Aussies missed out on 22 billion points on their Christmas shopping

Aussies missed out on 22 billion points on their Christmas shopping

Australians spent an estimated $30 billion on credit cards in December, but missed out on earning up to 22.5 billion frequent flyer points on all that Christmas shopping: enough for 80,000 round-the-world trips in business class!

Only one third of all Aussie credit card spend attracts Qantas Points, according to Qantas, and we’d expect a further 15-20% would earn points across other airline programs such as Virgin Australia Velocity and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – leaving around half of all credit card purchases, representing some $15 billion in December alone, going unrewarded.

With some top cards providing 1.5 frequent flyer points per $1 spent, that’s up to 22.5 billion frequent flyer points that shoppers could have earned, but didn't: so if you missed out last month, here’s your chance to hop on board and start earning points for free flights year-round!

The best credit cards for earning Qantas Points

If you happen to shop where American Express is accepted, the Qantas AMEX Ultimate Card can’t be beat: there's a solid earning rate of 1.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on most purchases, while an annual $450 Qantas flight voucher offsets the sting of the card’s $450 annual fee (making it ‘free’ once you take that flight). The card is also currently offering 55,000 bonus Qantas Points to eligible new customers.

For those who jet about less often, the more affordable Qantas AMEX Premium Card clocks in at $249/year with a respectable earn rate of 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent, airport lounge access and 30,000 bonus Qantas Points, among other benefits.

If you’d prefer a different type of card which is accepted more universally, the Qantas Premier Platinum Mastercard offers one Qantas Point per $1 spent in Australia up to $10,000 per month on most purchases (halved thereafter), bonus points on Qantas spend and international transactions, Qantas flight discounts, and 75,000 bonus points.

The best credit cards for earning Virgin Australia Velocity points

Should your loyalty lie with Virgin Australia, it should come as no surprise that the comparable AMEX Velocity Platinum Card tops the charts by offering 1.5 Velocity points per $1 spent on most charges – and ditto the AMEX Explorer card, from which points can be converted to Velocity to reach the same result.

The Velocity-branded AMEX includes a free return flight every year, airport lounge access and more to negate the $375 annual fee, while the AMEX Explorer card throws in a yearly $400 travel voucher in return for a $395 annual fee, once more offsetting the cost.

But again, if you don’t tend to shop where AMEX is accepted, Virgin Money’s Velocity High Flyer Visa churns out one Velocity point per $1 spent up to $8,000 per month (halved thereafter) and offers a yearly $129 travel voucher, but with a $289 annual fee.

Or, look to the ANZ Rewards Black Visa to earn the equivalent of one Velocity point per $1 spent up to $5,000 per month via the ANZ Rewards program (0.5/$1 on any further spend) and 37,500 bonus Velocity points (converted from 75,000 ANZ reward points), with no annual fee in the first year.

The best credit card for earning other airline points

Looking to earn frequent flyer points further afield? We’d peg the AMEX Explorer card as the best all-rounder for earning flexible points, such as with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, and of course, Virgin Australia Velocity.

You’ll take home the equivalent of 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent on most purchases via the Membership Rewards Gateway program, plus the equivalent of 37,500 bonus frequent flyer points for new cardholders – among other perks like airport lounge access and smartphone screen insurance.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • BrisbanePE


    12 Jan, 2018 03:04 pm

    Hardly a case of "missed out"! If you break it down to individuals then for most individuals the cost of the cards that would grant points exceeds the value of the points that would be earned.
    No member give thanks

  • grov


    12 Jan, 2018 05:46 pm

    Surely there has to be value in points for everybody. Assuming a min 50k pa per family, that's at least 25k points pa. if we value those points at a minimum of 3c/point, that's $750 pa. Not many cards charge more than $750 pa. And with more money pushed through the card with a higher points earning rate, everybody surely would have to be in front.
    No member give thanks

  • Matthew Taylor


    12 Jan, 2018 06:58 pm

    I think you're forgetting that a fair chunk of those spending up big during Xmas on their cards are balance revolvers.
    No member give thanks

  • ajd


    15 Jan, 2018 03:45 pm

    "Assuming a min 50k pa per family"

    That's *quite* the assumption.
    No member give thanks


15 Dec, 2018 04:13 pm


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