No annual fee credit cards

Get a no annual fee card for a rainy day. If you don't use it, it won't cost you anything to keep the account open.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 4th July 2022

Comparing no annual fee credit cards

NAB Low Rate Card

On NAB's website

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 32 months with no balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a. after the promotional period.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($59 p.a. thereafter).
  • Get a response in 60 seconds.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 32 months.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • The waived annual fee for the first year.
  • Additional credit card is free.

Cons

  • No rewards program for this card.
  • No insurance coverage.
St.George Vertigo Visa

On St.George's website

Offer extendedApply by 31 August 2022

St.George Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 32 months on Balance Transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 32 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Bankwest Breeze Mastercard

On Bankwest's website

Balance transfer

15 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

15 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months (0% BT fee, 9.90% p.a. thereafter).
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases (reverts to 9.90% p.a.)
  • First-year annual fee waiver. $49 p.a. thereafter.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases.
  • First-year annual fee waiver. $49 p.a. thereafter.

Cons

  • There are no rewards on this card.
NAB StraightUp Credit Card

On NAB's website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

0% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get the newest credit card from NAB - simple, cheap and most of all no interest charges!
  • No Use, No Pay. If you don't use your NAB StraightUp credit card during the whole statement period, the monthly fee will be reversed. No surprise charges!
  • Use your card to pay foreign currency and enjoy no foreign transaction fees!
  • Predictable fixed minimum payments based on your credit limit, giving you certainty of what to pay each month.

Pros

  • Charges a monthly fee based on your selected credit limit.
  • The monthly fee will be reversed if you do not have any outstanding balance or purchase.
  • No interest charges or other fees, including foreign currency fees and late payment fees.

Cons

  • No rewards program for this card.
  • No balance transfers or cash advances.
The Low Rate Credit Card from American Express

On American Express' website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

8.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy a low 8.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 annual fee for as long as you have the card.
  • Up to 55 days interest free.

Pros

  • Low 8.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases and $0 annual fee.
  • Comes with Card Purchase Cover and Card Refund Cover.
  • Up to 55 days interest free.

Cons

  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard

On Bankwest's website

Balance transfer

15 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

15 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months (0% BT fee, 9.90% p.a. thereafter).
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases (reverts to 9.90% p.a.)
  • First-year annual fee waiver. $69 p.a. thereafter.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases.
  • First-year annual fee waiver. $69 p.a. thereafter.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Cons

  • There is no rewards program on this card.
The American Express Essential Credit Card

On American Express' website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

14.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get $200 back when you apply, are approved and spend $1,500 on your card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. T&Cs apply. New Amex Card Members only.
  • 0% p.a. annual fee.
  • Earn 1.25 Membership Rewards Gateway points for every $1 spent on everyday purchases, utilities, insurance and telecommunications.

Pros

  • Get $200 back when you meet the criteria.
  • $0 p.a. annual fee with the ability to earn points on your everyday spend.
  • Membership Rewards points can be transferred to several airlines for greater choice when redeeming for flights.
  • Comes with up to $500 of Smartphone Screen Cover.
  • Low 14.99% p.a. on purchases and up to 55 days interest-free when you clear the previous balance.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with travel insurance.
  • No access to concierge services.
  • There is no introductory balance transfer offer.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

On Bank of Melbourne's website

Offer extendedApply by 31 August 2022

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 32 months on Balance Transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 32 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

On BankSA's website

Offer extendedApply by 31 December 2022

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 32 months on Balance Transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 32 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
St.George No Annual Fee Credit Card

On St.George's website

Offer extendedApply by 31 December 2022

St.George No Annual Fee Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

12 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% interest on Purchases for 12 months. Reverts to 20.74% p.a. thereafter.
  • $0 annual fee for as long as you have the card.
  • Enjoy up to 55 days interest-free period.

Pros

  • 0% interest on Purchases for 12 months.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 55 days interest-free period.

Cons

  • No rewards program for this card.
Qantas American Express Discovery Credit Card

On American Express' website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 0.75 Qantas Point for every $1 spent on Card purchases, except spend at government bodies in Australia where you will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
  • Pay no annual card fee.
  • Up to 4 Additional Cards for family members or friends with no extra fee.

