How to Get the Most Out of Your Credit Card Points

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Credit Card Points
Image: iStock/sefa ozel

This article is sponsored by Westpac Altitude Rewards Card.

Use your current lifestyle to maximise your credit card reward points and get more bang for your buck. Here are a few strategies to sign yourself up to perks worth bragging about.

Sometimes it’s hard to earn enough reward points to make having a credit card worthwhile. This is why not all credit cards are good value for money and similarly, not all reward programs are worth wasting your time on.

Choose the best credit card for you

This is the most important step in your journey to maximising your credit card points. Don’t get roped into choosing a card solely based on its rewards program or flashy marketing campaign. Instead, do your homework and figure out how much it’ll cost you. What are the annual fees and interest charges like? Are there any other charges you need to be wary of?

Then see how the costs stack up against any signup bonus offered, complimentary features, partnerships with other merchants and so on.

Westpac, for instance, offers a range of credit cards, at least one of which will give you a lower annual fee. This might mean not be on the receiving end of some features but perhaps you don’t really need them.

Be a points hacker and keep an eye on the market for lucrative new signup deals to make the most of your earning potential.

Take advantage of signup bonuses

If you’re well into your research there’s no chance you could have escaped adverts from credit card providers offering a massive number of points if you spend a certain amount of money within a certain number of days.

Westpac’s Altitude Black Credit could earn you 150,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $4,000 or more on eligible purchases within 90 days of your new card’s approval. It’s a worthwhile offering if you’re already spending more than $1,335 per month and are likely to meet the offer threshold.

Focus on points-to-dollar ratio and high-value purchases

You’ll need to choose a credit card that gives you a high points-to-dollar ratio otherwise your rewards balance will go up at a snail’s pace.

Let’s take a look at Westpac’s Altitude Black and Altitude Platinum cards. The first one gives you 1 Altitude Point or 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent while the latter will earn you 1.25 Altitude Points or 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases. It’s important to keep in mind though that a better points-to-dollar ratio will most likely carry a higher annual fee for more rewards, such as insurance on purchases or 24/7 concierge.

This is where expensive purchases or categories come in. Spending on flights and accommodation is great ways to earn more points. Choose a card with partnerships that suit your spend and then use the same hard-earned points to make travel purchases, spend on a long weekend away with your mates or get around town.

Westpac’s partners include Spotify Premium, Airbnb, UberEats and more — all great options that many Aussies use from time to time if not each month.

Use your credit card on the daily but pay off your bill ASAP

As long as you’re not spending beyond your means, using a credit card for your daily purchases is a great way to keep earning points, like for grocery runs that always lead to a hefty amount. You could also be out for dinner with friends — don’t split the bill just pay the entire amount and simply ask your mates to transfer back the cash.

While doing the above is great, you need to avoid being stuck with high interest otherwise you won’t be maximising your reward points. Pay off your entire balance in full and avoid any late fees.

Add an additional cardholder

If you and your spouse are comfortable sharing cards, you could easily increase the monthly spending on your credit card to earn more reward points. You just need to see if the company you’re with is happy to send an extra credit card for the same account.

By racking up a higher points balance, you could spend on a much-needed domestic break — given the toll 2020’s taken on all of us — we could all use one. Westpac’s Altitude Rewards program would, for example, be great for anyone who’s a loyal Qantas traveller.

At the end of the day, it’s all about doing your research and not falling for marketing gimmicks that’ll leave you high and dry.


Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and is not intended to be used as personal advice.

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