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Enjoying a flight to an exotic destination simply from spending on your credit card certainly sounds too good to be true, but that’s what credit card rewards can deliver.  

The reward may be as specific as a card earning points with Thai Airways, or a credit card partnership with one of a multitude of other domestic or international airlines. 

So with so many options to choose from, how do you know exactly which reward program will deliver the right experience for you?  

It all comes down to knowing what’s available and how it can best work within a spending framework that works within your financial means.

What are credit card rewards?

Credit card rewards are based on a points system that allows the cardholder to receive points corresponding to a dollar amount spent on credit card purchases made on everyday items that are deemed to be ‘eligible purchases’.

The points are issued to the cardholder by a card provider based on the structure of their respective card program and accrue over time until they are redeemed for a reward.

The type of rewards offered by card providers usually come in the following forms:

  • Points towards various airlines’ frequent flyer programs
  • Merchandise – most popular are the personal, lifestyle or electronic categories
  • Shopping vouchers – for everyday items such as groceries and fuel
  • Cash-back

What are Thai Airlines points?

Thai Airways has a customer loyalty points-based program called Royal Orchid Plus that provides members with a variety of travel benefits which increase in line with the number of points accrued.

The program has four different tiers of membership which are reached according to the miles accrued over either 12 or 24 months.

As members progress up each tier, they have access to an increasing number of benefits:

  • Basic
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

How do you get Thai Airlines points?

You can accumulate Thai Airlines points in two ways.

  1. Have access to a credit card with a reward program with any of the airline partner members of the Star Alliance, which includes Thai Airways and Thai Smile. These points can be accumulated and then converted into frequent flyer miles that can be used for travel with Thai Airways.

Star Alliance airline partners include:

  • Adria
  • Aegean
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • ANA
  • Air New Zealand
  • Asiana
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Egypt Air
  • Ethiopian
  • Eva Air
  • Lot Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss
  • TAP Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United
  1. By being a member of the Thai Airways frequent flyer program, Royal Orchid Plus, and either flying with the airline or acquiring points by purchasing any goods or services through its extensive network of hotel partners, car rental partners, communication partners and lifestyle and promotional partners.

Points through program partners

The program offers the opportunity to accrue more points through some of the world’s most recognised brands offering complementary travel and lifestyle services.

Hotel partners of the program include:

  • Accor Hotels – which include the Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, The Sebel, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, ibis, ibis Styles, Thalassa sea & spa properties
  • Chatrium Hotels and Residences
  • Dusit Hotels & Resorts
  • Hilton Honors – which include the Waldorf Astoria, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites, HOME2 and Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Hyatt - which includes the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Hyatt Regency 
  • Intercontinental Hotel Group – which includes theIntercontinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites
  • Langham Hospitality Group – which includes the Langham, Langham Place, Cordis Hotels & Resorts, Eaton Hotels, Chelsea Hotel, Toronto
  • Mandarin Oriental Hotels & Resorts
  • Millennium Hotels and Resorts
  • Minor Hotels Group
  • Okura Nikko Hotels
  • Shangri-La Group
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts – which includes the Sheraton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, W Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton, aloft hotels and element by Westin 
  • Sukosol Hotels
  • Worldhotels

Points can be gained through bookings made with any of the following car rental groups:

  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Hertz
  • Sixt

The program also offers travellers the opportunity to receive points through a partnership with a global communications network as well as special offers on dining, health and wellness and food.

What are the benefits of Thai Airlines points?

Depending on the level of your membership, points can be redeemed for awards that include:

  • Upgraded travel with both Thai Airways and other Star Alliance partners
  • Priority services including priority reservations, check-in, baggage handling, excess baggage allowances, airport lounge access and complimentary upgrades
  • Hotel stays with program partners.

The program also offers the ability to pay for some rewards with points plus cash.

How long do Thai Airlines points last?

There are several terms and conditions attached to the accumulation, redemption and transferral of points:

  • Points that convert to miles are valid for three years
  • If the miles accrued in each quarter of any given year are not redeemed, they expire at the end of the corresponding quarter three years afterwards
  • Expiring miles that are not redeemed by the last day in each quarter are void and deleted from accounts
  • The points and miles are not able to be transferred from one member to another

Where are some of the places Thai Airlines flies?

Thai Airways flies to many of the world’s most popular cities and travel destinations across the continents of Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa.

What rival airlines have credit card partnerships?

Most of the world’s international airlines have credit card partnerships either directly or by being part of a group alliance such as the Star Alliance.

What should I look at when comparing credit card reward programs?

There are several tips to remember in relation to credit card rewards.

  • Is it financially effective for you? Programs can be an effective way of working toward acquiring gifts and experiences you would ordinarily have to pay for. However, this is true only if the cost of making the purchases on your credit card to accumulate the points doesn’t incur any additional costs, such as interest charged if you don’t pay off the card amount in full.
  • Do the rewards fit your lifestyle? Credit cards that offer rewards that are not likely to be utilised or don’t fit easily into your lifestyle largely defeats the purpose of having the program attached to the card. These cards often come with higher interest rates and fees, so this needs to be factored into if the reward is actually worth it. Look at all the card’s features, particularly the interest rate and annual fee, beyond any introductory period.
  • Compare apples with apples. Many different banks and financial institutions will offer credit card programs that have been designed to appeal to various demographics and card users. Once you determine if a credit card reward program is for you, ensure you compare relevant cards from competing providers to find the most appropriate option for you.

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'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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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 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 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. 

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 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.

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.

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.