Frequent flyer credits cards with no annual fee

Qantas or Velocity Points and a $0 annual fee? It's not too good to be true with one of these credit cards.

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Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0
Get $100 off a Coles Supermarket shop when you spend at least $1,500 in the first 60 days. Plus, a 0% balance transfer offer.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
20.74% p.a.
$0
Earn 0.75 Qantas Points for your everyday purchases, uncapped, and pay $0 annual fee for the life of the card on this no-frills frequent flyer card.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
20.74% p.a.
$0
Earn 0.75 Velocity Points on your everyday purchases, uncapped, and pay $0 annual fee for the life of the card with this no-frills frequent flyer card.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get up to 40,000 bonus Velocity Points on eligible spending and a $0 first-year annual fee. Also, a 0% balance transfer offer.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get 40,000 bonus Flybuys Points or $200 off a Coles Supermarket shop, a $0 first-year annual fee and a 14-month balance transfer.
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Frequent flyer credit cards with no annual fee

While most frequent flyer credit cards charge an annual fee, there are a few that waive this cost. Depending on the card, you could get a $0 annual fee for the first year or for life – which could save you $30 to $700 or more compared to cards that have an annual fee. Usually you won't get as many perks (like travel insurance or lounge passes) but the savings could be worth it if those more expensive features aren't up your alley.

How do no annual fee frequent flyer credit cards work?

These credit cards give you a way to earn frequent flyer points that you can redeem for rewards including flights, hotels, gift cards and retail items. They also help you save money on account costs by offering a $0 annual fee – either for the first year you have the card, or for life.

$0 annual fee in the first year

Some frequent flyer credit cards will offer to waive the standard annual fee in the first year you have the card as part of an introductory offer. After the first 12 months, you’ll be charged a standard annual fee for the account.

This means you have time to test out the card (and enjoy perks such as bonus point offers or complimentary lounge access) without paying an annual fee. If you decide the card is worth it, you can then keep it and pay the fee when it is applied. If not, you can cancel the card before the end of the first year and avoid being charged any annual fee.

No annual fee for life

A limited selection of frequent flyer credit cards offer no annual fee for life, including the Qantas American Express Discovery and BankVic Qantas Visa. With these cards, you won’t pay an annual fee at all.

The catch is that you may not have as many extra features, such as complimentary travel insurance or lounge access. It’s also less common for frequent flyer cards that offer no annual fee for life to have huge introductory bonus point offers. But if you get one of these cards and pay the balance off each month, it does give you a way to earn frequent flyer points per $1 spent without paying any account fees.

How long will it take me to earn enough points for a reward?

This depends on the amount of points you earn per $1 spent, your overall spending and whether the card includes an introductory bonus point offer.

As an example, say you had a card that earned 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 and spent an average of $2,000 per month. Over a year, you would earn 12,000 Qantas Points, which is enough for a $50 digital Woolworths Group gift card (9,500 points) or a one-way economy flight between Melbourne and Brisbane (12,000 points).

You could also save these points for higher-value rewards. And if the card came with a bonus point offer, meeting the spend requirement would help fast-track your frequent flyer goals.

Ask Finder: What's the best way to use points apart from flights?

Is a no annual fee frequent flyer credit card right for me?

These cards are for people who want to earn frequent flyer points with a credit card but don’t want to pay an annual fee for the service. They can also be a good starting point when you are new to frequent flyer programs or credit cards because they give you a chance to test the waters without paying any upfront costs.

However, if you're a big spender, a frequent flyer card with an annual fee and a higher earn rate could give you more value than the savings you'd get from a $0 annual fee.

How can I compare frequent flyer credit cards with no annual fee?

Weigh up these features when you’re looking for a credit card that earns frequent flyer points and has no annual fee.

  • Annual fee details. Before choosing one of these frequent flyer credit cards, check whether the $0 annual fee is for the first year only or an ongoing feature of the card so that you know exactly what you’re getting in the long run.
  • Bonus points. Many frequent flyer credit cards offer thousands of introductory bonus points when you meet the spending requirements as a new cardholder. This could give you a huge amount of value in the first year – especially without an annual fee. Just remember that this value is temporary, so you’ll still need to think about the costs that could apply beyond the first 12 months if you plan to keep the card.
  • Points per $1 spent. The amount of points you’ll earn per $1 can help you figure out how much value you’ll get from the card based on your typical spending. Keep in mind that although you’ll earn points for most everyday purchases, you usually won’t get any for transactions such as cash advances, BPAY payments and government charges.
  • Interest rates. These types of frequent flyer credit cards typically have high interest rates, which could offset the value of the no annual fee if you carry a balance. If you want to pay off credit card purchases over a few months, you could also look at low interest rate credit cards that can help you save on interest charges.
  • Additional cardholders. If you want to boost your frequent flyer point balance by sharing the account with a partner or family member, check whether they’ll also get the option to have a card with no annual fee. Otherwise, you could end up paying more for the account than what you earn in points.
  • Complimentary extras. Weigh up the value of any perks, such as complimentary insurance, lounge passes or annual travel credit. If the card offers a $0 annual fee in the first year, also consider whether these benefits will outweigh the cost of the standard annual fee once that applies.

What's next?

If you’re interested in a frequent flyer credit card with no annual fee, start by comparing different options currently on the market. You can also compare a wider range of frequent flyer credit cards if points are your priority, or look at other no annual fee cards if your goal is to save on account costs.

FAQs about no annual fee frequent flyer credit cards

Want to know more about frequent flyer credit cards that offer no annual fees? We’ve answered some of the most common questions people ask us about them. If you have a question of your own, you can also get in touch with us using the comment box below.

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8 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JohnAugust 16, 2017

    I was going to apply for the new Qantas Premium Credit card but I need to have a Frequent Flyer card first, is that right?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeAugust 16, 2017Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can apply for this card even if you are not yet a member of the Qantas frequent flyer program. However, to receive points, you need to sign up for Qantas membership.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    EileenApril 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.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      YsaApril 23, 2016Staff

      Hi Eileen,

      Thanks for your question and for getting in touch with Finder.

      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.

      Cheers,
      Ysa

    Default Gravatar
    steveFebruary 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

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanFebruary 4, 2015Staff

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Please see a list of credit cards which include free airline lounge access. You may also refer to a list of Frequent Flyer cards and other airline rewards. The airline lounges’ benefits will vary from card to card, generally possessing higher annual fees for the benefits.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    MFebruary 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?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JacobFebruary 18, 2014Staff

      Hi M,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can use 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. You can call your card issuer and let them know you would like to close the account once it has been paid in full. 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.

      Cheers,
      Jacob

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