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Choosing the best Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card to suit your circumstances can be a difficult process because there are so many variables to consider. How many points are earned per dollar spent? Are points capped? Are there any sign-up bonus points on offer? Is it an AmEx card, therefore not accepted everywhere or possibly subject to a surcharge? And how much is the annual fee?
Best take a look, then, at the HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card, which comes with possibly the best available non-AmEx combination of points earning rate, sign-up bonus points and annual fee. Its points cap is so high it will never be a problem, and the package contains all the usual platinum card benefits.
QFF points earning rate as good as it gets without AmEx problems
There’s no getting away from the fact that American Express cards, whether issued by AmEx itself or through a bank, offer the highest earning rate for Qantas Frequent Flyer points. The rate can be as high as 1.5 or even two points per dollar spent, in some circumstances.
However, there is a serious downside with AmEx cards: many retailers attach a surcharge of up to 3% on AmEx credit card transactions, while some decline AmEx cards altogether. You can avoid this problem by using the HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card, which is a Visa card.
Earn 1 pt per $1 spent with this card
Although HSBC’s one point per dollar is certainly not as good as 1.5 or two points, you won’t find a better rate attached to a Visa card or MasterCard. Jetstar, Macquarie, Citi and Woolworths all issue Qantas Visa or MasterCards with a 1 pt per $1 spent, but no issuer can surpass this rate and most are offering far less and often as low as 0.5 points per dollar.
Generous annual points cap, but restrictive monthly ceiling
There’s an annual cap of 300,000 with this card. That’s unlikely to trouble anybody, and it’s just there to discourage you from channelling the purchase of your new Lamborghini through the card. (Rather difficult, given the $60,000 maximum credit limit.)
More annoying is the monthly $2,500 threshold, beyond which the earning rate drops to 0.5 points per dollar. Many cardholders will reach this limit every month, and see their points earning rate fall in the last part of the statement period. However, the competing cards have similar restrictions: either a $2,500 or $3,000 monthly limit before the rate drops to 0.5 points per dollar, or a much lower 100,000 annual points cap. So the HSBC card still remains competitive.
60,000 points first purchase bonus
Get a massive 60,000 QFF points to boost your points account, just by spending an achievable $3,000 in the first three months. Many people can hit $1,000 per month just buying groceries and petrol, so it’s an attainable target.
Those 60,000 bonus points provide a huge lift in your points balance if you’re saving for an overseas trip, such as the 90,000 points required for a return economy flight to Los Angeles or the 120,000 points needed for trips to Europe or New York.
What bonus points do the competitors offer? These offers change frequently, but at the time of writing Macquarie is offering an identical 40,000 bonus QFF points, while Citibank is handing out 70,000, Woolworths only 10,000 and Jetstar none.
Waived QFF joining fee
If you’re not already a Qantas Frequent Flyer, HSBC will make it easy and save you money by paying the $89.50 joining fee.
Lots of ways to spend Qantas points
Even if you’re not planning an overseas trip, there are still plenty of other ways to spend both your bonus and regularly-earned points:
Since this is a platinum card, you will expect more built-in benefits, and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be showered with advantages and perks, including complimentary insurance, Visa Premium services and HSBC’s own home&Away Privilege Program.
HSBC have covered all bases, except for the interstate flight inconvenience cover which comes with some other platinum cards. Here’s what’s included:
Visa Premium Benefits
Because it’s a Visa Platinum card, certain perks are automatic. They include the Visa Premium Concierge Service, for worldwide lifestyle advice and assistance just a phone call or mouse click away. The best seats in the house for concerts and the theatre are assured, even before they go on sale to the general public. Plus you’ll have access to travel and accommodation discounts, just for being a Visa Platinum cardholder.
HSBC home&Away Privilege Program
HSBC add an extra layer of privilege for their cardholders with their home&Away Privilege Program. Current offers include discounts or free extras with Expedia hotel bookings, fashion label shopping, dining and gym membership.
Up to 55 days on purchases
There’s an accommodating 55-day billing cycle, 11 days longer than the 44 days applied by some cards, which means that you’ll get Up to 55 days on purchases free each month, depending on the timing of your purchases.
Annual fee $199 p.a.
This is the point at which it all comes together. For an annual fee of $199 p.a. (with no further charge for up to 10 supplementary cardholders) you can have the most cost-effective compromise between the most favourable QFF points earning rate, bonus points, points capping, points earning rate limitation and complimentary benefits. Take a look at the competitor comparison below for a clearer picture.
This is how the (non-AmEx) competing cards, all earning one QFF point per dollar spent, stack up:
The Jetstar and Woolworths cards lose out because of the missing or low bonus points, even though they charge an annual fee similar to that of the HSBC card when one supplementary cardholder is included. Except in the first year, Macquarie charges a higher annual fee than HSBC, for the same earning rate and fewer bonus points. Citi has more bonus points but a much higher annual fee.
A card for the judicious QFF points collector
Serious Qantas Frequent Flyers will want the HSBC card if they find an American Express card too frustrating (or expensive in terms of surcharges) in spite of its possible higher points earning rate. However, because the earning rate drops after the first $2,500 spent each month, it’s not going to appeal to big spenders. If you are happy to see your QFF points balance climb steadily as a result of your moderate spending, this may be the most convenient and cost-effective card for you.
There are decent QFF reward points. The interest rate is high though. I would recommend it if you have a use for QFF points. Otherwise, opt for a low rate card instead.
Service is pretty good. Their online banking is secure, but a bit annoying with the two passwords you need to log in.
Overall, the card is okay.
This HSBC card is a highly valuable and useful card. I enjoy using this card for online shopping and groceries. Payment is easy.
Also, the security of using the card is great. It has the feature of primary and secondary passwords.
Visa payWave is very convenient when payment is made under $100.
I love this card. I just need a new chip on it so I can do payWave easily. It’s a great way to accumulate Qantas Frequent Flyer points by spending on everyday items.
I would pick this card any day, but it does have high annual fees, so beware of the sting. Great card otherwise and would recommend.
|Cash advances||1.83%||21.99% 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.
Guaranteed pricing / price protection insurance
Valuation based on the assumption of making a $100 claim once every 10 years. Extensive conditions apply. There is no retail market for this type of insurance, 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.
|Total estimated value||$1,069|
|Net customer value||$870|