Australian 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.

Find and compare reward program credit cards

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Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Points Per $1 Spend
Up to 2
earn 2 points for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
Points Earned
60000
over 12 months (approx.)
Rewards Available

Gift Card

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$375

Go to site
More details
Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24%

Points Per $1 Spend
Up to 1
earn 1 point for $1 Visa
eligible purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
Points Earned
30000
over 12 months (approx.)
Rewards Available

International Flights, Domestic Flights, Cash Back

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$425

Go to site
More details
Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

19.99%

Points Per $1 Spend
Up to 2
earn 2 points for $1 Visa
eligible international purchases
Points Per $1 Spend
Points Earned
10000
over 12 months (approx.)
Rewards Available

Gift Card, Cash Back

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$129

Go to site
More details
Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24%

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

Gift Card

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$95

Go to site
More details
Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

20.24%

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

International Flights, Domestic Flights

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$95

Go to site
More details
Purchase Rate

Purchase Rate

16.99%

Points Per $1 Spend
0.002
uncapped
earn 0.002 points for $1 Visa
eligible transactions
Points Per $1 Spend
Points Earned
120
over 12 months (approx.)
Rewards Available

Gift Card

Annual Fee

Annual Fee

$125

Go to site
More details

Learn more about credit cards

What is a credit card rewards program?

As the name suggests, a credit card rewards program is a type of customer-beneficial system in which the money you spend on eligible purchases earns points that can be spent in said program.  

The points you earn can be exchanged in the rewards program for perks, rewards and gifts. These can include flight upgrades, hotel accommodation, complimentary insurances, electronics, appliances, white goods, gift cards and even cashback. Typically, a credit card rewards program platform can be accessed online or via phone with your card provider.

How do rewards credit card programs work?

Rewards credit cards let you earn rewards points for every dollar (or more) 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 frequent flyer points with an airline or group of airlines frequent flyer programs, 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 in the form of discounts or gift cards. 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.

Some other perks and rewards that still offer major bang for your buck to consider are:

  • Card type rewards that involve rewards points and perks tied to a specific credit card type, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express (AMEX). 
  • Introductory rewards such as waived fees and zero per cent interest rates in the first year of your credit card.

How to earn points in a rewards program

There are three main ways to earn rewards credit card points, regardless of the rewards program type:

  • Sign up bonus points. These can range from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of points on application approval. Keep in mind that earning these rewards points may require meeting conditions such as spending a minimum amount each month.
  • Earn rates. Each rewards credit card will have its own set earn rate. This is the amount of dollars spent per point earned, such as 1 dollar per point. This can be as low as 50c per point or as high as $2-3 per point.
  • Transferral. Some credit cards, such as Qantas frequent flyer cards, may allow you to transfer your existing points balance onto a new card with a similar rewards program. 

When it comes to earning points it’s important to remember that some credit cards may cap the amount you can earn each statement period, and some may even set points expiry dates. Check a credit card’s terms and conditions for more information on these points regulations before applying.

Amy the frequent flyer

Amy loves to travel and has family all across Australia. She’s in the market for a new credit card but knows that Qantas travel perks, such as flight rewards and complimentary insurances are valuable to her. But she doesn’t have years to spent saving up her rewards points so is looking for a card with a healthy sign-up bonus. 

She hops on the RateCity rewards credit card comparison page to find her best option. Using the filters on the comparison table and enters the Qantas frequent flyer program under ‘partner program’. She then selects yes on ‘include all products’ to get a bigger comparison of the market.

Amy then uses the table to view which cards offer high bonus points on sign up, as well as which ones charge a moderate purchase rate and annual fee. She is able to apply for ideal travel credit card that day. 

​Which credit cards offer the best rewards?

Finding right card for you will depend on exactly what type of rewards you want, your spending habits and your specific financial situation. 

Here are some of the most popular credit cards that offer different types of rewards and perks:

  1. Platinum credit cards - a more premium card type that typically comes with higher annual fees and ongoing costs, as well as harder eligibility criteria to meet. This is typically suited for high income earners. Platinum cards may be connected to standard rewards programs or frequent flyer programs, but may offer the greatest number of extras, such as complimentary insurances, high earn rates on reward points, and higher credit limits.
  2. Rewards credit cards - your standard rewards credit card will be linked to the credit providers rewards program. There you can exchange rewards points for goods and merchandise, as well as gift cards and event tickets. It will generally incur an annual fee, which may be anywhere between $35 and $1,200.
  3. Frequent flyer credit cards - these are rewards credit cards geared towards regular flyers. They are most commonly linked to Qantas Rewards or Velocity Frequent Flyer Rewards in Australia, but may also be linked to Emirates, British Airways and more. For example, Qantas frequent flyers may link their credit card spending to their account, and earn bonus qantas points on eligible purchases.
  4. Travel credit cards - similar to frequent flyer cards, travel cards are made with adventurers in mind. This means anything from earning points towards frequent flyer programs, to waived foreign transaction fees and other overseas costs. Travel cards may also come with complimentary insurances, such travel insurance and rental car insurance.
  5. Store credit cards - these are rewards cards specifically linked to your favourite supermarkets and retailers, such as Coles, Woolworths, David Jones, Myer and more. As mentioned above, these rewards can involve discounts and gift cards with said retailers. Your spending may also earn you additional rewards, such as flybuys rewards.
  6. Balance transfer credit cards - Some balance transfer cards are also linked to rewards programs. Ideally, this would be used after you pay off your outstanding balance or any new purchases will immediately be charged a purchase rate. Always keep an eye out for any potential balance transfer fees when choosing this type of card.

Supermarket credit card rewards explained

The major supermarkets in Australia have stepped into the ring when it comes to the battle of the rewards credit cards.

