If you pay off your credit card in full each month, a rewards credit card is a great way to earn freebies. Cash, rewards points and Airpoints are all on offer, and the more you spend the more you can earn. So to find the best rewards card to match your lifestyle and spend profile, let Canstar’s latest Credit Card Awards and Star Ratings be your guide.
Rewards credit cards
Rewards cards tend to come with higher fees and interest rates. So they are not ideal for users who regularly have an outstanding balance. Instead, rewards cards are great for those who spend within their limits, and use their credit card with the aim of accumulating rewards.
As long as you clear your outstanding balance each month, if you use the card for all your spending, you can amass hundreds of dollars of rewards, all for the cost of the card’s annual fee. However, before applying for a rewards card, keep in mind:
- Are the rewards worth the fee? Rewards cards come with high fees. So if you’re not putting enough on the card, and accumulating enough rewards, you may be spending more than you’re saving.
- Are you overspending for the sake of rewards? For some, rewards cards can tempt overspending. It’s easy to think “only XX more dollars and I’ll earn another point”. If you’re buying for the sake of rewards, this type card may not be for you, especially if you’re spending beyond your means.
Canstar’s 5-Star Outstanding Value Rewards Credit Cards
Each year, Canstar’s expert research team evaluates all the major credit cards on the market. The awards and ratings are split into categories and spend levels, including:
- Reward Cards: $12,000 | $24,000 | $60,000 | $120,000 Annual Spend
- Flight Reward Cards: $12,000 | $24,000 | $60,000 | $120,000 Annual Spend
When rating the performance of the cards, our research team judges them for features including:
- Fees/interest rates
- Premium features
- Number of interest-free days
- Reward/loyalty programs
- Standard features
- No frills benefits
Canstar’s 5-Star Outstanding Value Rewards Credit Cards
The best performing cards earn our awards for 5-Star Outstanding Value. Here are this year’s 5-Star Outstanding Value winners across different annual spends:
Rewards $12,000 Annual Spend
Rewards $24,000 Annual Spend
Rewards $60,000 Annual Spend
Rewards $120,000 Annual Spend
Outstanding Value Flight Rewards Credit Card
The following flight rewards credit cards earned 5-Star Outstanding Value Ratings across different annual spends. And, as you can see, it’s Amex that dominates:
Flight Rewards $12,000 Annual Spend
Flight Rewards $24,000 Annual Spend
Flight Rewards $60,000 Annual Spend
Flight Rewards $120,000 Annual Spend
Top Earning Rewards Credit Cards
As we mention above, our 5-Star Outstanding Value winners are judged across a range of categories, including features, fees and interest rates. But we thought it would also be interesting to just crunch the numbers on the cards that deliver the biggest rewards cashback for your buck:
|Provider||Card||Purchase Rate||Annual Fee||Spend for $100 Cashback|
|American Express||Airpoints Platinum Card||19.95%||$195||$5900|
|BNZ||Advantage Visa Platinum – Flybuys Option*||18.95%||$90||$8400|
Source: www.canstar.co.nz – 20/03/2023. Based on personal credit cards on Canstar’s database. Top three selected and table sorted in ascending order by spend required. Calculations assume every dollar spent contributes to the cashback rewards. *BNZ Flybuys cards assume a 5.6 points per cashback dollar conversion rate, per their New World Dollars option.
TSB Bank’s Award Winning Credit Cards
If you’re looking for the best all-round awards credit card, look no further than the winner of Canstar’s 2023 Bank of the Year | Credit Cards Award: TSB.
The TSB’s win comes against a backdrop of big changes to the rewards offered by many credit card providers. Due to government legislation that has capped the fees credit card providers charge to merchants, many card issuers have dialled back the rewards they offer. But not the TSB, which has issued two new cards that together deliver the lowest interest rate in the market plus some of the best rewards.
For a $90 annual fee, the TSB’s Platinum Mastercard earns $1 cashback for every $70 spent, with no cap on the amount of cashback you can earn.
TSB Platinum Mastercard
- $1 cashback for every $70 spent on eligible purchases
- Mobile phone protection (T&Cs apply)
- Domestic & overseas travel insurance (Exclusions, T&Cs apply)
- Up to 55 days interest free
Fees and charges:
- $90 annual fee
- Additional card: $5 p.a.
- Purchase interest rate: 20.95% p.a.
- Cash advance interest rate: 22.95% p.a.
Compare Credit Cards with Canstar
If you’re interested in a new credit card, our free comparison tool covers all the major cards in the market, and includes our prestigious Star Ratings.
The comparison table below displays some of the rewards credit cards currently available on Canstar’s database for Kiwis looking to spend around $2000 per month (some may have links to providers’ websites). The products are sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by provider name (alphabetical). Use Canstar’s credit card comparison selector to view a wider range of credit cards. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce has three decades’ experience as a journalist and has worked for major media companies in the UK and Australasia, including ACP, Bauer Media Group, Fairfax, Pacific Magazines, News Corp and TVNZ. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.
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