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.
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.
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.