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Not too may credit cards offer the flexibility to choose between a frequent flyer program and a standard rewards program, and even switch back and forth between the two as the need arises. But the Bank of Melbourne Amplify Credit Card does exactly that. The points earning rate is not the best (although it can be boosted by shopping astutely at the program’s bonus partners) but, given the moderate annual fee and some less obvious built-in benefits, this card provides an excellent opportunity to find out whether earning points is a good fit for you.
Flexible points earning
The rewards program on offer with this card is probably the most flexible in the market, and flexibility is important because it allows you to take advantage of special offers as they arise as well as changing direction in your points earning to suit your current needs. You’ll be asked to make an initial choice between Qantas Frequent Flyer Points the bank’s own Amplify Rewards, but after that you can apply to switch between the two programs whenever you need to, although points you have already earned cannot be transferred from one program to the other.
Less-than-stellar standard points earning rate
You’ll earn one Amplify point or 0.5 pts per $1 spent on purchases. Compared with other cards it’s far from being a high earning rate, but you won’t need to spend all that much before you’ve recouped the cost of the moderate $79 p.a. annual fee. For example, you’d need to spend $17,950 (an average of $1,495 per month over 12 months) to earn a $100 shopping gift card through Amplify Rewards, which is an equivalent return of 0.6 cents per dollar spent. Many other rewards cards have a much higher fee.
Bonus points partners
There is some better news, though, about the points earning rate. The Amplify Rewards program has a range of bonus partner businesses in the accommodation, travel, entertainment and beauty products sectors, offering up to three bonus points per dollar spent, on top of the one point per dollar base rate.
There a similar deal with Qantas points, because you can earn extra Qantas points for buying Qantas products (such as flights) and for making purchases at Woolworths and its associated companies, as well as Avis and Hertz car rental, a wide range of hotels and restaurants, and more.
So, direct your spending wisely and you’ll transform an average points earning rate into a great one.
Redeeming with Amplify Rewards
Earning points can be tedious, but there’s nothing boring about spending them, especially through Amplify Rewards which offers a veritable cornucopia of choices. You can choose the store gift cards already mentioned, homewares, fashion and beauty products, sporting goods, technology, toys and travel, including holidays and domestic and international flights with nearly 30 airlines. You can even choose to transfer your Amplify points to your frequent flyer account with Virgin, Singapore Airlines or Malaysia Airlines, currently at the rate of two Amplify points per airline point. And if you don’t have enough Amplify points to redeem for your chosen product, you can choose a combination of paying with points and cash.
Redeeming Qantas points
Alternatively, choose Qantas points and accrue, for example, 8,000 points (that’s $16,000 of spending) to redeem for an economy return flight between Sydney and Melbourne worth around $170. That’s a return of about 1.1 cents per dollar spent. You can also exchange Qantas points for flights with Jetstar and 35 partner airlines, Qantas flight upgrades, and gift cards and merchandise from the Qantas online store. If you’re not already a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program the bank will pay your joining fee, saving you $89.50.
Other card benefits worth having
OK, so there are no insurance policies included with this card, which is not a bad thing if you don’t think you would use them. That’s because the annual fee would be much higher if ‘complimentary’ insurance cover was provided. There are, however, several other advantages which may not seem all that impressive to begin with, but they’re extremely useful and don’t come with every credit card:
Avoid losing your card
Keep track of your card’s whereabouts at all times, not just for the security of your account, but because you’ll want to avoid the bank’s rather steep card replacement fees. Lose your card in Australia and you’ll pay $15 for a new one. Hang onto it overseas, because a replacement there will cost you $52.50. And if you’re in a hurry (inevitable, if you’re overseas) you can add a further $45 for emergency courier costs.
Are there any other flexible rewards cards?
The Bank of Melbourne is in the same group as St. George and BankSA, so both these banks also have an Amplify credit card which lets you choose between a conventional rewards program and QFF points. Otherwise, the nearest equivalent is the Westpac Altitude range of cards, allowing you to take your pick between Qantas points and the bank’s Altitude Rewards points. The least expensive version, with – like the Bank of Melbourne card – no insurance policies, still costs $100 per year. In addition, the Westpac card has capped points earning, whereas points on the Bank of Melbourne card are uncapped.
Who should you consider this card?
Perhaps you’ve been using a credit card for a few years. You’re used to your current card, but you can’t help thinking that you’re missing out now that both your income and spending have risen, and you’re not getting anything back. Earning points can become an almost automatic process if you use your credit card at every possible opportunity, and redeeming them is a positive pleasure. If you want to test the water and be able to switch between a frequent flyer scheme and a wider-ranging rewards program, this card is for you.
This card is well worth it for the bonuses and the rates offered when you have a bank account with them. The rate is quite good compared to other cards out there in the marketplace.
There are good ties into Virgin Velocity, with automatic monthly transfers.
The app is easy to use, as is the website.
This is a great credit card from a trusted bank that earns us Qantas points at the same time. It has tap-and-go, which we love. I originally got it as part of a home loan package. Since refinancing home loans to another provider, we’ve kept this card. I’ve got a joint credit card with my wife for extra convenience. Friendly and helpful customer service
Collecting points means collecting things we actually need and they’re free! An electric juicer for all the freshly squeezed organic oranges for my son in the mornings, iTunes vouchers for my passionate music loving partner, a new toaster when the old one burnt out, Bunnings vouchers for the ever expanding organic garden.
This credit card is mother’s little helper, or should I say spoiler!
Pretty good for a first credit card. First months of low interest and reasonable annual fee….very flexible and handy. Didn’t like customer service phone calls a lot. I had the card for emergency but it became too accessible and handy, good tho because I chose a low limit. Good online banking too.
|Cash advances||1.69%||20.24% p.a.|
Waived Qantas Frequent Flyer joining fee
Valuation based on $89.50 Qantas Frequent Flyer joining fee spread over 5 years. Note that this benefit does not apply if cardholder chooses Amplify Rewards rather than Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
|Total estimated value||$18|
|Net customer value||$-61|