Confessions of a frequent flyer point addict

BY ANNELI KNIGHT
Last updated 12:58 04/08/2010

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OPINION: I have a confession to make. I love collecting frequent flyer points. I arrange my credit card choice and sometimes my spending in order to maximise the points I earn. It's an addiction my whole family shares.

It's not unheard of for us to discuss over dinner which car hire company offers the best reward points, or send a text message to let each other know about special bonus points promotions.

We're a family of travellers with more than half our clan living on the other side of the world or in distant corners of the country - and the reason we focus our energies on accumulating points is so we can claim very cheap international airfares (at the dollar cost of airport taxes only) to spend time with each other and enjoy holidays along the way.

For this reason, I was very interested to hear about the Rewards Revealer that financial comparison site Mozo has just launched.

This clever tool allows you to type in your annual credit card spend (indicating how much of this might be with American Express - the highest points earner and a card not accepted by many outlets) and whether you are collecting points for international or domestic flights or for shopping or other rewards.

The Rewards Revealer then provides you with a list of the credit cards that best suit your intended outcomes.

Mozo did some research using their new technology to see whether credit card points were worth pursuing.

The answer to this question for the majority of cards is a giant resounding NO. Using the average annual credit card spend of A$14,000 (based on Reserve Bank of Australia data) the Rewards Revealer found that only two out of 76 cards available offered rewards worth more than A$100 once annual card fees are taken into consideration.

On this basis, the most rewarding cards (not including platinum cards) are the American Express Blue Sky credit card, Myer Visa Card and Jetstar Mastercard.

Individuals who spend more than A$50,000 a year on their credit card tend to receive higher rewards and generally pay higher fees to access the credit card rewards programs.

The top cards in this category (including the platinum cards) are Citi Emirates Platinum, Westpac Singapore Airlines Platinum and Jetstar Platinum Mastercard.

I plugged my details into the Mozo Rewards Revealer and at least found my credit card is on the first page of results. Earlier this year I managed to get the annual fee waived on my joint Mastercard/American Express card account because I have my mortgage with that bank - so this would probably bring my card up to number one position for my personal situation.

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If you are a credit card points chaser - or if you are considering taking on a credit card - I recommend the Mozo Rewards Revealer to you to help you check whether your product decision-making is rational.

It is probably worth mentioning that I always pay off the entire amount of my credit card spend before the due date each month as this is the only way to make a credit card in any way rewarding.

As soon as you start paying credit card interest you're likely to be falling behind on the benefits of having a card in the first place.

But for me, if it ever comes up in conversation (usually while we're on holiday together and I'm there on my super-cheap frequent flyer ticket) I always encourage my friends who have credit cards to make sure they join a frequent flyer program linked to a high-earning points credit card.

And now with Rewards Revealer I have even more information to give them for their research (and I'll have to remember to text my family with a tip to read today's blog).

Is anyone else addicted to earning frequent flyer points? Do you think this is a rational or an off-the-rails pursuit? And have any of you changed your mind after giving the new Rewards Revealer a whirl?

- BusinessDay.com.au

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