Just because winter is near doesn't mean your credit card frequent flyer points need lose their summer glow, with American Express, ANZ, Citibank, NAB, Virgin Money and Westpac placing almost 600,000 Virgin Australia Velocity points on the table for eligible new customers.
You could even earn as many as 100,000 Velocity points from a single card application in return for a modest spend – so if you're in the market for a new credit card, take a look at May's top deals.
Australian Business Traveller highlights how many bonus points each card is currently promising, how you can earn them, what you'll pay in annual fees and how many points you'll earn per dollar spent as you continue to swipe your plastic.
1. American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Ascending to first place on the podium is the American Express Velocity Platinum Card with a generous bonus of 100,000 Velocity points for new customers plus a free return Virgin Australia domestic flight each year aside a $375 annual fee.
You'll earn that bonus bounty when applying by July 31 2017 and spending at least $1,500 on purchases within the first three months, plus 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent on most transactions (including utility and insurance charges) under the card's newly-revised earn rates.
When paying for Virgin Australia flights, that increases to 2.5 Velocity points per dollar spent, while on government transactions such as payments to the ATO, the earn rate is a lower 0.5 Velocity points per dollar.
2. American Express Platinum personal, business charge cards
Next in line this month, the American Express Platinum Business Card with an offer of 100,000 bonus Velocity points, or 80,000 bonus Velocity points through the personal version of this card, the American Express Platinum Charge Card.
With an ABN, you could apply for the business card by May 31 2017 and spend at least $5,000 on purchases within the first two months to earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points, equal to 100,000 Velocity points when converted at a 1:1 rate.
If you don't run your own business, look to the personal card instead to earn 80,000 bonus Ascent Premium points after spending at least $1,500 within the first three months – again, converting to Velocity at a 1:1 rate, giving 80,000 Velocity points.
You can also grab up to three Ascent Premium points per dollar spent (equal to three Velocity points) via the personal card at 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.
3. NAB Rewards Platinum, Virgin Money Velocity Flyer, Westpac Altitude Black
Third place finds a four-way-tie between the NAB Rewards Platinum Visa, NAB Rewards Business Platinum Visa, Virgin Money Velocity Flyer Card and Westpac Altitude Black AMEX + MasterCard lines, each with the equivalent of 40,000 bonus Velocity points on the cards. Here's how each bank delivers them:
- NAB (Personal): Apply by May 31 2017 and spend $2,500 on everyday purchases within 90 days of account opening, with no annual fee in the first year (usually $195). Per dollar spent, cardholders can also earn the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points on overseas transactions; 1 Velocity point at major department and hardware stores; and 0.5 Velocity points everywhere else.
- NAB (Business): Get your application in by May 31 2017 and charge $15,000 of everyday business expenses within the first 90 days, again with no annual fee in year one (normally $175). Earn rates per dollar spent are the same as with the personal version of this card, both of which are uncapped.
- Virgin Money: Choose 'promotional offer 3' when applying by June 15 2017 and get 10,000 Velocity points per month when you've spent at least $1,500 on the card in each of the first four months (40,000 points total from $6,000 spend). Cardholders also earn 0.66 Velocity points per dollar up to $1,500 per month and then 0.5/$1 thereafter, with a $129 annual fee.
- Westpac: Lodge your application by June 28 2017 and spend at least $5,000 on either card (or a combination of both) within 90 days of approval. You’ll also earn 1.5 Velocity points per dollar of AMEX spend (1.25/$1 from July 1 2017) and 0.625 Velocity points per dollar on MasterCard spend within Australia. Using the MasterCard abroad fetches 1.5 Velocity points per Aussie dollar until July 1 when it reverts to the standard 0.625/$1. Annual fee of $195 in the first year, $395 thereafter.
4. American Express Explorer, ANZ Rewards Black, Citi Signature Visa
There's competition a'plenty this month with another tie in fourth place, with the American Express Explorer, ANZ Rewards Black Visa and Citi Signature Visa all delivering the equivalent of 37,500 Velocity points to eligible new cardholders, as follows:
- American Express: Spend $1,500 on the Explorer card within the first three months and pay an annual fee of $395, which is offset by a $400 travel credit each year to spend on flights, hotels and car hire. Earn the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent everywhere except government bodies where earn of 0.375/$1 applies.
- ANZ: Pay no annual fee in the first year (normally $375) and spend at least $2,500 on purchases within the first three months. New cardholders can earn 2 ANZ reward points per dollar spent (worth 1 Velocity point) uncapped until August 5 2017, after which the earn rate decreases to 1 ANZ reward point (0.5 Velocity points) on spends exceeding $5,000 per month.
- Citibank: Apply by June 30 2017, pay a reduced annual fee of $199 ($395 in subsequent years) and use your card to make at least one purchase within 90 days of approval. From June 15 2017, cardholders will earn the equivalent of 1 Velocity point per dollar spent abroad and with airlines, hotels and restaurants in Australia; 0.75 Velocity points at major petrol stations, supermarkets, and national retailers; and 0.5 Velocity points everywhere else, except on government and government-related spent (including ATO payments) on which no points are earned.
5. Citi Prestige Visa Infinite credit card
Citibank makes a second appearance this month with an offer of 35,000 bonus Velocity points through its Citi Prestige Visa Infinite credit card, served up as 70,000 Citibank Rewards points and converted to Velocity on a 2:1 basis, provided you apply by June 30 2017 and make at least one purchase.
There's also a $700 annual fee to pay, but do be sure to choose the 'Citi Rewards' option during sign-up rather than 'Citi Qantas Rewards', otherwise – you guessed it – you'll earn Qantas Points instead.
Following new earn rates being introduced on June 15 2017, cardholders will be able to earn the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points per dollar at Australian restaurants, hotels and airlines plus on all overseas spend; one Velocity point per dollar at major supermarkets, petrol stations and national retailers; and 0.5 Velocity points everywhere else, except on government and government-related spend where the earn rate is zero, as with the Citi Signature card.