Reward Credit Cards
Compare Reward Credit Cards
If you’re one to make frequent purchases on your credit card, then a rewards credit card just might be for you. Rewards credit cards enable cardholders to earn rewards for using their card to make everyday purchases. Higher credit card spending translates to more points and therefore, better rewards.
When you compare credit card rewards programs in Australia, you’ll find a broad range of perks and items that you can redeem with your rewards points. From cash back rewards and shopping privileges to frequent flyer points and free hotel stays, there’s an endless variety of reward options awaiting the rewards credit card user. A typical rewards credit card gives one reward point for every dollar spent. Once you’ve accumulated enough reward points, you can then redeem these for the reward of your choice, usually via the credit card providers online redemption store.
To select the best Reward Credit Card there are many points to consider, though a good starting point in your search should be to set out find the Reward Credit Card that provides you with the rewards most relevant to your needs, at the lowest cost.
Credit Card Rewards Comparison
In the quest to secure your custom the Credit Card providers are constantly devising new credit card reward programs offering generous discounts and savings on a range of services including travel, dining, and petrol. A rewards credit card offer that has become very popular is the Frequent Flyer Rewards credit card, which involves linking your credit card directly with your frequent flyer account, and earning frequent flyer points, from your preferred airline, on your credit card spend.
A recent initiative has seen some Card Providers offering credit cards which not only reward you for spending, but also allow you to earn reward points for making repayments on your card, including repayment against your balance transfer.
When making a credit card rewards comparison it is important to balance the features of the rewards credit cards against the cost of holding the credit card, as it’s usual for Reward Credit Cards to charge an annual fee to hold the card, and have access to the reward program. Features that should be considered when selecting your reward credit card include:
- Number of points rewarded per $ spent - the credit cards earn rate or point ratio
- Any expiration period on reward points earned
- The cost of holding the credit card - the annual card fee
- Any introductory offer or bonus points, and any conditions associated with acquiring the sign up offer
- The relevancy of the rewards you can redeem your points for, to your lifestyle
- Any capping of the number of points you can earn across a given period
Frequent Flyer Credit Cards
Each of the major Australian Credit Card providers have partnerships with both Australian and Global airline alliances to offer co-branded credit cards which offer the ability to transfer reward points earned for spending, to your chosen airline's frequent flyer program.
Many of the Australian Credit Card providers offer large sign-up bonuses of Frequent Flyer points, to their Frequent Flyer Reward Cards. These bonuses are largest when you “link” your Reward credit card direct to your airline frequent flyer account.
The frequent flyer points earned from these Frequent Flyer credit cards can be redeemed against flights as well as a broad range of products and services including electronics, leisure goods, gift cards and hotel reservations. The 2 largest Frequent Flyer Reward programs in Australia, have both partnered with Credit Card providers to issue reward credit cards which offer frequent flyer points in return for card useage ANZ, American Express , Citi and NAB all offer credit cards with Qantas Points and Virgin Money, NAB and American Express offer credit cards with Velocity Points
100,000 Qantas Points Full Card Details >>
Annual fee $450, no points cap, complimentary Insurances
100,000 Velocity Points Full Card Details >>
Annual fee $375, no points cap, complimentary Insurances
Cash Back Reward Credit Cards
Cashback credit cards use exactly the same approach as other rewards credit cards. For every dollar you spend on eligible purchases you earn rewards points that can be redeemed for cash.
The cash back redemption choices vary by provider and include a straight transfer back to your credit card account, a transfer back to another nominated account or a gift card/shopping vouchers for a nominated retailer.
Cash back credit cards are great if you want total flexibility on how you can use your rewards points as you are not tied to a provider points currency, which can only be redeemed for their offers.
When considering a cash back credit card it is important to appraise the potential cash back you’ll receive for your spend versus the annual fee that these credit cards tend to charge, generally if your spending is low the cash back will not cover the annual fee. Furthermore cash back credit cards have higher interest rates and so if you envisage carrying a balance on your card these cards are probably not the best option.
From an appraisal of the Cash Back Credit Cards available in Australia Credit Card Selector has calculated the following average rate of cash back which will be available for redemption, relative to eligible spend levels, this is intended as a general guide only.
$12,000 Spend = $100 cash back
$25,000 spend = $220 cash back
$60,000 spend = $700 cash back
Store Credit Cards
A Store Card is simply a credit card that are issued by a retailer and can only be used in a that retailers store, or if the retailer is the member of a retail group, it maybe used across the groups portfolio of stores. These Store Cards should not be confused with Store Credit Cards which are Credit cards issued by Retailers in partnership with Credit Card Providers, and can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted.