Pros

  • Ongoing $0 annual fee, a rarity among rewards credit cards.
  • Earn 0.75 Qantas points per $1 spent and 0.5 Qantas points per $1 for government spend.
  • No cap on the number of points you can earn.
  • Add up to 4 additional cards for family members or friends with no extra fee.
  • Complimentary Card Purchase Cover and Card Refund Cover.

Cons

  • There is a 3% foreign transaction fee.
  • Lacks complimentary travel insurance.
  • There is no access to a concierge service.
American Express Velocity Escape Card

On American Express' website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn Velocity Points and enjoy $0 annual card fee.
  • Velocity Points earned on your card are transferred directly to your Velocity account each month and can be redeemed for a range of rewards including flights, accommodation, car hire, gift cards and much more.
  • Earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent, except government bodies in Australia where you will earn 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent.

Pros

  • No annual fee, but still earn points.
  • Earn 1.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent on purchases with Virgin Australia.
  • Get 0.5 points per $1 when paying tax to the ATO using the card.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases when the previous balance has been cleared in full.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with complimentary travel insurance.
  • No complimentary lounge access.
  • No access to the concierge service.
  • There is no balance transfer offer for this card.
MONEYME Freestyle Virtual Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

14.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

From $0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Use virtual card instantly once approved (typically within 60 mins)
  • Tap n Pay with up to 55 days interest free
  • Use credit to transfer money to anyone
  • Exclusive perks & many more features
  • Thousands of 5-star customer reviews

Bank promo

  • Get MONEYME's lowest advertised rate EVER of 14.99% p.a.
  • Annual fee of $0 to $149 p.a. based on credit limit plus a monthly fee of $5 for balances over $20.
  • Be eligible for deals and credit back offers at over 1,400 participating stores thanks to MONEYME Perks, powered by Cashrewards. Terms and conditions apply.

Pros

  • Available to use immediately after approval.
  • Money can be transferred to your bank account.
  • Get cashback at participating stores with Cashrewards.

Cons

  • The maximum credit limit is comparatively low.
  • Combination of annual and monthly fees can be quite expensive for the highest credit limit.
  • There is a 1.5% withdrawal fee.

Overview

You might want a credit card that can be kept in reserve for emergency use. For many Australians, that's a no annual fee credit card. Here's what to look out for and how to choose one.

What is a no annual fee credit card?

Where other cards may charge annual fees in the range of $30 to $1,450 (and even more for prestige business cards), credit cards with no annual fees charge precisely $0. They conform to exactly what it says on the tin: you won't be charged an annual fee for having a credit card account and using the card for purchases, bill payments or cash advances.

All Australian credit cards come loaded with technology, in the form of NFC contactless payment ('Tap & Go') and in most cases mobile contactless payment (i.e. they can be used with Apple Pay and Google Pay), plus high security features (chip and PIN, security codes delivered by SMS, fraud monitoring). In these respects no annual fee credit cards do not differ from the most expensive credit cards on the market. But the similarities stop there.

Most credit cards that come without an annual fee also come without rewards or frequent flyer points, and without extensive complimentary benefits (e.g. travel insurance, airport lounge access, free flights). They are aimed at the budget end of the market, or beginner credit card users, and are a good way to find your feet in the world of credit cards without spending too much.

However, there are a few – but only a few – rewards and frequent flyer points cards, or cards with some limited complimentary benefits, with no annual fee.

Annual fee waived vs no annual fee

You may notice that some cards listed on this page have no annual fee for the first year. These are cards that have had their annual fee waived, usually for the first year. Banks waive annual fees to attract new customers who may be deterred from signing up by the annual fee. Cards with waived annual fees usually have an introductory offer of some sort, for example, an interest-free balance transfer, no interest on purchases, or rewards.

By comparison, some cards have no annual fee ever. Generally, these cards tend to be very basic in terms of their features and offers, although some have rewards.

What is the best no annual fee credit card?

Nearly every bank in Australia offers a credit card with no annual fee on an ongoing basis or for the first year. Given the choice and the fact that no two people are in the same financial position, there can be no single best no annual fee credit card.

That being said, there are a number of questions to ask when considering your options and deciding which is best for you.

  • What do value most? Do you just want a basic credit card with no annual fee?
  • Will you be spending on it? If you are, then you could look for cards with low interest in case you leave a balance to carry over.
  • Do you want to earn rewards? While they are few and far between, no annual fee credit cards with rewards do exist. If you plan on using the card, perhaps it's worth earning something back... even if it's not with the best earn rate.
  • Do you want to transfer a balance? If so, a balance transfer credit card with an annual fee but a long interest-free period may save more money.

