Christmas is just around the corner, and for many people, that means spending big on presents or booking travel to visit loved ones – so why not use those purchases to help unlock a serve of frequent flyer points on a new credit card?
It’s not just a one-off Christmas bounty up for grabs either, as you’ll continue to pocket frequent flyer points throughout the year – so take a look at the 10 hottest cards in Santa’s Sleigh this season, based on how many points they'll wrap up.
1. Qantas AMEX Ultimate Card, AMEX Velocity Platinum Card
Sharing first place: the $450/year Qantas American Express Ultimate Card and the $375/year American Express Velocity Platinum Card, providing a solid 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent on everyday purchases, uncapped.
If your Christmas plans include a holiday, you’ll also collect a higher 2.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent when using your card to book flights with the card’s attached airline: that’s Qantas for the Ultimate Card, and Virgin Australia with the Velocity Platinum Card.
New cardholders who apply and spend $1,500 on purchases within the first three months can pocket 55,000 bonus Qantas Points on the Ultimate Card, or 50,000 bonus Velocity points on the Velocity Platinum card, among other perks.
2. American Express Explorer Card
Serving up the equivalent of 1.5 airline frequent flyer points per dollar spent in your choice of eight frequent flyer programs – including Virgin Australia Velocity, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Emirates Skywards – is the $395/year American Express Explorer Card.
You won’t earn bonus points on airfares as with the Ultimate and Velocity Platinum cards, but the Explorer Card does include a $400/year travel credit which can be used towards the purchase of flights, hotels or car hire, and up to 37,500 bonus frequent flyer points (50,000 ‘Gateway’ points) for new customers.
3. Qantas AMEX Premium Card, Westpac Altitude Black AMEX, Diners Club Qantas card
In a three-way tie for bronze, an uncapped earning rate of 1.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent on everyday purchases using the $249/year Qantas AMEX Premium Card, the $395/year ($250 first year) Westpac Altitude Black AMEX card and the $260/year Diners Club Qantas card.
Westpac cardholders can also receive a bonus 80,000 Qantas Points when applying by January 31 2018 and spending at least $5,000 on purchases within 90 days of card approval – or can choose to earn 1.25 Velocity points per dollar spent instead via Altitude Rewards, with a bonus 40,000 Velocity points awarded when meeting the same spend criteria.
Directly from American Express, the Qantas Premium Card provides its own bonus of 30,000 Qantas Points for new cardholders who spend at least $1,500 on purchases within the first three months.
4. American Express Platinum Edge, Platinum Charge
Planning a big spend on groceries this Christmas? Then whip out a $195/year American Express Platinum Edge Card to reel in three frequent flyer points per dollar spent at the supermarket, and two frequent flyer points per dollar spent on petrol, perfect if you’ll be driving far to see your loved ones.
Or, earn three frequent flyer points per dollar spend when dining out and two frequent flyer points per dollar spent on airline and hotel costs – and all purchases made overseas – with the $1,200/year AMEX Platinum Charge Card, which also provides 80,000 bonus points for those eligible.
5. Qantas AMEX Discovery Card, AMEX Velocity Escape Card
To earn uncapped frequent flyer points without breaking the bank, the Qantas American Express Discovery Card and American Express Velocity Escape Card both provide one frequent flyer point per dollar spent on everyday purchases, with no annual fees to pay either.
You’ll also get double points when booking Qantas flights using the Discovery Card, and double points on Virgin Australia flight bookings when using the Escape Card – that’s two frequent flyer points per dollar spent on your ticket, plus whatever you’d normally earn in the air.
6. Qantas Premier Mastercard
American Express cards are a great way to earn points, but only where AMEX is accepted – and that’s where the Qantas Premier Mastercard steps in, offering one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to $10,000 per month, and 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent thereafter, against a $299 annual fee (reduced to $149 in the first year).
Spending in foreign currencies attracts a higher 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent, uncapped, with 75,000 bonus Qantas Points on the table too for new cardholders who apply by January 31 2018 and spend at least $3,000 within 90 days of card approval.
Bank of Queensland’s BOQ Specialist Visa Signature credit cards also provide the same number of points on everyday purchases in Australia and overseas, but are only available to those in the medical, dental, veterinary and accounting professions.
7. Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Visa Signature
Tempting with an offer of one Velocity point per dollar spent up to $8,000 per month – and 0.5 Velocity points per dollar spent thereafter – is Virgin Money’s Velocity High Flyer Visa Signature credit card, yours for $289 per year.
Apply by November 30 2017 and a bonus 80,000 Velocity points are also on the table, served up as 16,000 bonus points in each of the first five months where at least $3,000 is spent on eligible everyday purchases in the same month, up to 80,000 bonus points in total at the end of month five.
8. ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa
Slip an ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa into your wallet to fetch one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to and including $7,500 per month and 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent thereafter (uncapped), with no annual fee in the first year: a saving of $425.
Spend $2,500 on eligible purchases in the first three months and you can also receive 75,000 bonus Qantas Points – and if you apply and then book and take a return Qantas flight by May 31 2018, a bonus 75 Qantas Status Credits will wing their way into your account as well.
9. ANZ Rewards Black Visa
Fancy earning Virgin Australia Velocity points instead? ANZ’s Rewards Black Visa delivers the equivalent of one Velocity point per dollar spent up to and including $5,000 per month via its ANZ Rewards program, and the equivalent of 0.5 Velocity points per dollar spent beyond that threshold.
Spending $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first three months also provides 75,000 bonus ANZ reward points, equal to 37,500 Velocity points or 25,000 frequent flyer points in the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles programs. The card’s normal $375 annual fee is also waived in the first year.
10. NAB Qantas Rewards Visa Signature credit card
NAB’s new Black-level Qantas Rewards Visa Signature credit card also makes our top 10 with an earn rate of one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to $5,000 per month, followed by 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar on spends of $5,001-$20,000 per month (no points provided thereafter).
Apply by February 25 2018, be approved, and that’ll be joined by further 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within 60 days of opening the account, against a $395 annual fee.