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American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

My monthly spend: 
$5,000
 
offer
card features
rewards program
earn rate
sign up bonus
your earnings
American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card
Receive 50,000 points when you are approved and spend $1,500 on your card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Enjoy complimentary travel insurance and a domestic return flight every year.
Base earn rate of 1 pt per $1 spent. Earn up to 3 Qantas points per $1 dollar on Qantas goods and services. Points transferable to various partner airlines.
Add to comparison
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1 pt
per $1 spent
50,000
points
after spend criteria

Pros & cons

What's good?

What's not so good?

Receive 50,000 points when you are approved and spend $1,500 on your card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Earn additional 2,500 bonus Qantas Points after your first Card spend in Australia on selected Qantas products and services.
The earn rate is tiered with a normal 1 QFF point per $1 spent unless you’re spending at selected restaurants in Australia or selected Qantas products and services in Australia in which case the points earning rate goes up to 3 QFF points per $1 spent.
Earn 2 pts per $1 spent when you make purchases overseas.
Get a complimentary Qantas domestic economy return flight each year.
Complimentary domestic and overseas travel insurance when you pay for eligible travel with this card.
Purchase protection and refund protection.
Online Fraud Protection Guarantee.
Eligible for use with Android 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.
Not all businesses accept American Express and some of them will add surcharges to your purchases.
You won’t qualify for the bonus points if you have held any kind of AmEx card in the previous 18 months.

Review

Our review of the American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

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 potentially 52,500 first-purchase bonus 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 rather complicated tiered Qantas Frequent Flyer points earning system, a suite of insurance covers with some omissions compared with other cards, and a zero-interest balance transfer option. Pretty average, in reality, except for the considerably higher than average $450 p.a. annual fee. You’ll also have to live with having some merchants adding a surcharge to AmEx transactions, or even declining the card altogether.

So where else does the 'Ultimate’ come in? Perhaps with the very handy complimentary Qantas domestic return flight each year and the airport lounge access. You can also earn ongoing points at a truly stellar rate on selected purchases, including restaurant dining. Hence it’s important to be fully aware of the details so that you can weigh the sweeteners against a few drawbacks.

Outstanding bonus points boost

Although AmEx has other cards offering up to 100,000 sign-up bonus points in its own Membership Rewards Scheme, the American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit card offers more QFF bonus points than any other card in its stable. Kickstart your QFF points account, or give it a significant one-off boost, just by using your card for all your purchases in order to meet the spending targets.

Simply use the card for at least $1,500 in 3 months in order to receive 50,000 points. Ice the cake with an additional 2,500 points the first time you buy a Qantas product with the card.

That’s a total of 52,500 QFF points, almost enough for a return economy flight from Sydney to Singapore (56,000 points).

Unfortunately, if you’ve held any other kind of AmEx card in the last 12 months, you won’t qualify for the bonus points.

Attractive ongoing points earning potential

Although the regular earning rate of 1 pt per $1 spent (uncapped) is fairly average, this card presents plenty of opportunities to increase it.

  • You’ll get 2 points per dollar on the AUD equivalent of any foreign currency transactions you make when travelling overseas or making purchases online.
  • 2 points per dollar also applies to any spending on accommodation, airfares (other than Qantas) and major cruise and tour operators.
  • A very attractive 3 points per dollar is applied to the purchase of Qantas (but not Jetstar) flights and QFF and Qantas Club membership fees.
  • Here’s the best one for those who like to eat out: 3 points per dollar at a large number of Australian restaurants.

There is a downside though. oddly, if you use your card to purchase AmEx-branded insurance cover, you’ll only get 1 point per dollar, and if you pay utility, telco and government accounts, or non-AmEx insurance policies, you’ll be down to 0.5 points per dollar.

One free domestic return flight every year

This one goes a long way towards justifying the $450 p.a. annual fee. Your first spending on Qantas products (flights &c) in every year that you hold the card will qualify you for a complimentary economy class return flight between any of the major Australian mainland cities. If you flew from Brisbane to Perth and back, that would be worth a minimum of $600.

Airport lounge access

Cardholders will 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 (except for 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 or 70% of credit limit. 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 rates

The standard interest rates (20.74% p.a. for purchases and 20.99% p.a. for cash advances) are perfectly normal for a card of this type. There’s nothing 'ultimate’ about them, 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 Android Pay when you download the appropriate app. AmEx also has regularly changing discount offers for cardholders, easily accessed using your phone or other internet-connected device.

Which cards compete?

The NAB Qantas Rewards Premium card, Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card and ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card all offer first purchase bonus QFF points (100,000 in Westpac’s case) and a higher-than-average QFF points earning rate, but none of them comes close to the three points per dollar potential of this AmEx card.

Who will get most benefit?

The American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card is for avid QFF points collectors who fly, use hotel accommodation and dine out, for leisure as well as business, lifting their points earning rate to a very gratifying two or even three points per dollar. They’ll be able to score plenty of Qantas award flights plus the free return flight every year, relax free of charge in the AmEx lounge twice a year, and rest easy knowing that they and their family are protected by insurance (with some exceptions).

Basic details

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
No
Minimum age
18 years old
Minimum income
$65,000
Minimum income for pensioners
Same as standard
Pensioners
Rewards program
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Temporary residents
N/A

Cardholders

Additional cardholders
99
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 1.75% 20.99% p.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

Where will your points take you?

Points:
 
Trip:
Origin:
    Rewards program:
      Class:

        Cool stuff you can get with your points

        Disclaimer: Does not include taxes, fees, or charges. Accurate as of 25th January 2016.

        Rewards program basics

        First purchase bonus
        50,000 points
        Reward points expiry
        Never as long as you keep your account active
        Rewards program
        Qantas Frequent Flyer
        Spend required for bonus points
        $1,500 in 3 months

        Earning points with this card

        Frequent flyer points
        1 pt per $1 spent
        Overseas earn rate
        2 pts per $1 spent
        Points cap per month
        Unlimited
        Points cap per year
        Unlimited
        Reward points
        1 pt 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
        Joint applications are not allowed
        Age Pension, Disability Pension, Overseas Pension, Veteran's Pension and Widower's Pension are acceptable.
        Austudy, Carer's Allowance, Child Support Payments, Family Tax Benefits and Parenting Payments, Foster Care Allowance and Youth Allowance are acceptable.
        Disclaimer: The minimum criteria pointers 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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