Are there no annual fee credit cards with rewards?

For some, the ideal credit card is one that has no annual fee and earns rewards per $1 spent. These cards do exist and, when paid off in full each month, can mean earning rewards with no additional cost.

However, there is a trade-off.

Annual fees are charged by the bank to cover the cost of the perks and benefits often associated with rewards credit cards. Therefore, you can expect a credit card with rewards and no annual fee to have a reduced earn rate per $1 spent, a smaller (or no) sign up bonus, and no added benefits such as lounge access and insurance.

If you put most of your everyday purchases and bill payments through your credit card, you might actually be better off choosing a card with a higher earning rate, even if you do have to pay an annual fee.

It's up to you to decide whether the trade-off is worth it.

Is a no annual fee credit card free?

If a credit card has no annual fee and you do not use it, or pay off the balance in full each month so that you don't earn interest, then it is technically free.

However, no annual fee does not mean no fees or interest will ever apply.

  • If you don't pay off your balance every month, you'll be charged interest at the purchase rate.
  • You'll still be charged interest and probably a fee too for cash advances.
  • If you miss a payment, you'll be charged a late fee.
  • If you go over your credit limit, you'll probably be charged a fee for doing so.

$0 annual fee credit card pros and cons

Even though a credit card may have no annual fee, consider the benefits you won't have against the money saved.

Pros

  • There's no annual fee. Not having to pay an annual fee can save hundreds — potentially thousands — of dollars.
  • Limited rewards. While there isn't much to choose from, you can earn rewards points on a card with no annual fee.
  • Useful in emergencies. If you don't use the card and it costs nothing to keep, you can put it away for a rainy day.

Cons

  • Lack of perks and benefits. With no annual fee being charged to cover their costs, most banks won't include perks like insurance or lounge access.
  • Lower earn rates. If a credit card has no fee and earns rewards, you can expect the earn rate to be lower than is standard.
  • No introductory offers. It's unlikely for a credit card to have no annual fee and an introductory balance transfer or interest-free purchases.

Who no annual fee cards suit

You'll probably benefit from a 'no annual fee' card if you are the sort of person who only intends using their credit card to fund unexpected emergencies such as car breakdowns, occasional online purchases or for when travelling overseas. In this situation a card that doesn’t charge any account maintenance fees can save you a nice chunk of money. Also, if you don’t intend to use your card regularly then features like rewards programs may simply be a waste of time, as you have to spend quite a lot to earn enough for any sizeable return.

And if you're just starting out on your financial journey – a student perhaps, or someone in their first real job – a card with no annual fee is a good way to get used to handling credit without worrying about paying for the privilege of earning reward points. There will be plenty of time for that later.

Who no annual fee card don't suit

You probably won't benefit from a 'no annual fee' card if you expect to spend $15,000 or more a year using your credit card, plus you intend to always pay off your monthly account balance in full and you're prepared to keep track of reward points.

Spending this amount means that you should be able to earn at least 15,000 reward points per year, even with a slow-earning card, and even if you redeem your points for retail gift cards they should still be worth about $75 (i.e. around 0.5 cents per point). So you could afford to pay a $75-$80 annual fee for a card that may have other valuable benefits attached. And if you think you'll spend more than $15,000, you could unlock points earning and benefits worth well in excess of your annual fee.

Learn about no annual fee credit cards

Find out what the main benefits are and if this is the type of card that suits you.

  • FAQs

  • Tips

What does 'no annual fee’ actually mean?

It describes a card without any charges for annual account maintenance. There are obvious money-saving benefits with credit cards that charge zero annual fees, but there is generally a trade-off to be made in that they tend to lack features such as rewards programs. 'No annual fee' cards generally have average purchase interest rates and may also offer a promotional balance transfer rate.

What types of 'no annual fee' cards are there?

Broadly speaking, there are two types of 'no annual fee' credit card:

  • No annual fees for life: This is the main type. These cards charge no annual fee for life, which means you don’t have to worry about switching to a different bank after a year to avoid paying the annual fee.
  • No annual fee for the first year: Before applying for a credit card offering no annual for the first year only, carefully consider whether or not you would be comfortable paying the full annual fee after the offer expires, particularly focusing on whether the benefits the card offers, such as lower interest rates, outweigh the cost of the annual fee.