Store cards are often offered at point of sale by sales assistants in store and frequently include incentives to joint, such as a % discount of the purchase you are making on that day or an introductory interest free period, in return for signing up for a card on the day.
The interest rates on store cards tend to be at the higher end of the scale and so if you carry a balance on these credit cards they will be expensive.
In terms of benefits store cards generally offer:
1. A discount off the price of your first store purchase
2. Exclusive store card holder events such as fashion shows
3. Store card points per purchase which can be redeemed for store gift cards or vouchers to spend in store.
4. Partner offers available when you show your Store Card.
Supermarket Rewards Credit Cards
Supermarket Rewards Credit Cards reward shoppers each time they spend money in participating stores, these rewards include instant discounts at the cash register, vouchers off future purchases, petrol discounts and points which maybe linked to other programs, such as frequent flyer programs.
The two largest Supermarket Reward Programs in Australia are Flybuys (circa 5 million members) owned by Coles, and Everyday Rewards (circa 6 million members) owned by Woolworths. Coles Credit Cards are all linked to a flybuys account with flybuys being earned on all the cards when you shop at Coles Supermarket.
The reward vouchers provided by the supermarkets use your previous purchases to predict what other products you maybe interested in, this information is then used to provide discount vouchers which should be relevant and useful to you, so encouraging you to re visit the supermarket and redeem your vouchers as you shop.
Guide to the major Credit Card Reward Programs
Each of the major Credit Card providers has developed a Rewards program designed to reward their cardholders with Reward Points, relative to their card usage. These reward programs all operate in pretty much the same way and all typically feature:
- A standard point earn rate per $1 spent on eligible purchases
- A bonus reward point earn rate that is earned when you use your reward card to make a purchase at one of the bonus partners. These Bonus earn rates range from double points to 5 x the standard earn rate.
- A Points Cap that determines the maximum number of Reward Points you can earn from using your Reward credit card each month
- An online Rewards store where you can manage and redeem your Reward Points
- The ability to transfer your Reward Points to a variety of Airline Partners, these partners vary by rewards program.
Westpac Altitude Rewards
Westpac Altitude Rewards are offered across 5 Altitude credit cards issued by Westpac including 2 Business credit cards. This program has proved popular with cardholders who are looking for flexibility in how they redeem their reward points for travel, as Altitude Rewards Points can be transferred to many of the major frequent flyer programs including, Velocity Frequent Flyer Rewards, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Air NZ Airpoints. All (except Air NZ) transfer Altitude Reward Points to the airline programs at 2 Altitude Rewards Points for 1 frequent flyer point.
Complimenting this ability to transfer your Altitude Rewards Points to a chosen airline is the ability to book direct with 30 airlines using your Altitude Reward Points. Altitude is not all about redeeming Points for travel as they also offer an extensive range of goods and services in their Altitude on line store.
When you apply for a Westpac Altitude credit card you will be issued with 2 credit cards, an American Express credit card (for maximum Altitude Reward earning opportunities) and a Visa or MasterCard, (to ensure you have worldwide acceptance). These 2 Altitude Reward credit cards will be managed on a single account with one monthly statement, one annual fee and a single credit limit.
Altitude Rewards points do not expire so long as you remain an Altitude Reward cardholder.
St George Amplify Rewards
St George Amplify Rewards are offered across 4 Amplify credit cards issued by St George all of which are designed for personal as opposed to business use.
The Amplify Rewards program has proved popular with cardholders who are not loyal to a single airline and are looking for flexibility in how they redeem their Amplify Reward points for airline travel. St George has delivered on this demain for flexibility by enabling Altitude Reward members to transfer their Altitude Rewards Points to many of the major frequent flyer programs including, Velocity Frequent Flyer Rewards, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Air NZ Airpoints. All (except Air NZ) transfer Altitude Reward Points to the airline programs at 2 Altitude Rewards Points for 1 frequent flyer point.
Complimenting this ability to transfer your Amplify Rewards Points to a chosen airline is the ability to book direct with 30 airlines using your Amplify Reward Points. Altitude is not all about redeeming Points for travel as they also offer an extensive range of goods and services in their Amplify on line store.
Amplify Rewards features a number of Bonus Partners who offer the highest Amplify Reward Point earn rates, these include Crown Hotels, Dreamworld, Holiday Inn Hotel and Resorts, Secure Parking and Park Royal Hotels.
