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How to compare credit card bonuses this Christmas

From interest-free purchases to bonus points offers, here’s how you can get more bang for your buck this Christmas.

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If you're planning to use a credit card this holiday season, you could get extra value from one that comes with an introductory offer. While credit card companies use these promotions to entice you to sign up before Christmas, they can also help you save on interest or give you bonus points to redeem for rewards such as travel, gift cards and merchandise.

Use this guide to compare the latest credit card offers, as well as the benefits and terms and conditions you should consider to get the most value out of your new card this Christmas.

What perks do you want from
a credit card this Christmas?

Compare credit cards with 0% purchase interest rate offers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Interest-free period Annual fee Balance transfer rate Balance transfer rate
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
Citi Clear Card
0.9% for 15 months, reverts to 14.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99
0.9% p.a. for 15 months
0.9% p.a. for 15 months
Save with 0.9% p.a. for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Plus, complimentary purchase insurance cover.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
Features an introductory 0% p.a. purchase rate, $49 first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance covers. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
NAB StraightUp Card
N/A
$0
Save with 0% interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Get 0% p.a. promotional purchase and balance transfer rates and save with a first-year annual fee waiver. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Enjoy 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers along with a $0 first year annual fee waiver. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
St.George Rainbow Vertigo Platinum
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
All the platinum features of the Vertigo Platinum Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% p.a. for 6 months
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months, a reduced first-year annual fee and Velocity Points per $1 spent. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
St.George Amplify Platinum
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Save with 0% p.a. interest rates on purchases and balance transfers. Plus a $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
St.George Vertigo Classic Rainbow
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
All the great low cost features of the Vertigo Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community.
BankSA Vertigo
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Enjoy a 0% p.a. for up to 22 months on balance transfers and up to 7 months on purchases. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
BankSA Amplify Platinum
0% for 7 months, reverts to 19.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Save with a 0% p.a. for up to 22 months on balance transfers and up to 7 months on purchases. Plus a $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
0% for 7 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Save with 0% p.a. for 7 months on purchases, 0% p.a. interest for 22 months on balance transfers and a $0 first-year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
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If your spending usually skyrockets in the lead up to Christmas, a card that offers 0% p.a. interest on purchases for an introductory period could help you save on interest charges. The interest-free period offered typically lasts from 3 to 15 months with this type of credit card offer, which could give yourself more breathing room to pay off your Christmas spending with no interest.

At the end of the introductory period, the standard purchase rate will apply to any remaining debt. This rate is usually between 13% p.a. and 22% p.a, so it’s worth checking the ongoing features of when you compare 0% purchase rate cards. These cards often charge annual fees, so factor this in when comparing your options.

If you want a long-term low interest option, you can also compare credit cards with ongoing low purchase rates to keep your interest repayments to a minimum. These cards generally have interest rates between 8.99% and 15%, which is low compared to most standard purchase rates.

How much can I save with a 0% purchase rate credit card?

The savings you can get from this type of offer depend on the length of the introductory period, how much you spend and whether you can pay it all off before the offer ends. Let's say you spend $1,000 at Christmas this year and plan to pay it off over a year. If you got a credit card that offered 0% on purchases for 12 months, you could save $170 on interest when compared to a card with a regular standard variable purchase interest rate of 17% p.a. Note that this example does not include any card annual fees or other charges.

Compare rewards credit cards with bonus points offers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate Annual fee
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
130,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 100k when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
55,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.25
20.74% p.a.
$450
Get 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
20.49% p.a.
$99 annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a long-term balance transfer offer.
St.George Amplify Signature
200,000
Amplify Rewards
1.5
19.74% p.a.
$139 annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 200,000 bonus points (130k in the first year & 70k in the second year) when you spend $12k/year for the first 2 years. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum - Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
19.74% p.a.
$99
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn up to 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
100,000
Membership Rewards Gateway
2
16.99% p.a.
$395
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 100,000 bonus points. Plus, 2 airport lounge passes.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
200,000
Amplify Rewards
1.5
19.74% p.a.
$139 annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 200,000 bonus points (130k in the first year & 70k in the second year) when you spend $12k/year for the first 2 years. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
BankSA Amplify Signature
200,000
Amplify Rewards
1.5
19.74% p.a.
$139 annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 200,000 bonus points (130k in the first year & 70k in the second year) when you spend $12k/year for the first 2 years. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
BankSA Amplify Platinum - Qantas
60,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
19.74% p.a.
$99
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn up to 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
American Express Gold Business Card
100,000
Membership Rewards Ascent
1.5
N/A
$169
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points and up to 51 days to pay for purchases.
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If you want to earn reward or frequent flyer points for your Christmas spending, you could get a big boost by choosing a card that also has thousands of bonus points up for grabs. Bonus points can range between 20,000 and 120,000 points.

You usually have to meet a spend requirement (such as $3,000 in the first 90 days) to get the bonus points. With typical holiday expenses including gifts, travel and food, you should have no trouble finding a card with a bonus points deal that aligns with your budget.

These cards are usually linked to a frequent flyer program (such as Qantas or Virgin Australia’s Velocity) or a bank rewards program (such as American Express Membership Rewards or Citi Rewards). You can then redeem your points for flights and other travel, cashback, gift cards, merchandise and more.

You’ll also continue to earn points for every dollar you spend, but specific earn rates will vary between cards. You can also look out for extra features including airport lounge passes, travel credits or flight vouchers, complimentary insurance and concierge services in order to get more value from your card.

