Best plastic for more frequent flyer points
COLLECTING frequent flyer points is a lucrative game for millions of travellers, and credit cards offer the biggest pointsearning potential.
A rewards card with a signon bonus can easily deliver a dozen flights between capital cities in the first year or an international trip anywhere.
But finding the right card for you is tricky because of each product’s fees, points-earning power and sign-on bonuses, and your own airline preferences.
There is one golden rule: If you’re not going to repay the card debt within its interest-free period, don’t get a card because interest costs and fees outweigh the benefits. If you can control your debt, the sky’s the limit.
Reward card fees are often hundreds of dollars a year.
Adele Eliseo, the founder of thechampagnemile.com.au, said people should assess whether membership perks justified the annual fee.
Some cards offset the cost of the fee with annual benefits.
“As an example, the Qantas American Express Ultimate card comes with a $450 annual
fee,” Ms Eliseo said. “However, it delivers a $450 Qantas travel credit and two Qantas Club lounge entries each membership year.
“So, by using the included benefits, cardholders can offset the cost of holding the card each year.”
Ms Eliseo said a good card for sign-on bonuses was the Qantas Premier Platinum Card, offering 120,000 points.
“A minimum spend of $1500 is required each month for six months to obtain the sign-on bonus,” she said.
Point Hacks spokesman Daniel Sciberras said sign-on bonuses changed frequently and several providers now offered 100,000 points.
“Also, financial providers are beginning to stagger bonus points so that you earn a large chunk in the first year, and the remaining portion after the first year, to encourage card members to hold on to their cards longer,” he said.
RateCity research director Sally Tindall said chasing signon bonuses with different cards might seem appealing but could tarnish your credit history.
“Every time you apply for credit it’s recorded on your credit file and can lead to a reduction in your credit score,” she said.
Make sure your card provider isn’t stingy when delivering points, and check terms and conditions. “Some cards have a cap on how many points you can earn, while others give you less points for shopping at certain stores,” Ms Tindall said.
Mr Sciberras said choose a card linked to an airline you used regularly “with a high earn rate, as some cards will ... earn in excess of 1 point per dollar”.
For points and perks
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventure Card
For sign-on bonuses
Qantas Money Premier Platinum Card
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Card
American Express Westpac Altitude Black bundle