Australian credit cards aren't only used to pay for big-ticket items or go on spending sprees. Some credit cards also offer rewards for your spending. If you like to get something for nothing, or fancy yourself a bargain hunter, then rewards credit cards may interest you.

Credit card rewards programs are all different, but they all let you enjoy extra benefits from using a credit card. In the right hands, a credit card with rewards can offer a lot of value.

Find and compare reward program credit cards

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Product Name Card
Purchase Rate
Points Per $1 Spend
Points Earned
Rewards Available
Annual Fee
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Purchase Rate

20.74%

Up to 0.66
earn 0.66 points for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
1500
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$64

for 12 months then $129

More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Up to 0.75
earn 0.75 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
3000
over 12 months (approx.)

Cash Back, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$295

More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Up to 2
earn 2 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
5000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card

Annual Fee

$375

More details

Purchase Rate

16.99%

0.002
uncapped
earn 0.002 points for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
120
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card

Annual Fee

$125

More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Up to 1.5
earn 1.5 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
2000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card

Annual Fee

$95

More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Up to 1
earn 1 point for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
7500
over 12 months (approx.)

Cash Back, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$425

More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Up to 0.5
earn 0.5 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
500
over 12 months (approx.)

Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$95

More details

Learn more about credit cards

How do credit card reward programs work?

Rewards credit cards let you earn rewards points for every dollar (or more) you spend. When you rack up enough points, you can exchange these points for rewards.

The rewards you can redeem will depend on your credit card provider, but may include:

  • Flight rewards where you can build up frequent flyer points with an airline or group of airlines frequent flyer programs, and may even have your travel insurance and concierge services covered.
  • Retail rewards allow you to build up points that you can redeem at particular stores in the form of discounts or gift cards. You might even get bonus points for shopping at particular retailers or buying specific products.
  • Cash back rewards which refund you a small part of what you've spent.
  • Supermarket rewards where using your credit card for everyday spending at a particular supermarket can earn you free extras.

Some other perks and rewards that still offer major bang for your buck to consider are:

  • Card type rewards that involve rewards points and perks tied to a specific credit card type, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express (AMEX). 
  • Introductory rewards such as waived fees and zero per cent interest rates in the first year of your credit card.

​Which credit cards offer the best rewards?

Finding right card for you will depend on exactly what type of rewards you want, your spending habits and your specific financial situation. 

Here are some of the most popular credit cards that offer different types of rewards and perks:

  1. Platinum credit cards - a more premium card type that typically comes with higher annual fees and ongoing costs, as well as harder eligibility criteria to meet. This is typically suited for high income earners. Platinum cards may be connected to standard rewards programs or frequent flyer programs, but may offer the greatest number of extras, such as complimentary insurances, high earn rates on reward points, and higher credit limits.
  2. Rewards credit cards - your standard rewards credit card will be linked to the credit providers rewards program. There you can exchange rewards points for goods and merchandise, as well as gift cards and event tickets. It will generally incur an annual fee, which may be anywhere between $35 and $1,200.
  3. Frequent flyer credit cards - these are rewards credit cards geared towards regular flyers. They are most commonly linked to Qantas Rewards or Velocity Frequent Flyer Rewards in Australia, but may also be linked to Emirates, British Airways and more. For example, Qantas frequent flyers may link their credit card spending to their account, and earn bonus qantas points on eligible purchases.
  4. Travel credit cards - similar to frequent flyer cards, travel cards are made with adventurers in mind. This means anything from earning points towards frequent flyer programs, to waived foreign transaction fees and other overseas costs. Travel cards may also come with complimentary insurances, such travel insurance and rental car insurance.
  5. Store credit cards - these are rewards cards specifically linked to your favourite supermarkets and retailers, such as Coles, Woolworths, David Jones, Myer and more. As mentioned above, these rewards can involve discounts and gift cards with said retailers. Your spending may also earn you additional rewards, such as flybuys rewards.
  6. Balance transfer credit cards - Some balance transfer cards are also linked to rewards programs. Ideally, this would be used after you pay off your outstanding balance or any new purchases will immediately be charged a purchase rate. Always keep an eye out for any potential balance transfer fees when choosing this type of card.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of reward credit cards?

