Author Topic: Rewards Credit Cards  (Read 3284 times)

chasingthegoodlife

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Rewards Credit Cards
« on: October 26, 2017, 02:36:09 PM »
Not really tax related but thought this would be the best place to capture Aussie eyes only.

Does anyone here use a rewards credit card, and if so which one and do you think it is worth it?

I have a simple no annual fee card now that I use for all my spending and pay in full each month.

As my spending isn't all that high, I don't think many of the cards would be worth it for me considering 1) annual fee and 2) hassle of switching and then tracking/claiming rewards.

This AMEX rewards card has no annual fee so maybe worth a try: https://www.americanexpress.com/au/content/essential-credit-card/?filter=credit,mr,noannualfee&/AFFID=MDS_CAN&sourcecode=5700014801&CPID=100200097#au but then given AMEX isn't accepted everywhere I would probably still end up keeping my current card which is again a hassle of managing two accounts.
 

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2017, 09:32:30 AM »
Iím just now getting into this. I think you need a purpose. If youíre trying to travel hack, you should be committed to learning both parts of the game, acquiring points and using them. Thereís a bit to learn. My goal is to get as many points as possible. The annual fee vs no annual fee isnít always straight forward. Amex have cards that will offset the annual fee with travel vouchers or flights, so do some other bank cards. So annual fees are waived in the first year. I think if youíre going to get one, go all in and use your card for all bills, pay off the balance each month, never spend beyond your means. If youíre not much of a traveler or donít expect to be, donít get one.

marty998

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2017, 05:41:46 PM »
The banks are hastily cutting their reward programs nowadays. Ever since the RBA put a cap on interchange fees, there's less margin available to pay for the rewards. So you're starting to see the number of points required for each award increase quite dramatically in recent times.

I need to go cancel my ANZ card, signed up for it at the start of the year for the bonus Qantas FF points. Need to get rid of it before the annual fee gets charged in January.

stashgrower

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2017, 06:49:41 PM »
I've never done this. Is it easy enough to use the points on flights? Or is it a PITA? Meaning: is it worth doing?

HappierAtHome

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2017, 08:51:30 PM »
I've never done this. Is it easy enough to use the points on flights? Or is it a PITA? Meaning: is it worth doing?

Also wondering this...

marty998

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2017, 05:36:54 AM »
It's an initial PITA to deal with the paperwork, but I've just redeemed and scored free* return flights to Alice Springs so I'm happy.

The offer was 75,000 bonus points for getting the card. The return flights cost me 36,000 points (economy). Business would have cost 72,000 but I figure I can save them for another couple of flights next year. No real point flying business for 3 hours to be honest.

* I had to pay for all the airport taxes and service charges and yadda yadda. That came to $97 :(

Putting it out there...if anyone would like to join me for a sunrise at Uluru on Christmas Day let me know and I'll PM you the tour details :)

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 12:45:55 AM »
The banks are hastily cutting their reward programs nowadays.
Exactly. It's like the supermarket 4c fuel discount voucher - really not worth all the buggerising around.
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chasingthegoodlife

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2017, 05:10:48 AM »
That’s my worry. A Flybuys level of reward in exchange for the hassle of juggling another card.

Thanks all. I will probably keep an eye out for a particularly good sign up off like Marty’s before I bite.


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stashgrower

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2017, 07:59:12 AM »
Marty, that is very cool!! Thanks for the info.

Phryne

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 04:13:11 AM »
Totally worth it. I credit card churn, earning us at least business class trips to Europe each year, and probably a trip to Asia every other year.

Points per $$ spend aren't great, it's the sign on bonuses where the magic is. I have applied for & received 8 credit cards this year (the last one was dicey, so suspect my credit rating is rubbish and I need to pause for a bit). Availability is good, but for business class you need to book 11-12 months out. Flying economy to Europe, you can book much closer, but all up perhaps may only save $500-$1000 a person? Domestic availability is good, skip Qantas as their additional charges are crazy high.

Happy to answer any questions! I suspect what helps me is that I have a good income, long tenure at my company & family in the uk who I visit during their summer holidays so I always know when we're going. I got into the points thing as I used to travel a heap for work, now it's only for leisure!

ps flybuys strategically managed can be very profitable, don't knock it, lol!

