Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

By   |   Updated 4 Mar 2024

Compare frequent flyer credit cards to earn points on spending, redeemable for flights and upgrades with your favourite airline.

Want to fly Qantas and oneworld?

Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards

Some kind of overview.

HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Accrue 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent, up to $1,000 monthly; thereafter, earn 0.5 Qantas Points. Point accumulation capped at 7,500 per statement period.
  • Enjoy 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers, with no balance transfer fee. (Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.99% p.a.)
  • Includes complimentary travel insurance and purchase insurance.

Pros

  • Earn up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent.
  • Comes with complimentary travel insurance and purchase insurance.
  • You get complimentary Qantas Frequent Flyer membership for free.
  • Add additional cardholders for free.
  • Up to 55 interest-free days.

Cons

  • Qantas Points are capped at 7,500 per statement period.
  • Ongoing annual fee of $299 p.a.
  • Ongoing interest rates are high.
Qantas Premier Platinum Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Get up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points upon spending $3,000 or more on eligible purchases within 3 months from card approval. Plus, an extra 20,000 bonus points if you haven't earned Qantas Points with a credit card in the past 12 months. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Benefit from 0% on Balance Transfer for 12 months with no Balance Transfer fee. Returns to Cash Advance rate thereafter. No interest-free days are applicable on retail purchases with an outstanding balance transfer.
  • Benefit from the reduced annual fee of $349 p.a. for the initial year. An ongoing annual fee of $399 p.a. is applicable in the 2nd year.

Pros

  • Earn up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
  • Additional savings with the $349 first-year annual fee.
  • Comes with complimentary travel insurance.

Cons

  • The annual fee increases to $399 p.a. after the initial year.

Want to fly Virgin Australia and partners?

Velocity Frequent Flyer credit cards

American Express Velocity Escape Card

On website

Highlights

  • Acquire Velocity Points while benefiting from a $0 annual card fee.
  • Points accrued on your card seamlessly transfer to your Velocity account monthly and are redeemable for various rewards such as flights, lodging, car rentals, gift cards, and beyond.
  • Earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent, except for transactions with Australian government entities, where you'll earn 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent.

Pros

  • No annual fee, but still earn points.
  • Earn 1.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent on purchases with Virgin Australia.
  • Get 0.5 points per $1 when paying tax to the ATO using the card.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases when the previous balance has been cleared in full.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with complimentary travel insurance.
  • No complimentary lounge access.
  • No access to the concierge service.
  • There is no balance transfer offer for this card.
American Express Velocity Platinum Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Get 100,000 bonus Velocity Points upon applying by May 15, 2024, getting approved, and making $3,000 in eligible purchases with your new Card within the initial 3 months. Offer valid for new Amex Card Members exclusively.
  • Receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight between specified cities annually following your first Card spend each year.
  • Benefit from 2 complimentary Virgin Australia lounge passes each year at selected domestic airports.

Pros

  • Receive up to 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight between selected cities each year after your first Card spend each anniversary year.
  • Enjoy 2 complimentary Virgin Australia lounge passes each anniversary year at selected domestic airports.
  • Receive 100 Velocity Frequent Flyer Status Credits, when you spend a minimum of $50,000 within your card membership year.
  • Complimentary domestic and international travel insurance.
  • Get the Amex Experiences App to access information on Platinum benefits, travel offers, events and recommended merchants.
  • Add up to 4 additional cardholders for free.

Cons

  • The interest rates applied to balances carried over is on the high end.
  • There is no balance transfer offer on this card.
mascot_plane_food

First class ticket. Economy prices.

How to fly first class using points.

Jack rarely used his credit card. But then he realised a frequent flyer card could rack up serious points, so he compared and switched.

Now he runs everything—from groceries, fuel, household bills and even his tax—through his card and earns points on every dollar spent.

In just 12 months, he earned more than 150,000 points. That’s enough to upgrade to first class without extra effort or money.

Frequent flyer credit cards are specialised credit cards that offer reward points or miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. These reward points can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses. Frequent flyer credit cards are popular among avid travellers and those looking to make the most of their everyday spending by earning valuable rewards that can offset travel costs.

David Boyd, the co-founder of CreditCardCompare.com.au, puts it: "I fondly remember the first time I used points from my frequent flyer credit card. It allowed me to upgrade my flight to first-class—a luxury I wouldn't have experienced otherwise."

