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. Banks will no longer offer to waive your credit card’s annual fee if you threaten to cancel, but there is no harm in calling to ask if they have any offers available to encourage you to retain your card.
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 November 2019:
- Qantas Premier Titanium – 150,000 Qantas points ($1,200 annual fee, expires 26 February 2020)
- Citi Qantas Signature – up to 150,000 Qantas points ($444 annual fee [$49 in the first year], expires 31 January 2020)
- Qantas Premier Platinum – 120,000 Qantas points ($299 annual fee, expires 26 February 2020)
- ANZ Frequent Flyer Black – 100,000 Qantas points ($425 annual fee with $200 cashback in the first year)
- Virgin Velocity High Flyer – up to 100,000 Velocity points ($289 annual fee, expires 2 December 2019)
- NAB Qantas Rewards Signature – 120,000 Qantas points ($395 annual fee reduced to $295 in first year)
- Qantas Amex Ultimate – 120,000 Qantas points ($450 annual fee, expires 6 November 2019)
- St George Amplify Signature – 80,000 Qantas points or 200,000 Amplify points ($279 annual fee, expires 12 February 2020)
- Westpac Altitude Black – 80,000 Qantas points ($300 annual fee, expires 31 March 2020)
- ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures – 75,000 Velocity points ($225 annual fee)
- Virgin Money Velocity Flyer – up to 70,000 Velocity points ($129 annual fee, expires 2 December 2019)
- HSBC Platinum Qantas – 60,000 Qantas points ($199 annual fee)
- Westpac Altitude Platinum – 60,000 Qantas points ($200 annual fee, expires 31 March 2020)
- Coles Rewards Mastercard – 120,000 Flybuys points (equivalent to 52,200 Velocity points; $99 annual fee, expires 31 January 2020)
- Amex Velocity Platinum – 50,000 Velocity points ($375 annual fee)
- CommBank Awards Platinum – 100,000 CommBank Awards points (equivalent to 50,000 Velocity points; $249 annual fee, expires 29 February 2020)
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.