Credit cards aren't only used to pay for big-ticket items or go on spending sprees. Some credit cards also offer rewards for your spending. If you like to get something for nothing, or fancy yourself a bargain hunter, then rewards credit cards may interest you.

Credit card rewards programs are all different, but they all let you enjoy extra benefits from using a credit card. In the right hands, a credit card with rewards can offer a lot of value.

reward program

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Product Name Card
Purchase Rate
Points Per $1 Spend
Points Earned
Rewards Available
Annual Fee
Company
Go to site

Purchase Rate

20.74%

1.25
uncapped
earn 1.25 points for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
75000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Cash Back

Annual Fee

$129

Suncorp Bank
More details

Purchase Rate

0.00%

for 14 months then 20.74%

Up to 0.66
earn 0.66 points for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
1500
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$64

for 12 months then $129

Virgin Money
More details

Purchase Rate

18.79%

Up to 1
earn 1 point for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
1000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card

Annual Fee

$80

ANZ
More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Up to 0.66
earn 0.66 points for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
1500
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$50

Virgin Money
More details

Purchase Rate

19.99%

Up to 0.75
earn 0.75 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
3000
over 12 months (approx.)

Cash Back, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$295

ANZ
More details

Purchase Rate

18.79%

Up to 1.5
earn 1.5 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
2000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Cash Back

Annual Fee

$95

ANZ
More details

Purchase Rate

18.79%

Up to 2
earn 2 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
5000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Cash Back

Annual Fee

$375

ANZ
More details

Purchase Rate

19.99%

Up to 1
earn 1 point for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
7500
over 12 months (approx.)

Cash Back, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$425

ANZ
More details

Purchase Rate

19.99%

Up to 0.5
earn 0.5 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
500
over 12 months (approx.)

Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$95

ANZ
More details

Purchase Rate

19.99%

1
capped at
100000/undefined
earn 1 point for $1 Mastercard
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
60000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Cash Back

Annual Fee

$0

for 12 months then $149

CUA
More details

Purchase Rate

19.99%

Up to 1
earn 1 point for $1 Mastercard
International purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
60000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Domestic Flights, International Flights, Flight Upgrades, Qantas Shop, Qantas Hotels

Annual Fee

$29

for 12 months then $49

Qantas Money
More details

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Up to 1.5
earn 1.5 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
2000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card

Annual Fee

$225

ANZ
More details

Purchase Rate

19.99%

1
capped at
100000/undefined
earn 1 point for $1 Mastercard
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
60000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Cash Back

Annual Fee

$149

CUA
More details

Purchase Rate

17.74%

0.00076923
uncapped
earn 0.00076923 points for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
46
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card

Annual Fee

$55

Heritage Bank
More details

Purchase Rate

19.99%

Up to 1.5
earn 1.5 points for $1 Mastercard
International purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
10000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Domestic Flights, International Flights, Flight Upgrades, Qantas Shop, Qantas Hotels

Annual Fee

$199

for 12 months then $299

Qantas Money
More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Up to 1
earn 1 point for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
8000
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$289

Virgin Money
More details

Purchase Rate

20.74%

Up to 0.66
earn 0.66 points for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
1500
over 12 months (approx.)

Gift Card, Domestic Flights, International Flights

Annual Fee

$64

for 12 months then $129

Virgin Money
More details

Learn more about credit cards

How do credit card reward programs work?

Rewards credit cards let you earn points for every dollar you spend. When you rack up enough points, you can exchange these points for rewards.

The rewards you can redeem will depend on your credit card provider, but may include:

  • Flight rewards, where you can build up points with an airline or group of airlines, and may even have your travel insurance and concierge services covered.
  • Retail rewards allow you to build up points that you can redeem at particular stores. You might even get bonus points for shopping at particular retailers or buying specific products.
  • Cash back rewards, which refund you a small part of what you've spent.
  • Supermarket rewards, where using your credit card for everyday spending at a particular supermarket can earn you free extras.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of reward credit cards?

Reward programs are meant to encourage bigger spending. Simply spending for the sake of earning points can be risky. But if you use your rewards credit card responsibly, you could enjoy significant benefits.

For example, if you regularly shop at certain outlets or supermarkets, you may want to consider a rewards credit card linked to these stores. If you were going to spend the same amount of money there anyway, then a rewards credit card could also earn you free extras, provided you pay the balance off in full and on time.

Big spenders who like to flash their plastic could also benefit from a rewards credit card. In this case, you're not altering your behaviour in any way. Instead, you're simply capitalising on your regular spending by earning rewards. 

Finally, frequent flyers can benefit from rewards credit cards. Maybe you frequently hop on planes for business trips, or just have the travel itch. These cards may let you use points for plane tickets and flight upgrades, and also take advantage of hotel deals.

Rewards credit cards may not be suitable for everyone. Maybe you’re on a budget and don’t always pay off your credit card in full or on time. Maybe you aren't a big traveller. Maybe you prefer to pay for your shopping through other means. In cases like these, a reward credit card may not be ideal for you. You may end up paying fees and getting into debt for a rewards program you won’t enjoy as many benefits from. 

How do I carry out a rewards credit card comparison?

