What to expect and do after applying for a credit card

GUIDE: Earning Points
DIFFICULTY: Easy
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
POSTED: March 15, 2019
UPDATED: March 15, 2019
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Relevant to Multiple Programs

With the American Express Airpoints Platinum offering a boosted bonus of 300 Airpoints dollars on sign up, we thought we would take a look at what new cardholders need to do to ensure a smooth process in receiving your bonus points.

Do I need to apply through the Point Hacks NZ website?

Yes! In order to make sure you receive the bonus points offered, you must apply through the relevant offer article on the Point Hacks NZ website.

Every offer will contain a red button titled ‘FIND OUT MORE OR APPLY’, which you must click on for the relevant financial provider to track your application as being eligible for the offer.

Make sure to click on this red button to be taken to the Point Hacks offer page.

Will my credit card application be approved?

There are many factors that determine whether your credit card application will be approved, including:

  • Whether you meet eligibility requirements, such as being 18+ and being a permanent resident or citizen or New Zealand
  • Whether you meet the minimum income requirements
  • Your credit score
  • Your capacity to pay

Also note that the above list is not exhaustive, and each lender will have their own individual credit review processes.

Bonus points

One of the biggest deciding factors in applying for a credit card is the bonus points offering for signing up to a new credit card. Examples offers such as:

In order to ensure that you are eligible for the bonus points on offer, make sure not to fall foul of the minimum spend, eligible spend or exclusion period requirements.

Minimum spend requirement

The minimum spend requirement is the first thing you need to plan out as soon as you receive your new credit card.

The minimum amount you will need to spend varies across cards, some being at a level that is relatively easy to reach for the average income earner while others can be very challenging.

For the two cards mentioned above, the minimum spend requirements are $1,500 within the first 3 months, which is very reasonable at just $500 per month for the first 3 months of approval. This can be easily achieved by using the card on essential spend such as supermarkets, petrol or rent.

Always read the fine print to make sure you are able to reach the required spend without putting a strain on your finances when applying for a card.

Here are some ideas on the best ways to reach the minimum spend when you apply for a new card.

Eligible Spend

In regards to meeting the minimum spend requirement, it is only eligible spend that counts towards this target, so make sure you are also familiar with what is defined as eligible spend.

Eligible spend varies between cards, banks and financial institutions but there are a couple of transactions that are generally deemed as ineligible for the purpose of either satisfying the minimum spend or earning points.

These include:

  • Interest charges
  • Card fees
  • Cash advances
  • Cash equivalent transactions
  • Balance transfers
  • Gambling or gaming spend
  • Business expenditure (unless it is a business card)

Exclusion period

Many cards now impose an exclusion period where new cardholders are ineligible for bonus points if they have held the same card in the previous 12 or 18 months. In some instances, the exclusion is based on previously holding the exact same card, while at other times, it is based on a broader definition of previously holding a card in the same earning family, meaning a card linked to the same Rewards or frequent flyer programme.

What happens after reaching the minimum spend

Once you have satisfied the minimum spend requirement, it is now time to wait for your bonus points to arrive!

While the timeline varies between banks, in most cases the bonus points should be in your account about 8 to 12 weeks after the minimum spend requirement is met, so make sure to reach the minimum spend requirement as quickly as your financial circumstances allow.

Linking your frequent flyer account

There are many cards that earn directly into a single frequent flyer programme – and in New Zealand this usually means into the Airpoints programme such as the American Express Airpoints Platinum, ANZ Airpoints cards range or Westpac’s Airpoints World Mastercard and more.

In most cases, you will be asked to provide your frequent flyer details at the time of application. However, some cards may have a different process entirely, make sure to read up on the fine print.

The most common frequent flyer programme in New Zealand is, of course, Air New Zealand Airpoints. Other programmes that are also popular are Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer, among others.

Understanding your new credit card’s rewards programme

If you applied for a card that earns into a bank’s flexible rewards programme, such as American Express Membership Rewards or ASB True Rewards, then the bonus points will be credited to that account first and will remain there until you decide how to use them.

The American Express Membership Rewards programme is the only ‘true’ flexible rewards programme we have in New Zealand at the moment, in the sense that you can transfer your points to a range of different other frequent flyer programmes. These points transfer at a rate of 2:1 to most programmes you are transferring your points into.

American Express Membership Rewards do not expire however do note that some frequent flyer programmes such as Krisflyer and Asia Miles implement a “hard expiry”, meaning that points will expire within 3 years of accrual, regardless if the account is active or inactive.

Annual Fee

With maybe a few exceptions like the American Express Airpoints card, most rewards point-earning cards in the market charge an ongoing annual card fee. This fee will reflect in your account soon after you activate your card, which can range from $0 to as high as $1250 with the American Express Platinum Charge. So be prepared to pay for this on your first statement due date.

Here are some tips on how to get your annual card fees waived or reduced.

Using your bonus points

Well, this is of course the fun part!

For some inspiration, here is a comprehensive list of all of our Best Uses of Points guides. There may be some overlap but each guide has its own twist.

Summing up

Earning sign-up bonus points is a great way to quickly boost your frequent flyer account, but make sure to do your homework first to avoid being disappointed. Remember to familiarise yourself with 3 key requirements:

  1. Minimum spend
  2. Eligible spend
  3. Exclusion period

If you satisfy all three, then sit back, relax and enjoy your points!

What to expect and do after applying for a credit card was last modified: March 15th, 2019 by Daniel Sciberras