No Annual Fee Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

Information verified correct on December 10th, 2016

Want to save on costs while earning frequent flyer rewards? Find out about different options, compare no annual fee frequent flyer cards and apply here.

Frequent flyer credit cards have a wide range of benefits that make them incredibly popular in Australia but these perks often come at a hefty price. Annual fees for rewards and frequent flyer credit cards can be worth hundreds of dollars and may quickly outweigh the value of the points you earn.

With a no annual fee frequent flyer credit card, you can be rewarded for your spending without paying a regular fee each year. These cards usually come with fewer features though, so you’ll need to compare frequent flyer cards to find the right option for you.

The American Express Essential credit card offers a 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers, smartphone insurance with no annual fee.

American Express Essential Credit Card

American Express Credit Card Offer

The American Express Essential® Credit Card allows you to enjoy $0 annual fee for life, 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers, and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

  • $0 p.a. annual fee
  • 14.99% p.a. on purchases
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee on balance transfers
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • Minimum Income Requirement of $40,000 p.a.

What are no annual fee frequent flyer credit cards?

A no annual fee frequent flyer credit card allows you to earn points for your spending. The points you earn are added to your frequent flyer program account and can be redeemed for flight tickets, upgrades and other travel rewards.

Some airline loyalty programs also allow cardholders to redeem their points for non-travel related rewards, including gift cards, gadgets, jewellery, fashion, cashback and more.

With annual fees for frequent flyer credit cards usually ranging from around $59 to $450 or more, choosing a card without this charge has the potential to save you a lot of money.

Does the $0 annual fee last forever?

An important consideration with any credit card offering no annual fee is how long this feature lasts. While some frequent flyer credit cards never charge an annual fee, others offer annual fee waivers for the first year and require that cardholders start paying an annual fee after that. Check the ongoing features of these frequent flyer credit cards before you apply to work out whether you will pay no annual fee for life or just for a limited time.

What types of Australian frequent flyer credit cards can I get with zero annual fees?

There are four key frequent flyer options you can consider when you want to earn airline rewards with a no annual fee credit card:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards. Earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on a credit card with no annual fee and redeem points for airfares, flight upgrades, hotel accommodation, car hire, travel insurance, and more. A wide range of issuers offer Qantas credit cards, with worldwide acceptance based on whether the card is provided by American Express, MasterCard or Visa.
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer credit cards. These credit cards come linked to Virgin Australia’s frequent flyer program, earning Velocity points for your spending. The Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer program also gives cardholders a range of reward options, including flights, upgrades, other travel bookings, shopping options and more.
  • Frequent flyer credit card airline reward partners. If you choose a Velocity or Qantas frequent flyer credit card with no annual fee, you will also have the opportunity to book flights with partner airlines or transfer points to another airline reward program. You can check out airline alliance programs such as oneworld Alliance and Star Alliance for even more reward options.
  • Other no annual fee frequent flyer credit card options. Other reward credit cards with no annual fees may also earn frequent flyer miles indirectly by letting you transfer points from one rewards program to another. The Coles No Annual Fee MasterCard, for example, earns Coles flybuys points that you can exchange for Etihad Guest Miles, while an American Express card with Membership Rewards lets you transfer points to up to 10 different airline partners including Qantas, Velocity, Air New Zealand and Singapore Air’s KrisFlyer program.

How to compare no annual fee frequent flyer credit cards

The features of a no annual fee frequent flyer credit card can vary from one card to the next, which makes it important to compare a range of options if you want to find a card that suits your needs. Here are some of the key features and factors you should consider before applying:

  • Earn rate. Rewards credit cards generally earn points for every dollar that you spend (e.g. 1 point per $1). The higher this earn rate is, the greater the potential rewards you will get from using the card.
  • Purchase rate. Most reward cards typically have high interest rates for purchases, particularly if there is no annual fee. Make sure you consider the potential interest charges you could face if you carry a balance on the card, and remember that even the smallest variation in the purchase rate could make a big difference to the cost of the card.
  • Promotional interest rates. Some credit cards offer low or 0% interest on purchases or balance transfers for new customers during the honeymoon period. While these rates can be great in the short term, check the terms and conditions so that you know what to expect on an ongoing basis.
  • Bonus points. Some frequent flyer credit cards offer thousands of points for customers when they sign up and spend money in the first few months.
  • Reward restrictions. It’s a good idea to find out if your card provider places any restrictions on earning points. Such limitations could refer to a cap on the maximum number of points you can earn or whether your points have an expiry date.
  • Complimentary extras. Some of the other benefits available could include complimentary international travel insurance, extended warranties, purchase protection insurance, free flights, airport lounge access and concierge services. The value of these perks will depend on your individual circumstances, but they are definitely worth checking out when you compare different cards.
  • Other fees. Including balance transfer fees, late payment or over-limit fees, cash advance charges and foreign transaction fees. Check the details before you apply for a card so that you know what to expect.
  • Interest free days. If you pay your balance in full every month, you will get access to an interest-free period which can make using a credit card much more affordable.
  • Acceptance. While MasterCard and Visa cards generally have greater international acceptability, American Express cards normally make up for this by offering better point earning rates. The importance of international acceptance or the earn rate will depend on your individual preferences.

Who should get a no annual fee frequent flyer credit card?

These cards are designed for people who want to earn frequent flyer points using a credit card but don’t want to pay an annual fee for the service. They can also be a good starting point for people who are new to the world of frequent flyer programs, providing an opportunity to test waters without paying any money.

