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There are a lot of credit cards connected to rewards programs, like Airpoints from Air New Zealand.

There’s a vast range of rewards customers can benefit from. So, what are they exactly?

Rewards are a point-system whereby you can earn points simply by using your credit card. The points accrued can be converted into goods or services and discounts.

Rewards programmes are designed to give you fringe benefits for your loyalty. By using your credit card as your preferred payment method, you are rewarded via the point-system.

However not all credit cards offer rewards, and different credit card providers offer different types of rewards.

Some of the most popular credit card rewards programmes are for flights and travel. You might be familiar with frequent flyer points associated with Flybuys, Qantas or Virgin’s Velocity program.  

A growing number of credit card providers are offering customers points that can be earned and redeemed with major airlines.

Airlines are also establishing membership programs that reward members for loyalty to the brand. One such reward scheme is Air New Zealand’s ‘Airpoints’.

What is Airpoints?

Airpoints is Air New Zealand’s answer to frequent flyer points, which earns its loyal members Airpoints Dollars that can be spent on air travel, car hire and accommodation.

In addition to earning Airpoints Dollars, the Airpoints programme lets you accrue membership status points. The more status points you earn, the more likely your membership will be upgraded.

Through status points, you could elevate your membership to silver, gold or elite, which gives you access to a greater range of benefits to spend your Airpoints Dollars on.

You might be happy to know that you don’t need to be a frequent flyer (not all of us are) to grow your Airpoints or spend your Airpoints Dollars.

What are the benefits of Airpoints?

You already know that being a frequent flyer is not a pre-requisite for Airpoints membership. That said, most of the member rewards are travel-related.

One of the main benefits of an Airpoints membership is the ability to earn Airpoints Dollars that can be redeemed as flights and upgrades, car hire, travel insurance or a Koru membership.

There are literally thousands of flights you can purchase using your Airpoints Dollars with Air New Zealand, one of its partner airlines or on selected star alliance flights.

Participating Airpoints partner airlines include:

  • Virgin Australia
  • Etihad
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Jet Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic

Star alliance has more than 18,500 daily flights to nearly 1,500 destinations in 192 countries that you can spend Airpoints Dollars on.

As an Airpoints member, you also have the option to use your Airpoints Dollars on hire cars from Avis or Budget and choose from a range of travel insurance policies for your next holiday.

How can I earn Airpoints Dollars?

You can start earning Airpoints Dollars by simply joining the free Airpoints programme. Either jump on Air New Zealand’s website and register, or click here to find out more about Airpoints membership.

As an Airpoints member, you can earn Airpoints Dollars on Air New Zealand flights as well as many partner airline and Star Alliance flights.

Airpoints Dollars can also be earned through Avis and Budget car rentals, Expedia accommodation bookings and via selected credit card partners.

Airpoints has partnered with more than 10,000 hotel properties around the world. You can earn Airpoints Dollars by booking your accommodation directly with one of them.

Air New Zealand has also partnered with a number of leading financial services organisations, each of which offers an associated credit card product.

Reward points earned through these partner credit cards can be converted into Airpoints Dollars. However, you don’t have to have a credit card to earn Airpoints Dollars.

There’s the option to earn Airpoints Dollars by making purchases with participating retailers.

How can I spend Airpoints Dollars?

Airpoints Dollars are not convertible into cash; however, you can use them to redeem rewards. The list of rewards available is regularly updated; you can check out the current list here.

As an Australian member, any Airpoints Dollars you earn will be converted into Australian dollars where applicable.

And just for the record, you can’t transfer your Airpoints Dollars or Status Points to another airline’s frequent flyer programme (in case you were wondering).

Do Airpoints Dollars expire?

The good news is that your Airpoints Dollars are valid for four years from the date of accrual (or the date of purchase). After that, they will expire and be removed from your account.

Is the Airpoints reward program for me?

