The Best Frequent Flyer Credit Cards That Could Save Your Travel Plans

The Amplify Signature Card – Qantas Option, from St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and Bank SA, has 90,000 initial points. Its annual contribution is $279 and its rate is 19.49%.

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The American Express Qantas Ultimate Card completes the top five. You get 75,000 bonus points for an annual fee of $450 and an interest rate of 20.74%.

But note that, like loyalty programs themselves, there’s a lot of fine print on loyalty cards. For example, the American Express Qantas Ultimate card includes $450 in Qantas travel credits per year, which waives the annual fee entirely.

All bonus points are also usually based on a particular spend within a certain time frame.

Of course, your choice shouldn’t come down to initial incentives. Most loyalty cards are elaborate offers, so make sure you’re happy that it’s the best offer.

To help identify this, Canstar developed a Net Reward Yield Calculation, which determined the American Express Qantas Ultimate Card is prioritized. And this despite its high annual fees and interest rate – a great demonstration of why it can be difficult to choose these cards at first glance.

As vendors compete fiercely for business, many frequent flyer rewards cards offer extremely high points for converting new customers.Credit:Pierre Braig

The dollar value of free Amex card rewards and extras, less interest and potential 12-month fees, earns a model user $667.69. That’s nearly $60 more than its nearest competitor.

However, his two closest suitors are also AMEX cards. In second place is the Velocity Platinum card with a net return of $608.24, followed by the Explorer credit card, with a net return of $555.60.

The other cool thing about these three cards is that each has a relatively low minimum credit limit for a rewards card: $3,000.

Jumping to a minimum credit limit of $6,000, we have the next highest net return: $500.76 from the ANZ Travel Adventures Rewards Card. Its annual fee doesn’t cost you much either at just $120.

HSBC’s Premier World MasterCard – Qantas Option is the second most valuable card. Net rewards are $492.56, but you must be prepared to accept a credit limit of $10,000 (remember access to credit limits loans these days).

Rounding out Canstar’s picks, Commonwealth Bank’s Ultimate Awards – Rewards option offers a net return of $487.53.

Again, you have to shell out $420 for annual fees, although the minimum credit limit is only $6,000.

The ultimate savvy strategy, if you have a home loan, is to sit your salary in an offset account alongside that loan and use a high-yield frequent flyer credit card for all your expenses.

You only transfer money from your clearing account and onto the card when your monthly bill is due, using bank money to save a lot of interest on the loan and also trapping yourself on a cheap vacation.

  • The advice given in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions regarding investments or financial products. Before making financial decisions, they should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their personal circumstances.

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is the author of How to Get a Free Mortgage Like Me. Follow Nicole on Facebook, Twitter Where instagram.