The best entry-level frequent flyer credit cards

By Chris Chamberlin, April 12 2016
The best entry-level frequent flyer credit cards

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

When used responsibly, credit cards are one of the best ways to earn frequent flyer points other than by actually flying, as they allow you to accrue points on money you’re already spending everyday: whether that’s buying milk, paying bills or even booking your next holiday.

What’s more, in 2016 most businesses accept Visa and MasterCard for payments, while many also accept cards like American Express and Diners Club which can be used to reel in a greater number of points per dollar spent.

Australian Business Traveller takes a look at some of the best entry-level frequent flyer credit cards in the market today, whether you’re scouting for your first-ever credit card or just want something simple that can earn you points without all the extras like annual fees and travel insurance.

ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer AMEX + Visa

Best-suited to true beginners, ANZ’s Qantas Frequent Flyer combo gets you off to a flying start with both an American Express (AMEX) card and a Visa on the one account, sharing the same credit limit and bank statement.

Use the AMEX and you’ll earn one Qantas Point per $1 spent up to $3,000 per monthly statement period, or use the Visa to earn a lower 0.5 Qantas Points per $1: also up to $3,000 per statement period.

What’s more, customers who are approved can pick up a bonus 25,000 Qantas Points – in addition to the points usually earned per dollar – after making an eligible purchase within the first three months.

Combine everything and it’s a great card to have while grasping where American Express is and isn’t accepted as you’ll never find yourself without the right type of card, and if you join ANZ’s optional and $35/year eDine program, you could even save money when dining out or making hotel bookings.

American Express Essential credit card

If you tend to shop where American Express is accepted – or even if you want to dive in and try it out without paying an annual fee – the American Express Essential card wraps up a neat little package of points and perks without the usual price tag.

Cardholders can earn 1 ‘Membership Rewards Gateway’ point per dollar spent with most merchants, equal to 0.75 frequent flyer points with the likes of Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and more, with new customers also receiving a $50 statement credit after spending $500 on the card in the first two months.

Added to that is free smartphone screen insurance when paying for your phone or contact with the card, purchase protection insurance if an item you buy breaks or is stolen within 90 days of purchase and up to 12 months of free extended warranty cover when buying selected new appliances.

You’re also covered if a merchant refuses to grant a refund on an unused item within 90 days of purchase, can use Apple Pay via iPhone and Apple Watch to pay on the move and can take advantage of cashback via AMEX Offers: but more on that below.

Qantas American Express Discovery Card

Also bearing no annual fee, the Qantas American Express Discovery Card serves up a solid two Qantas Points per dollar spent directly with Qantas on flights and Qantas Club membership and one Qantas Point per dollar spent everywhere else, uncapped.

Spend just $300 within the first three months and you’ll grab a bonus 5,000 Qantas Points, and a further 2,500 bonus Qantas Points after your first spend directly with Qantas.

Like the Essential card you’ll too receive 90-day refund protection and purchase protection – although not smartphone screen insurance or extended warranty cover – can pay via Apple Pay and can register for AMEX Offers to save money by receiving credits on your card statement.

Among the current deals: $10 cashback after making 3x$10+ Apple Pay payments, $20 back after spending $50 three or more times with selected fashion retailers and $15 back after spending $60 or more with The Co-op: a welcome saving when buying expensive university textbooks.

American Express Velocity Escape Card

Much the same as the Qantas Discovery Card, American Express Velocity Escape also allows you to earn one frequent flyer point per dollar spent: but in the Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer program, rather than Qantas Frequent Flyer.

The points you earn are automatically swept across to your frequent flyer account each and every month, and you’ll collect double points when spending directly with Virgin Australia – including when using your card to pay for Virgin Australia flights.

Again as with Discovery, 90-day purchase protection and 90-day refund protection come as standard, as does access to AMEX Offers via the American Express smartphone app which you activate on an offer-by-offer basis to enjoy statement credits after eligible purchases.

Also read: The five best credit cards for earning Qantas Points

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Considering it completely free I would say that Qantas American Express Discovery Card currently one of the best on the market.

wilsoni Banned
wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2011

Total posts 321

It won't take long to blow any better earn rate and/or low annual fee with the Amex on the charge fees a lot of merchants impose - 3% or even 3.5% to use Amex (and Diners), 1.5% or 2% for Visa and Mastercard. 

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on The best entry-level frequent flyer credit cards