With the Reserve Bank's cuts to credit card 'interchange fees' now in force, many Australian credit card issuers are vying to make their cards appealing to points-savvy spenders, with over 700,000 Virgin Australia Velocity points currently on the table through an array of top offers from American Express, ANZ, Citibank, NAB, Virgin Money and Westpac.
Holding an ABN could be your ticket to as many as 120,000 Velocity points from a single card application, but even personal applicants can fetch up to 100,000 Velocity points with a new credit or charge card.
Australian Business Traveller rounds up this month's best Virgin Australia credit card deals, including how many bonus points you can earn and what you need to spend to get them, what you'll pay in credit card annual fees and also how many points you'll get when you continue to spend on your card.
1. American Express Platinum business, personal charge cards
In first place for the new financial year, the American Express Platinum Business Card with its offer of 120,000 bonus Velocity points – or if you don't run your own business, the personal American Express Platinum Charge Card with a close offer of 100,000 bonus Velocity points.
ABN holders can net their business bonus when applying for the business charge card by October 2 2017 and spending at least $5,000 on purchases within the first two months, unlocking 120,000 Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points: equal to 120,000 Velocity points when converted at a 1:1 rate.
Personal cardholders can instead fetch 100,000 bonus Ascent Premium points when applying by October 2 2017 and spending at least $1,500 within the first three months – again, converting to Velocity at a 1:1 rate, giving 100,000 Velocity points.
(To stretch your bonus points even further, wait until Velocity is running a 15% transfer offer and then pounce, taking your total haul to 138,000 Velocity points via the business card or 115,000 Velocity points via the personal card!)
You can also collect up to three Ascent Premium points per dollar spent (equal to three Velocity points) via the personal card for an annual fee of $1,200, or could earn up to two Ascent Premium points per dollar (worth two Velocity points) through the business card against a $1,500 annual fee.
2. American Express Velocity Platinum Card
For a more affordable annual fee, look to the American Express Velocity Platinum Card with its own bonus of 50,000 Velocity points for eligible new customers (until July 31 2017, this was 100,000 Velocity points), plus a free return Virgin Australia domestic flight each year, two Virgin Australia lounge passes and two visits to the AMEX Lounge at Sydney Airport.
You'll pay $375 per year to cover all of those perks, plus those bonus points when applying and spending at least $1,500 on purchases within the first three months – not to mention, 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent on most transactions, uncapped.
That's increased to 2.5 Velocity points per dollar when using the card to book Virgin Australia flights (in addition to the points you'd normally earn from flying), with government transactions such as ATO payments earning 0.5 Velocity points per dollar spent.
3. American Express Explorer, Business Explorer credit cards
Not ones to disappoint, the personal American Express Explorer Card and the brand new American Express Business Explorer Card also tempt with similar-sounding bonuses of 100,000 Membership Rewards Gateway points, converting to Velocity at a 4:3 rate to provide 75,000 Velocity points (notably different to the Ascent Premium program attached to the Platinum cards).
Those points are yours when applying for the personal Explorer Card by October 2 2017 and spending at least $1,500 within the first three months, or by applying for the Business Explorer Card and spending $3,000 within the first three months.
Both cards carry a $395 annual fee and churn out two Gateway points per dollar spent (equal to 1.5 Velocity points) on all but government charges. Government spend instead attracts 0.5 Gateway points per dollar, on-par with 0.375 Velocity points.
4. ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures, Virgin Money Velocity Flyer, Westpac Altitude Black
Next in line: the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Visa, the Virgin Money Velocity Flyer Visa and Westpac's Altitude Black American Express + Mastercard combo, each offering the equivalent of 40,000 bonus Velocity points to eligible new cardholders. Here's how you'll get them:
- ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Visa: Spend just $500 on eligible purchases within three months of approval and pay an annual fee of $225. On top, you'll also get a complimentary return domestic flight each year until the card is cancelled, two Virgin Australia lounge visits each year on the same basis and can earn up to 0.75 Velocity points per dollar spent.
- Virgin Money Velocity Flyer Card: Apply by July 31 2017, select 'Bonus Points offer' during the application process and you can earn 10,000 bonus Velocity points per month in each of the first four months where at least $1,500 has been spent, up to 40,000 bonus points in total. You'll pay an annual fee of $129 and can also earn 0.66 Velocity points per dollar spent up to $1,500 per month, and 0.5 Velocity points per dollar spent thereafter.
- Westpac Altitude Black: Apply by October 26 2017, select Altitude Rewards as your loyalty option and spend at least $5,000 on the account within 90 days of approval to earn 80,000 Altitude points, equal to 40,000 Velocity points when converted on a 2:1 basis. You'll also earn the equivalent of 1.25 Velocity points per dollar spent on the AMEX and 0.625 Velocity points per dollar spent when using the Mastercard, both uncapped.
5. ANZ Rewards Black, Citi Signature Visa, NAB Rewards Signature Visa
Just behind the 40k offers: the ANZ Rewards Black Visa, the Citi Signature Visa and the new NAB Rewards Signature Visa, all providing 37,500 bonus Velocity points when converted through each bank's loyalty program:
- ANZ Rewards Black: Pay no annual fee in the first year (normally $375) and spend at least $2,500 on purchases within the first three months to earn 75,000 bonus ANZ reward points which convert to Velocity points on a 2:1 basis. New cardholders can also collect 2 ANZ reward points per dollar spent (worth 1 Velocity point) uncapped until August 5 2017 and on the first $5,000 of monthly spend thereafter, and 1 ANZ reward point (0.5 Velocity points) per dollar spent in excess of that amount.
- Citi Signature Visa: Apply by August 31 2017 to earn 75,000 bonus Citibank Rewards points, also converting to Velocity at a 2:1 rate, when you make a purchase in the first 90 days. Cardholders earn no points on government and government-related spend; 0.5 Velocity points per dollar on most everyday charges; 0.75 Velocity points per dollar at major supermarkets, petrol stations and national retailers; and 1 Velocity point per dollar with airlines, hotels and restaurants in Australia and on all overseas transactions with an ongoing annual fee of $395 ($199 in the first year).
- NAB Rewards Signature Visa: Spend $4,000 on everyday purchases within 60 days of opening the account and receive 75,000 bonus NAB Rewards points, which can again be transferred to Velocity at a 2:1 rate. An annual fee of $295 applies and you can earn the equivalent of 0.625 Velocity points per dollar on most spend, plus double points at major department and hardware stores and triple points on overseas payments and with Webjet in Australia.