Benefits of frequent flyer credit cards

Frequent flyer credit cards offer a range of benefits that make them appealing to consumers. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Earn points: Cardholders can earn points or miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases, which can be redeemed for flights and other travel-related expenses.
  • Sign up bonuses: Many frequent flyer credit cards offer generous sign-up bonuses, providing a significant number of bonus points when you first open the card and meet the minimum spending requirement.
  • Travel perks: Cardholders often enjoy travel perks such as airport lounge access, free travel insurance, and priority boarding.
  • Foreign transaction fee waiver: Some frequent flyer credit cards waive foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international travel.
  • Additional rewards: In addition to travel rewards, some cards offer additional perks such as cashback, statement credits, Priority Pass, or discounts on partner merchants.

How to choose the right frequent flyer credit card

With a plethora of frequent flyer credit cards available in the market, selecting the right one can be a daunting task. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a frequent flyer credit card:

  • Airline affiliation: Choose a card that aligns with your preferred airline or one that offers flexibility in transferring points to multiple airline partners.
  • Annual fees: Consider the annual fee associated with the card and evaluate whether the benefits and rewards justify the cost.
  • Interest rates: Look at the interest rates offered by the card and ensure they are competitive with other credit cards in the market.
  • Bonus points: Evaluate the sign up bonus and the minimum spending requirement to determine if it is attainable based on your regular spending habits.
  • Reward redemption options: Check the redemption options available for your accumulated points and ensure they align with your travel preferences.
  • Additional benefits: Consider additional perks such as travel insurance, purchase protection, and concierge services offered by the card.

Help choosing a frequent flyer credit card

Learn the basics of how frequent flyer credit cards can enhance your travel experience.

  • FAQs

  • Pros & cons

How do frequent flyer credit cards work?

Frequent flyer credit cards work by rewarding cardholders with points or miles for their spending. The accumulated points can then be redeemed for travel-related expenses such as flights, hotel stays, and car rentals.

Are there any fees associated with frequent flyer credit cards?

Most frequent flyer credit cards come with an annual fee, which varies depending on the card issuer and the benefits offered. Additionally, some cards may have foreign transaction late payment fees, so reviewing the terms and conditions before applying fees or late payment fees is essential to review the terms and conditions before applying.

How can I maximize the benefits of a frequent flyer credit card?

To make the most of your frequent flyer credit card, consider using it for all your everyday spending to accumulate points quickly. Take advantage of sign-up bonuses and promotions, and strategically redeem your points for maximum value.

Can I use my frequent flyer credit card points for anything other than travel?

While frequent flyer credit card points primarily focus the card offers on travel rewards, some cards offer alternative redemption options such as merchandise, gift cards, or cashback. Check with your card issuer for specific redemption options available.

What should I consider before applying for a frequent flyer credit card?

Before applying for a frequent flyer credit card, consider factors such as the annual fee, interest rates, reward structure, redemption options, and additional benefits offered by the card. Ensure the card aligns with your spending habits and travel preferences to maximise value.

Pros

Bonus points

New applicants can earn a significant number of points — ranging from a few thousand to over a hundred thousand — upon meeting specific spending requirements. These points can be a substantial boost, potentially redeemable for international flights or premium cabin upgrades.

Earn points on every dollar spent

Frequent flyer credit cards reward everyday spending with points, typically offering between 0.5 to 1.25 points per dollar spent. Partnered spending, especially with airlines, can yield even higher point rates.

Exclusive travel benefits

Beyond earning points, these cards are packed with travel-centric perks. Complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access, and flight credits are common benefits. Some also offer status credits that can fast-track users to higher tiers within their respective linked frequent flyer programs.

Earn points without flying

This may seem rather self-evident, but if you do not fly frequently, a credit card is one of the easiest ways to accumulate points.

Additional perks

Alongside the primary benefits, it's not unusual for these cards to come with additional features such as extended insurance and concierge services.

Cons

Spending thresholds for bonus point

The criteria to unlock bonus points can be multifaceted, requiring cardholders to reach spending thresholds within initial months and possibly retain the card for over a year to benefit fully from the offer.

Higher ongoing cost

The allure of points comes at a cost. Frequent flyer credit cards generally have a higher annual fee and interest rates on purchases. This can significantly increase the cost of holding the card, especially for those who carry a balance.

Spending incentives can lead to debt

The promise of earning points can entice cardholders to spend beyond their means. For individuals who struggle with budgeting, this could result in accumulating debt, particularly if the card balance isn't paid off in full each month.

Airline points devaluation

If an airline devalues their points — which Qantas likes to do — then you may earn the same number of points per dollar, but you'll need more of them.

Earning tiers and caps

Many frequent flyer credit cards limit the potential to earn points beyond a certain threshold, which can affect the overall efficiency of point accumulation.