Best Frequent Flyer Credit Card

We compare the latest Frequent Flyer Credit Cards to help you select the best Frequent Flyer Credit Card where point earn rates, introductory bonus points, redemption opportunities and points capping are all integral to accessing the best card.

Frequent Flyer Reward programs which are offered with frequent flyer credit cards are customer loyalty programs which reward credit cardholders for using their credit card to pay for eligible purchases. There’s a number of frequent flyer programs which have partnered with credit card providers, though they all operate in much the same way, with more frequent credit card usage translating to greater points accumulation. The 2 most popular frequent flyer programs in Australia are the Qantas Frequent Flyer and the Velocity Frequent Flyer programs, though frequent flyer credit cards also are offered, which have frequent flyer reward points on offer, from Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Program and Emirates Skywards Program.

The Best Frequent Flyer Credit Cards feature a combination of high point earn rates, generous introductory bonus points, low fees, complimentary airport lounge access and competitive purchase and cash advance interest rates. Our guide to selecting the best frequent flyer credit card (below the table) is designed to help select the best frequent flyer credit card for your financial circumstances and credit requirements. A selection of the best credit cards for earning Frequent Flyer Points are featured in the comparison table below, which also includes a Points calculator designed to indicate the number of Frequent Flyer Points you would earn in the 1st 12 months of being a cardholder, relative to your monthly credit card spend.

Introductory Offer: 100,000 Velocity Points 

Offer conditions: Receive 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you apply online by 31st July 2017, are approved and spend $1,500 on your new Card within the first 3 months. This offer is available to new Card Members, as well as Bank- issued American Express companion cardholders

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for the first 12 months 
  • Virgin Australia Lounges - Two complimentary Single Entry passes to the Virgin Australia lounge each year at selected domestic airports
  • Complimentary domestic return flight with Virgin Australia - to selected cities, now and every year after your first Card spend
  • Interest Free Days - Up to 55 days on purchases.
  • Apple Pay - use your compatible iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch to securely pay with your card in store and within apps
  • Android Pay - use your compatible Android device to securely pay with your card in store and within apps
  • No points cap on the amount of Velocity Points you can earn

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Best Frequent Flyer Credit Card

The best frequent flyer credit card is the one that is going to reward you most generously in return for your loyalty. To identify the best credit card you should examine all the credit card features, the rates & fees and the details of the frequent flyer program as you compare and select your frequent flyer credit card.

The various costs and charges associated with using and holding a frequent flyer credit card, including interest rates and annual card fees should be at the forefront when making your frequent flyer credit card comparison as no amount of frequent flyer points will pay off any debts incurred on your credit card.

 

Earning frequent flyer points from your credit card spend

The number of frequent flyer points you can earn from using your frequent flyer credit card to pay for purchases are dictated by 5 factors:

 

1. Frequent Flyer Point earn rate

This point earn rate is used to calculate the number of frequent flyer points that you are rewarded by the credit card provider for each $1 spent on eligible purchases (more on this later) using your frequent flyer credit card. So for example if your credit cards earn rate is 1 Point for each $1 spent using your frequent flyer credit card and you spend $100, you will earn 100 frequent flyer points.

The earn rates offered on frequent flyer credit cards tends to fall in the range of 0.5 to 3 points for each $1 spent using your frequent flyer credit card, with the higher point earn rates being reserved for premium level credit cards. Most frequent flyer credit cards feature a standard point earn rate and a range of Partner Point earn rates which are triggered when you pay for a purchase made with one your frequent flyer credit cards partners. These partner point earn rates can be as much as triple the cards standard point earn rate.

 

2. Introductory sign up bonus Frequent Flyer Points

​With well over 50 Frequent Flyer credit cards available in Australia the credit card providers are constantly offering introductory offers of Frequent Flyer Bonus Points to entice cardholders to select their card over the competitors. These introductory offers range from 5,000 up to as many as 100,000 frequent flyer Points.

These frequent flyer bonuses tend to be subject to new cardholders using their frequent flyer credit card at a denoted level within the first few months of holding the card. So for example a sign up bonus of 10,000 frequent flyer points maybe offered, with the points being transferred to your nominated frequent flyer account only after you make a purchase, which must occur within 3 months of receiving your new frequent flyer credit card.

 

​3. Eligible credit card purchases to earn frequent flyer points

Frequent Flyer points are only awarded when you use your frequent flyer credit card to pay for eligible purchases. These eligible purchases vary slightly by credit card provider but generally include everyday purchases and exclude balance transfers, utility bills and ATO transactions. Some Platinum and Black level frequent flyer credit cards do consider some utility and ATO payments as eligible for earning Points though at an earn rate below the standard rate of the card.

 

4. Expiry of Frequent Point Points  

Any frequent flyer points you earn from your credit card spend are subject to the terms and conditions of the frequent flyer program to which you have transferred them.  Some frequent flyer programs stipulate an expiry date for frequent flyer points, which is generally in the range of 24-36 months.

Both Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer programs do not expire points. However, you should earn or redeem points within a certain time period - 18 months for Qantas and 36 months for Velocity - to keep the status of your account and your points active.

 

​5. Capped Frequent Flyer Points

Most frequent flyer credit cards include a limit on the number of points which can be earned across a defined time period, usually monthly or annually. Once this “cap” is reached any purchases you make using your frequent flyer credit card will not earn frequent flyer points. Frequent Flyer Credit Cards with Uncapped Point earning potential do exist but are limited in numbers, with Qantas Credit Cards with No Points Cap and Velocity Credit Cards with No Points Cap well worth consideration when you are seeking to be rewarded for every dollar of spend on your frequent flyer credit card.

