Travellers To Accumulate Credit Card Rewards Quicker: 1 In 3 Rewards Cards Now Offer Major Bonus Points
A new analysis of rewards credit cards reveals that Australian travellers will now have more opportunities to reach major rewards compared with a year ago. More than 1 in 3 rewards cards (39 per cent) now offer large sign-up bonuses into 10 rewards programs including Qantas and Emirates. In fact, six credit cards have doubled the amount of bonus points that they’re offering compared to this time last year.
The analysis was conducted by creditcardcompare.com.au, one of the few, free comparison websites in Australia that specialises in credit cards, and which compares more than 250 credit cards. The analysis of sign-up bonus points was conducted across 109 rewards and frequent flyer credit cards between April 2014 and April 2015, with the major findings below.
David Boyd, co-founder of creditcardcompare.com.au, says: “Banks appear increasingly eager to give away substantial bonus points to new cardholders as one way of incentivising their rewards programs. The good news for travellers, however, is that they won’t have to wait as long to accumulate a significant number of points to unlock highly sought-after rewards.”
As of April 2015, 42 credit cards offer sign-up bonus points to new cardholders. This is equivalent to more than 1 in 3 rewards credit cards offering upfront bonus points ranging from 5000 to 80,000 points, with the average value of upfront points being 33,000.
The top 10 credit cards with the most significant movements in bonus points during the last 12 months (April 2014 to April 2015):
|Card||Rewards Program||Bonus points
|Bonus points April 15||Change +/-|
|ANZ Frequent Flyer Credit Card||Qantas||25,000||50,000||25,000|
|ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum Credit Card||Qantas||25,000||50,000||25,000|
|ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card||Qantas||25,000||50,000||25,000|
|ANZ Rewards Credit Card||ANZ Rewards||25,000||50,000||25,000|
|ANZ Rewards Platinum Credit Card||ANZ Rewards||25,000||50,000||25,000|
|ANZ Rewards Black Credit Card||ANZ Rewards||25,000||50,000||25,000|
|Citibank Qantas Signature Credit Card||Qantas||50,000||70,000||20,000|
|Emirates Citibank World MasterCard||Emirates||15,000||40,000||25,000|
|NAB Qantas Rewards Credit Card||Qantas||10,000||20,000||10,000|
|NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Credit Card||Qantas||20,000||40,000||20,000|
Over the last 12 months, creditcardcompare.com.au has identified the introduction of 7 new premium rewards cards catering to affluent consumers, bringing the total to 18 black-level credit cards (compared to 11 ‘black’ cards a year ago).
David says: “It appears that full-service banks want to keep pace with premium credit card brands by offering more affluent consumers access to ‘black’ rewards cards with large signup bonuses, while continuing to let cardholders earn an average 1-3 points-per-dollar.”
Recognising significant movements in rewards points over the last 12 months, David says Australians don’t have the luxury to set and forget. “We recommend cardholders compare their rewards card with others at least once every 6-12 months to ensure they have the best-value card. Comparison websites, for instance, can do all the research for cardholders by comparing like with like – in this case, rewards – across almost all cards on the market.”
Creditcardcompare.com.au has helped more than 1 million consumers make more informed credit card choices by enabling them to search, compare, switch or apply for a credit card. To help even more consumers assess the value of their reward cards, David offers five tips to maximise your rewards points total:
- Don’t be ‘swipe happy’. While it can be empowering to clock-up rewards points, if you don’t pay off your balance every month but instead accrue interest, this can diminish the value of your rewards points. Don’t overspend and be sure to set a reminder to pay your monthly credit card statement in full. If you pay by BPAY, remember to allow a buffer of at least two to three business days for your payment to be received.
- Avoid surcharges fees. Merchant fees and charges can vary, depending on where and when you shop and the card type you use. Ask the salesperson about any charges you may incur. If you’re shopping online, check for surcharges before you enter your credit card details.
- Choose the rewards program best suited to your circumstances. If you’re a frequent flyer cardholder with a family of four but rarely fly, a general rewards card may offer significant value. Alternatively, a credit card linked to a supermarket may be a better option, helping you make savings on your food shopping spend. If you’re saving your points to explore the world, then a card linked directly to a frequent flyer program may help you get to your next destination.
- Monitor your credit card fees and interest rates. It may sound obvious, but too often we hear of consumers facing bill shock when they review their monthly credit card statement. Always check the monthly interest rate charge for purchases and advances, as well as when the annual card fee is due. It’s also wise to monitor these regularly, at least every three months, so that you have a thorough understanding of your credit situation.
- Compare and switch. Use a free comparison site to do the research for you. Websites such as creditcardcompare.com.au compare card variables such as interest rates, annual fees, fee-free periods, rewards, and balance transfer rates, helping you make more savings, pay less interest and earn more rewards.