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What are frequent flyer rewards credit cards?

Reward credit cards allow cardholders to earn points on eligible purchases made with their credit card. These rewards points can then be exchanged for perks and rewards. The amount of points you can earn per dollar spent is called the earn rate. 

Frequent flyer rewards credit cards are a specific type of reward card, in which cardholders are rewarded with travel and international spending-related perks and rewards. Frequent flyer rewards cards can be standard rewards cards as well as platinum cards.

Traditionally, frequent flyer programs let you build up 'miles', or frequent flyer points, when flying with a specific airline, which you can use to get free or discounted tickets.

A frequent flyer rewards credit card combines these two ideas. A frequent flyer card will typically be linked to your frequent flyer account with your chosen airline. By using your frequent flyer credit card on eligible purchases, you can build up points without having to set foot on a plane until you're ready to fly.

What rewards and perks come with a frequent flyer credit card?

Some of the benefits you may be able to trade your points for include:

  • Discounted flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Hotel bookings
  • Concierge services
  • Airport lounge access and lounge passes
  • Flight upgrades
  • Baggage upgrades and priority delivery
  • Extended warranty
  • Gift cards
  • Other complimentary insurances 

You may be able to earn these frequent flyer reward points by:

  • Flying with the airline your card is linked to and their partner airlines;
  • Using your frequent flyer rewards credit card for your everyday spending; and
  • Spending money at partner supermarkets and stores.

Which frequent flyer rewards programs are available in Australia?

There are a multitude of airlines travelling to and from Australia, but only so many airlines linked to Australian frequent flyer credit cards. 

Australia's biggest airline, Qantas, is generally the most common airline you'll find connected to a frequent flyer card. Your spending may earn you Qantas points for the Qantas Rewards program and will be linked to your Qantas frequent flyer account - meaning you'll need to be a member before you join. You may be able to earn bonus Qantas points upon sign up on some credit cards, which can be exchanged for complimentary Qantas flights and upgrades, Qantas Club lounge access and more. 

Qantas frequent flyers can also exchange their Qantas points for any of the 15 linked airlines, including Jetstar, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Emirates Skywards, Cathay Pacific and more.

You can find Qantas frequent flyer credit cards from the big four banks, including NAB Qantas Rewards Signature card, Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas card, ANZ frequent flyer black card or the CommBank Platinum Awards card to name a few. Qantas rewards can also be found in competitor banks, credit unions and online lenders, so you’re never too far from a Qantas rewards credit card provider.

You will also find some frequent flyer rewards cards linked to Virgin's Velocity frequent flyer program, Singapore Airlines, and more, if you're willing to shop around. 

Cardholders can typically check their points balances through their own card account online or via their banking app, as well as through their frequent flyer account.

What are the benefits of frequent flyer rewards credit cards?

There are range of benefits of using frequent flyer rewards credit cards:

  • Flight rewards. The main benefit of frequent flyer rewards credit cards is the chance to get discounts on flights, free tickets, seat upgrades and much more. This could potentially save you a lot of money if you're a globetrotter.
  • Overseas travel insurance. Another handy perk of having a frequent flyer card is that you're generally afforded access to complimentary insurance covers, including medical, rental car and more. This can also save cardholders money, as you won't need to buy separate travel insurance coverage.
  • Waived foreign transaction fees. Some frequent flyer rewards credit cards will also allow cardholders to avoid those pesky overseas fees by waiving them, whether you're shopping online on an international website or shopping on a holiday overseas. 

Frequent flyer rewards credit cards often benefits big spenders who use the frequent flyer program to reward their normal spending behaviour. The more you spend, the more rewards you could earn. Keep in mind that annual fees tend to be higher for these types of cards, as they help to pay for the rewards programs.

It’s also important to be careful not to spend too much money while you’re chasing reward points. For those rewards to remain valuable, you should always aim to pay your card off on time, so you’re not ‘buying’ rewards with high interest charges. It’s important to maintain personal financial discipline, just as you would with a regular credit card – perhaps even more so.

Which frequent flyer credit card best suits you?

With so many card types on the market, it can feel overwhelming to choose the right credit card for your financial needs and budget. One method of simplifying your search for the best suited credit card is to consider your Spending Profile.

 Habitual spender

This type of credit card spender uses it like a debit card and is constantly incurring interest charges and paying off debt. A frequent flyer credit card may still suit this profile type, but they may want to be cautious about growing debt.

