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Would you pay $20 per year to be covered by overseas travel insurance, extended warranty insurance, purchase protection insurance and transport accident insurance? Of course you would. That small extra amount is all you’ll pay to get this wide-ranging insurance cover when you choose the Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum Credit Card rather than sticking with the Amplify Credit Card, the slightly less expensive, non-platinum version. In addition, you’ll receive several ‘welcome aboard’ extras in the first year, and temporarily qualify for double rewards points on purchases from overseas merchants, whether you’re travelling or just buying goods online.
Very reasonable fee for a platinum card
The annual fee is $99 p.a., which makes it exceptional value compared with the already reasonable $79 charged for the Amplify card. But why just compare it with its Bank of Melbourne stablemates? With the exception of the HSBC Platinum Credit Card and the ANZ Rewards Platinum Credit Card (neither of which offer the opportunity to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points) this is the lowest annual fee you’ll pay for a platinum card combining both rewards points and insurance.
Platinum card insurance benefits
Let there be no mistake about this: $99 p.a. per year does not buy you the best of the best. The Bank of Melbourne has created two distinct tiers of insurance benefits, and the Amplify Platinum card is a ‘Level 2’ card, not qualifying for quite the same extensive benefits as a ‘Level 1’ card. (Level 1 cards include the much more expensive Amplify Signature Card and the Vertigo Platinum card.) Even so, the insurance cover is very worthwhile, and the following policies are provided:
Level 2 cards like this one receive lower compensation amounts and have lower claim limits and shorter periods of cover than the Level 1 cards, but the cover provided is still very comprehensive. You will, however, need to choose a Level 1 card if you want cover for rental vehicle excess in Australia, interstate flight inconvenience or purchase price guarantee.
Don’t forget the rewards points
Yes, you do get insurance and rewards points for your $99 p.a. annual fee. You even get a choice of rewards, with both the bank’s Amplify Rewards program and the Qantas Frequent Flyer program on offer. You will need to make an initial choice, and cardholders with an eye on value returned per dollar spent will want to opt for QFF points and redeem them for Qantas flights or upgrades. (The bank will pay your $89.50 QFF joining fee if you’re not already a member.) However, you can switch between the programs at any time, and as often as you like, but you can’t transfer across the points you already earned.
Generous bonus points to get you started with a bang
No matter which rewards program you choose, you’ll enjoy the up to 60,000 points. 40,000 points will come your way if you can manage to spend $3,000 in the first three months of holding the card. That’s an average of only $833 per month. A further 20,000 points can be your when you renew the card for a second year.
Those 60,000 points are almost enough for four economy return flights between Melbourne and Sydney (64,000 QFF points) or $300 worth of retail gift cards (66,600 Amplify points).
Unexceptional points earning rate
However, the ongoing earning rate of 1 pt per $1 spent or 0.5 pts per $1 spent isn’t particularly inspiring again, look at a more expensive card if the earning rate is important to you but the points will still mount up surprisingly quickly. And for a short time there’s one more bonus you get for going platinum: double points (i.e. two Amplify points or one QFF point per dollar) for directing your spending overseas, either online or in person when travelling. This offer of double points on overseas spending expires on 30th June 2017, but it temporarily softens the blow of the 3% foreign exchange fee (a charge similar to that made by most credit cards).
Bonus points partners
There’s no cap on the points you can earn, and there are further opportunities to lift the earning rate. Both Amplify and Qantas have bonus points partners. Spending with the Amplify Travel Service earns an extra 0.33 points per dollar, while stays at a wide range of hotels attract a substantial three supplementary points per dollar. Qantas has a similar range of program partners, including Qantas itself, allowing you to earn QFF points twice once by paying with the card and again by quoting your QFF number to the program partner.
As previously mentioned, Qantas award flights and flight upgrades purchased with QFF points are probably the most financially rewarding way of using points, but if you have more points than you can sensibly use for flights, or no need for air travel, there are lots of other things you can do.
You can redeem your Amplify points for such items as shopping cards at major retail outlets, movie tickets, household appliances, technology, beauty products, clothing, and even donations to your favourite charity. Through Amplify Travel you can exchange points for domestic and international flights, nights in hotels, car hire, weekends away and longer holiday packages. If you are a member of a frequent flyer program at Virgin Australia, Malaysia Airlines or Singapore Airlines, you can convert your Amplify points to frequent flyer points. (The current exchange rate is 2 Amplify points = 1 frequent flyer point.)
Qantas also has an online store, so as well as using your QFF points for Qantas, Jetstar and partner airline flights and upgrades you can also choose to swap them for merchandise and experiences. The usual range of goods is available, including hotel stays, car hire, gift cards, insurance, toys, TVs, toasters, and so on.
Other extras in the package
A Visa Platinum cardholder automatically has access to the Visa Platinum concierge service. Help and advice is available by phone or online, for booking travel, entertainment, dining and any other platinum lifestyle experience you can think of. Verified by Visa protects you with one-time passwords via SMS when you’re shopping online, providing an extra layer of security on top of the 24/7 Falcon Fraud Monitoring.
A look at the competition
The HSBC Platinum Credit Card offers both rewards points and a range of insurance policies, and currently, refunds the $99 p.a. annual fee in any year where you spend $6,000. Both the purchase and cash advance interest rates are slightly higher than the Bank of Melbourne card’s 19.49% p.a. and 20.24% p.a. The HSBC card offers a zero interest balance transfer but no bonus points.
If you want to be able to switch between conventional rewards points and QFF points, and are prepared to pay a $150 p.a. annual fee, take a look at the Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card, an AmEx /Visa duo. It has higher points earning rate on the AmEx card, but there is a monthly cap on the number of points you can earn.
An ideal card for…
... anyone who travels overseas regularly but still expects value for money. The Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum Card is the perfect traveller’s card, providing overseas travel insurance including car rental excess, the opportunity to switch between QFF and Amplify points, and generous bonus points. It manages to do all this while charging an annual fee below the $100 mark.
I got this credit card as part of a bundle with my mortgage. The fees are more than I would like, but in all likelihood quite reasonable.
I love the rewards system. I don’t think about it for a year or two, and when I look at my points I can actually get things I want. The last lot helped me with my kitchen renovation.
I’ve never had a problem with it working, and there are no hidden fees.
I don’t pay an annual fee for the credit card as it’s part of my home loan package, and this is for the life of the loan.
I have all my direct debits coming out of this card, as well as grocery shopping, etc, so I can earn as many points as possible to redeem for flights or other items.
Staff members in my branch are very helpful and made the process very easy. I have my credit card linked to Qantas points and the annual fee is waived as part of my home loan advantage package. I also receive complimentary travel insurance through the credit card, which is very helpful.
|Cash advances||1.69%||20.24% p.a.|
Valuation based on the assumption of making a $250 claim once every 5 years. There is no retail market for all-encompassing extended warranty insurance covering more than one item, so no premium saving.
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.
Overseas travel insurance
Valuation based on similar annual travel insurance policies available online for trips of up to 60 days.
Transit accident insurance
Valuation based on similar global transit accident insurance policies available online.
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||$1,059|
|Net customer value||$960|