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 deals. This list was last updated on 2 December 2017:
- NAB Qantas Rewards Signature – 100,000 Qantas points ($395 annual fee, expires 25 February 2018)
- St George Amplify Signature – 90,000 Qantas or Amplify points ($299 annual fee, expires 18 April 2018)
- ANZ Frequent Flyer Black – 75,000 Qantas points + 75 Qantas status credits ($425 annual fee waived in first year, expires 31 May 2018)
- Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer – 80,000 Virgin Australia Velocity points ($289 annual fee, expires 31 January 2018)
- Westpac Altitude Platinum – 60,000 Qantas or Altitude points ($195 annual fee, expires 31 January 2018)
- HSBC Platinum Qantas – 60,000 Qantas points ($199 annual fee, expires 31 December 2017)
- Amex Explorer – 50,000 Amex Gateway points ($395 annual fee)
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.