Grogounet

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2017, 11:28:50 PM »
I believe it is really worth it when you upgrade, the point is worth a lot more value. Otherwise, here are some live examples for those who wonder:


ie if you try to buy straight:
Trying Sydney - Paris return = $690 in charges using 130 000 points out of 259 000
Brand new tickets with Virgin Airline: $1 185

another example: we went from syd to the gold coast using 60 000 points (familly of 4) and $170 in taxes

Fresh Bread

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2017, 11:49:18 PM »
Agree about the sign on bonuses. It's also possible to get annual fees waived.

DH has twice now signed up for the ANZ Black when they had a huge bonus and no annual fee offer. The next year we called to cancel because of the fee but they dropped us to a lower tier card without the fancy extras and waived the fee. He cancelled it after about 18 months ish and then took the almost identical recent offer, possibly 18 months later. I could look it up if anyone wants to know.

Our other card is a Virgin Velocity one with a fee - we call up each year and say we are going to cancel because of the fee and they waive it (although note that they charge and then refund it but they didn't refund the 2nd card holder fee and we never chased it up).

We've used the points for international flights. We haven't gone hard collecting points but at one point as a sole trader I was putting my small business expenses on the personal card and we aren't exactly low spenders. With low annual expenses and annual card fees I certainly wouldn't bother.

I vaguely remember doing a spreadsheet at one point, will try to find it.

nnls

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2017, 06:51:46 PM »
I've never done this. Is it easy enough to use the points on flights? Or is it a PITA? Meaning: is it worth doing?

I have used credit cards to get myself return business class airfares over the last few years with a small cash cost

- 2018 , return business class airfares to Europe - cost $400
- 2016, return business class airfares to USA - cost $180
- 2015, return business class airfares to Europe - cost $180

the money costs were basically taxes, and making up if i didnt have enough points. The usability of the points and the associated fees depends on the airline and the rewards program. Booking flights with velocity points (Virgin Australia), Krisflyer points (Singapore airlines) seems to have the lowest fees/taxes

One world partners (Qantas ect) seem to have higher fees for international flights so aren't as worth it in my opinion (for example fees to fly to the USA with Qantas can be as high as $900, and you are still using almost as many points as virgin)

Both Qantas and Virgin have more reward seat availability the higher status you have.

You can also use points to upgrade which is usually better value on Qantas.

if you can find a card with a good sign on bonus and no annual fee or reduced annual fee then i think it is worth it

Also I realise flying business class is in no way Mustachian


life_travel

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2017, 06:35:18 AM »
Had rewards credit cards for years, in fact the one we use for ALL spending earns us Qantas points. No annual fee.
Also I did a few new cards for bonuses, FF points and cash, nothing extreme, maybe 1 per year in the last 5-6 years.

It's worth it in my opinion , points just add up , albeit slowly but after a couple of years , voila, free flights!!

Well, not entirely free, still have to pay taxes but a LOT cheaper.

2015 - tickets to North America for 2 plus internal tickets within USA ( best redemption value as taxes were only $8!!)
2017 - tickets from Brisbane to Sydney for 2
2017 - ticket to Vanuatu for 1
.. still got points left so probably going to redeem for Hawaii tickets for 2.

Need to ramp up my credit card churning, I've been slacking off this year :)
Actually I alternate between rewards credit cards and free balance transfer so at the moment I have 2 open for free balance transfers so rewards will have to wait.

stashgrower

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2017, 01:12:14 AM »
Impressed by the flights. International even! I don't mean to pry, but does anyone care to share how much they spent (ballpark) to rack up points for the trips abroad? Was it just daily spending that adds up over time or did you have other expenses like work travel?

marty998

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2017, 04:42:41 AM »
Impressed by the flights. International even! I don't mean to pry, but does anyone care to share how much they spent (ballpark) to rack up points for the trips abroad? Was it just daily spending that adds up over time or did you have other expenses like work travel?

I am curious to know this too... I mean, business class return to Europe.... kudos to you nnls, but how did you do it?

Fresh Bread

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2017, 12:31:55 PM »
I'll try and find an article once that said if you have a business with 80k expenses you'll always fly business. I took that to mean that's the ballpark to aim for to be swimming in points.

