As demand for international and domestic travel returns to pre pandemic levels, Australians can also expect to see a surge in demand for credit cards offering rewards packages with benefits for travellers.

Corporate Traveller, a corporate travel management division of Flight Centre, has revealed eight credit card perks that could help Australians travelling this year.

Tom Whalley, Global Managing Director of Corporate Traveller, said that these perks could save businesses and their travellers hundreds of dollars a year, as well as inject "a little luxury" into their trips.

He also reminded Australians tempted by credit card rewards packages that they typically come with higher rates and fees, and to make sure they really will end up saving money before making their decision.

"Travellers should determine the offers that will be of most value to them, and crunch the numbers to work out whether these offers still provide value against sometimes higher interest rates or high annual fees," Mr Whalley said.

1. Complimentary flights

Despite most international borders being fully reopened, many airlines have yet to return to their full pre pandemic capacity, so airfares remain high.

Corporate Traveller highlighted some examples of products that offer travel credits or complimentary flights that could help Aussies baulking at prohibitive flight costs.

The American Express Velocity Platinum credit card includes one free return domestic flight with Virgin Australia per year, while the American Express Platinum charge card offers a $450 yearly travel credit that can be spent on eligible flights, as well as hotels or car hire.

Both these products come with additional costs and interest rates to consider.

Aussies will pay a 21.99% p.a interest rate on the Velocity Platinum card (compared with an average interest rate of 19.94% p.a), while the Express Platinum has a $1,450 annual fee.

2. Uncapped points

Particularly relevant for businesses with large travel expenses, some credit cards do not limit the amount of points that can be earned over a certain time period.

With the NAB Rewards Business Signature Credit Card for example, the lack of a points cap means businesses can accumulate an unlimited number of NAB rewards, which can be redeemed for flights online.

3. Dining credits

Many credit card providers have partnerships with domestic and overseas restaurant partners, where rewards points can be redeemed.

Another benefit of the American Express Platinum charge card is up to $400 worth of credit that can be used at participating restaurants both in Australia and abroad (although again, this product does mean a $1,450 annual fee).

4. Earning points on taxes

Some credit card providers include tax payments in their definition of transactions eligible to earn points on, although often at a reduced rate.

Spenders can earn one point per dollar spent on tax bills on their American Express Business Explorer card, compared to two points for normal transactions.

Corporate Traveller pointed out that these reduced gains can be offset by credit card surcharges (1.45% at the ATO for example), making this another example of a situation where it pays to run the numbers and work out exactly how much money you are really saving.

5. Access to airport lounges

Many travellers will know the feeling of looking longingly at the travel lounges where a lucky few can relax while waiting for their flight.

Corporate Traveller gave several examples of credit cards offering lounge access as part of their rewards package.

HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card allows members to earn points across 26 airline rewards programs, providing access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Qantas Premier Titanium card offers new cardholders two annual complimentary Qantas First Class lounge passes at selected airports in Sydney, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, while American Express Velocity Platinum cardholders receive two Virgin Australia lounge passes at selected domestic airports each year.

6. Travel insurance

Many rewards cards offer complimentary travel insurance to cardholders.

ANZ Rewards Platinum credit cardholders can access unlimited overseas emergency medical treatment, as well as claim up to $4,000 for lost, stolen or damaged computers, cameras, and video cameras; and up to $1,000 for any other item.

Cover for rental vehicle damage is capped at $5,000.

The level of coverage though might vary to retail policies, so travellers or businesses might need to consider purchasing additional insurance to supplement this cover.

7. Complimentary accommodation

Some rewards cards offer cardholders complimentary additional nights' accommodation at participating hotels.

The Citi Prestige Credit Card for example allows cardholders to get a fourth night free at its hotel partners, limited at four stays per year.

Again though, this product comes with additional terms and fees; there is a $700 annual fee from the second year onwards and cardholders need to have a minimum $150,000 annual income.  

8. No-fee frequent flyer membership

Finally, some credit card providers allow you to waive frequent flyer membership fees as part of their rewards package.

The HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card, for instance, waives the $99.50 Qantas Frequent Flyer membership fee.

Looking for travel benefits? The table below features a range of credit cards with travel benefits.

Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of . View disclaimer.

Picture by Sheila on Pexels

Ready, Set, Buy!

Learn everything you need to know about buying property – from choosing the right property and home loan, to the purchasing process, tips to save money and more!

With bonus Q&A sheet and Crossword!

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy