What is the best combination of credit cards?

Hi there

Read this article about Edward Alder (one of the Point Hacks exec directors).

Made me think about my current cc combo.

I decided to focus on Velocity as I don’t travel much and wanted to save for family trips, as well as lounge access for occasional domestic flights as part of work. (I have passes for virgin domestic lounge)

So I have;

  1. ANZ Rewards Black
  2. ANZ Travel Adventures
  3. Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature
  4. and a companion Amex Velocity Platinum belonging to my wife that pools points to my velocity account

(I had an Amex Explorer just over 12 months ago, so waiting for the 18 month mark to reapply for another Amex to get bonus signup - will probably get my own Amex Velocity Plat.)

The BOM Amplify is offered as part of my mortgage package so it’s essentially free, but I may cancel the package to recoup the $395 annual fee as I don’t think I’m benefitting from the other components anyway.

Anyone else care to comment on how I could improve this current cc arrangement? And regarding Amex, even though Edward recommends getting an agnostic Amex, the bonuses and earn rate (once you factor in conversion rates to Velocity) don’t seem as good as getting a straight up Amex Velocity?



Hi Ben,

First off, we aren’t allowed and are not qualified to provide personal financial advice. Unfortunate, I know.

However, I can give some personal comments on your query.

There is no long lasting, best credit card combination. If someone tells you that, he/she is “ignorant” (please excuse my language =). Also, something that suits him/her might not suit your circumstances. Programs changes, devalues. New products/offering come out. So it is an ever-changing scene. We need to constantly adjust and adapt.

Having no business expense to generate points like Edward, 90%+ of my point earn is from credit card signup bonuses. My personal strategy (not saying it is the best) is: I have core Amex cards and free credit cards (incl. from mortgage packages) that I keep. Then I signup a few cards a year for signup bonuses. I divert my spend from my long term cards if required to meet the minimum qualifying spend on the new cards. Once the qualifying spend is met, I either divert back my spend or apply another card if my credit score is healthy and there are any good offers available.

Now it is all well and good to focus on earning one type of FF points (i.e. Velocity points in your case). But just be aware of the down sides. E.g.: if Velocity or Krisflyer does not have award seats when you need a flight, you are stuck. If Velocity or Krisflyer program devalues severely overnight, you are “stuffed” too. So there are pros and cons to being “loyal” vs investing in a flexible point program.

The Amex Velocity Platinum has a great earn rate it’s 1.25point per dollar, from memory. If I have an Amex card that earns 1 point per dollar, when a transfer bonus comes up (pretty often and consistent), I should be able to bridge that difference. Hence, I would have the benefit of flexible points too.

Sorry for rambling on. I do hope what I said is of some help to you. Otherwise, I will let others respond with more helpful comments. Good luck.


“if my credit score is healthy” - how do you know when it is healthy?

Look it up. I use getcreditscore.com.au

Thanks for the thoughts, all good. Not looking for financial advice, just general strategies.

Any thoughts on how to apply for more than 1 Amex without losing out on bonus points?

Its another personal preference. I personally like to keep it above 600-700. Depends also if you need to apply for a mortgage in the coming 6-12 mths. Depends if you are risk adverse too.

I use getcreditscore and creditsavvy.

Unfortunately, the bus has left the station. Amex has clamped down on that. You now need to have not held any Amex cards (except DJ, Westpac) in the past 18 mths to qualify. It used to be that you could get signup bonuses for every Amex card.

My strategy is let my partner hold the Amex cards while I wait for the 18 mths to pass.

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Yep that’s what I have done. 6 months remaining and counting down…

First of all, it kind of depends…
What is your spending pattern?
Where would you transfer your points?
Do you do a lot of international travel?

Redeeming points for gift cards seems dumb to me but for someone who just doesn’t fly anywhere, it could actually be a not so bad idea.

For me, I fly mostly to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Nanjing(sometimes Shanghai). So Qantas and Asia Miles would be my choice.

Then I look at my spending patterns. I spend little in Coles/WWS, but a lot in David Jones and Myer. I do ‘Daigou’ a lot. Around 10k spending in David Jones, Myer and around 12k with other luxury brands per month. Then I have some choices here. I can spend directly with my AMEX in David Jones and Myer, or I can buy gift cards from Coles/WWS to maximise my points. Or I could get those discounted gift cards from certain sites.

So what I have are

  1. AMEX platinum(for large purchases as it is a charge card, if I reach my credit limit with other cards, I tend to use this card)
  2. AMEX platinum edge(to get the 1.5 miles/dollar from Coles/WWS)
  3. Westpac Black Bundle(both linked to Qantas, the theoretical max earning for the AMEX one is 2.5 Qantas per dollar other than the advertised 1.25. The MasterCard earns me 0.75 Qantas per dollar no cap.)
  4. BankWest/ANZ/NAB… VISA/MasterCard(I use these cards to get 1 Qantas per dollar till cap. Some purchases you could only make with visa/MasterCard.

I transfer most of the AMEX points to Asia Miles, the rest with Qantas.

If you prefer Qantas, just get westpac altitude black bundle. The MasterCard is low earning compared to other cards. But you will mostly use the AMEX anyway. 1.25(theoretically 2.5) miles per dollar is not bad at all. Then get a bankwest Qantas debit card, yes, debit card. For anything under 4 dollars, use this, as it will get you 5 Qantas, perfect for some coffee and snacks.

If you just want one card and okay with AMEX, get AMEX explorer. If you can handle two cards, Explorer/Plat Edge + Visa/MasterCard.

But getting as many as possible signup bonus is always the way you should go…