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I want to become a points master: Here’s how I’m choosing a credit card

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I want a card with low fees that lets me earn plenty of points, and I want to make sure I pay it off before I get charged interest.

Last week I embarked on a journey to become a points master. My goal is to earn enough frequent flyer points to cover multiple domestic rewards flights.

And to do that I'll need a credit card. Sounds simple, right? But there's a lot to consider.

I'm looking for a credit card that:

  • Lets me earn as many points as possible.
  • Won't have a really high annual fee.

And I want to make sure I don't end up paying interest on purchases because I haven't paid my card off on time.

I've chosen the Velocity Points program because I shop at my local Coles mainly and I already have thousands of Flybuys.

Maximising my points

"Bonus points offers, annual fees and the number of points you can earn per $1 spent are key features to consider when you're comparing cards," says Finder's credit cards expert Amy Bradney-George.

"Bonus points offers are one of the fastest ways to earn a lot of points. But make sure you check what you need to do to get them."

Looking at some of the bonus point card offers on the market, I soon understand what Amy's talking about. Some cards require you to spend several thousand dollars on the card in the first few months to qualify for tens of thousands of points.

And sometimes you won't get the points until you've held the card for a while.

Keeping my card costs down

I want a credit card for the points and benefits it can unlock. But ideally I don't want it to cost me anything.

If I want a card that lets me earn points, an annual fee is inevitable. This can be a couple of hundred dollars a year, although some cards waive the first year's fee.

But even one or two reward flights a year on points is enough to make the fee worthwhile.

And then there's the card's interest rate. Credit cards are a useful tool for well-organised, financially responsible people.

But if you can't stay on top of your card spending and repayments, you can just end up with a debt you never seem to get rid of. And one that comes with a pretty high interest rate.

"If you pay off your credit card before the due date that's listed on your monthly statement, you can get an interest-free period for new purchases," says Amy.

"This is typically up to 44 or 55 days interest-free and is offered on most credit cards in Australia. You can either pay off spending as you go, or pay the total before the due date. That way you can avoid interest charges."

Choosing my credit card

After a bit of time reading through Finder's rewards credit cards guide I found myself leaning towards the Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card.

This card has:

  • Bonus points. 80,000 bonus Velocity Points if you spend $3,500 a month for the first 2 months (achievable for me if I time a few upcoming major purchases right).
  • Earning points. You can earn 1 Velocity Point per dollar spent, which is higher than many cards, and capped at $8,000 a month (more than I can ever spend).
  • Annual fee. $289. This is fairly high, but the bonus points, high earn rate and $129 of Virgin Australia travel credit make this look fairly reasonable.

I can earn a lot of points with this card but if I don't make the most of it, I'm paying a high annual fee for nothing.

And I really need to make sure I can spend $7,000 on eligible purchases in the first 2 months to get the bonus points. Otherwise my whole plan falls apart.

Compare the best credit cards and get money saving tips to help you beat the cost of living crunch.

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