequent flyer credit card with no points cap or expiry may initially seem more attractive than its counterparts, not everyone will need these features. If you only spend a small or moderate amount each month, the card’s earn rate could be more important than a points cap. If you travel very frequently, the lifespan of your points may not matter so much either. Remember to compare cards based on your personal lifestyle and spending habits in order to find the right one for you.Back to topPicture: Shutterstock