Which credit cards can earn you the most frequent flyer points, pack the best perks for international travellers and come with valuable extras such as free travel insurance?
We've run the numbers and evaluated the best cards in the market, spanning everything from the top Black cards for high-spending high flyers right through to no-fee cards that still earn frequent flyer points, in the Australian Business Traveller Credit Card Awards for 2015.
Westpac’s Altitude Black cards took dual honours to win overall as Best Credit Card and also Best Black Credit Card, with a range of travel-friendly features including uncapped frequent flyer points, free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status and four free airport lounge visits each year.
The Five Star Award (runner-up) for Best Credit Card and Best Black Credit Card went to ANZ Rewards Black with great features such as free unlimited lounge access – although at selected overseas airports rather than in Australia – and a competitive frequent flyer earning rate.
American Express’ Velocity Platinum card is recognised as Australia’s Best Platinum Credit Card with a free return domestic flight each year and both domestic and international travel insurance, while ANZ’s Rewards Platinum cards take our Five Star Award in delivering a high number of points per dollar spent.
Offering unlimited lounge access via Priority Pass, Virgin Australia, Delta Air Lines and Centurion Lounges plus free elite status with Shangri-La, Starwood, Accor and more is the American Express Platinum Charge card, crowned Best American Express Card in this year’s awards.
Uniquely, this isn’t a credit card and thus wasn’t recognised in the credit card award categories – rather, a ‘charge card’ which requires the entire outstanding balance to be repaid in full each and every month.
Naturally receiving the Five Star Award in this category is Westpac’s Altitude Black American Express card with an option for bonus points when booking Qantas flights, free access to the AMEX Lounge at Sydney Airport and a competitive and all-inclusive annual fee.
Or to skip annual fees altogether, look to the American Express Velocity Escape card – the Best No-Fee Credit Card – to earn one Virgin Australia Velocity Point per dollar spent both at home and abroad, or the American Express Qantas Discovery card: our Five Star Award winner.
While both of these cards earn the same number of points per dollar spent in their respective frequent flyer schemes, the Velocity Escape card gets you to your next free flight sooner through lower redemption rates in the Velocity Frequent Flyer program against those of Qantas.
A great example is a short domestic hop from Sydney to Melbourne: yours for 6,900 Velocity Points plus tax via the Velocity Escape card, or a higher 8,000 Qantas Points plus tax by using the Qantas Discovery card.
Launched in October 2014, the Citibank Prestige Visa Infinite took out the award for Best New Credit Card. It offers travellers unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for themselves and a guest, a free hotel night per year, and access to the Citibank Dining Program.
For travellers who frequently use credit cards overseas, GE Money's 28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard came up as the best plastic to pack with your passport as winner of the Best Credit Card for International Travel category.
With no annoying foreign transaction fees, no annual fee and a free concierge service, the card works hard to keep your costs down while you travel. Bankwest’s Qantas Platinum MasterCard also cuts out the forex fees and earns our Five Star Award in delivering frequent flyer points in exchange for an annual fee.
Bankwest’s Qantas Gold MasterCard also received the Best Gold Credit Card award with its comprehensive international travel insurance policy, free extended warranty cover when buying new home appliances with the card and a low $150/year annual fee.
Qantas’ impressive Qantas Cash card too serves international travellers well, being the Best Prepaid Travel Money Card with no monthly fees, a great selection of currencies, zero extra charges on most purchases and the ability to earn Qantas Points for every dollar you spend.
NAB took out two key awards: Best Credit Card for Qantas Frequent Flyer Points for its Qantas Rewards Premium American Express, and the Best Credit Card for Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer Points for its Velocity Rewards Premium American Express.
Five Star Awards were also given to the Jetstar Platinum MasterCard for Qantas Frequent Flyer Points and to Virgin Money’s Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Visa – both of which delivered a solid number of frequent flyer points per dollar spent in exchange for reasonable annual fees.
The Australian Business Traveller Credit Card Awards recognise the industry leaders in the highly competitive and traveller-focussed credit card market across 11 categories including best overall credit cards, best cards for international travellers and best cards for earning frequent flyer points.
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