Velocity frequent flyer points are your ticket to flying business class with Virgin Australia and its web of partner airlines including Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways – so if you're in the market for a new credit card, signing up for the right one can deliver a hefty bounty of bonus points in return for a modest spend.
The latest offers from American Express, NAB and Virgin Money alone place over 300,000 Velocity points on the table for new cardholders, with up to 100,000 Virgin Australia Velocity points up for grabs from a single card application.
Australian Business Traveller scopes out the top deals for April, showing how much you'll need to spend in return for any bonus points, what you'll pay in annual fees and how many points you can earn per dollar spent by keeping each card at the front of your wallet.
1. American Express Platinum Charge Card
Slip a shiny American Express Platinum Charge Card into your wallet to earn a generous bonus of 100,000 Velocity points – achieved by converting 100,000 Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points across to Velocity on a 1:1 basis.
Just spend $1,500 on purchases within the first three months and pay an annual fee of $1,200 and those bonus points are yours, as is a $300 Platinum Travel Credit each and every year which you can spend on flights, hotels and car hire, helping to offset the card's annual fee.
In addition, you'll earn the equivalent of three Velocity points per dollar spent at most Australian restaurants; two points per dollar on all overseas spend and travel-related charges in Australian dollars (such as flights and hotel bookings); 0.5 points per dollar with most insurers, utilities and payments to government bodies; and an easy one point per dollar everywhere else.
(As of May 2 2017, this card now offers 80,000 Memberhip Rewards Ascent Premium bonus points, equal to 80,000 Velocity points.)
2. American Express Explorer Card
Not one to disappoint, the American Express Explorer Card also tempts with a bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards Gateway points, equal to 75,000 Velocity points as these convert on a 4:3 basis – notably different to the Ascent Premium program attached to the Platinum Charge Card above.
Unlock those points when applying by May 15 2017, spending $1,500 on purchases within the first three months and paying an annual fee of $395. In return, you'll also receive a $400 travel credit every year to spend as you wish on flights, hotels and car hire: so if you'd already spend that much on travel per year anyway, spend it on the card's annual fee instead and you'll get more than that back in travel and points!
Every dollar spent on the card nets two Membership Rewards Gateway points (that's 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent, uncapped), except with government bodies such as the ATO and Australia Post where 0.5 Gateway points (0.375 Velocity points) are earned per dollar spent.
(As of May 16 2017, this card now has a sign-on bonus of 50,000 Gateway points, equal to 37,500 Velocity points.)
3. American Express Velocity Platinum Card
AMEX takes out every spot on the podium this month with its American Express Velocity Platinum Card delivering a bonus 50,000 Velocity points for new customers plus a free Virgin Australia domestic return flight every year against a $349 annual fee.
Again, those bonus points will appear after spending $1,500 on purchases within the first three month. Also on the table is a promise of three Velocity points per dollar spent at most Australian restaurants and on Virgin Australia flight bookings, uncapped.
Travel charges like hotel stays and bookings with other airlines also return two Velocity points per dollar spent, while government, insurance and utility payments award 0.5 Velocity points per dollar. Everywhere else, the earn rate is simple one Velocity point per dollar spent.
(As of May 16 2017, this card now has a sign-on bonus of 100,000 Velocity points and a $375 annual fee, with new customers earning 1.5 Velocity points per dollar on most transactions including utility and insurance charges, except for Virgin Australia flight bookings which accrue 2.5 Velocity points per dollar spent and government charges which continue to earn 0.5 Velocity points per dollar.)
4. NAB Rewards Visa Platinum credit card
Get your hands on a new NAB Rewards Visa Platinum credit card to fetch 80,000 NAB Rewards points by spending at least $2,500 on purchases within the first 90 days. Those NAB points are worth 40,000 Velocity points when converted on a 2:1 basis.
There's no annual fee to pay in the first year (usually $195), but if it's a business credit card you seek, the similar NAB Rewards Business Platinum card also provides 80,000 NAB Rewards points (equal to 40,000 Velocity points) to new business customers who spend a higher $15,000 on purchases within the first 90 days.
Both the personal and business variants of this card award the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points per Aussie dollar spent on all overseas transactions and with Webjet in Australia, one Velocity point per dollar at hardware and department stores (including Bunnings and Myer), and 0.5 Velocity points per dollar spent everywhere else.
5. Virgin Money's Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card
Also with an offer of 40,000 Velocity points: the Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card, but which comes priced at $129/year from the very start.
You can earn those bonus points when applying by June 15 2017 and selecting 'promotional offer 3' during the application process. In return, you'll earn a bonus 10,000 Velocity points in each of the first four months where at least $1,500 has been spent in that month, up to 40,000 total bonus points after month four.
Spends up to and including $1,500 per monthly statement period also attract 0.66 Velocity points per dollar, with 0.5 Velocity points provided per dollar of spend for the remainder of that statement period. Until June 15 2017, booking Virgin Australia flights with this card returns a higher one Velocity point per dollar spent, uncapped.