Credit Cards for First-Time Cardholders

credit-cardsCredit cards are a great way to accumulate lots of frequent flyer points quickly, for two reasons. Firstly, you can earn points for every single dollar spent on the card. Secondly, many card providers offer generous sign-up bonuses of tens of thousands of points, just for getting the card!

If you’re new to the world of credit cards, it can be daunting to know where to start.

I am very new to not only this forum but the concept of point accumulation. I don’t have any credit cards yet and am hoping someone can help me in the right direction. Should I start small with a $0 annual fee like the Amex Qantas discovery card or go for the new Amex Explorer to get the bonus points?

Most banks offer different types of cards, with varying annual fees and benefits. Generally speaking, cards with low or no annual fees earn fewer points. But as the annual fee increases, so do the benefits. The more expensive credit cards will usually earn frequent flyer points at a higher rate. Many also come with extra perks such as complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge passes, and in some cases even free flights!

One card that offers a very good middle-ground between fees and benefits is the Amex Platinum Edge card. For an annual fee of $195, this credit card comes with a complimentary annual return flight on Virgin Australia. You’ll also earn 1 point per dollar on transactions, increasing to 3 points per dollar at the supermarket. These points can then be transferred at a rate of 1:1 to nine airline frequent flyer programs, including Virgin Australia Velocity, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

I believe many on AFF would recommend the Amex Edge as a good/the best points earner for groceries – but there isn’t a big signup bonus on it. The Explorer seems like a good card, it has a generous signup bonus, good earn rate, and the annual fee is pretty well offset by the travel voucher.

Unfortunately this card is not currently offering a large amount of sign-up bonus points. But if you’d like to accumulate a large amount of points quickly, choosing another card with a generous sign-up bonus could help kick-start your points accumulation.

I’d go with something with a decent sign-on bonus to get started.

The Amex Explorer card is currently offering a very large sign-up bonus of 100,000 points. Another particularly good promotion is the current 50,000 Qantas points on offer when taking out a Westpac Altitude credit card with a $100 annual fee. NAB also recently had an excellent offer on its Velocity Rewards Premium card.

Read all of our members’ advice HERE.

(P.S. If you’re new to the world of credit cards, you may benefit from our Training Course on this very topic! It’s full of easy-to-understand advice on choosing a credit card and maximising your points. Find out more HERE.)


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]