If you have compared a range of frequent flyer credit cards with no annual fees and found one you want to apply for, the next step is to consider the eligibility requirements, which usually include:

  • Your age. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card.
  • Your credit history. Most of these cards prefer good or excellent credit history.
  • Your income. Frequent flyer credit cards with no annual fees may have minimum income requirements starting from $25,000 to $70,000 or more.
  • Your employment. Most credit cards prefer customers in full time employment, but you may also be eligible if you are self-employed or retired with a stable income.
  • Your citizenship or residency status. While all Australian frequent flyer credit cards without an annual fee are available for citizens, some also accept applications from permanent residents, temporary residents and Visa holders.

Eligibility requirements can be a great guide for whether or not a particular credit card is right for your circumstances, so make sure you check these details before you apply for any no annual fee frequent flyer cards.

How to apply for a no annual fee frequent flyer credit card

Want to take advantage of a frequent flyer credit card with no annual fee? Follow these simple steps to find one and apply now.

  1. Decide on the frequent flyer program. Is there a frequent flyer program you prefer? This could help you narrow down your search for a good no annual fee credit card option for you.
  2. Compare frequent flyer credit cards with no annual fee. Look through the range of no annual fee frequent flyer options on this page and find one that suits your circumstances and needs.
  3. Apply for the card of your choice. Once you have found a no annual fee frequent flyer credit card that you like, just hit the ‘Go to site’ button and you’ll be taken to a secure application page.
  4. Fill out your application details. The application form will include sections for your personal and financial details, including your full name, date of birth, passport or driver's licence number, debts and assets and employer/accountant information. Keep these details handy and submit any supporting documents as required by the credit card issuer.
  5. Submit the application. You should hear back in a few minutes, either on the webpage or via email. If you get conditional approval, you can then follow the steps outlined by the issuer to complete the process and get your new card.

How long will it take to receive my no annual fee frequent flyer credit card?

After your application is fully approved, it usually takes between 5 and 10 working days to receive the new credit card but could take up to 21 days depending on the issuer.

Whether you are new to using a credit card to earn frequent flyer rewards or a seasoned spender, considering a no annual fee frequent flyer card gives you a chance to earn points without the expense of a yearly fee. Now that you know more about how these cards work and the different features to consider, you can compare and apply for a no annual fee frequent flyer card that fits with your circumstances and goals.

Frequently asked questions

How can I earn points through a frequent flyer program credit card?

You stand to earn reward points every time you make an eligible purchase, which can be in-store, online, or over the phone. You could also earn bonus points as a new cardholder or when you use your card at partner merchants.

What kinds of transactions don’t earn points?

Generally, cash advance transactions (such as ATM withdrawals) and balance transfers don’t earn points, and most government charges won’t earn you points. For a complete list of ineligible transactions you should go through your card’s terms and conditions.

Can I get a no annual fee frequent flyer credit card with a balance transfer offer?

Some of these cards do offer balance transfers from time to time, giving you an opportunity to save money when you move existing credit card debt to the new card. Just remember that if you use a frequent flyer credit card for your balance transfer, only new purchases will earn you points and they will attract interest from the day each transaction is made.

Do no annual fee frequent flyer credit cards provide airport lounge access?

This depends on the card you choose. Check out our page on credit cards that include airport lounge access for more information.

How can I tell if I earn enough for a frequent flyer credit card with no annual fee?

Every credit card has different income requirements. You can look at a card’s application requirements to find out what the minimum income amount is for different no annual fee frequent flyer cards.

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8 Responses to No Annual Fee Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

  1. Default Gravatar
    Eileen | April 22, 2016

    Are there credit cards that are better to use when travelling? I used a credit card when I travelled previously and found the costs quite high.

    • Staff
      Ysa | April 23, 2016

      Hi Eileen,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that you’ve come through, an online comparison service and we are not in the position to recommend any specific products or services.

      However, if you are considering other credit card options for your next trip, please refer to our Travel Money Credit Cards page.

      I hope this helps.


  2. Default Gravatar
    steve | February 3, 2015

    Hi, which frequent flyer card allows use of airline lounges? as well as accumulating points. Or is a different program (card) REQUIRED. Thanks Steve

    • Staff
      Jonathan | February 4, 2015

      Hi Steve, thanks for your inquiry!

      Please see this page for a list of credit cards which include free airline lounge passes and access. Please refer to this page for a list of Frequent Flyer cards & Airline Rewards. The airline lounges benefits will vary from card to card, generally possessing higher annual fees for the benefits. More information on each Frequent Flyer program including lounge benefits is available on the page.

      I hope this has helped.



  3. Default Gravatar
    Jane | July 13, 2014

    I have WPAC MC & AMEX cards with $4000 limit, for which I pay an annual fee. These are linked to QFF for which I also pay a fee. I pay full amount owing every month & would like to change to a no annual fee card and probably cancel QFF before next annual fee. Annual income is approx $30,000. Can you suggest best options?

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 14, 2014

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately we can not suggest the best options; you’ll need to look through the minimum income requirements of the cards, to determine which one will best suit your needs.

      Our page on credit cards with a $35,000 minimum income requirement may also help.


  4. Default Gravatar
    M | February 18, 2014

    My husband & I are on the aged pension so our income is under $35,000. We pay the majority of our bills on our ANZ QFF Visa card & pay the full balance each month so do not attract interest.

    How can we switch to another card eg. Virgin which may be may be of more benefit to us?

    • Staff
      Jacob | February 18, 2014

      Hi, M.

      Thanks for your question.

      Please have a look at our credit card comparison page for a range of credit cards that may be suited to your needs. If you would like to change your current credit card to another provider, you can close your existing account (call your card issuer and let them know you would like to close the account once it has been paid in full) and then apply for another card through the application links provided on our credit card review pages. If you have a balance on your current card, you can apply to transfer this balance to your new card under a balance transfer promotion.

      I hope this has answered your question.

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