American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

What do you want this card for?
Save money
Earn points
My monthly spend: 
$5,000
 
Offer
Card features
Rewards program
Earn rate
Sign up bonus
Points earned
Get 55,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 in 3 months.
Earn 1.5 pts per $1 spent on card purchases.
Complimentary domestic and overseas travel insurance.
Add to comparison
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.5 pts
per $1 spent
55,000
points
after spend criteria

Pros & cons

What's good?

What's not so good?

Get 55,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 in 3 months.
Earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas epiQure purchases. (Conditions Apply)
Earn 1.5 pts per $1 spent on card purchases.
0% p.a. for 12 months for balance transfers and a one-off credit plan establishment fee of 1%.
$450 Qantas Travel Credit each year. (Conditions Apply)*
Enjoy two Complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations each year after your first Card spend on selected Qantas products.
Enjoy two complimentary entries per year to the American Express Lounges at Sydney or Melbourne International Airports. (Conditions Apply)#
Complimentary domestic and overseas travel insurance.
Complimentary Qantas epiQure Premium Membership.
Purchase protection and refund protection.
Eligible for use with Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
There’s a small 1% balance transfer fee applied to any amount you transfer over to this card.
The annual fee might put some people off.
The interest rate is as high as you would expect for a premium card like this.

This introductory offer is available to new Card Members, as well as Bank-issued American Express companion cardholders. *when you use your Qantas Travel Credit for eligible international or domestic Qantas flights when you book and pay online at American Express Travel. #Entry into The American Express Lounge is governed by the full Terms and Conditions available at amex.com.au/airportlounge.

Our review

Our review of the American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit CardReviewed by Yvonne Taylor

What is your definition of 'Ultimate’? American Express have their own definition, it seems, which they have applied to the American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card. But does it coincide with your idea of the perfect card?

The fact that it comes with 55,000 points is an excellent start. Qantas Frequent Flyer points are much more valuable, if used for flights and upgrades, than the same number of points in a card issuer’s proprietary rewards program.

Other benefits include a high ongoing QFF points earning rate, an annual $450 p.a. travel credit (which neatly offsets the annual fee), a suite of insurance covers (with some omissions compared with other cards) and access to airport lounges.

But you’ll still have to live with having some merchants adding a surcharge to Amex transactions, or even declining the card altogether. Hence it’s important to be fully aware of the details so that you can weigh the sweeteners against a few drawbacks.

Bank-issued companion cardholders qualify for bonus points

The Big Four banks have re-engineered the benefits attached to the Amex companion cards they issue alongside a Visa or Mastercard in their rewards credit card accounts, responding to the changes to bank interchange fees scheduled from 1st July 2017. In some cases the Amex companion card has been withdrawn altogether.

If you are disappointed about the disappearance or watering-down of your Amex companion card, Amex is ready to welcome you with a directly-issued American Express card. To sweeten the deal, you will still qualify for the 55,000 points, even though you may have held an Amex companion card in the last 18 months. Unfortunately, if you’ve held a card issued by Amex itself in the last 18 months, you won’t qualify for the bonus.

Outstanding ongoing points earning potential

The regular earning rate of 1.5 pts per $1 spent (uncapped) is as good as it gets for QFF points.

This rate applies to all eligible purchases except transactions with government bodies (ATO, Australia Post, federal, state and local government), where the earning rate drops to 0.5 pts per $1 spent.

On the upside, Qantas products and services earn an additional 1.0 points per dollar, lifting the rate for Qantas purchases to 2.5 points per dollar.

There’s a further points boost accompanying the complimentary premium membership of Qantas epiQure (usually charged at $99). Buy wine or gourmet food through Qantas epiQure and earn a total of 4.5 points per dollar spent on these purchases (3.0 points from epiQure + 1.5 points for card spending).

$450 p.a. travel credit every year

This one effectively wipes out the otherwise steep $450 p.a. annual fee. Each year, once you have paid the annual fee and at least the minimum account payment by the due date, you’ll receive a $450 p.a. travel credit with American Express Travel.

It’s actually a Qantas travel credit, meaning that you can only use it to book a Qantas flight or flights. Use it within 365 days of your anniversary date, otherwise it expires, and note that if your booking amounts to less than $450 p.a., you’ll forfeit the remaining balance. Preferably use it for a booking in excess of $450 p.a., because you’ll earn 2.5 QFF points for every dollar spent over $450 p.a..

Airport lounge access

In each year that you purchase a Qantas flight or pay a Qantas Club membership fee using your card (by booking directly with Qantas or through its travel agency partners) you’ll receive two single-visit Qantas Club lounge passes, worth $49 each.

