Reward cards review 2009

CHOICE crunches the numbers to find the most rewarding cards for frequent flyer, shopping and cash rewards.
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Reward cards

  • We analysed 63 reward credit and charge cards, looking at frequent flyer points, shopping vouchers and cash rewards.
  • If you spend only $1000 per month or less, you’re probably paying more in annual fees than you get back in rewards. Always pay your balance in full, of course.
  • New credit cards from David Jones, Myer and Woolworths compared well in the shopping voucher category.

Changes to Qantas Frequent Flyer rewards cards

If you have a credit card with Qantas’ Frequent Flyer (QFF) rewards, you're faced with a decision by March 31. Many rewards cards no longer offer QFF points; those that do now transfer points directly to a QFF account. You usually have the option to opt in for a card that exclusively transfers your points to Qantas or otherwise stay with your current card but lose the option of transferring yor point to the Qantas’ Frequent Flyer scheme.

We surveyed 41 cards offering QFF or Velocity points. On average, frequent-flyer programs give you the best value, but you have to be very flexible to get a seat for the standard points program we’ve used in our analysis. Otherwise, you can book any available seat and fork out the corresponding points, which vary greatly. If the flight you want is in high demand, you’re likely to pay a premium. So you should also consider whether your frequent flyer card offers the best value, especially now flights are so cheap, we show you the best ones.

CHOICE Verdict

In general, the more you splurge, the more you benefit. Spend $5000 a month and your best option is Qantas or Velocity (Virgin Blue’s frequent-flyer scheme) points worth about $1200 per year, even after deducting the annual fee.

On the other hand, at a $1000 monthly spending level, converting your points into shopping vouchers can drop you into the red by up to $760 per year.

Please note: this information was current as of March 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market. For more recent information, see our Rewards cards 2010.



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