Can my credit card points expire?

Can my credit card points expire?

Everyone loves earning rewards, which is why rewards credit cards are so popular in Australia.

And perhaps you’ve even been carefully tracking your spending for the last year to ensure you’ve earned enough frequent flyer points to go on a holiday or for a new appliance from your rewards points store.

However, some cardholders may not realise that their hard-earned points may not only be capped but can also expire over time. Here is everything you need to know about how credit card points can be limited and even removed by your card provider.

Do credit card points expire?

Short answer is yes, some credit card providers do have expiration dates on their points. However, the majority of credit cards do not allow cards to expire, while some may come with credit card point caps.

For the majority of credit cards with expiry conditions, you’ll be encouraged to earn or redeem points at least once in a set time frame – such as every 18 or 24 months.

Different credit card providers have different rewards programs and expiry conditions. The easiest way to know if your credit card caps or expires points is to read your cards’ Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or the terms and conditions, typically found on your providers’ website.

Here are some of the most popular credit card providers and their expiry conditions for various rewards programs:

Provider Affiliated reward programs Expiry conditions
AMEX Membership Rewards No expiry date
  Qantas Frequent Flyer Earn or redeem points at least once every 18 months to avoid expiry
  Virgin Velocity Flyer Earn or redeem points at least once every 24 months to avoid expiry
ANZ ANZ Rewards 36 months after issue
  Qantas Frequent Flyer Earn or use points at least once every 18 months to avoid expiry
St. George/Bank of Melbourne/Bank SA Amplify Rewards No expiry date
  Qantas Frequent Flyer Earn or use points at least once every 18 months to avoid expiry
Citi Citi Rewards No expiry date
  Flybuys Earn or collect points once a year to avoid expiry
  Emirates Skywards Valid for 3 years from the date of travel
Commonwealth Bank Commbank Awards No expiry date
HSBC Rewards Plus 36 months after issue
  Qantas Frequent Flyer Earn or use points at least once every 18 months to avoid expiry
NAB NAB Rewards 36 months after issue
  Qantas Frequent Flyer Earn or use points at least once every 18 months to avoid expiry
Westpac Altitude Rewards No expiry date
  Qantas Frequent Flyer Earn or use points at least once every 18 months to avoid expiry

Source: RateCity.com.au. Data accurate as of 08/10/2020.

How do I prevent my credit card rewards points from expiring?

If you are saving up for a big-ticket reward point purchase but don’t want your credit card rewards points to expire, there are some strategies you can try to keep your points balance active.

  • Small purchases. If there’s something small and affordable in your credit card’s rewards program that won’t dent your budget, such as a gift card to an affiliated store, consider exchanging some points you won’t miss for this.
  • Earn points in different ways. If your frequent flyer rewards points are set to expire as you’ve been saving them up, but you are unable to easily earn new points via travelling, consider alternative ways to earn frequent flyer points. This includes purchasing items in affiliated stores with your chosen airline or even filling up your car with petrol.

Take a look at your credit card point conditions and don’t forget to set calendar reminders before your points may expire, especially if you’re trying to grow your balance for a big purchase. This can help to prevent any disappointment if your points did expire.

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Learn more about credit cards

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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 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 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.

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.

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 get a new credit card

To get a new credit card, generally you need to be at least 18 years old and have a good credit rating. You don’t need to be an Australian citizen. Usually you can apply online or in person at a branch of the card issuer. You’ll typically have to supply information like:

  • Your income and living costs (e.g. rent/mortgage, loan repayments, living expenses)
  • Your employer’s contact details
  • Details of your assets and any debts you are paying off