Citi Rewards are offered across 4 Citi credit cards issued by Citi all of which are designed for personal, as opposed to business use.
Citi as one of the pioneers in credit card rewards consistently offer some of the most generous introductory bonus reward point offers and point earn rates. Each of their Reward Credit Cards also includes the opportunity to participate in the Citi Dining Program that is very popular and well used by Citi Reward cardholders who frequently dine out.
Citi Rewards is one of the most flexible credit card points programs for Visa credit cards, as Citi have invested heavily in partnering with a broad range of transfer partners to whom Citi Rewards Points can be transferred.
To compliment the longstanding rewards partnerships with Velocity Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Emirates Skywards and Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles (for the Citi Prestige only), Citi have recently added a number of new point transfer partners - notably Hilton & IHG Hotels, Etihad Guest, Delta Skymiles and Garuda Airlines.
Citi has a well established list of Bonus Partners who all offer 3 Citi Reward Points per $1 of spend, these partners include well known brands across a variety of services:
- Accomodation - Intercontinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, Park Royal Hotels, Oaks Hotels and Resorts and Fraser Suites.
- Shopping - Bose, Salvatore Terragamo and Fresh Flowers.com.au
- Automotive - Wilson Parking and Europcar car rental
American Express Member Rewards
American Express Member Rewards are offered across 10 American Express credit cards issued by American Express 6 of which are designed for personal use, with 4 reserved for the business cardholder.
Member Rewards are managed and redeemed via the American Express on line Reward store, via this store you are able to transfer Member Rewards to Nine Airline Frequent Flyer Programs including Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air New Zealand Airpoints , THAI Royal Orchid Plus, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Continuing the travel theme, American Express REwrad Points can also be redeemed through the Travel Agency Partner, helloworld, or alternatively you may choose to use your points with Webjet, American Express Travel Online, or a range of Hotel Guest Transfer Partners, you can even redeem your points for foreign currency.
American Express Member Reward Points don’t have an expiry date or period. You may, however, forfeit points earned in the previous month if your account is overdue. You automatically lose points when you cancel your Card or cancel your enrolment in the Membership Rewards program. You must redeem your points or transfer your points to a linked account prior to a cancellation.
A recent introduction has been the ability to pay off your credit card account with your Reward Points in what American Express call their Points for Credit. When using Points for Credit Rewards may be redeemed on your primary Card account in set denominations of $50, $100, $250, $500 and $1,000.
Frequent Flyer Credit Card Rewards - Pretty much all of the major Australian and Global Airlines now offer credit cards in partnership with credit card providers which provide the opportubity to earn points which can be added to your frequent flyer account. If you are a frequent flyer member of an airline it maybe worth checking out the credit card options they have on offer. Read more
Compare American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards - American Express has been one of the leaders in Credit Card Rewards with its Membership Rewards Program through which points can be earned for transfer to an airline frequent flyer program, a Hotel Loyalty Program or redeemed within the American Express online store, which is packed with massive range of products and services. Read more
Compare Qantas Rewards Credit Cards - Qantas runs the largest Frequent Flyer Program in Australia and includes the opportunity to earn points by using one of the Qantas Direct Earn Credit Cards to earn points on everyday purchases, which are then automatically credited to your Frequent Flyer Account. Read more
Credit Cards with reward point sign up bonuses - With intense competition for new card holders the credit card providers have turned to incentivising new applicants to apply for their card with the promise of a sign up bonus of free rewards points. These sign up bonuses range from 5,000 upto 50,000 reward points, with all the latest offers featured here. Read more
ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Credit Cards - With generous sign up Qantas Points and 3 credit cards to choose from ANZ has a Qantas Credit Cartd to suit all types of card holders who wich to accelertae their Qantas Point earning. Read more
Current deals on Velocity Frequent Flyer Credit Cards - Velocity, in partnership with the credit card providers, is currently offering some exceptional sign up bonuses, with reward point bonuses of upto 60,000 Velocity Points on offer. Read more
Flexibility of Rewards with The Westpac Altitude Credit Cards - With the ability to transfer your Altitude points to 6 frequent flyer partners as well as the option to choose to earn Qantas Points from day one, these cards are perhaps the most versatile frequent flyer credit cards around. Read more
ANZ Rewards Credit Cards - ANZ Rewards provides one of the most flexible credit card reward programs with its ability to transfer points to a range of popular frequent flyer programs and redeem points for an extensive range of travel, home, experiences and gift related products and services via the ANZ Rewards online store. Read more
Reward Credit Cards - Frequently Asked Questions
Credit card providers offer rewards in a variety of forms. These include:
- Cash rebates. Some cards reward you by giving you back a certain percentage of your overall spending. While the cash back is a very small portion of what you did spend, it’s the type of reward that many appreciate.
