Is it worthwhile using a credit card to purchase a car?


I am in the process of purchasing a new car, valued at NZD$134K. I have both a Westpac Airpoints and American Express Platinum card. The credit card charge is 2.4%, which equates to $3.2K. Is it worth paying $3.2K for with Airports or Amex Points?

Thanks, Nilesh

If you can mention the points earn rate on the cards, someone might do the math and help you decide if its worth.


On the airports card, it’s:

  • earn one Airpoints Dollar for every $75 spent on the card1
  • earn one Status Point for every $225 spent on the card1
on the amex card it's:
  • Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on your Card
I also have an Amex airports card, which provides:
  • Earn 1 Airpoints DollarTM for every $59 you spend on your Card
  • Earn 1 Status Point5 for every $250 you spend on your Card

Thanks again


Hi Nilesh,

I’m afraid that I don’t know Airpoints because my main FF programmes are Qantas, Velocity, KrisFlyer and Asia Miles. But doing the maths on those…

NZ Membership Rewards points will get you one FF point (in Qantas, Velocity, KrisFlyer etc) per 2 AmEx points. So your purchase will net you 134,000 points on those programmes.

You’re paying $3200 for the 134,000 points. That comes to 2.38 cents per point.

In my view, that’s too much to spend on points. It’s marginal, though … if you’re saving up for a flight in a premium cabin, each point can be worth maybe 4-5c.

It’s your call. But I personally don’t think that the CC charge is worth it. Save the money and pay by cash or cheque.

I don’t know Airpoints but my hunch is that the sums would add up much the same way – ie. not worth it. I’m not taking Status Points into account, though, which may make it more worthwhile if they’re of value to you.

Hope this helps!

At just 134k ff points I don’t see it being worth. If it was 2 FF points per $ then I’d go for it. Perhaps you can justify it by tax deducting the cc fee if buying for a business?

Just a thought: those rates are negotiable if you can shop between dealers. Usually at that value of vehicle there isn’t a lot of difference between dealers but someone might offer you a better CC rate to get the deal over the line. Might be worth using it as a negotiating point.

I’ve also heard about Amex setting up special deals on your behalf to get the transaction. ie they give a one-time rate to the dealer to win your business.

Key point: talk to everyone involved and see who is most motivated to get the deal.