Cardholders will also receive two complimentary single visit passes each calendar year, to use the American Express lounge at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith airport. These are each worth $55, the amount per visit Amex charges to some of its cardholders after they have exceeded their number of free visits for the year.

Complimentary insurance cover

A suite of free insurance policies is fairly normal for a card of this type and annual fee level. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Free travel insurance – both domestic and overseas – for you and your immediate family travelling with you. It covers things like medical expenses, lost luggage, cancellation and delays, but there is no mention of rental vehicle excess. Also missing is any cover under this policy for supplementary cardholders (unless they are also a spouse accompanying the primary cardholder), which is a rather unusual exclusion.
  • Transport accident cover, providing cash compensation for loss of life, limb or eyesight while travelling as a passenger on a plane, ferry, train or bus.
  • Purchase protection cover – 90 days cover against loss, theft or damage for items purchased with the card.
  • Refund protection cover, refunding the purchase price of an unused item (90 day limit) if the retailer won’t take it back.

Missing from this list, in addition to rental vehicle excess and supplementary cardholder travel insurance, are extended warranty insurance and price protection insurance, cover types which many premium cardholders have come to expect.

The activation requirements for the travel insurance and transport accident cover are payment of 100% of the trip fare with the card or with QFF points.

Zero interest balance transfer

A balance transfer at 0% p.a. for 12 months is certainly useful, but far from exceptional given that other cards offer up to 24 months. Also take into account that you’ll pay a 1% credit establishment fee on the total transferred, and the maximum you can transfer is $10,000. The balance transfer is probably not meant to be the main feature of this card, but it may just tip the scales in its favour when lined up with all the other benefits.

Interest-free days are 44, not 55

This isn’t a big deal, but it needs to be considered as part of the bigger picture. With only Up to 44 days on purchases a month instead of 55, you’ll end up paying earlier by 12 × 11 = 132 days per year. If your average credit card closing balance is around $4,000 each month and you remove cash from a 3% deposit account to pay off the balance each time, you’ll lose about $43 in interest income each year.

Don’t forget that if you have any unpaid balance on your account (including a balance transfer) you’ll forfeit the interest-free days on purchases altogether. The standard purchase interest rate of 20.74% p.a. will be charged from the day the item hits your account.

Standard interest rate

The standard purchase interest rate of 20.74% p.a. is perfectly normal for a card of this type. There’s nothing 'ultimate’ about it, but Amex are smart enough to know the customers they are pursuing can afford to pay the card balance in full every month and therefore attach little importance to low interest rates.

Turn your phone into a digital wallet

Leave your card at home and pay on the go with your smartphone. This card is eligible for use with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay when you download the appropriate app.

Amex also has regularly changing retail discount offers for cardholders, easily accessed using your phone or other internet-connected device.

Which cards compete?

The Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card, NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card and ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card all have similar annual fees but a lower points earning rate than the Amex card. The NAB card is currently the only one matching the Amex card’s first-purchase bonus points offer.

Who will get most benefit?

The American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card is for avid QFF points collectors who fly regularly. They’ll be able to earn QFF points at Australia’s highest rate, scoring plenty of Qantas award flights plus the $450 travel credit every year, relax free of charge in the Qantas and Amex lounges (a total of four visits per year), and rest easy knowing that they and their family are protected by insurance (with some exceptions). It’s an ideal choice for anyone considering switching from a previous Amex companion credit card account, given the special eligibility for bonus points.

And don’t forget that the $450 p.a. annual travel credit effectively wipes out the annual fee.

User reviews

4.1 out of 5.0 based on 2 reviews100% of reviewers would recommend this card

Rates and fees
Rewards
Customer service
Convenience
Trust

Reviews from users

Great value rewards and service, free flight

Reviewed and recommended by Mark on 04 May 2017

Direct American Express cards are excellent. This card comes with first class Australian customer service with quick response times. In addition the support given on disputed transactions is paperless and the agent works hard to resolve it quickly.

Rewards are excellent with a good earn rate, and if you regularly travel, the free Qantas return flight makes the high cost of the card worthwhile. In fact, on its own, for Perth residents the card pays for an east-west flight that is more often cheaper than what you would spend on a flight with Qantas.

The only downside is the high fee, but this comes with some major perks. The free flight is caveated as well. There is selected routes it will only work on (with the best value being cross-country flights). It also requires an advance Qantas spend before it activates the free flight (but you can get around this by paying for the fare difference by opting for a higher fare bracket).

Finally, the general lack of acceptance of AmEx in general (which is getting better) means you can’t solely rely on this card for all your spending.

Bonus points and excellent rewards

Reviewed and recommended by Alicia on 10 Apr 2017

The American Express site is easy to navigate, and the one question I had was answered immediately over the phone.

