How to choose a rewards program

How to choose a rewards program

Choosing a credit card is a challenge in itself then deciding on the best rewards program to attach to your card can be just as testing. You may just throw your hands in the air and declare it all too difficult! But don’t, stop there and take a breath, as Mozo has come to the rescue. This guide will help you through the process of choosing a rewards program that is the best fit for you and one that will having you reaping in the benefits.

Types of reward programs

Before we start advising you on how to choose a rewards program you need to learn about the types of programs available. The common types of reward programs include:

Frequent flyer rewards: This is the most popular program amongst reward credit card holders. Every time you spend money on this card, you automatically earn points towards a particular frequent flyer loyalty program such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer.

General rewards: This program provides flexibility, allowing you to redeem your points on a range of products and services from cash back, shopping and travel vouchers to magazine subscriptions and appliances.

Cashback rewards: Cardholders are refunded a certain percentage of their spending. Visit our cash back section and compare the best cash back reward cards!

Supermarket rewards: Coles and Woolworths have a reward program for using your credit card to stock up on food. When you shop at Coles you can swipe your Flybuys card to earn points when at Woolworths you can accrue points with an Everyday Rewards card.                                        

Visit our guide on rewards programs for more details about reward programs including how to maximise reward points.

Factors to consider when choosing a rewards program

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of reward programs you just need to choose one that will attach with your credit card! Without complicating the process and keeping it simple, you should consider these three important factors:  

1. Will you pay your bill off on time and in full each month?

  1. If you don’t think you’ll pay your credit card bill off in full and by the due date then you should think twice about getting your hands on this type of fancy plastic. The interest you will pay for an ongoing balance on top of a high annual fee will outweigh the value you will receive in awards.

 2. Your credit card spending habits

  1. By calculating how much you’re likely to spend on your credit card each year will help determine which program suits you. If you use your card frequently and pay off your bill in full each month then a point based rewards program may benefit you best. Using the Mozo Rewards Revealer tool you can see reward card rankings will vary from someone who spends $15,000 per year on their card to someone who has a much higher spending level of $60,000.

3. The rewards you’re interested in

  1. There is no point choosing a frequent flyers rewards program if you have a fear of flying! Go with a program that offers you the greatest benefit for the rewards you are interested in. If you don’t travel regularly and want flexibility when redeeming your points then a general rewards card may be better suited to you.

Questions to ask yourself about rewards programs

When choosing a rewards program ask yourself the follow ten questions. This will help narrow down your options so you end up with a rewards program that is the best fit for you.

Q1. Does this reward program suit my annual credit card spend?

Q2. Am I interested in the rewards offered by this program?

Q3. Will the points I earn with this program expire?

Q4. Is there a cost for becoming a member of this rewards program?

Q5. How many points do I earn for every $1 I spend?

Q6. Can I add a family member to the card so I can earn more points?

Q7. How to I redeem my points, is it an easy process?

Q8. Is there a cap on how many points I can earn in a year?

Q9. How many points to I need to earn to get the reward I want?

Q10. Am I likely to shop with the programs partners where I can earn bonus points?

Features to think through when choosing a program

Value of the points: Generally speaking, most cards have a standard equation of $1 equals 1 point. However some cards may have a higher or lower value as the brand can have an impact. For example, $1 spent on AMEX may earn you 3 points but only 1 point on Visa.

Point expiry: Look at the fine print and find out when the points expire. Try and find a reward program where the points don’t expire. You’d hate to plan your honeymoon to Fiji using your Velocity Frequent Flyer points only to find out they’ll expire by the time you need to redeem them.

Points capping: There’s a few programs out here that have a cap on the amount of points you can earn a year or even in a month. Make sure the limit isn’t so low you don’t get any value from the rewards on offer.

Point redemption: Some cards require you to manually transfer points to a program for redemption while others will make life easy for you by automatically transferring the points to the reward program. You may have to wait for rewards or vouchers to be sent to you. With frequent flyer points it can be difficult to redeem your points for a flight as there is often only a set number of seats allocated to frequent flyers.

Bonus points: With some rewards cards you will get the opportunity to earn bonus points. You might get them as a lump sum when you sign up for the card, or when you spend a set amount on the card in a specific timeframe. Other rewards cards will give you bonus points when you spend money with specific retailers or stores. When weighing up bonus points offers, it is important to ensure you review the ongoing interest rate and any fees attached to the card, especially if there are spending limits to earn the bonus points. You don’t want to overspend and get into debt just to earn $50 cash back for instance.