Travel rewards credit cards

CHOICE identifies the cards that offer the best value for your spending levels.
 
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02.Best (and worst) buys

The tables below show which cards offer the best value for different spend levels, as well as the cards to avoid.

Recommended

Virgin Flyer Visa card. For those spending around $1000 a month, the Virgin Flyer card offers great value with its 2-for-1 flight function. Four times a year, any one-way domestic flight is complemented with a second flight free, even before you redeem your points. See the Travel Vouchers table below for more information on the effect of this feature.

Jetstar MasterCard. This performed well in all categories; in particular, the Jetstar Platinum card will return around $450 a year in Jetstar dollars (Travel Vouchers, see vouchers table below) for a $2500 monthly spend, and more than $1000 per annum for a $5000 monthly spend. It’s also a great option for those who prefer MasterCard over Amex.

ANZ Rewards Gold (spend on Amex) is another rewards high-roller, returning $450 for a $2500 monthly spend in Velocity flights value and more than $1000 return in the highest spend category. The only downside to this card is that points expire after three years, so you need to claim any rewards you earn within that period.

Westpac Altitude Platinum card (spend on Amex) also provides good benefits at both $2500 and $5000 spend levels across a range of sample rewards, including returning more than $1000 in Velocity value.

Westpac Earth Platinum card (spend on Amex). Provides the best Qantas Frequent Flyer return across a $2500 spend level with a flights reward value of $357 and a total of $964 return per annum for $5000 monthly spend levels.

Not recommended

For those spending $1000 a month, the average cost was $60. At this spend rate, it shows that the annual fee is often more than the rewards value. The Qantas American Express Ultimate card was one of the worst offenders at an average cost of $262 per annum.

Commonwealth Awards card with Qantas Frequent Flyer option (spend on Amex). At the lower spending level of $1000 a month, this card will return around $20 – low in comparison to other similar cards. Even when spending $5000 a month, this card performs poorly with a $238 return per annum in flights rewards value. While there are other cards that have returned lower values for the monthly spend levels, this card performed poorly no matter how you use it.

Citibank Platinum card. If you spend $12,000 per annum on this card, your wallet will be $134 lighter each year once you deduct the annual fee from any rewards value. If you spend the higher amount of $60,000 annually, you will earn $330 of flights reward value – much lower than many comparable cards. Again, while other cards have produced lower returns at the various surveyed spend levels, this card failed to provide a worthwhile return across all levels. However, it should be mentioned that the Citibank Platinum card offers 3.9% balance transfers for the life of the balance – just don’t use it for its rewards value.

 

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Best and worst

Travel-vouchers

Using the table
See How we analyse for our methodology. * Four standard one-way flights to Brisbane were added to the value of the card to account for the 2-for-1 free flights function. In a best-case scenario, four premium economy flights from Sydney to Perth could be redeemed, making the value much higher, but the function could also be used to buy four sale flights, which would lower the dollar value. 
(A) More than one card offered with program. Spend shown calculated using Amex-function credit card.

  • Choosing flight vouchers instead of directly redeeming airfares may enable you to access the heavily discounted sale fares frequently on offer. However, be wary of voucher expiry dates and make sure you can use the total value of the voucher. Not all programs will offer the vouchers you may want; the Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) program does not offer flight-only vouchers at all.

new_table

Using the table
All figures listed are chosen Best and Worst Buys. A blank figure indicates that the card is neither a Best nor Worst Buy in that category. The full table is also available. See How we analyse for our methodology and flight samples. 
(V) Velocity Rewards partner card; all other cards are linked to Qantas Frequent Flyer.

 
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