Does anyone do manufactured spending in Aus?

life_travel

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2017, 03:38:56 AM »
Maybe nnls have business expenses they put on a credit card, Im jealous of people who can do it for work expenses and get reimbursed.
As for us we spent probably 2.5K each month, and we get double points on Amex so we use it for all groceries and petrol and with other merchants that don't take Amex, we use Mastercard.
As mentioned I also opened a few cards with initial points bonuses, once 75K QF points, once 60K and another couple of times with much smaller ones.

nnls

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2017, 01:54:12 AM »
Impressed by the flights. International even! I don't mean to pry, but does anyone care to share how much they spent (ballpark) to rack up points for the trips abroad? Was it just daily spending that adds up over time or did you have other expenses like work travel?

I got my international flights by signing up when there was a sign up bonus of at least 50k points, but often you can get more.  I also fly within the state for work, this gets me about 600 points a week.  I think just put all my general spending on it, I have all my bills direct debited from a card (unless there is a fee for this)

stashgrower

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2017, 06:03:20 AM »
Thanks, nnls :)

nnls

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2017, 09:11:39 PM »
Also I should add, because I fly every week for work I have platinum status, this opens up more reward seats than bronze.

I went back through my points statements it cost me 221600 velocity points to fly from Perth to LA return (economy Perth - SYD return, business class SYD-LAX return) this was for a flight in 2016, booked in 2015.

It cost me 250660 velocity points to fly from Perth to Paris, Frankfurt to Perth all business class, this was booked in 2017 for flights in 2018.

I cant claim business expenses on my own credit card. It is mainly the bonus sign ups and the 652 weekly points from work flights, as well as every day spending. I pay for everything on my cards and then pay them off in full each month, I use an AMEX where possible. I do not manufacture spending just pay it all off. 

ozbeach

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2017, 10:10:38 PM »
It looks like the reward cards are tightening up. I have had a rewards Visa for five years which has an annual fee of $169. Every year I have rung up and enquired if the fee was due, how much was it, I guess I'll cancel the card, oh you'll waive it - lovely. Today I called and the first question was whether I was thinking of cancelling the card because of the fee, then I got put through to three different 'Solution Specialists' each telling me of the wonderful benefits I was receiving. Finally they offered to drop the fee to $80 but they wouldn't budge below that. Card cancelled.
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life_travel

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2017, 02:26:03 PM »
For years I had MasterCard and Amex linked to one account both QF FF earning points , with Amex much higher earn . No annual fee on these reward cards . We put ALL our spending on it.
This week I got a letter in a mail that due to change in RB rules my Westpac issued Amex will cease to exist .
After I googled it apparently other banks already stopped bank issued Amex cards.
So my question is does anyone else have the same problem and is there a solution ?
I liked having two cards linked to one account as not all merchants take Amex . I feel so sad :(
That's how I earned my points over the years , it was such an effortless system .

deborah

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2017, 07:04:05 PM »
I was considering getting an AMEX card for the rewards, but AMEX is one of the countries that pays no Australian tex, so I won't be doing that.

daverobev

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2017, 02:15:44 PM »
I was considering getting an AMEX card for the rewards, but AMEX is one of the countries that pays no Australian tex, so I won't be doing that.

Then you should be abusing their 'generosity' in sign up bonuses :P
Chase SouthWest Visa if you get to 110k points, you get a companion pass - you can get 40k from this sign up offer (spend 1k), and another 60k from the business version. I'm working on getting this myself!

OzDoc

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2017, 07:51:47 PM »
Credit card rewards are quite valuable to those who are financially savvy and always pay off their cards monthly. The two ways to look at this in Australia are 'earning cards' and 'churning cards'. Basically, some cards are for keeping so you generate few thousand points/year on things you were going to buy anyway, while other cards are for sign-up bonuses (churn cards), where you use the card just enough to get the sign up bonus and then cancel it. The latter group of cards can generate 250-500k points annually and this allows many point-hackers to travel in business/first for less than the cost of economy tickets. However it can be a PITA to sort out the paperwork, book the flights, and monitor your credit score a bit if you also have other loans (i.e. mortgages). Depends on what you want to do with your free time!

Here is some basic information on the benefits of everyday earn cards for those interested (modified from a group I follow):

Everyday points earning:


Usually a combination of Amex (from Amex directly) and a backup Visa or MC will suit most people for generating points through everyday spend. The exceptions are those who only want one card for everything in life. That is easier but will not result in maximum points.