Both Woolworths and Coles offer rewards credit cards, in which the points you earn can be exchanged within their own customer rewards program, for frequent flyer points or even for discounted groceries and gift cards.

    • Coles rewards

Coles Mastercard rewards credit cards are linked to their flybuys program. Coles shoppers can earn flybuys points on eligible spending in stores like Coles, Target, Kmart and more.

Card Earn rate
Coles Mastercard & Coles Platinum Mastercard 2 flybuys points for each whole Australian dollar spent on flybuys participating retailers spend, rounded down per transaction.
Coles Rewards Mastercard & Coles Rewards Platinum Mastercard 2 flybuys points for each whole Australian dollar spent on each eligible transaction, rounded down per transaction.
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard & Coles No Annual Fee Platinum Mastercard 1 flybuys point for every 2 whole Australian dollars spent on each eligible transaction, rounded down per transaction.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard & Coles Low Rate Platinum Mastercard 1 flybuys point for every 2 whole Australian dollars spent on each Coles spend, rounded down per transaction.

Source: Coles Mastercard terms and conditions.

  • Woolworths rewards

Woolworths rewards credit cards may be linked to either the Qantas frequent flyer program or the Everyday Rewards loyalty program. Shoppers can earn points on eligible spending in stores like Woolworths, BWS, Big W, Caltex and more. 

There are two Woolworths credit cards, with different earn rates depending on what you purchase. For example, the same card may earn 1 point at one store, and 3 at another.

Card Earn rate  
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card 3 Woolworths Select and Woolworths brand products.
2 Woolworths Supermarkets, Dan Murphy's, Cellarmasters, BWS, BIG W, Caltex Woolworths.
1 All other eligible purchases.
Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card 1 Woolworths, BIG W, Caltex Woolworths, BSW, Dan Murphy's and Cellarmasters.
0.5 All other eligible purchases.

Source: Woolworths credit card terms and conditions.

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 cardholders use their rewards credit card responsibly, you could enjoy significant benefits.

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. 

If you regularly shop at certain outlets or supermarkets, you may want to consider a store credit card. 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. You may also enjoy membership rewards, such as flybuys rewards in Coles Group retailers.

Finally, overseas adventurers can benefit from frequent flyer credit cards or travel 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, airport lounge access/lounge passes, and offer overseas travel insurance.

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. 

Rewards credit cards typically don't come with low fees or low rates, as these costs help to pay for these programs. You may end up paying fees, getting hit with high interest charges and getting into debt for a rewards program you don't really need.

Ben the online shopper

It’s almost the holidays and Ben has left all his gift shopping to the last minute again. Thankfully, Ben remembers last year he joined up with a rewards credit card program that does not have an expiry on points.

He logs onto his credit card providers rewards program platform and notices he’s earned a significant amount of points thanks to the regular eligible purchases he makes, such as his weekly grocery bill.

He is able to easily exchange his rewards points for a great new appliance to gift his partner with. He also nabs a couple gift cards for his family members from some of their favourite retailers. Ben does all of this without ever leaving his living room thanks to his rewards credit card.

Fees and costs of a rewards credit card

There are a range of common fees, costs and factors to consider when comparing rewards credit cards. These are typically outlined in the card's Product Disclosure Statement, which can be viewed on the card provider's website. 

Purchase rate The interest rate at which any purchases are charged if not paid in full during a statement period.
Cash advance rate The interest rate charged on any money withdrawn from outlets like an ATM.
Annual fees An ongoing cost that can range from $35-$1,200 a year.
Balance transfer fee  Also called a balance transfer rate, a fee charged by the new card provider for you to transfer your balance to them. Typically, around 3-5% of the balance.
Minimum repayment amount The minimum amount you need to pay on your outstanding balance each statement period. Typically, around 2% or $20, whichever is higher.
Earn rate The rate at which you can earn points on eligible purchases. Usually 1 point per dollar spent.

You can view the terms and conditions on a card provider's website to see any eligibility criteria and spend criteria before you apply.

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 through everyday purchases?
  • 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.

How to find rewards cards for my airline?

One of the easiest ways to find a competitive credit card for the airline you are a member of is to use comparison tables, such as the one on this page. This allows you to compare apples with apples by entering your details and filtering down your options to a shortlist of competitive card options to choose from. 

Simply use the search features to enter in your details, such as how much you spend each month, or your current interest rate to view. Then, click on the ‘Filters’ button and choose the credit card rewards partner program you prefer, such as Qantas frequent flyer or Amplify rewards.

You’ll then be able to easily compare card options side by side, and even sort your results by purchase rate or annual fee, to help try and keep costs down. Once you’ve made a short list, you can click on the ‘Go to site’ button to be redirected to that credit card providers’ page.

Frequently asked questions

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards 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. 

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

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.

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.

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?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

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.

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?

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. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your 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.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

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 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.

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:

  • Your income and living costs (e.g. rent/mortgage, loan repayments, living expenses)
  • Your employer’s contact details
  • Details of your assets and any debts you are paying off

How to get a free credit card

There's no such thing as a free lunch. 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. 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.

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.

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 to make a credit card online

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.

How do I apply for a credit card online?

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. 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. For more information on improving your credit score, go here

What does Westpac credit card insurance cover?

If you own a Westpac credit card, one of the perks may be  free travel insurance. If you’re eligible, you may be covered if you get sick while travelling, have lost your luggage, have to cancel a trip or have an accident while you’re on the move.

Besides these standard inclusions, the Westpac credit card insurance policy may also cover you for hospital essentials, emergency dental treatment and alternative transport if your original plans go awry. It may also cover loss of income when you get back home after being sick  overseas and your pets’ boarding costs too.

If you have any queries, the Westpac credit card insurance contact number is 1800 091 710. You can submit a claim online.