- Merchandise and shopping vouchers. You can pick from a wide range of merchandise including home appliances, kitchen wares, electronic items, books, cosmetics, and gift vouchers for specific stores, restaurants and other service providers.
- Entertainment. Rewards points can also be exchanged for movie or theater passes, concert tickets, and tickets to sporting events.
- Airline miles. Some of the most popular rewards program in Australia are those that let you earn travel miles for the dollars you spent. Big spenders and people who often travel would benefit the most from frequent flyer rewards programs.
- Travel perks. Even if you don’t fly all too often, you may still redeem earned credit card rewards for travel perks during trips. Use the points for travel insurance or to book hotel stays, car rentals, accommodation upgrades and others.
- Charity. Some rewards programs give you the option of using earned points for a worthy cause such as to support a charity of your choice and/or to offset carbon emissions.
There are a lot of loyalty and rewards programs to choose from in Australia. There’s practically one for every cardholder regardless of income, spending range and rewards choice. Here are some of the features that you should look into when choosing a credit card rewards program:
- Points system. Spending $1 will typically earn you 1 reward point, but this can change from one card rewards program to another. For instance, some rewards cards can let you earn up to 3 points or frequent flyer miles for every $1, while others award you double the points when you use your credit card on partner establishments. Other programs give bonus rewards points (anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000) upon sign up, or when you spend up to a certain amount within the first few months of your rewards account.
In addition, you should also ask these questions when learning about how to earn points from a credit card rewards program:
- Is there a cap or limit to the number of points I can earn each year?
- Will the reward points expire if I don’t redeem after a certain period or if I don’t use my card for some time?
- Do I lose the points if I miss a payment or two?
- Does the card allow balance transfers and do I get points for that?
- Does the program offer bonus points when I shop at specific establishments?
- Redemption rate. The value of the reward you get isn’t just determined by the point you earn. In fact, knowing the amount you need to spend to reach a certain number of rewards points (e.g. $10,000 for 10,000 points) won’t be of much use to you unless you know how the points are translated back to dollar value based on the rate of redemption.
For example, one rewards program may offer a $100 Myer voucher for 10,000 points while another program requires 30,000 points. In this case, it is easy for you to determine which is a better deal because you can calculate how much you will need to spend to earn the number of points required for each program. It therefore pays to be astute not just on how you earn points but on which program offers the maximum possible value for your rewards points.
- Redemption options. If you’re not too confident about being able to accumulate so many number of points but still want to take advantage of credit card rewards, then you’d best learn more about the redemption options first. Can you redeem with a mixture of points and money? Does the program offer a decent range of rewards for even smaller number of points? Is it easy to redeem points?
- Interest Rate. The interest rate of the rewards credit card is an important factor that interested consumers should also look into. This is because the annual percentage rate (APR) of rewards cards are generally on the high side. While the best move would be to pay the outstanding balance of your reward credit card in full every month, getting a card that has a lower interest rate compared to others would hurt you less financially in case you have to maintain a balance.
- Annual Fee. The attractiveness of many credit card reward offers may often lead consumers to overlook this other important factor: the annual fee. As with the APR, annual fees can be higher for rewards credit cards. Even if you think the offers are too good to pass up on, check the annual fee first and see if the benefits you hope to gain will outweigh the cost of being enrolled in the program.
No, not all reward cards require annual fees. However, most credit card providers who advertise a $0 annual fee waive it only for the first year.
For those rewards programs that charge an annual fee right from the start, the fee would often be higher than other credit card types. Just like the high interest rates, the more expensive annual fee allows the credit card provider to recoup part of the costs of the rewards given to consumers. The higher the annual fee, the more you will have to spend to truly benefit from the rewards program. On the upside, higher annual fees are usually associated with top tier rewards cards and often translate to more attractive and/or exclusive rewards.
Yes, some rewards programs do allow balance transfers, offering zero or low interest rates for the amount transferred for a limited period. Take note though, that balance transfers are usually not eligible for rewards points. To be sure, check the terms and conditions of the rewards and balance transfer offer of the credit card provider to know more about the interest rates, related fees, rewards eligibility and other provisions of the program.