These cards usually charge higher annual fees and purchase interest rates than no frills cards, so they’re best suited to cardholders who plan to pay their balance in full each month. Otherwise the cost of interest can quickly outweigh the perks of the points.

How much value can I get from frequent flyer credit card bonus points?

While there is no fixed dollar value for reward points, frequent flyer cards and sign-up bonuses can provide hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of value. For example, the NAB Qantas Rewards Signature credit card currently offers up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points in the first 12 months (100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 60 days of account opening and 30,000 when you’ve kept your card open for over 12 months). This card charges a reduced $295 annual fee in the first year (reverting to $395 p.a. after that).

With 130,000 Qantas Points, you could get an economy return flight from Sydney to Los Angeles for one person, or two business class return flights from Melbourne to Perth. Based on our calculations, the retail value of these flights would be $1,503 and $2,400 respectively. So, even after subtracting the cost of the annual fee, both these options give you over $1,000 value.

Compare credit cards with cashback offers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Interest-free period Annual fee Balance transfer rate Balance transfer rate
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher Offer
21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% p.a. for 12 months
Get a $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB Hi-Fi or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, earn points with the Citi Rewards Program.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$59
0% p.a. for 20 months with 1% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 20 months with 1% balance transfer fee
A low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 20 months and a $200 cashback offer.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
20.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$425
20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
Earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits and $150 back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months with this premium card.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($45 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% p.a. for 6 months
Save with a $0 first-year annual fee and get a $150 Woolworths Supermarket gift card when you spend $1,000 in the first 60 days. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Gold Credit Card
13.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$89
5.99% p.a. for 5 months
5.99% p.a. for 5 months
Receive $200 cashback when you meet the spend criteria and get access to complimentary insurance covers.
bcu Rewards credit card
12.8% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$89
Enjoy a low ongoing purchase rate, get 0.66% cashback for every dollar spent, plus take advantage of up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
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If you prefer cash over points, you could look at credit cards that offer cashback. Similar to bonus point offers, you’ll usually receive the cashback once you’ve met a specific spend requirement.

If you’re paying with plastic over Christmas, this cashback could help you manage your account balance. But many of these cards also come with annual fees and high interest rates, so they’re designed to reward cardholders who spend frequently but pay their balance in full each statement period.

How much value can I get from a cashback credit card?

This depends on the cashback offer and the card's rates and fees. As an example, the Virgin Money Low Rate credit card offers 10% cashback (capped at $100) when you make an eligible purchase for the first 3 months from card approval.

It also offers a discounted annual fee of $99 when you apply by 30 September 2020. If you spent at least $1,000 on purchases in the promotional period, you would get the maximum $100 cashback. After factoring in the annual fee cost, this would give you $51 value (not including any potential interest charges if you carried a balance).

What should I consider when comparing credit card offers this Christmas?

man's hand with credit card, present, and cellphone

Here are some points to consider before choosing a credit card for your Christmas shopping:

  • Promotional period. It’s important to note that the promotional rate or reward usually only applies during the introductory period. After that, the interest rate will revert to a higher standard rate, points will be earned at a standard rate per $1 spent and any reduced or waived annual fee deals will not apply. This basically means your costs for the card will go up, so it's important to repay your debts and understand what fees are involved before this happens.
  • Offer end date. This refers to the deadline for applying for a card that has an introductory offer. The offer usually ends by a stipulated date and you may want to catch it before that day. For example, a card may offer 0% interest on purchases for 6 months if you apply by 31 December.
  • Eligibility requirements. Depending on the card, you'll usually need to be a minimum of 18 years of age, be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, have a good credit history and meet a minimum income requirement. Some cards, such as balance transfers, also have restrictions regarding how much you can transfer and which banks you can transfer from, which is important to know before applying. You can see this guide for a list of the eligibility requirements you can usually expect when applying for a credit card.
  • Eligible purchases. The 0% purchase rate is only applicable to “eligible purchases”. These usually exclude utility bills, gambling purchases, cash-equivalent transactions and balance transfers.
  • Annual fee. Some credit cards offer competitive frequent flyer points bonuses, high reward earn rates and low interest fees, but charge proportionately (or disproportionately) high annual fees for them. It is good practice to do the sums and determine if the fees for a card are worth the perks, and consider if those are perks you’ll even use in the first place.
  • Points value. Getting a free return flight for simply signing up for a card and paying with plastic almost sounds too good to be true, and sometimes it really is. Sometimes you’re paying a high annual fee or high-interest rates for those points. Remember to do your research about rewards programs, consider the redemption options and decide if you will earn enough points for the card to be worth it when other costs are considered.
  • Other features. Some credit cards offer other complimentary extras and perks. For example, if you travel frequently, you may want to look for a card that gives you complimentary travel insurance and low or 0% foreign transaction rates. Some cards offer purchase protection or extended warranties on your purchases, which might also appeal to you, while others have concierge services.

What about post-Christmas debt?

If you're worried about how you'll manage your credit card purchases once the Christmas decorations are packed away, you could consider a 0% balance transfer credit card. You can move your debt (or consolidate multiple debts) onto a card that offers no interest for a promotional period. These interest-free periods can last from 12 to 25 months, giving you time to pay off your existing debt and save money.

When choosing a new credit card around Christmas, make sure you compare your options carefully and consider both the promotional benefits and long-term features of each card. That way, you'll be able to find a card that works for your over the Christmas period and into the New Year.

Images: Shutterstock

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Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Skye Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
23.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$99
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases and flexible instalment plan options.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a one-time 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee on this low rate card.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 100k when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au 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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