While the fees are on the higher side you do get one free domestic flight per year, which is excellent. 75K bonus points on sign-up was the main incentive.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed about credit cards are the reviewer's alone, and do not reflect the views of Credit Card Compare or the credit card issuer. Reviews have not been approved or otherwise endorsed by Credit Card Compare.

The basics

About this card

Card setup
Single
Card tier
Platinum
Card type
American Express
Card use
Personal
Credit rating
No bad credit history
Gambling transactions allowed
No
Joint application
N/A
Minimum age
18 years old
Minimum income
$65,000
Minimum income for pensioners
Same as standard
Pensioners
N/A
Rewards program
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Temporary residents
Business Long Stay Visa (subclass 457)

Cardholders

Additional cardholders
4
Additional card fee
$0 p.a.

Credit limits

Minimum credit limit
$3,000
Maximum credit limit
$50,000

Repayments

Interest charged from
Purchase date
Interest free period
Up to 44 days on purchases
Minimum repayment
2.5%

Balance transfers

The offer

Interest ratePeriodFeeLimitRevert rate
Balance transfers0% p.a.12 months1%$10,000 or 70% of credit limit20.74% p.a.

Balance transfers to this card

Balance transfer earns rewards
No
Balance transfer fee payment due
First statement
Balance transfer from personal loan
No
Balance transfer processing time
10 - 14 days
Interest free days with unpaid balance
0 days
Maximum balance transfer
$10,000 or 70% of credit limit
Available to existing customers
No

Banks you can't balance transfer from

You can't balance transfer to the American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card at the promotional balance transfer rate from:

  • American Express

Rates & fees

Promotional interest rates

Interest ratePeriodFeeLimitRevert rate
Balance transfers0% p.a.12 months1%$10,000 or 70% of credit limit 20.74% p.a.
PurchasesN/AN/AN/AN/A N/A

Ongoing interest rates

MonthlyAnnually
Cash advances N/A N/A
Purchases 1.73% 20.74% p.a.

Fees

Annual fee
$450 p.a.
Cash advance fee
None
Dishonour fee
$6
Duplicate statement fee
$10
Foreign exchange fee
3%
Late payment fee
$30
Over limit fee
$30
Overseas ATM balance fee
$0
Overseas ATM withdrawal fee
$2.50
Overseas emergency card replacement fee
$0
Transaction verification fee
$7

Rewards & points

Cool stuff you can get with your points

Disclaimer: Points required accurate as of the 31st March 2018.

Rewards program basics

First purchase bonus
55,000 points
Reward points expiry
Never as long as you keep your account active
Rewards program
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Spend required for bonus points
$3,000 in 3 months

Earning points with this card

Frequent flyer points
1.5 pts per $1 spent
Overseas earn rate
Same as standard earn rate
Points cap per month
Unlimited
Points cap per year
Unlimited
Points earned on ATO payments
0.5 pts per $1 spent
Reward points
1.5 pts per $1 spent

Additional benefits

Airport lounge access
Yes, 2 passes per year
Complimentary flight voucher
Yes
Concierge service
No

Benefits

This card comes with benefits worth an estimated $1,127

ShoppingEstimated value
Purchase protection
Valuation based on the assumption of making a $200 claim once every 5 years. There is no retail market for this type of insurance, so no premium saving.
$40
Refund cover if retailer refuses return
Most major retailers have 100% guaranteed returns, but not all do. Valuation assumes making a $100 claim once every 5 years.
$20
Travel
Interstate flight inconvenience insurance
Valuation based on similar domestic travel insurance policies available online that include interstate flight inconvenience.
$290
Overseas travel insurance
Valuation based on similar annual travel insurance policies available online for trips of up to 60 days. -Andrew Boyd
$627
Transit accident insurance
Valuation based on similar global transit accident insurance policies available online.
$150
Total estimated value$1,127
Annual fee$450
Net customer value$677
Disclaimer: Details of who, what, and where coverage applies to, as well as its duration and any coverage limitations will be listed in the credit card insurance product disclosure statement (PDS) on the card issuer's website. The names/labels of complimentary insurance products may differ from one issuer to another. Terms and conditions apply. Always check the insurance PDS when considering a financial product. Accurate as of 31st October 2015.

Minimum criteria for this card

What you need before applying

Be over 18 years old
You are a resident or citizen of Australia
Earn a regular income of more than $65,000 per year
Have no history of bad credit
You have your personal details ready to complete the online application
Have not applied for multiple credit cards recently
Disclaimer: The minimum criteria are intended only to be a guide. Your application may still be rejected by the bank even if you can answer 'Yes' to all the minimum criteria. The final decision regarding your application is up to the bank.

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