Suggested frequent flyer credit card type

  • Low rate and/or low fee credit card

 Impulse/Occasional spender

This type of credit card user sees their card as a financial tool, possibly for emergencies or big purchases, when they don’t have the money upfront. You may be considering getting a frequent flyer credit card just for the lead up to, and duration of, a holiday. You might not be points chasing, but more interested in perks like complimentary travel insurance.

Suggested frequent flyer credit card type

  • Low rate and/or low fee credit card
  • Standard frequent flyer credit card 

Everyday spender

This type of credit card user flashes the plastic whenever they can, such as when grocery shopping or paying bills. Unlike the habitual spender, this user always pays their balance in full each month and uses their frequent credit card spending to help grow rewards or frequent flyer points. A frequent flyer credit card may be on the horizon for you because you love growing rewards points and enjoying perks such as flight upgrades.

Suggested frequent flyer credit card type

  • Standard frequent flyer credit card
  • Platinum frequent flyer credit card

Big spender

If you put more than $5,000 a month on to your credit card you may fall under this spending profile. You may be looking for a frequent flyer card that offers a high credit limit, and more than the standard bells and whistles of a frequent flyer card. You may want to be rewarded for your spending, and that includes perks like concierge services and airport lounge access.

Suggested frequent flyer credit card type

  • Standard frequent flyer credit card
  • Platinum frequent flyer credit card
  • Black frequent flyer card (or equivalent high tier program)

What should I know about frequent flyer rewards credit cards?

Before you sign up for a frequent flyer rewards credit card, there are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Frequent flyer rewards credit cards tend to have higher interest rates and fees than more basic credit cards. Try to work out if the value of the rewards you may earn will be worth more than these extra costs, so the card can effectively “pay for itself”.
  • Read the product disclosure statement and any T&Cs so you know if there are restrictions on how you can use your points, what the earn rate and eligible purchases are, as well as the eligibility criteria to apply.
  • Check your credit history, as applicants with bad credit are less likely to be approved.

How do I carry out a frequent flyer rewards comparison?

To compare frequent flyer rewards credit cards, try to look at the following:

  • What is really being offered? what kind of rewards do you get with each card? Is the affiliated airline one you'll travel with regularly, or one you already have a frequent flyer membership with? 
  • What is the purchase rate? What interest rate will you be charged on outstanding balances after your statement period's due date? What about cash advance rates? 
  • How efficient is the point system? What is the spend criteria to earn frequent flyer points? Is it more difficult to earn rewards with some cards than it is with others? Is there a points cap, or expiry date on any points earned? Ensuring your potential card suits your financial situation and spending habits is a must.
  • Do any cards offer generous introductory rates? What interest rate will the card revert to after this introductory period - for example, is the standard variable rate much higher after the first year?
  • Is the card a Visa, Mastercard or American Express (AMEX)? Different frequent flyer rewards cards will offer different card types. 
  • What fees are involved? Does it waive foreign transaction fees, annual card fees or account keeping fees? 
  • Do you shop at the card’s partner stores? If you're rarely going to spend at any stores that earn you rewards points, it may not be worth the hassle.

Frequently asked questions

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 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 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.

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.

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. 

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 does ANZ credit card insurance cover?

ANZ offers complimentary insurance on some of its credit cards, which can provide some protection against unforeseeable incidents, like the theft of your card. Depending on the type of credit card you own, you may be eligible for different insurances. For instance, most ANZ credit card customers may qualify for Purchase Protection Insurance and Extended Warranty Insurance. Customers who own premium credit cards may also be eligible for Guaranteed Pricing, Rental Vehicle Excess, International Travel, and so on.

Consider checking your ANZ credit card insurance features listed in the Insurance Policy Information booklet to know which items are covered. Also, while ANZ issued the credit card, they are not the insurer. For this reason, you may need to send your insurance claims - and get your ANZ credit card insurance refund - to the insurance provider.

How can I increase my Bankwest credit card limit?

When you apply for a Bankwest credit card, you get assigned a pre-set credit limit, which will end up being the most that you can spend on your credit card before having to pay it off. Your credit limit is chosen for you and your current financial situation, and you should remember not to overspend, irrespective of the limit, in order to avoid racking up a massive bill.

However, banks and lenders understand that your needs will change, and have made it possible for you to increase your credit card limit, allowing you to get extra cash when you need it most. Moreover, with a higher spending limit, you may be able to get access to certain perks and benefits with your Bankwest credit card.

To increase your Bankwest credit card limit, you can visit any of the bank’s branches or call 13 17 19 and follow the steps outlined.

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. 

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.