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The 12 credit cards of Christmas


Labrador with xmas lights

With trimmings including 0% purchase rates, bonus points and no annual fees, you could be singing about one of these 12 credit cards on the first day of Christmas and beyond.

We all know that our credit card use skyrockets over the holidays. In fact, Australians spent a whopping $9.8 billion on Christmas gifts using their credit cards last year according to the RBA. That boils down to an average of $1,666 per cardholder. Credit cards can help break up your cash flow over Christmas but picking the right piece of plastic for you will depend on your spending habits and financial needs.

If you regularly repay your balance in full, you may want to reward your generosity with points over Christmas. But if you struggle to clear your balance each month and want to cut back your potential costs, you could be better off with a card that offers 0% on purchases or $0 annual fee.

As your credit card options are almost as varied as the 12 days of Christmas, we’ve curated our very own carol-based selections to help narrow down your options these holidays. From low frills cards to premium products with all of the Christmas trimmings, here are 12 cards of Christmas you may want to add to your wish list this year.

Warning: bad Christmas puns ahead. (All rates and fees are correct as of 17 November 2017.)

The card for 0% purchases: Bankwest Breeze Platinum

Baknwest breeze platinum
The Bankwest Breeze Platinum is a competitive option if you have “four calling birds” reminding you of existing credit card debt before Christmas. It currently offers 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 13 months, with a one-off 2% balance transfer fee if you move debt onto the card. Still, this introductory offer gives you a way to consolidate your debt and do all your Christmas shopping and be interest-free for just over a year.

After the introductory period ends, any debt remaining on the card will be charged interest at the standard variable rate – currently a competitive 12.99% p.a. You’ll also get complimentary purchase insurance covers, international travel insurance and $0 foreign transaction fees. The Bankwest Breeze Platinum comes with a competitive annual fee of $99, a minimum credit limit of $6,000 and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases if you pay your account in full by the due date on each statement.

The card for savvy spenders: Coles No Annual Fee Platinum Mastercard

Coles No Annual Fee Platinum Mastercard
No mincing words (or pies): We all know that the food is as crucial to Christmas as the gifts. With the Coles No Annual Fee Platinum Mastercard, you could earn rewards and save money as you’re shopping for the Christmas feast this year. If you apply by 31 December 2017, you’ll score $100 off a single shop at Coles. You’ll also collect 0.5 flybuys reward points per $1 spent. Once you’ve earned 2,000 points, you’ll receive $10 off at Coles supermarkets. It’s no 10 lords a leaping, but it’s something!

As the name suggests, this card also doesn’t charge an annual fee for the life of the card. It does have a 19.99% p.a. purchase rate, so you should aim to pay your balance every month to avoid interest.

The cards for Qantas Frequent Flyers: ANZ Frequent Flyer Black

ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
If you want to reward your gift giving this Christmas, a new ANZ Frequent Flyer Black could give you 75,000 bonus Qantas Points. That’s enough for a first class one-way flight to Bali, a return business class flight to Christchurch or an economy flight to London from Sydney. You just have to spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months to qualify for the bonus points. But that probably won’t be too difficult to do in the lead up to Christmas. Plus you’ll collect 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent up to $7,500 per statement period and 0.5 points per $1 thereafter.

The card also offers a host of complimentary extras and no annual fee for the first year, reverting to $425 p.a. thereafter. This could help cut your card costs if you’re only planning on holding the card for one year. There is also up to 55 interest-free days when you pay your balance in full but the standard purchase rate is 19.99% p.a. So this card is better suited to people who want to free up their cash flow over Christmas and can afford to pay off their balances in full each month.

The OTHER card for Qantas Frequent Flyers: Qantas Premier Platinum credit card

Qantas Premier Platinum Mastercard
You could milk more benefits from your cards, maid-style, with the Qantas Premier Platinum credit card. Similar to the ANZ card, it also rewards new cardholders with 75,000 Qantas Points when they spend $3,000 in the first three months.