If you’re not much of a traveller, you might want to consider a different rewards program. As an Airpoints member, you can earn Airpoints Dollars easily enough, but if you don’t plan on traveling… there’s not much opportunity to redeem those dollars (or points) earned.

If you’re a Kiwi or someone who often travels across the ditch, the Airpoints reward program might be advantageous, particularly within New Zealand.

How do I decide which is the best^ Airpoints reward credit card?

Each Airpoints credit card partner offers a unique credit card product that carries with it an Airpoints Dollars conversion rate.

Which credit card appeals to you will depend on what you want out of your credit card – aside from the Airpoints membership benefits.

When making your decision it’s worth comparing features such as fees and charges, the list of participating reward partners, and of course how the points can be used outside of Airpoints.

Air New Zealand offers Airpoints members a range of selected credit card products. Each credit card gives you the ability to earn Airpoints Dollars while delivering the regular features of a credit card.

What other airlines have reward programs?

Other major airlines offering well-established reward programs are Qantas and Virgin Australia. Qantas Frequent Flyers earn Qantas points, while Virgin has the Velocity Frequent Flyer program.

Like Air New Zealand’s Airpoints program, Qantas and Virgin Australia give members a range of credit card options to choose from.

Many banks in Australia offer credit cards that allow you to earn Qantas Points, which are automatically credited to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.

Of course, you must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points.

Qantas goes on step further than the competition by offering Qantas Points on select transaction and savings accounts, home and car loans, insurance products and online trading accounts. 

Virgin Australia gives you two options to turn your credit or charge card spend into Velocity Points. One way is by using a Velocity co-brand credit card; these are tailored to the Velocity program.

Or you can use a participating partner credit card which allows you to transfer your existing reward points to your Velocity account.

Velocity Points can be transferred from participating hotel, credit card, charge card and shopping rewards partners. And redeemed for flights, upgrades, car hire, fuel, merchandise or hotels.

^The best credit card for you may not be the best choice for somebody else with different financial circumstances, and vice versa. Before selecting any credit card, it’s important to compare the available options, consider your personal financial goals, and calculate which card will likely offer you value. If you’re not sure which option is the best credit card for you, consider asking a qualified financial adviser for assistance. 

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if my ANZ credit card has expired?

Your ANZ credit card is considered expired only after the last day of the month and year marked on your card. For instance, if your card’s expiry date reads 03/22, it is valid until 31 March 2022 and expires on 1 April 2022. Typically, you should have received a new credit card by that date, and you won’t have to request a new card. 

Once you get the new card, you should remember to switch any automatic payments you have - such as a utility or mobile phone bill - from your expired credit card to your new credit card. Equally, if you are using CardPay Direct to repay your ANZ credit card debt, you may need to update the credit card account details for that service as well. 

In case the new card doesn’t arrive by the expiry date of your current credit card, you can call ANZ on 13 22 73 to find out the reason and if you need to request an expedited card. Please note that if you were planning to close your credit card account or request a credit card upgrade, you may need to call ANZ at least before the 25th of the month your current credit card expires in, as that’s when they may send you the new credit card.

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward. 

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

Does ING increase credit card limits?

You may want to increase your credit card limit for many reasons, such as having access to more spending money. However, if you are using the Orange One credit card issued by ING, you may not be able to do so. 

ING customers can choose a credit limit of their preference when applying for the Orange One credit card. Depending on your financial situation, this limit can be anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. If you qualify for a Rewards Platinum card, the minimum credit card limit will likely be $6,000. 

Ideally, you should set your credit card limit knowing how much you can afford to repay each month and keep your expenses lower than this level. With most credit cards, you should have the option of requesting a credit card limit increase at a later time, although you will need to qualify for any increase. With an ING credit card, limit increases are out of the question (at the time this was published), which means you may want to apply for a higher credit card limit from the beginning. Remember that you have the option of decreasing your ING credit card limit at a later time.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own. 

