Get the right credit card
A premium credit card is the fastest way to build your points balance and get you closer to that first-class awards flight on QF1 to London! And you don’t have to be a CEO of a listed company to qualify.
If you’re serious about collecting points, then you need to have an American Express card AND a Visa or Mastercard to maximize your points earning opportunities.
The features of a great points earning card are:
Sign on Bonus Points
High earn rate per $ spent
Discounted or waived first annual fee
The interest rate doesn’t matter because you’re going to pay the amount due IN FULL, EVERY MONTH, by the DUE DATE. If you overlook this part, all of the benefits will be wiped by interest charges (which is what the card providers are counting on to help make their products profitable – just don’t do it!)
So, here’s a working example of the two credit cards on the market right now that I would choose to turbo charge by points balance:
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Sign on Bonus 100,000 points
Earn Rate 1.25 points per $ spent, UNCAPPED
Annual Fee $450
Annual Qantas Credit $450, Trav. Ins., Lounge access offers
I have this card and I love it. Sure, it comes at a premium price of $450pa, but this is offset by the annual $450 travel credit (for Qantas flights booked through American Express Travel). It forces me to spend at least $450 a year on Qantas flights – what a chore right???
Here’s a referral link to the Qantas Amex Ultimate:
Now, because your AMEX card won’t be accepted at all merchants, or may incur a surcharge with some merchants (its not worth paying a 2% surcharge just to collect QFF points), I recommend having either a VISA or Mastercard in your arsenal.
One of the best is ANZ’s Frequent Flyer Black VISA
Sign on Bonus 100,000 points
Earn Rate 1 point per $ spent to $7,500, then 0.5 points per $
Annual Fee $425 with $200 cash back in first year
Travel Insurance, Lounge access offers
It’s a reasonably expensive card, particularly after the first year. But as an ANZ mortgage customer, the annual fee is waived so I am more than happy to hang on to this card. If you don’t have an ANZ mortgage, there is nothing to stop you closing the account inside the first anniversary and applying for another bank’s points earning product.
Credit card churn is a thing. The Banks hate it. But you can make it work for you.
With these two cards in hand, spending $1500 per month per card, you will rack up over 240,000 Qantas points in the first year. That’s enough for return flights Melbourne to London!
I value those points somewhere between $1440 and $7200 (more on the value of points in another instalment). Even if the annual fees seem expensive at first glance (total $675 in first year), you are getting a minimum $1440 pay back, so this actually make good financial sense. Beware though, holding too many cards or having too much credit could be a barrier to you getting other forms of finance like a a home loan. Only ask for as much credit limit as you need, and be prepared to lower it or close a card if needed to meet lending requirements.
Key Point – take up an American Express AND a VISA or Mastercard with generous sign on points Bonus
Key Point – Use your AMEX as your preferred card, wherever it is accepted and does not incur a surcharge. Use your cards for all your purchases, big and small
Key Point – be sure to meet the minimum spend in first 3 months on EACH card to obtain the bonus points.
Key Point – be disciplined and pay the full statement balance by the due date every month or you will incur interest payments that could undo the benefit of all those points you collected
Key Point – Only buy the things you would normally buy. Don’t go on a spending spree just to chase points!