You’ll also earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases in Australia up to $10,000 per statement period and 0.5 points per $1 thereafter. You can also earn 2 points per $1 spent on eligible Qantas Australia purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases overseas. Plus, if you use your card to pay for Qantas flights and other eligible purchases with the airline, you can also take advantage of a 0% p.a. interest rate for the first six months from the date the transaction is processed. So this card is undeniably designed to offer extra rewards to loyal Qantas customers and frequent flyers.

You can also travel in style thanks to two single-entry complimentary lounge invitations each year. You can use these when visiting domestic Qantas Club lounges or Qantas-operated international Business Lounges. These perks come at the cost of a reduced annual fee of $149 in the first year which reverts to $299 p.a. thereafter.

The card for Velocity lovers: American Express Velocity Platinum credit card

American Express Velocity Platinum card
If you’d prefer the gift of Velocity Points this Christmas, take a look at the American Express Velocity Platinum credit card. It boasts 50,000 Velocity Points if you spend $1,500 in the first 3 months, which could be an easy feat over the holidays. You’ll also collect 1.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent on everyday purchases and an extra point per $1 when you spend with Virgin Australia.

Along with Velocity Points, you’ll get access to perks including a complimentary domestic return flight with Virgin Australia, complimentary airport lounge passes each year and complimentary travel insurance. These perks don’t come for free, though. There’s an annual fee of $375 and a purchase rate of 20.74% p.a. You could outweigh the cost of the annual fee with the bonus points, flight voucher and airline lounge passes, but you’re best off paying off your account in full each statement period if you want to get maximum value from this card.

The entry-level frequent flyer: Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer

Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer card
With several different flocks of birds gathering for the 12 days of Christmas, there’s a lot of potential to earn more frequent flyer rewards with a credit card like the Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer. If you apply for this card by 30 November 2017, you can get a bonus 20,000 points each month when you spend $1,500 on eligible transactions for the first 3 months (up to 60,000 points).

You’ll also earn 0.66 Velocity Points per $1 spent for the first $1,500 you spend in a statement period and 0.5 points per $1 after that. As well as points, you’ll get a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year you have the card, which balances out the $129 annual fee for this card. If you have existing debt you want to consolidate, you could also take advantage of the 0% for 18 months balance transfer offer (reverts to the cash advance rate of 20.99% p.a.). But keep in mind that this card has a purchase rate of 20.74% p.a., so it could end up expensive if you carry a balance.

The department store credit card: David Jones American Express Platinum

David Jones American Express Platinum card
The David Jones American Express Platinum is choc full of benefits you can put to good use at Christmas, including complimentary gift wrapping, priority delivery and a Christmas Deferred Payment option for purchases made in store at David Jones between 1 November and 24 December, until February of the following year. This card also lets you choose between earning Qantas Points or American Express Membership Rewards for eligible spending anywhere you use the card. Plus you can get a bonus 40,000 Membership Rewards points or 30,000 Qantas Points when you get this card and use it outside of David Jones three times within the first month of becoming a new American Express Card Member.

You’ll also get complimentary international travel insurance, purchase protection insurance and complimentary American Express lounge access at Sydney airport, which could help offset the annual fee cost of $295. Purchases on this card attract a standard variable interest rate of 20.74% p.a. unless you pay it off each month, which will give you access to up to 44 days interest-free.

The big bonus points card: Citi Platinum

Citi Platinum card
This platinum rewards card offers a massive 100,000 bonus points when you apply by 31 January 2018 and spend $3,000 in the first 90 days from card approval. That’s about $1,000 per month, which could be quite easy to meet if you’re planning on buying your loved ones five golden rings or if you need to buy food and drink for all the lords and ladies coming around at Christmas. You’ll also earn Citi Rewards points for each $1 spent on your eligible purchases, which you can use to get a range of rewards including travel, gifts and frequent flyer points for your Velocity, Emirates Skywards or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account.

Other perks include complimentary travel insurance and purchase insurance, a concierge service and complimentary wine when you dine out at Citibank Dining Program partner restaurants. The Citi Platinum offers a reduced annual fee of $49 in the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter) and has a standard variable purchase rate of 20.99% p.a. But if you can fully pay off your balance each month, you’ll avoid interest on purchases with up to 55 days interest-free.