Credit card providers have different minimum income requirements for credit cards in general, and not just for rewards cards. Some rewards programs accept applications from consumers with an annual income of $15,000, while for other programs, a $100,000 minimum income per year is required. Bear in mind though, that other than the income requirement, a good to excellent credit score is needed to qualify for credit card rewards.
To find out which cards and rewards offers are suitable for your income bracket, check out our credit card rewards table
For those credit card providers that offer different reward card tiers, consumers are classified according to income and to the amount that they are likely to spend using the card each year. The most common levels of rewards card that providers offer are the:
- Gold Cards. Gold cards require the lowest minimum income of the three types, which could be anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on the credit card issuer. Gold cards also have the lowest credit limits of the three rewards tiers and have limited options when it comes to added credit card features such as travel insurance and purchase protection.
- Platinum Cards. Platinum rewards cards may have a higher minimum income requirement and users of this card may enjoy a higher credit limit. Platinum cardholders may earn more points for every dollar spent as compared to Gold cards, and they may already be given access to some exclusive card offers such as global customer support, waiver of fees, and travel insurance.
- Diamond Cards. Also called Premium Cards, this level is considered as the top tier of rewards credit cards. Diamond cardholders are given the privilege of the highest credit limits, the most exciting travel perks, excellent concierge services, and a host of other services exclusive only to the Diamond ‘club’. It goes without saying of course, that the income and credit requirements for this level are also the highest and most stringent.
A bank’s credit card rewards program and a loyalty program like flybuys or Everyday Rewards basically operate on a similar concept: you earn points by spending through your card and you exchange these points for a variety of rewards such as travel, gift vouchers, and merchandise.
With loyalty programs like flybuys and Everyday rewards however, you can earn points only by making purchases at partner establishments. The flybuys program for instance, lets you collect flybuy points from a number of partner retailers and service providers such as Coles, KMart, Target, Travelworld, Best Western, and others.
On the other a hand, a bank or a credit card provider’s rewards program lets you earn points by using your credit card to pay for purchases and services. Although it’s possible to earn more rewards points from a select group of brands and retailers that the provider is associated with, your capability to earn points is not limited to the purchases made at partner stores. You can use your credit card -- Visa, Mastercard, or American Express -- at local establishments or anywhere in the world.
Credit card rewards programs hold a lot of appeal for consumers because they essentially give “something for nothing.” Consumers think that since they’re going to be using their credit anyway, they might as well get something out of it. This is the line of reasoning that makes it easy get caught up with credit card rewards offers.
Truth is, when used wisely, a rewards credit card can indeed help you save and earn money. But there are several pitfalls to owning a rewards card. Here are points you should consider before signing up for one:
- A rewards card features higher interest rates. Interest rates of rewards credit cards can typically range from 19% to 22%. These high interest fees give card providers a chance to subsidise the costs of giving out rewards. If you’re going to accrue debt on this type of credit card, any rewards you may gain can be easily wiped out by the interest costs. All purchases made using a rewards credit card should therefore be paid in full every billing cycle.
- A rewards card charges a higher annual fee. Let’s say you don’t charge a lot to your rewards credit card and still have to pay a hefty annual fee for it. Chances are, you’ll end up paying more for the card than gaining a reward, even if you pay your balance in full every month. Also, choosing a rewards program that waives the annual fee for the first year is good, but make sure that the fee they charge on the second year and onwards is an amount that is acceptable to you.
- A rewards cards may lead you to overspend. Being able to rack up points in a rewards program is part of the excitement for many consumers. As a result though, you could end up spending more than you really need or intend to just because you want your rewards points to reach a certain level. It’s never wise to overspend just to earn more points.
A related risk is when you use credit for everyday purchases you normally spend for in cash such as groceries and fuel, and then use the extra cash in your account on other things instead of paying for the purchases charged to the card.
- A rewards card may prevent you from getting a credit card that is better suited for your needs. If you’re already sold out on the exciting offers that a rewards program promises, you may no longer be able to opt for a credit card type that is more appropriate for your current situation. Instead of focusing on rewards for example, perhaps getting out of debt would should be more of a priority, in which case a balance transfer credit card would be more suitable for you.
One of the most popular rewards program in Australia is the Qantas Frequent Flyer program which offers flights and other travel benefits for redemption with rewards points earned. Other notable offerings include the American Express Membership Rewards program, the Westpac Altitude program, the Velocity (Virgin) program and the Commonwealth Bank Awards program.
This isn’t to say that any of these rewards programs will be best for you as well. That will be up to you to decide based on the information we have provided and the different credit card rewards programs offered by various providers.