Reward programs are meant to encourage bigger spending. Simply spending for the sake of earning points can be risky. But if cardholders use their rewards credit card responsibly, you could enjoy significant benefits.

Big spenders who like to flash their plastic could also benefit from a rewards credit card. In this case, you're not altering your behaviour in any way. Instead, you're simply capitalising on your regular spending by earning rewards. 

If you regularly shop at certain outlets or supermarkets, you may want to consider a store credit card. If you were going to spend the same amount of money there anyway, then a rewards credit card could also earn you free extras, provided you pay the balance off in full and on time. You may also enjoy membership rewards, such as flybuys rewards in Coles Group retailers.

Finally, overseas adventurers can benefit from frequent flyer credit cards or travel credit cards. Maybe you frequently hop on planes for business trips, or just have the travel itch. These cards may let you use points for plane tickets, airport lounge access/lounge passes, and offer overseas travel insurance.

Rewards credit cards may not be suitable for everyone. Maybe you’re on a budget and don’t always pay off your credit card in full or on time. Maybe you aren't a big traveller. Maybe you prefer to pay for your shopping through other means. In cases like these, a reward credit card may not be ideal for you. 

Rewards credit cards typically don't come with low fees or low rates, as these costs help to pay for these programs. You may end up paying fees, getting hit with high interest charges and getting into debt for a rewards program you don't really need.

Fees and costs of a rewards credit card

There are a range of common fees, costs and factors to consider when comparing rewards credit cards. These are typically outlined in the card's Product Disclosure Statement, which can be viewed on the card provider's website. 

Purchase rate The interest rate at which any purchases are charged if not paid in full during a statement period.
Cash advance rate The interest rate charged on any money withdrawn from outlets like an ATM.
Annual fees An ongoing cost that can range from $35-$1,200 a year.
Balance transfer fee  Also called a balance transfer rate, a fee charged by the new card provider for you to transfer your balance to them. Typically, around 3-5% of the balance.
Minimum repayment amount The minimum amount you need to pay on your outstanding balance each statement period. Typically, around 2% or $20, whichever is higher.
Earn rate The rate at which you can earn points on eligible purchases. Usually 1 point per dollar spent.

You can view the terms and conditions on a card provider's website to see any eligibility criteria and spend criteria before you apply.

How do I carry out a rewards credit card comparison?

To start a rewards credit card comparison, look at the freebies it offers. Are you interested in these products and services? There may not be much point spending big with a rewards credit card if you're not going to make use of its bonuses.

Also, check the card’s fine print:

  • How easy are the points to redeem?
  • Is there a limit on how many you can earn?
  • Will you be able to earn the points required through everyday purchases?
  • Do the points expire at any point?
  • What is the dollar-to-point ratio?

To get a better idea of the value of credit card rewards, don't just look at how many points you earn per dollar on each card. To find the best rewards credit card for you, look at how many points you’d need to earn to redeem a particular reward on one card, then compare this to other rewards cards. The easier it is to earn the rewards you want, the more value a card may offer you. 

Also, keep the fees and charges in mind. Some rewards credit cards charge high fees, which can offset the free extras in some cases. If you’d pay more in fees for a credit card than you’d earn in rewards, it may not provide enough value to be worthwhile for you. 

Hopefully, once you've looked at all these factors, you’ll feel more secure finding a rewards card that suits your spending and lifestyle.

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. 

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 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 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 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.

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. 

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 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.

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 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 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.

Which credit card has the highest annual percentage rate?

The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.

Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:

  • There can be different APR's for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent.
  • Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details.
  • If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible.

How to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

Do you need a credit card to get a loan?

You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset. Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for. But you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset. For more information on improving your credit score, go here

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.

Where can I get a credit card?

Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.

The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.

Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.

Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.

How do you pay off credit cards?

The best way to pay off a credit card bill is to set a realistic spending budget and stick to it. Each month, you’ll get a credit card statement detailing how much you owe and how long it will take to pay off the balance by making minimum repayments. If you only make the minimum repayments, it will take you years to pay off your outstanding balance and add extra costs in interest charges. To avoid any extra charges, you should pay the entire bill. 

How to get a free credit card

There's no such thing as a free lunch. All credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases, even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.

However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.