Credit cards are a great way to earn frequent flyer points, particularly when signing up for the first time – and this December, you could earn as many as 100,000 Velocity points from a single card application.
Australian Business Traveller rounds up this month's top five Virgin Australia Velocity card sign-up deals which place over 300,000 Velocity points on the table, while also highlighting the fees you'll pay to earn those points and how many points you can collect from your everyday spend.
1. American Express Platinum Charge Card
The iconic American Express Platinum Charge Card finishes the year in first place with its continuing offer of 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points for eligible new personal charge card customers, equal to 100,000 Velocity points when converted on a 1:1 basis.
You'll earn those points by paying the card's $1,200 annual fee and spending at further $1,500 on the card within the first three months wherever American Express is accepted.
Those charges can also return three points per dollar spent at most Australian restaurants; two points per dollar on most travel-related expenses and on all overseas spend; 0.5 point per dollar with utilities, most insurers and on government spend; and one point per dollar everywhere else.
2. American Express Explorer credit card
The impressive-looking American Express Explorer credit card also tempts this month with a similar bonus of 100,000 points, but in the separate Membership Rewards Gateway scheme – equal to 75,000 Velocity points when converted on a 4:3 basis.
There's a $395 annual fee to pay, with those bonus points earned after spending a further $1,500 on the card within the first two months. On top, you'll also net a $400 travel credit every year to spend on flights and hotels, which more than offsets the ongoing $395 annual charge.
You'll also collect the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent (2 MR Gateway points) – including on utility charges and insurance expenditure which attracts fewer points on some other AMEX cards – although government charges accrue 0.375 Velocity points (0.5 MR Gateway points) per dollar spent.
3. American Express Velocity Platinum Card
AMEX takes out every spot on the podium this month with its direct-earn Velocity Platinum Card promising a solid 50,000 Velocity points to eligible new credit card customers, along with a free Virgin Australia domestic return flight every year against a $349 annual fee.
Spending $1,500 on purchases within the first three months is all it takes to unlock that bonus, and on top of that, you'll also earn three Velocity points per dollar spent at most Australian restaurants and on Virgin Australia flight bookings, uncapped.
Most other travel-related spend including with hotels and other airlines attracts two Velocity points per dollar, as do all overseas charges billed in a foreign currency. Government, insurance and utility payments earn 0.5 Velocity points per dollar, while all other spend in Australia earns an easy one Velocity point per dollar.
4. Westpac Altitude Black American Express, MasterCard
New Westpac credit card customers can also reel in 50,000 Velocity points with an Altitude Black American Express + MasterCard credit card combo, awarded as 100,000 Altitude rewards points which convert to Velocity on a 2:1 basis.
There's a slightly higher annual fee of $395 and you'll need to spend $5,000 within 90 days to activate that bonus, but be sure to apply for the dedicated '100,000 Altitude points' deal rather than the lower '50,000 Altitude points' offer as often appears by default.
All purchases made at home and abroad using the AMEX earn the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points per dollar (three Altitude points) – and the same can be said when using the companion MasterCard on foreign soil – with MasterCard spend within Australia instead attracting 0.625 Velocity points per dollar (1.25 Altitude points).
5. Virgin Money's Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card
Look to Virgin Money this month for 40,000 Velocity points with a new Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card: yours for $129 per year.
Apply by January 16 2017, choose 'promotional offer 3' when signing up and you'll collect 10,000 bonus Velocity points in each of the first four months, provided you spend at least $1,500 on the card each month.
Everyday spend also attracts 0.66 Velocity points per dollar on the first $1,500 spent each month and 0.5 Velocity points per dollar thereafter. All spend direct with Virgin Australia instead earns one Velocity point per dollar (uncapped), which doesn't contribute to the regular monthly spending tally.
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