The card for debt consolidators: St.George Vertigo Platinum Online Offer

St.George Vertigo Platinum Online Offer card
If you’re struggling with a high-interest debt and you want to better manage your cash flow over Christmas, it might be time to consider a 0% balance transfer. The St.George Vertigo Platinum is just one many interest-free balance transfer you could compare over Christmas. With 0% on balance transfers 24 months and no balance transfer fee you can repay your debt without paying any interest well after you’ve packed away your Christmas decorations. This card also offers $0 annual fee for the first year, which can further cut back your costs. You can take advantage of this offer if you apply online by 13 December 2017.

At the end of the promotional period, any remaining balances will collect the revert rate of 21.49% p.a. So you should aim to repay the entire balance before this kicks in. You’ll also have to pay a $99 annual fee after the first year, so make sure to factor in this cost before deciding if this is your credit card Christmas miracle. Although it has a competitive purchase rate of 12.74% p.a., you should avoid using the card to book your 11 pied pipers a piping (or any other purchases) if you want to concentrate on paying down your debt.

The card for budgeting: Westpac Lite

Westpac Lite Card
If the partridge in your pear tree is a bit wobbly at the thought of more Christmas spending, the Westpac Lite could be a good option for keeping your credit costs down. This card offers a low purchase rate of 9.9% p.a. and modest credit limits between $500 and $4,000. You also have the option of setting up an installment plan for your repayments through Westpac’s SmartPlan service, which may make it easier to budget for your holiday debt and pay it off on a timeframe that works for you.

If this year’s Christmas shopping list includes presents from online stores, you can also take advantage of $0 foreign transaction fees when shopping with overseas retailers. You’ll also be able to make purchases interest-free for up to 45 days if you pay your balance in full for each statement period. If you choose the Westpac Lite for this year’s Christmas credit card, you’ll pay a monthly account fee of $9 instead of an annual fee, which may make it easier for you to budget for card costs.

The card for saving on costs: Virgin Money Low Rate

Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
If you want to pick up seven swans a-swimming without breaking the bank, the Virgin Money Low Rate charges a competitive 11.99% p.a. on purchases and offers up to 44 days interest-free if you pay your balance in full by the due date on your statement. For a limited time, you can also get a reduced annual fee of $49 p.a. for life (normally $99 p.a.) when you apply by 30 November 2017.

This introductory offer also gives you the chance to get some extra cash for your Christmas spending, with the Virgin Money Low Rate offering $100 cashback when you spend $500 per month for the first 3 months from when the card’s approved. Or, if you’d prefer to use the card to consolidate existing debt, there’s a balance transfer rate of 0% for 14 months when you apply by 30 November 2017.

The card with many travel perks: ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures

Coles No Annual Fee Platinum Mastercard
And for the lucky last card in this year’s 12 cards of Christmas (cue 12 drummers drumming, please!), we’ve got the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures.

If your true love and other loved ones are interstate, this card could help you get there for free, with a complimentary domestic return flight available when you spend $500 in the first three months you have the card or within the first three months from your card anniversary (as this benefit is ongoing). Other perks include two complimentary Virgin Australia lounge passes per year and ANZ Rewards points for your eligible spending.

This card also offers $0 foreign fees, which could be handy if you’re buying Christmas gifts online with stores that are based overseas (or if you’re planning a trip abroad). These features come at a cost though, with the annual fee for this card coming in at $225. There’s also a 20.24% variable purchase rate, with up to 55 days interest-free on purchases available if you pay the card off in full by the due date on your statement. So this card is most suited to people who can make the most of all the benefits without carrying a balance from month to month.

Although these are the 12 cards of Christmas we’ve added to our stocking this year, there are plenty of other options on the market if your “true love” isn’t calling to you from this list. Consider how much you plan to spend over Christmas, what you can afford to repay and the extra features you want to find the right card for you these holidays.

Images: Shutterstock

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