How do I redeem credit card rewards points?

Rewards card? Check. Stack of points built up from all your shopping trips? Check. A plan for how you’re going to redeem them and get the most bang for your rewards buck? Well, that’s where this guide comes in.

If you’re not quite sure how to go about redeeming your rewards points then you’re not alone - lots of Aussies have a stockpile of points that aren’t being used because they don’t know how. To help, we’ve broken down some of the main redemption options available to most rewards cardholders:

Reward program online shops

One of the first things that comes to mind when redeeming points is probably the online shop of your rewards program. It works more or less like any other online shop - you can choose from things like clothes, electronics, kitchen appliances and toys - the big difference is you’re paying with your rewards points.

Some rewards programs that allow you to shop online include:

This might be one of the easiest ways to redeem points, but it’s not always the way to get the best value, and it can be hard to find exactly what you want.

In store

If you like to shop at brick and mortar stores you may find your options limited as far as using rewards points goes. At the moment, one of the only retail stores where you can use your rewards points instantly at the checkout is Myer.

But that’s not to say you can’t use your rewards points to snag products from your favourite shops! Most rewards cards come with a long list of partner businesses you can redeem points with, including David Jones, JB HiFi, Bunnings, Westfield and Target. You just can’t use your points directly at the checkout. Instead, you should trade rewards points for...

Gift cards

One of the best ways to use your points at your favourite shops is to redeem them for giftcards. You can do this through your online rewards account. A few things to keep in mind include:

  • There may be minimum point requirements, which mean you need to redeem a certain amount of points to get a gift card.
  • Often, you can choose to have your gift card in physical form and delivered by post, or you can choose an e-gift card and have it emailed to you. If you choose to have it mailed to you, remember that postage time will delay your spending.
  • Remember that different gift cards might have different conditions attached, such as expiry dates, or redemption conditions. So make sure you read the fine print.

For cashback

Another redemption option is to trade in your points for cashback. Most of the time, this comes in the form of a credit to your card account, which makes this a great option to help pay down your credit card balance or cover the annual fee. It’s also sometimes known as “Pay with Points.” A few things to remember include:

  • You will still need to make your monthly minimum payment - cashback doesn’t contribute toward this payment.
  • It may take a while before the credit shows up in your account - waiting 2-7 days is not unusual.
  • Often, you’ll need to redeem points for cashback in certain amounts, for example, lots of $50, $100, $500 or $1,000.

At the grocery shop

If most of your spending happens in the grocery store, then why not redeem your rewards points there too? The two big supermarket rewards programs in Australia are Coles Flybuys and Woolworths Everyday Rewards. Both are set up so that you can either:

  • Redeem points each time you have enough built up. For example, Woolies Everyday Rewards points need to be redeemed in lots of 2,000, for a $10 discount on your shopping. When you hit 2,000 points, your discount will be applied to your next shop automatically.

Or

  • Build up points for a bigger discount. With either program, you can opt to “bank” your rewards points and redeem them all at once. This is a great option if you’re planning a big spend, say for Christmas or a party.

For events and experiences

If you want to shop for experiences instead of things, then your rewards points can be redeemed for movie tickets, race car driving, jet boat rides and even skydiving packages.

These rewards are usually purchased through the online shop and just remember, each one will have certain conditions and requirements you’ll need to meet - especially the more adventurous options!

For flights

One of the most popular - and best value - ways to redeem rewards points is by using them to snag a free flight.

There are a few ways to do it, depending on what kind of card you have and what rewards program it’s attached to. You may be able to book the flight and use your points directly with the airline, or you might have the option to redeem points through travel services like Webjet or Flight Centre.

Converting rewards points to airline points

If you want to use your rewards points to book flights or make travel arrangements, you may need to convert them into frequent flyer points first. Some things to keep in mind when doing so include:

  • There may be a minimum transfer amount. For example, you may have to transfer at least 3,000 rewards points at a time.
  • Different cards will have different transfer rates. You might get 1 airline frequent flyer point for every 1 reward point, or 2 rewards points might convert to 1 frequent flyer point. Make sure you know the conversion rate so you know what you’re getting.
  • There may be a delay between when you transfer rewards point and when they show up in your frequent flyer account. This transfer time could be up to 14 days.

Frequent flyers cards

You can redeem points for flights on most rewards cards, but if you know all your points are going to go toward travel, one way to make the process easier is to opt for a frequent flyer card. With one of these pieces of plastic, the points you earn will be funnelled directly into your airline rewards program, to be used towards buying flights, flight upgrades or booking hotels.

Redemption process

So those are your options for redeeming rewards points - but how do you actually go about it? Although the process will be slightly different for each rewards program, we’ve broken down some of the common ways you could redeem your points.

Online

One of the easiest and most popular ways to redeem rewards points is to do it from the comfort of your laptop. Whether you’re shopping at the rewards program store, buying flights or getting cashback to cover your next credit card bill, chances are your credit card provider will have it set up so you can do so online.

Usually, you’ll need to log into your online banking account and find the rewards section in order to redeem points this way, or to check your points balance.

Over the phone

If you’re not an internet whizz, you might prefer to speak to someone over the phone. A number of credit card providers offer the option to redeem points through calling, although keep in mind that not all do.

Auto-redemption

Some rewards programs might also have auto-redemption options, which can be set up so that you use your rewards points as you earn them. Supermarket rewards are a good example: you might have auto-redemption set up so that every time you hit a certain number of points, they’re automatically redeemed for a discount on your next grocery shop.

Ready to start earning rewards?

Before you can redeem rewards points for lots of goodies, you’ll need to earn them! And the first step is snagging an excellent rewards credit card. Head over to our rewards credit card comparison tool to find the best piece of plastic for your wallet.