AMEX Cards:

AMEX Platinum Explorer. The main "keeper" card, and the card to use if you just want one. It usually earns 1.5ppd everywhere AMEX is accepted (think 1.5 qantas points/dollar, 1.5 velocity points/dollar). Use this for everywhere Amex is accepted except overseas, supermarkets, fuel, or anytime the surcharge is not more than 1% higher than that for visa/mc. Annual fee is mid range, but fully offset by a travel credit as well.
**Note that by itself this card is good, but even better in combination with the below Amex as you can "link" them so that this card earns what are called 'Ascent points'. That changes the earn rate to 2 ppd.

Currently a 60 000 bonus point offer for new sign ups (can't have held an AMEX card from them directly in the last 18 months): https://goo.gl/oZWjQw

AMEX Platinum Edge. This is one of my "keepers". 3ppd at supermarkets, 2ppd on fuel. Much has been written about this card on various blogs. Low annual fee which is fully offset by a travel credit. Transfers to many airlines.

Currently a 10 000 bonus point offer for new signups (can't have held an AMEX card from them directly in the last 18 months): https://goo.gl/215Ryj

If you're going to get an Amex, it's always best to sign up for the Explorer first as the point bonus is much greater. From time to time the point bonus also approaches 100k instead of 60k. That number of points can be exchanged for a business class return trip from Syd-Melb on Japanese Airlines.

Visa/MC options:

St George Signature. Mid range fees with great points earn for a Visa. Earns 0.75-0.85 ppd (bonus points after 1 year). This could be a keeper if you have low FX spend and high total spend on CCs as it earns better but has a higher fee. Flexible airline earn but need to choose Qantas or Amplify upfront.

Coles Platinum. Low fee, relatively high earn. Should be your primary card for overseas spending as no international transaction fees. Usually a keeper.

Citi Prestige. This card has been gutted recently. It is another for frequent travellers and suits economy or mid-high end hotel lovers as it comes with lounge access and unlimited pay 3/stay 4 hotel deal. Also comes with some chauffeur transfers. Day to day earn is low 0.4-0.5 to VA and SQ, but earn with hotels and airlines is 1.5ppd. Put through enough $ and they may halve the annual fee.

Virgin High Flyer. One of the best earn Visas with a medium fee. Extra points when paying Virgin Air too. As it has an fx fee and costs $289 it would need to earn 20kish additional points to the Coles MC to justify its place in your wallet.

I would be happy to post more about this if there is interest, a good place to start is:
https://www.pointhacks.com.au/

Eucalyptus

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2017, 05:58:37 AM »
I've been meaning to get better into the CC points game for a couple of years (I have an old CBA low rate MC, but it continually lost its earning shine over the years, annoyingly). I've put it off for mortgage/credit score reasons.
But I did some reading the other day about the impact of credit ratings and the new system, and was less scared about it and the prospect of refinancing my home loan in 1-2 years once I get my LVR below 80%. Particularly as they now take into account factors such as how well you pay your cards off (I'm super diligent, never miss a full due payment).

Took the plunge on Wednesday and applied for the ANZ Black card with the 75,000 bonus sign up. Online help person was excellent while I filled out the form, was straight forward. Got an SMS later that day saying two business days to let me know. But then, I guess, Xmas Eve hit and most of the Australian workforce slacked off and went home ;-)

So hopefully I'll find out before the end of the year. I'll cancel my CBA card and cancel this ANZ card prior to the first 12 months rolling over, looking for another card around then to earn Qantas points, and hopefully with a lower minimum (the ANZ Black min is $15k, which is whopping for a Moustachian, and will affect one's ability to get home loans).

Eucalyptus

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Re: Rewards Credit Cards
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2018, 09:48:18 PM »
I got my ANZ Black card. All good so far.

I noticed the CBA has a $300 cash back on their low rate mastercard at the moment. You can't have held one within the last 12 months (spewing). But that's a pretty sweet deal.

Seems like perhaps we are going to start seeing cashback CC's in Aus now like they have in the states? I'd get churning on these as well as FF cards myself but I'll need to refinance my homeloan in about 24months time, so I have to wait at least a couple of years.