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Measuring up frequent flyer credit cards

An independent analysis of Australian frequent flyer credit cards has revealed it can take up to nine years to earn a one-way trip to London. These results are compounded by credit card surcharges from retailers, airline taxes and annual fees that also eat away at points.

The analysis, conducted by comparison website WhistleOut.com.au, compared the points earned on 29 credit cards linked to frequent flyer programs with Qantas, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia against the average Australian monthly credit card spend of $1,146.

The majority of the cards analysed would take consumers longer than three years to accumulate enough points for a one-way flight to London. Just nine of the 29 cards would taken less than three years, with total spends required varying from $42,673 to $130,000-plus.

WhistleOut Director Cameron Craig said businesses should take into account these timeframes when choosing a credit card linked to a frequent flyer program.

“Frequent flyer points are the most advertised feature on new credit cards, yet their benefit is very subjective.”

We found some standout cards contrasted by some terrible performances on the entry level cards.”

With credit card annual fees, retailer surcharge fees and airline taxes, the actual average cost to be able to earn a reward flight to London increases to $1613.

Craig advises consumers to consider the differences in points and costs.

“Between cards, the difference in points earning potential and cost to you is huge. You’ve just got to review them against your spending.”

In a positive move for consumers, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is reviewing the practice of retailers charging additional credit card surcharges.

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