 

Frequent Flyer Programs offering Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Program

Qantas has partnered with all the major credit card issuers offering over 50 Qantas frequent flyer credit cards from providers including American Express, Westpac, St. George nab and ANZ. With over 400 Qantas Rewards partners participating in the Qantas Rewards program bonus points opportunities for spending with partners is extensive, which compliments the bonus point opportunities offered on bookings with Qantas Holidays and Qantas Airways.

Qantas is a member of the OneWorld alliance so Qantas Points can be redeemed for flights with Qantas and 14 other OneWorld airlines including Emirates, American Airlines and British Airways.

 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Virgin Australia offers over 40 Velocity Credit Cards, providers include American Express, Virgin Money and nab.

The redemption opportunities with Velocity Rewards are extensive and as you'd expect include flights, to over 600 global destinations, with tickets starting at just 7,000 points. The Velocity eStore features hundreds of merchandise choices from electronics to gift cards and even charity donations. Velocity Points can also be transferred to the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program at the rate of 1.35 Velocity Points for 1 KrisFlyer Mile.

 

Emirates - Skywards

Emirates in partnership with Citi and American Express offer Frequent Flyer credit cards aligned with the Emirates Skywards Rewards program. Skywards Miles can be redeemed for a variety of rewards and can be earned through flights, promotions and partner offers, notebly it is free to join with no annual membership fee.

 

Singapore Airlines - Krisflyer Miles

Singapore Airlines has partnered with Westpac and American Express to offer Frequent Flyer Credit Cards aligned with its KrisFlyer program. Cardholders can redeem their KrisFlyer miles for award flights to more than 1,000 destinations in over 170 countries as well as upgrades on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and world-class airline partners in the Star Alliance. Both Citi Rewards and Velocity Points can now be transferred to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Miles.

 

Westpac Altitude Credit Cards

If you are not loyal to a single airline and would prefer the flexibility of transferring your points to a range of Frequent Flyer Programs the Westpac Altitude Program is worth consideration. Westpac Altitude Rewards key feature is it's versatility to transfer your Altitude points to a wide choice of frequent flyer programs including Qantas Rewards, Velocity Frequent Flyer Rewards, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Air NZ Airpoints.

 

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

With the opportunity to transfer your American Express Member Rewards points to one of 9 Airline Frequent Flyer Programs the American Express Credit Cards are a good option when you are not loyal to any one airline and prefer to have flexibility on how you use your points with any of the available Frequent Flyer Programs. The Airline Frequent Flyer Programs American Express currently partners with for points transfer are: Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air New Zealand Airpoints, THAI Royal Orchid Plus, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

 

Citi Rewards

Citi Rewards Credit Cards offer you the choice of earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points on your Citi Signature credit card or Citi Prestige credit card by joining Citi Qantas Rewards. Your points will automatically be transferred to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program each month which enables you to use your points to redeem from over 2,000 products, vouchers or experiences through the on-line Qantas Frequent Flyer Store or any available Classic Award flight with Qantas, Jetstar and participating partner airlines.

 

ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Credit Cards are offered as companion credit cards, so cardholders hold both an American Express and a Visa Card to provide acceptance across the globe, combined with the ability to maximize all Qantas Point earning opportunities, by presenting the card with the highest Qantas Point earn rate when paying for goods and services.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What does it cost to join a Frequent Flyer Program?

To earn frequent flyer points on your credit card you will need to be a member of the frequent flyer program which you have chosen to earn points in. Most programs are free to join, with the exception of the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program, which charges a one-time fee of $82.50 to join, although the fee is occasionally waved as an incentive to sign up for promoted credit cards. Depending on the program, you must earn or spend points at least once during a set period to keep your membership current and not lose your points. For Qantas, it’s once every 18 months; for Velocity, it’s at least once every 36 months.

Will I lose the frequent flyer points I have earned if I close down my frequent flyer credit card?

No, you will not loose your Frequent Flyer Points. Any frequent flyer points that you earn in a frequent flyer program are separate to your credit card. So if you are ceasing to use your credit card or switching to another credit card your frequent flyer points will not be affected.

Frequent flyer credit card versus a rewards credit card, which is best?

If you are scouting around for a rewards credit card that best suits your spending habits and financial position, there are many options you can consider and a frequent flyer credit card is one of the most popular. Frequent flyer credit cards are a good fit for cardholders who:

Travel frequently - Frequent flyer programs were originally designed with the frequent flyers in mind so it follows that these consumers would be able to make the most of this card. Since you’ll be taking these flights anyway whether or not you have a frequent flyer card, then you might as well take advantage of the benefits of one. The rewards get better when your membership status goes higher and you’ll get extra travel perks.

Use a credit card frequently - If you’re a frequent credit card user and to settle your balance in full every month, you could be well-rewarded with a frequent flyer credit card. You’ll earn more points the more you transact using your credit card, and you could actually get enough points to earn free flights. Or, you could exchange your points for a wide range of exciting rewards other than flights.

If you don’t fall under these two general categories, you could probably do better with a more conventional rewards credit card. Frequent flyer credit cards typically charge higher annual fees and you lose out when you don’t spend enough. Now with a no-frills rewards credit card that waives the annual fee (or charges a low one), you can actually be rewarded for your everyday spending without having to pay for anything in return. This is of course, provided you pay your balance in full every billing cycle. Cashback cards in particular, offer very tangible rewards because you can see the savings credited back to your account.