How to take advantage of Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses
Credit cards are one of the easiest ways to earn frequent flyer points on the ground. You can earn points when buying almost anything by paying with a points-earning credit card! But the real value is found in credit card sign-up bonus points…
Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses
Credit card sign-up bonuses make it so easy to earn tens – even hundreds – of thousands of frequent flyer points, for minimal outlay. By simply applying for a credit card and paying the annual fee, you can earn up to 100,000 frequent flyer points. That’s enough points to fly to Los Angeles in Business class, and almost enough for a round-the-world trip! By taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonus offers, you may never pay full price for a flight again.
The Australian credit card market is a competitive space. So banks regularly offer incentives in the form sign-up bonus points when taking out a credit card. To receive the bonus points, some banks require you to spend a minimum amount on the card within the first 3 months. Other banks have no minimum spend requirements, and some will even waive the credit card’s annual fee in the first year!
Once the bonus points have credited to your frequent flyer account, you can choose to cancel the card to avoid paying any more annual fees. (Some banks may offer to waive your credit card’s annual fee if you threaten to cancel.)
Current Sign-up Bonus Offers
Most of the current Australian credit card sign-up bonus point offers are discussed on the Australian Frequent Flyer (AFF) forum. On AFF, you can also benefit from the community by using and posting referral offers.
To help you get started, here are some of this month’s top credit card sign-up bonus offers. This list was last updated on 5 December 2018:
- Citi Prestige – up to 410,000 Citi Rewards points ($700 annual fee, expires 31 March 2019)
- Citi Signature – up to 310,000 Citi Rewards points ($395 annual fee reduced to $195 in the first year, expires 31 March 2019)
- ANZ Frequent Flyer Black – 120,000 Qantas points + 75 bonus Qantas status credits ($425 annual fee with $150 cashback in the first year, expires 31 March 2019)
- Qantas Premier Platinum – 100,000 Qantas points ($299 annual fee, expires 28 February 2019)
- Amex Explorer – 100,000 Amex Gateway points ($395 annual fee, expires 7 January 2019)
- Virgin Velocity High Flyer – up to 80,000 Velocity points ($289 annual fee, expires 31 January 2019)
- NAB Qantas Rewards Signature – 90,000 Qantas points ($395 annual fee reduced to $295 in first year)
- St George Amplify Signature – 80,000 Qantas points or 100,000 Amplify points ($299 annual fee waived in the first year, expires 23 January 2019)
- Westpac Altitude Black – 80,000 Qantas points ($300 annual fee, expires 2 April 2019)
- Amex Platinum – 80,000 Amex Membership Rewards Premium Ascent points ($1,450 annual fee)
- HSBC Platinum Qantas – 60,000 Qantas points ($199 annual fee)
- Westpac Altitude Platinum Visa – 60,000 Qantas points ($200 annual fee, expires 2 April 2019)
Credit card churning
If you really want to maximise the bonus point offers, you can apply for multiple credit cards. This strategy is sometimes known as “churning” credit cards. But there are some risks involved.
Applying for too many cards in a short time could negatively impact your credit rating. It’s also important to always pay off your credit card bills in full every month. Accumulating credit card debt can result in high interest repayments and can significantly damage your credit score. This can make it difficult to obtain finance (or even a mortgage) in the future. If you’re unsure about your credit rating, you can apply for a free credit check report from Equifax.
Some banks will only award credit card sign-up bonus points to new customers. This generally means customers that have not had a credit card with that bank for the past 12-18 months.
Be sure to seek professional advice before applying for credit cards, or any kind of credit for that matter.