There are also credit cards with a discounted annual fee that typically only applies to the first year. Just as is the case with offers of no annual fees for the first year, you should consider the cost of the full annual fee you’ll be charged after the first year.

Do cards with no annual fee have introductory sign up bonuses?

You're very unlikely to see a sign-up bonus points offer on a card with no annual fees for life. Very occasionally a bank may couple a sign-up bonus offer with a first year annual fee waiver, but in the current credit card market it's much more likely to be a pairing of a sign-up bonus with a first year annual fee discount rather than complete waiver. 

Can I transfer a balance to a 'no annual fee' card?

Quite a few credit cards without annual fees will have an introductory zero interest (or low rate) balance transfer option available. Take note, however, of the fact that the presence of the transferred balance means that you'll lose your interest-free days on purchases until it's fully repaid, so if you plan to use the card for purchases you could end up paying more in interest charges on purchases than you'll save on the annual fee.

How can I maximise the benefit of a 'no annual fee' card?

To get the most out of it, make sure that you pay off your balance in full each month. Most credit cards with no annual fee for life (except the occasional card with an introductory purchase rate) will charge between 18% and 21% p.a. on purchases balances carried from month to month.

When would the annual fee usually get charged?

Usually banks like to charge the annual fee straight away on the on 1st or 2nd statement of a new card and again on the anniversary of the card approval each year.

What is the difference between a credit card annual fee and a rewards program annual fee?

A credit card annual fee is a combination of an account-keeping fee (because the bank has employees and systems devoted to assessing applications, tracking transactions, monitoring for fraud, calculating interest charges, producing statements and processing payments) and a partial compensation for the cost to the bank of reward point redemptions and complimentary benefits.

A rewards program annual fee is intended to defray the bank's costs incurred in operating the rewards program: more administrative employees, a dedicated points redemption website, advertising, delivery costs and more. Rewards program annual fees only tend to be charged on cards where the rewards program is an optional extra rather than an obligatory feature, or where there is a choice between the bank's in-house rewards program (usually free) and a third party's frequent flyer points program (fee payable).

Why do some credit cards have no annual fee in the first year?

A first-year fee waiver is simply another form of sign-up incentive, designed to make the card attractive to prospective cardholders. Let's say you were struggling to decide between two cards with very similar features and costs, but one of them had a fee waiver for the first year, allowing you to try out the card free of charge for 12 months. Not a really tough choice, is it? 

Of course, the bank is hoping that you will stick around for the second and subsequent years, when you have to start paying an annual fee.

When is it worth paying an annual fee for a credit card?

Since in most cases a 'no annual fee' credit card usually leaves you neither out of pocket nor with any net earnings or savings, it's worth paying an annual fee only when the net result actually puts money in your pocket. This will be the case when the redemption value of any reward or frequent flyer points earned during the year, plus the cost saving value of any complimentary benefits you actually used during the year, exceeds the amount of the annual fee.

What extras do you get on a credit card with an annual fee?

Credit cards with a low annual fee (around $60 or less) may have no extras at all, except perhaps a low purchase rate on carried over balances and possibly a zero interest balance transfer rate for new cardholders.

A moderate annual fee ( say between $65 and $100) will typically bring you reward or frequent flyer points earned at a slow to moderate rate, and some limited complimentary benefits such as shopper's insurance (extended warranty, purchase protection, lowest price guarantee) and possibly even travel insurance.

Beyond $100 the points earning rate should begin to increase, and both complimentary travel insurance and shopper's insurance will usually be available. Once the annual fee reaches $250, you are looking at a high points earning rate, a full suite of complimentary insurance policies, and possibly more extras like a concierge service and airport lounge passes.

Truly expensive personal credit cards (from $260 to around $1,500) are fully loaded with all the standard benefits plus additional features like free flights or travel credits, full airport lounge membership, elite hotel group privileges, free nights in hotels, and more.

In general terms, the higher the annual fee, the more you recoup in net rewards and benefits value.

Is the annual fee I pay on my card worth it?

If you expect to carry an interest-bearing balance on your credit card, it's certainly worth paying the low to moderate annual fee typically charged by low interest credit cards.

