The best Mastercard, Visa credit cards to pair with your AMEX

The best Mastercard, Visa credit cards to pair with your AMEX

American Express is accepted in many places, but there are still times when you’ll need to swipe your Mastercard or Visa instead – and that’s where having a solid back-up option to your AMEX card can keep you earning a respectable number of points.

Australian Business Traveller takes a look at the top Mastercard and Visa credit cards that can sit in your wallet for when they’re needed, whether you spend a little each month, or a lot.

Best Mastercard, Visa credit cards for earning Qantas Points

Priced at $149 in the first year and $299 thereafter, the new Qantas Premier Mastercard goes strong on points, with one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to $10,000 per month (excludes all government transactions), and 0.5 Qantas points per dollar thereafter, uncapped.

Use the card overseas and you’ll pick up a higher 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent when transacting in foreign currencies, also uncapped, with 75,000 bonus Qantas Points on the table as well when you apply by January 31 2018 and spend at least $3,000 within 90 days of card approval.

Or, pay no annual fee in the first year with a new ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa (normally $425), while earning one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to and including $7,500 per month – halved thereafter but uncapped – plus 75,000 bonus Qantas Points and 75 bonus status credits for eligible new customers.

If your ‘non-AMEX’ spends each month are relatively small, the HSBC Qantas Platinum Visa provides one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to $2,500 per month (government payments excluded) and 0.5 Qantas Points thereafter, with an annual fee of $199: but which applies from year one.

Best Mastercard, Visa credit cards for earning Virgin Australia Velocity points

Look to Virgin Money’s Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Visa to earn one Velocity point per dollar spent up to $8,000 per month and 0.5 Velocity points thereafter, in exchange for a $289 annual fee – plus, get 16,000 Velocity points in each of the first five months where $3,000 or more is spent.

As with Qantas, you can again avoid paying annual fees in the first year with ANZ and its Rewards Black Visa (normally $375), offering the equivalent of one Velocity point per dollar spent up to and including $5,000 per month, and 0.5 Velocity points thereafter.

That’s achieved through the ANZ Rewards program, with 75,000 bonus ANZ reward points (equal to 37,500 Velocity points) also on the cards when you spend at least $2,500 within the first three months of approval.

For lower spenders, the $89/year Coles Rewards Mastercard is also a good fit, providing two Flybuys points (equal to 0.87 Velocity points) per dollar spent, uncapped: although you can’t transfer more than 138,000 Flybuys points (60,030 Velocity points) from Flybuys to Velocity each year.

However, you can also convert two Flybuys points into 0.8 Etihad Guest miles without any annual limits (when converting Flybuys points in increments of 10,000) and can use Etihad miles to book Virgin Australia flights, so the annual cap on Velocity transfers doesn’t stop you from earning points.

Best Mastercard, Visa credit cards for earning Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines miles

If Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles are your goal, slip a St. George Amplify Signature Visa into your wallet to earn the equivalent of 30,000 KrisFlyer miles when you spend $3,000 on the card within 90 days of approval, plus 0.825 KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent, uncapped, against a $279 annual fee.

That’s achieved by earning 1.5 Amplify Rewards points per dollar spent – equal to 0.75 KrisFlyer miles – plus a 10% ‘birthday bonus’ in the month of your special day, calculated on all the Amplify points you’ve earned over the past year, and taking the full earn rate to 0.825 KrisFlyer miles per $1.

For Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, the ANZ Rewards Black Visa is top of the ranks when spending $5,000 or less each month, with the equivalent of 0.66 Asia Miles earned per dollar spent up to that threshold with no annual fee in the first year, with points halved on spends above $5,000/month.

Heavy spenders might also consider the Westpac Altitude Black World Mastercard, which delivers 0.5 Asia Miles per dollar spent, uncapped and with no monthly tiering – promising more points each month than the ANZ Rewards Black Visa when your spend averages five figures or more.

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!


  • Say Mee


    16 Aug, 2017 07:53 am

    Hi Chris,

    Bank Australia Qantas card provides 1 qantas point per $ spent (uncapped). Worth a mention? However, let me know if I'm wrong. 

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  • Chris Chamberlin


    16 Aug, 2017 08:36 am

    Bank Australia hasn't made any recent changes to make its product 'RBA-ready' (sustainable points-wise with the new interchange revenue cap of $0.008 per $1 spent) or confirmed that there will be no interchange-related reductions in points earning. We generally don't highlight such products because they could very well be changed within a few months of application - whereas most other banks have already made their RBA changes (or indicated that none are on the horizon), which brings more certainty to their offers. :)
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  • gmicari


    16 Aug, 2017 02:50 pm

    Don't forget G&C Mutual Qantas Platinum Visa Card.
    1 point per $ spend.  No limit.  Can't get points for ATO spend though.

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  • John


    16 Aug, 2017 03:12 pm

    Can you use any other Visa/MC with Apple Pay in Australia apart from ANZ cards?
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    16 Aug, 2017 03:28 pm

    See: Which banks support Apple Pay credit card payments?

    It's still not supported by CBA, NAB or Westpac, though.
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  • AzLaz


    16 Aug, 2017 04:29 pm

    Hi Chris, as a Brit abroad - are there any cards which would give me BA points? Or are there any schemes where the points are interchangeable with BA? Thanks
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    17 Aug, 2017 09:33 am

    Hi AzLaz, Australian residents are not 'allowed' to join BA Executive Club using an Australian address, so no Australian cards can directly earn or convert points into BA Avios (Citibank introduced it for a short period for Prestige cardholders, but the option quickly disappeared).

    Your only option would be to look at a card where points can be converted across to SPG (such as AMEX Explorer or Diners Club), and to subsequently convert those points from SPG to BA: not the best use of those credit card points, but the only way you'll get them to BA.
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  • arwsales


    16 Aug, 2017 08:34 pm

    I use the AMEX Platinum Velocity Card together with the Macquarie Bank Hilton Honors Visa which gives you Gold or Diamond (depending on spend) Hilton Honors status. This is a great combo and the best way to get Hiton Diamond status without staying 50 nights a year.
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  • Blake


    22 Aug, 2017 05:29 pm

    Coles Rewards Card annual fee is $99  not $89

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  • Chris Chamberlin


    22 Aug, 2017 05:35 pm

    Coles has recently changed the annual fee on this product - our article is correct as per the publication date shown at the top (August 16 2017).
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17 Jul, 2019 05:07 am


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