To start a rewards credit card comparison, look at the freebies it offers. Are you interested in these products and services? There may not be much point spending big with a rewards credit card if you're not going to make use of its bonuses.

Also, check the card’s fine print:

  • How easy are the points to redeem?
  • Is there a limit on how many you can earn?
  • Will you be able to earn the points required?
  • Do the points expire at any point?
  • What is the dollar-to-point ratio?

To get a better idea of the value of credit card rewards, don't just look at how many points you earn per dollar on each card. To find the best rewards credit card for you, look at how many points you’d need to earn to redeem a particular reward on one card, then compare this to other rewards cards. The easier it is to earn the rewards you want, the more value a card may offer you. 

Also, keep the fees and charges in mind. Some rewards credit cards charge high fees, which can offset the free extras in some cases. If you’d pay more in fees for a credit card than you’d earn in rewards, it may not provide enough value to be worthwhile for you. 

Hopefully, once you've looked at all these factors, you’ll feel more secure finding a rewards card that suits your spending and lifestyle.

Frequently asked questions

What's the best credit card for rewards?

Credit cards offering rewards can be great if you know you’ll use the card enough to get significant rewards points, and use the rewards you earn.

They can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward.

Also, think about the types of benefits you’d like. There’s no point in getting a card with rewards for retailers you never visit, or travel you don’t have time to use.

Should I get a credit card?

Credit cards are a personal responsibility, so the reasons behind getting a credit card should also be personal.

You should always consider all the pros and cons of taking out a credit card before you sign on the dotted line.

For example, pros include the fact that credit cards can be a good way of paying for purchases, earning rewards points and building a credit history.

But there are also cons – credit cards can be expensive and put a lot of financial pressure on you.

You need to consider your personal finances and your lifestyle choices. Do you need a credit card? What options are out there for me? Can I handle the repayments? Why am I getting a credit card in the first place?

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

Pensioners can get credit cards with certain banks – if they can convince the bank they’re credit-worthy. Here are some points to consider if you are a pensioner looking for a credit card:

Annual income: Look for a credit card for which you easily fall within the minimum annual income requirements. This can be from the pension, superannuation or any other sources.

Annual fees: If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. You want to make it as easy as possible to fit a credit card into your current lifestyle and spending habits.

Interest rate: Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Choose a card with a low interest rate to minimise risk (to both yourself and the bank – and this will help your application).

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

How do you cancel a credit card?

Credit cards aren’t something you want to collect unnecessarily. If you’ve paid the balance off or have upgraded to a new credit card, it’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. One way is to pay via BPAY. This means you can make your credit card payment on the phone or via the internet.

You can set up an automatic payment from an Australian bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.

Different Australian banks will also allow you to pay off credit card bills in person at one of their branches.

Some credit card companies also allow you to pay your credit card via an app whenever each statement is due.

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

How to get a new credit card

To get a new credit card, generally you need to be at least 18 years old and have a good credit rating. You don’t need to be an Australian citizen. Usually you can apply online or in person at a branch of the card issuer. You’ll typically have to supply information like:

  • What you regularly earn (e.g. wages, salary) and what you regularly spend (e.g. rent/mortgage, loan repayments, living expenses)
  • Your employer’s contact details
  • Details of your assets and any debts you are paying off

Before applying for any credit card, be sure you can afford the repayments. It also helps to do some research, comparing different credit cards and what they offer in terms of fees, interest, rewards etc.

How many numbers are on a credit card?

The numbers on your credit card actually follow a universal standard which is used to identify specific functions. Each credit card has a different amount of numbers: Visa and Mastercard have 16, American Express has 15 and Diner’s Club has 14. The first number on a credit card always identifies what type of credit card it is. Visa cards start with a 4, whereas Mastercard starts with a 5 and American Express with a 3. The remainder of the digits represent the account number, including the last number which is used to verify that your credit card is actually valid. Credit cards also have additional verification numbers, which are mainly used when the card isn’t present for phone and online purchases. These are the three-digit numbers on the back of Visa and MasterCard or the four-digit numbers on the front of an American Express card.

Credit Card Balance

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

How to get a free credit card

Many people want to know how to get a free credit card. The reality is that all credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases – even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.

However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. You may be able to cut down on the usual costs associated with a credit card by comparing and choosing the right card to suit your requirements.

Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How do I apply for a credit card online?

To make applying for a credit card as straightforward as possible, most lenders offer plenty of online prompts to guide you through the process.

Once you’ve decided on the product you want, follow the link on the lender’s website to start your application. Most lenders will list the documents and information you will need before you begin – for example, identification documents, employer details, your income, regular expenses. It helps to have these handy when you start.

Once you’ve entered all the necessary information, you’ll have an opportunity to review your answers and check everything is correct. You’ll also receive an immediate response from the lender once you submit your application – usually with a reference number so you can track your application’s progress.

Do you need a credit card to get a loan?

You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset, such as a retail loan for goods.

Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for, but you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset by providing evidence you have stable income through a full-time and secure job, an unblemished debit card history and regular monthly saving. The loan, however, may come with higher interest rates and repayments.

How to make a credit card online

Credit cards can be useful, provided you understand the risks. If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market – Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application – Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details – Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details – Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.