Money Hack: Earn points with a travel card

Posted: 11 March 2017 10:30 am


How you can earn frequent flyer points on everyday purchases without paying high annual fees and interest rates.

Frequent flyer and rewards credit cards can be a great way to earn points for every dollar you spend on plastic. However, these cards usually come at the cost of high annual fees and interest rates which can quickly outweigh the value of the rewards you can redeem. If you want to earn frequent flyer points without the risk of racking up high-interest debt or sacrificing the value of your rewards to an expensive annual fee, consider shopping with a prepaid rewards travel card.

The hack

Sign up for a rewards travel card and use it for everyday spending. By loading your money onto the card you'll be able to earn points on purchases, collect bonus points when you make foreign transactions overseas or online while avoiding interest rates and annual fees.

While there are a variety of travel cards that allow you to load funds and spend in foreign currencies as well as Australian dollars, there are only two that collect points: The Qantas Cash card and the Velocity Global Wallet.

Qantas Cash card

If you’re chasing Qantas Points, the Qantas Cash card is a clever way to collect points on the ground without attracting high fees. When you use the Qantas Cash card to make purchases in Australia, you’ll earn 1 Qantas Point for every $2 spent on eligible purchases. If you make a foreign transaction while overseas or shopping online, you can enjoy a higher earn rate of 1 Qantas Point per $1.

While this card doesn’t offer an earn rate as high as some Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards, it can help you avoid many of the costs. The card doesn’t have an annual fee or purchase fee and doesn’t charge any load fees for BPAY and bank transfers (1% fee for debit cards). The Qantas Cash card is available to applicants who are 16 and above, making it an option for those who aren't 18 yet.

Velocity Global Wallet

If you’re a Velocity Points lover, the Velocity Global Wallet can be used in a similar way to the Qantas Cash card to earn points on everyday purchases. You’ll earn 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent overseas and 1 point for every $2 you spend in Australia. You can use the Global Velocity Wallet wherever Visa is accepted, giving you plenty of ways to earn points.

The card supports 11 currencies (including Australian dollars), but charges a 3% currency conversion fee if you make a purchase in a currency that isn’t loaded or supported by your card. You won’t have to pay any annual fees, purchase fees or loading fees, meaning you can earn points and make cost-free purchases if you avoid the currency conversion costs.

Again, there are also fewer eligibility requirements to meet to apply for a Global Wallet than a Velocity Frequent Flyer credit card. You don’t need to meet a minimum income or boast a good credit history to apply. Plus, the age limit is 16 rather than 18, so you can start boosting your points balance earlier.

While some frequent flyer credit cards may have higher earn rates and offer more perks than a travel card, using the Qantas Cash or Velocity Global Wallet is an easy way to give your frequent flyer account a boost without the massive costs. As always, though, make sure to compare your options before you apply to ensure the travel card suits your financial situation and rewards goals.

finder money hacks is a bi-weekly roundup of the latest ways to improve your finances. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for new hacks.

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