Similarly, it's worth paying an annual fee for a new card with a zero interest balance transfer offer, especially if you have a large balance to transfer and the zero interest rate continues for at least 12 months.

In most cases it won't be worth paying an an annual fee for a card with no reward points or complimentary benefits, if you don't need either a low ongoing purchase rate or a transferred balance at 0% interest. In this case it's only worth paying an annual fee in order to get reward points and/or complimentary benefits in return.

To work out if you will be ahead after paying the annual fee, take a look at your previous year's credit card spending on eligible purchases and multiply the total dollars spent by the card's points earning rate per dollar (or simply look at your points account to see how many points you actually earned). Value your points at 0.5 cents each for reward point (the approximate value if you exchange them for retail spending vouchers) or a conservative 1.0 cents each for frequent flyer points (the minimum you should be able to achieve in flight redemption value). Complimentary overseas travel insurance should be worth at least $250 a year if you are single or $450 for a couple/family, in any year that you use it. Domestic travel insurance could be worth about $300 per year. Add up the value of your points and benefits, which should be much higher than your annual fee cost. If it isn't, you may have a card that is too expensive for your low annual spending amount or non-travelling lifestyle. A less expensive card, with fewer points and benefits, may suit you better.

What is the average credit card annual fee?

A moderate credit card annual fee is around $100. In return you should expect to earn reward or frequent flyer points at a moderate rate and have some limited complimentary benefits, such as overseas travel insurance. If there are no points on offer, there should be more in the way of complimentary benefits, such as the full suite of travel and shopper's insurance policies.

Credit cards with fees lower than this will have either no or very limited points and benefits. Cards with a much higher annual fee should have a high points earning rate and come laden with complimentary benefits.

Why do most credit cards have an annual fee?

Banks need to cover their costs and make a profit out of their credit card business. Much of their revenue comes from fees paid by merchants who accept credit card payments. Another large lump of their profit comes from high interest charges levied on cardholders who carry a balance from month to month. But card issuers make very little profit from cardholders who pay off their balance in full every month and avoid interest charges, so they charge an annual fee to defray their administration expenses and the cost of providing any reward points and complimentary benefits attached to the card.

Does my credit score affect the annual fee?

No. Your credit score may determine whether your application is approved or not, and it may have an impact on the purchase rate you are offered, but it's unlikely to have any effect on the annual fee you are charged. You can check your credit score for free here on Finty.

Is it possible to get the annual fee waived?

Once you've had your credit card for a few years, and have used it consistently for your everyday expenses and bills, and perhaps a few major purchases, it's worthwhile picking up the phone to ring the service centre and request an annual fee waiver. You have nothing to lose, and the person you speak to may have some discretion to grant your request in order to retain your business, especially if you have spent enough to justify the concession. Even if you are not successful, you may instead be given an upgrade to a card with more reward points and benefits for the same annual fee that you are currently paying.

Don't pay an annual fee if you only keep your card for emergencies

Unless you're going to use your credit card regularly, don't choose one where you're going to pay an annual fee. A fee-free credit card will be ideal for you if it's going to emerge from your wallet only rarely.

Minimise your annual fee by choosing a card that matches your spending pattern

There's no point in paying a huge annual fee for a premium credit card if you don't use it often enough to earn sufficient reward points to offset the fee. Similarly, if you do spend a lot using a credit card, opting for a no-frills card without an annual fee means that you will miss out on valuable reward points and benefits.

The trick is to calculate your annual card spending and choose a card that's appropriate. If you're spending $1,000 per month or less, you'd probably be best served by a card with no annual fee. Spending of $1,500 to $2,000 per month should make it worthwhile paying a moderate annual fee in order to access rewards points and benefits, while consistent spending above $2,500 per month should justify splashing out on a premium card (always assuming that you repay your monthly account balance in full).

Some credit cards offer a travel credit equivalent to the annual fee amount

This is another way of effectively getting an annual fee waiver. Just choose one of several cards offering an annual travel credit voucher (with the card issuer's own travel company or airline) for an amount that just happens to be equal to the card's annual fee. 

Some credit cards waive the annual fee if you meet a spending target

If you like the sound of reward points and complimentary benefits, but don't want to pay the large annual fee that often accompanies them, it is possible to get a platinum level card and never pay an annual fee. That's because there are a few cards which offer to waive the fee in any year where you meet a specified spending target. The targets are not usually too onerous ($6,000 p.a., for example).