All those presents, food, drinks and holiday costs can add up to more points for your credit card thanks to introductory bonus point offers and reward program partners.
If you’re one of the many people planning to put Christmas on credit this year, you could get extra value from your shopping through bonus point offers. As well as introductory point deals you can get with a new credit card, some programs offer bonus points per $1 spent with specific partners.
Both of these options give you a chance to earn rewards for your seasonal spending, which could also help offset the cost of your card. So whether you already have a rewards card or want to get one just in time for Christmas, here’s a look at how these bonus point offers fit in with silly season spending.
Introductory bonus points offers
You can currently get anywhere from 30,000 to 150,000 introductory bonus points from a new reward or frequent flyer credit card. To get the points, you’ll need to be a new card member and meet a spending requirement – usually between $1,500 and $3,000 in the first few months you have the card.
While reaching that level of spending could be a challenge at certain times of the year, December is peak spending season. In fact, Australians spent an average of $1,666 on credit cards in December 2016. That’s enough to easily meet some of the current bonus point spending requirements, or at least put you on-track to reach it in the first few months you have a card.
Just keep in mind that only “eligible purchases” will count towards your spending requirement. This will cover most of your Christmas shopping but may exclude some go-to presents that are considered “cash advances”, such as gift cards or scratchies.
Tip for keeping track of your required spend amount
If you’re wondering how close you are to meeting a bonus point minimum spend, add up how many points you’ve earned per $1 spent on the card. As all of those points will come from “eligible purchases”, you can use this figure to work out how much you’ve spent so far and how much is left til you’re eligible for the extra points.
Compare credit cards with bonus point offers
Earning more points per $1 this Christmas
Another way to earn additional or bonus points with your credit card is by shopping with retail partners. There are three main ways this can work, which we’ve outlined below:
Tiered earn rates
Some credit cards earn different rates of points based on where you use them. If you have a NAB Rewards credit card, for example, you’ll get triple points for Webjet purchases and overseas spending (including online). Meanwhile, the David Jones American Express Platinum earns 4 points per $1 at David Jones and 3 points per $1 at major supermarkets and petrol stations, while other purchases get 1 point per $1.
Credit cards linked to the CommBank Awards program also get more points for overseas purchases and spending at major supermarkets, department stores and petrol stations. You also get different earn rates depending on if you use the CommBank Awards American Express card or Mastercard. So with many of us spending more in supermarkets and department stores around Christmas, one of these cards could help boost your rewards balance.
Bonus point partners
A range of reward and frequent flyer credit cards also offer additional points when you spend with particular brands. If you have a Qantas Premier Platinum or Qantas American Express Ultimate, for instance, you can earn an additional one point per $1 spent on selected purchases with Qantas. A similar offer applies to some Velocity Frequent Flyer cards.
Some credit card reward programs also have reward partners. CommBank Awards, for example, offers 1-15 bonus points per $1 with partners including Crown Metropol, Kaligo.com, Prouds and Village Cinemas. The ANZ Rewards, on the other hand, has a “Bonus Points Mall” where you can shop online and earn bonus points per $1 spent.
If you have a frequent flyer credit card or one that’s linked to the flybuys rewards program, you can also earn points twice for spending with program partners. This is known as “double-dipping” because you earn points once through the rewards program and once through your credit card.
As an example, say you spent $200 on Christmas groceries at Coles. By scanning your flybuys rewards membership card, you’d earn the standard 1 flybuys point per $1 spent at Coles. Then, if you paid for your shopping with a Coles Rewards Mastercard, you’d also earn 2 flybuys points per $1 spent on your shopping through the credit card. That would give you a total of 600 flybuys points in one go.
The same applies to booking flights with Qantas or Virgin when you have a Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity credit card, not to mention spending with all the other brands linked to these rewards programs.
While Christmas shopping can be expensive, bonus point offers give you a way to turn Christmas shopping into more rewards. So remember to compare introductory offers when you’re looking for a new card and check for bonus point partners on your current credit card to help you get a bigger bang for your buck in December.
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