This guide takes a look at what new cardholders need to do to ensure a smooth process in receiving bonus points.
Do I need to apply through the Point Hacks website?
Yes! In order to make sure you receive bonus points offered in a Point Hacks deal, you must apply through the relevant offer article on the Point Hacks website.
Every offer will contain a red button titled ‘FIND OUT MORE OR APPLY’, which you must click on for the relevant financial provider to track your application as being eligible for the offer.
Will my credit card application be approved?
There are many factors that determine whether your credit card application will be approved, including:
- Whether you meet eligibility requirements, such as being 18+ and being an Australian resident
- Whether you meet the minimum income requirements
- Your credit score
- Your capacity to pay
Note that the last factor has become more stringent since 1 January 2019, with ASIC implementing a new 3-year rule that requires lenders to assess a borrower’s capacity to pay back their credit limit within a 3-year period.
Also note that the above list is not exhaustive, and each lender will have their own individual credit review processes.
One of the biggest deciding factors in applying for a credit card is the bonus points offering for signing up to a new credit card. Examples include current offers such as:
In order to ensure that you are eligible for the bonus points on offer, make sure not to fall foul of the minimum spend, eligible spend or exclusion period requirements.
Minimum spend requirement
The minimum spend requirement is the first thing you need to plan out as soon as you receive your new credit card.
The minimum amount you will need to spend varies across cards, some being at a level that is relatively easy to reach for the average income earner while others can be very challenging. Here are some examples:
- ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Card – 40,000 Velocity Points
40,000 Velocity Points, when you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of approval
The current offer for the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card has a minimum spend of $500 within the first 3 months, which is very reasonable. This can be easily achieved by using the card on essential spend such as supermarkets, petrol or rent.
- Virgin Money High Flyer – 90,000 Velocity Points
Up to 90,000 Velocity Points, receive 30,000 bonus points for every month you spend $3,000 or more in the first 3 months
With the Virgin Money High Flyer on the other hand, you need to spend a total of $9,000 in the first 3 months just to receive the full bonus. That much spend in a short span of time can be very challenging for most families unless of course a big ticket spend is on the horizon.
- Citi Prestige – up to 410,000 Rewards Points
Up to 410,000 Citi Rewards Points, receive 20,000 bonus for every month you spend $1,000 or more on the Visa for the first 20 months from approval and apply for the Linked Diners Club Card and make your first spend to receive the additional 10,000 point bonus
The Citi Prestige has up to 410,000 Rewards Points on offer, but do note that the total minimum spend required to receive the full bonus is also a chunky $20,000. The good thing is that it is spread over 20 months or a mininum of ‘just’ $1,000 per month.
However, it also means that you’re tied up to the card for 20 months, including paying for the annual card fee for the second year (worth $700) just to receive the full bonus.
- St.George Amplify Signature – Amplify Rewards – up to 200,000 Amplify Points
Up to 200,000 Amplify Points, when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases each year for the first 2 years of approval
Similar to the Citi Prestige, the signup bonus on the St.George Amplify Signature – Amplify Rewards card looks very attractive specially with the discounted first year annual card fee of $179. Just keep in mind that the bonus will be credited in 2 batches over a period of about 2 years and you will have to pay the full $279 annual fee on the second year on top of the $12,000 per year minimum spend requirement.
Always read the fine print to make sure you are able to reach the required spend without putting a strain on your finances when applying for a card.
Here are some ideas on the best ways to reach the minimum spend when you apply for a new card.
In regards to meeting the minimum spend requirement, it is only eligible spend that counts towards this target, so make sure you are also familiar with what is defined as eligible spend.
Eligible spend varies between cards, banks and financial institutions but there are a couple of transactions that are generally deemed as ineligible for the purpose of either satisfying the minimum spend or earning points.
- Interest charges
- Card fees
- Cash advances
- Cash equivalent transactions
- Balance transfers
- Gambling or gaming spend
Many cards now impose an exclusion period where new cardholders are ineligible for bonus points if they have held the same card in the previous 12 or 18 months. In some instances, the exclusion is based on previously holding the exact same card, while at other times, it is based on a broader definition of previously holding a card in the same earning family, meaning a card linked to the same Rewards or frequent flyer program.
What happens after reaching the minimum spend
Once you have satisfied the minimum spend requirement, it is now time to wait for your bonus points to arrive!
While the timeline varies between banks, in most cases the bonus points should be in your account about 8 to 12 weeks after the minimum spend requirement is met, so make sure to reach the minimum spend requirement as quickly as your financial circumstances allow.
Linking your frequent flyer account
In most cases, you will be asked to provide your frequent flyer details at the time of application.
Understanding your new credit card’s rewards program
If you applied for a card that earns into a bank’s flexible rewards programs, the bonus points will be credited to that account first and will remain there until you decide to transfer them to one of your frequent flyer account/s.
These flexible rewards program have different transfer partners and the transfer rates will also depend on which frequent flyer program you are transferring your points into. Learn more about some of these flexible programs by reading our guides here:
Most bank rewards points do not expire, however there are exceptions, such as the ANZ Rewards program. Also note that some frequent flyer programs such as Krisflyer and Asia Miles implement a “hard expiry”, meaning that points will expire within 3 years of accrual, regardless if the account is active or inactive.
With a few exceptions, most rewards point-earning cards in the market charge an annual card fee. This fee will reflect in your account soon after you activate your card, which can range from $0 to as high as $1450 with the Amex Platinum Charge for personal cards. So be prepared to pay for this on your first statement due date.
Here are some tips on how to get your annual card fees waived or reduced.
Using your bonus points
Well, this is of course the fun part!
For some inspiration, here is a comprehensive list of all of our Best Uses of Points guides. There may be some overlap but each guide has its own twist.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Best uses of Qantas Points
- ‘Ultimate’ uses of Qantas Points
- Best uses of 60,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 80,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Qantas Points
- When it makes sense to use your Qantas Points for domestic travel in Economy (and when it doesn’t)
- Best uses of Qantas Points from the East Coast
- Best uses of Qantas Points from Perth
- Reader responses: what is the best use of Qantas Points?
- Seven of the cheapest Qantas Points redemptions for luxurious Emirates flights
- The cheapest ways to fly Cathay Pacific First Class with Qantas Points
Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Best uses of Velocity Points
- Best uses of 80,000 Velocity Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Velocity Points
- Five flight redemptions that maximise your Velocity points balance
- Best uses of Etihad Guest miles
- Etihad Guest vs Velocity for Virgin Australia flights comparison guide
American Express Membership Rewards
- Best uses of 100,000 American Express Ascent Membership Rewards points
- Best uses of 100,000 American Express Gateway Membership Rewards points
Earning sign-up bonus points is a great way to quickly boost your frequent flyer account, but make sure to do your homework first to avoid being disappointed. Remember to familiarise yourself with 3 key requirements:
- Minimum spend
- Eligible spend
- Exclusion period
If you satisfy all three, then sit back, relax and enjoy your points!