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

Does Woolworths Qantas offer any credit card insurance?

Credit cards can be useful for managing your expenses, but they also come with other advantages like credit card insurance. Your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card may offer a host of complimentary insurance options, which include: 

  • Travel insurance: Cover for your whole family when they travel with you, with unlimited overseas medical emergency cover and $500,000 accident insurance for accidental loss of life.  
  • Purchase security insurance: If you purchase an eligible product with your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, the cost of theft or damage that occurred within 90 days of the purchase will be covered, provided the amount doesn’t exceed the purchase price of the item or up to $2500 per event. 
  • Extended warranty insurance: If you purchase eligible goods with your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, this complimentary insurance will extend the manufacturer’s Australian warranty by up to 12 months. 
  • Global hire car excess waiver: If you’re legally liable to pay an excess or deductible in the event of loss or damage to a rental vehicle that was booked using your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, the costs will be covered. 

To find out more about Woolworths Qantas credit card insurance, you can call them on 1300 10 1234. 

How to increase your Qantas Premier credit card limit

When your income or spending habits change, you might wish to increase your credit card limit. The Qantas Premier credit card allows you to do this over the phone. You can contact Qantas Premier Card Support by calling on 1300 992 700. Unlike some other credit providers, Qantas doesn’t give you the option to increase your limit online.

Qantas will only accept your application if you have a good history of repayment and have not increased your credit or bought another credit product from Qantas in the past six months.

Before approving your Qantas Premier credit card limit increase, Qantas will perform a credit assessment on your current financial circumstances and ask why you would like to increase your credit limit.

To ensure that there are no bumps in your application process, you must provide accurate and recent information about your financial situation. You should also account for any future changes you’re anticipating which could hinder your ability to repay the loan.

Once the assessment is complete, Qantas will either approve or deny your application. If they approve it, you will need to sign a credit limit increase agreement - and you can request a written copy of the credit assessment. However, if your application is rejected, Qantas can opt not to provide a copy of the assessment.

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

What can I do about my Commonwealth Bank expired credit card?

You’ll typically receive your replacement Commonwealth Bank credit card before your current one expires. 

Once you receive the replacement card, you may need to update the new card with all the direct debits that you had set up on your expired Commonwealth Bank credit card. These could include insurance payments, electricity or gas bills, and monthly entertainment subscriptions.

To see a list of all your regular payments in NetBank, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to NetBank
  2. Click on ‘settings’
  3. Go to ‘product requests’, and select ‘credit card regular payments’. 

If you don’t use NetBank, you can see the list of your regular payments on your most recent credit card statement. Keep in mind, this list may not be complete and you should also check your past statements or your transaction history. 

If you haven’t received your replacement card before your current card expires, call 13 22 21 and the bank will send a new card to you. 

It is important that you safely discard your expired credit card. This often means cutting it up with scissors and throwing it out. 

How do I apply for a BOQ credit card limit increase?

If you’re an existing BOQ customer, you can request a BOQ credit card limit increase over a phone call. However, you should remember that owning and using a credit card is a matter of financial responsibility, so it might be worth thinking this decision through. 

When requesting a credit card limit increase, you’ll need to be just as responsible in terms of how much you earn and can set aside to repay the outstanding card balance. A credit card company may approve a credit limit increase only if you can show that you have either the income or the disposable income, which is the amount you have left after all expenses have been paid out.

For this purpose, you may need to submit your latest income documents and bank statements for an increase. You may want to estimate how much you usually have left after deducting your expenses, and then use this amount to try and convince the credit card company. Also, you may prefer to pay off the card balance in full each month and thus avoid paying interest on the card, helping you back up any claims of financial responsibility, as well. 

Remember that you may not be able to apply for a credit card limit increase beyond any limitations on the type of card you own. For instance, if you own a card whose ceiling is $10,000, and your current limit is $5,000, you won't likely be able to apply for a $10,000 credit card limit increase.