Up in the air about frequent flyer changes?

Up in the air about frequent flyer changes?

From 1 April 2009, you won’t be able to transfer points from some credit card or charge card reward programs to the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program.

By Jackie Pearson
4 March 2009

You may have noticed the Airport billboards counting down the changes to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program but what do you need to do to find out how the changes will impact you?

Qantas flagged a major overhaul of its Frequent Flyer program last year and announced that the changes would come into effect from 1 April 2009.

The changes will mean you may no longer be able to transfer reward points earned on your credit card over to Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

Qantas is currently focussed on getting two key messages across to its Frequent Flyer members:

  • If you have accumulated points on a credit card that is not a “direct earn” option you have until 31 March 2009 to transfer those points or you‘ll lose the ability to use them in Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • After 31 March 2009 you will need to have a “direct earn” credit card in order to keep generating Frequent Flyer points when using your card. This will automatically transfer your credit card points into your Frequent Flyer account.

Image by Skazama

Which cards will be ‘direct earn’?

All major credit card providers will continue to offer customers the ability to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on everyday spending. Issuers providing an ongoing Qantas option are ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac, American Express, Diners Club, Suncorp, Citibank, St George Bank and Card Services Australia.

Credit cards provided by the major issuers that will continue to offer the ability to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points include: ANZ Frequent Flyer Visa (standard, Gold and Platinum); NAB Qantas credit card (Gold and Platinum), Westpac Earth (Standard, Gold and Platinum), Qantas American Express (standard, Premium and Ultimate); Qantas ANZ (NZ) Visa (Classic and Platinum); and standard, Gold and Platinum.

What if my card isn’t direct earn?

If you don’t currently have one of the direct earn cards listed above speak to your card provider about the options available to you.

All credit card providers who currently offer Qantas Frequent Flyer points as a rewards option also have a direct earn option available.

There are some cards in the market which these changes do not affect, meaning you’ll be able to transfer reward points to Qantas Frequent Flyer after 31 March. Specifically, some business cards are not affected by these changes, nor are the American Express Platinum Charge and Centurion products.

Talk to your provider

It is essential to talk to your credit card provider before the 31 March cut-off date to ensure you don’t lose the opportunity to transfer your existing points if that’s what you choose to do.

Customers with affected products who do not choose the Qantas option will continue to be able to use their points in their card program as they do today, however they will not be able to redeem those points after 31 March for Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

Double your points

If you do have a ‘direct earn’ card you have the opportunity to double your points by making a valid purchase from one of the 350 ‘Qantas partners’ in the program.

Qantas also added a range of general rewards to its program in mid-2008, including the ability to redeem points for all available seats on any Qantas or Jetstar flights.

As for whether or not Qantas will also increase the miles you will need to travel before qualifying for free flights, CEO of Qantas Frequent Flyer Simon Hickey says, “We have no plans to change the Classic point levels.”

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Learn more about credit cards

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.

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 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 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.

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. 

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 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.

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.

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.

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 many numbers are on a credit card?

The numbers on your credit card actually follow a universal standard which is used to identify specific functions. Each credit card has a different amount of numbers. Visa and Mastercard have 16, American Express has 15 and Diner’s Club has 14. 

The first number on a credit card always identifies what type of credit card it is. Visa cards start with a 4, whereas Mastercard starts with a 5 and American Express with a 3. The remainder of the digits represent the account number, including the last number which is used to verify that your credit card is actually valid. 

Credit cards also have additional verification numbers, which are mainly used when the card isn’t present for phone and online purchases. These are the three-digit numbers on the back of Visa and MasterCard or the four-digit numbers on the front of an American Express 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.

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.

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.