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Have card, will travel. But you need the right card for the travelling lifestyle.
Travelling, and travelling overseas in particular, is exactly what St. George is encouraging cardholders to do with its St. George Amplify Platinum Credit Card. For a start there’s a choice of rewards programs – Amplify or Qantas Frequent Flyer – with the potential to acquire frequent flyer points with four separate airlines. And there are first purchase bonus points on offer to get you flying sooner.
To follow this up there’s complimentary overseas travel insurance and transit accident insurance. And there are plenty of other benefits to tempt you to make this your card both for travelling and for when you’re spending closer to home.
Amplify Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer? The choice is yours.
Most rewards credit cards are branded to a single program: you choose a particular card because it offers a specific type of frequent flyer points (Qantas, Velocity, Emirates) or a single kind of proprietary rewards system operated by the card issuer (e.g. American Express Membership Rewards or flybuys). Some cards allow you to switch between frequent flyer points and their proprietary rewards points up to once a year. Very few cards allow you to switch programs as often as you like, but that’s exactly what you can do with this card.
Not planning any interstate or overseas holidays anytime soon? Then choose Amplify Rewards. Enjoy a flying getaway every year? Choose QFF points. When your situation changes, so can your rewards program, immediately. But points can’t be transferred from one program to the other, so you will have to leave them behind in their original points account and redeem them from there. Amplify points left behind in this way will expire within 90 days, so you’ll need to use them pretty quickly.
Up to 60,000 points
Recognising that it can be a long, hard slog to accumulate enough points for that first flight or retail redemption, St. George will boost your points account with 40,000 valuable points – either Qantas or Amplify, your choice – if you can spend just $3,000 in 90 days of holding the card. That’s $1,000 per month, a manageable amount for anyone in the market for a platinum card.
Renew your card for a second year in order to receive an additional 20,000 points, bringing the possible bonus points total to 60,000 in 12 months.
60,000 points is enough for a one-way economy flight all the way to London or New York. Closer to home, they would fly you between Sydney and Melbourne seven times, with 4,000 points left over.
Standard points earning rate for all your spending
The ongoing rate at which you will earn points for purchases is:
This is not the best points earning rate on the market, but it’s reasonable given the card’s moderate annual fee and the other built-in benefits. If you want to earn points at a faster rate you’ll need to chose a more expensive card.
Unlike many if its competitors, this card has no monthly or annual cap on points, and they never expire as long as your points account stays open.
Earn Qantas points directly, or exchange Amplify points for other frequent flyer programs
This card brings you access to award flights on four airlines that between them cover most of the planet. You can choose to earn Qantas points directly by opting for Qantas Frequent Flyer as your rewards program, or you can choose Amplify Rewards points which can be exchanged for frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines at the rate 2 Amplify points = 1 airline point.
Qantas Frequent Flyer joining fee waived
Recognising that Qantas Frequent Flyer’s $89.50 joining fee could deter customers from choosing the Qantas rewards program, St. George have arranged for the fee to be waived for new cardholders signing up to Qantas Frequent Flyer for the first time. So you can consider each scheme on its own merits without the disincentive of a fee.
Other ways to use your points
The two programs have a comparable range of other products available for points redemption. They include:
So how do you decide which program to choose?
Since the two rewards programs are apparently so similar, how do you choose between them?
If your aim is to use points for domestic flights, or for long haul flights on routes covered by Qantas and its partner airlines, you’d be better off choosing the Qantas rewards program because you’ll need to spend less in order to earn the required points. But in most cases Amplify Rewards will be the best choice for almost any other kind of redemption because they have been priced at a lower points cost than the comparable Qantas redemption.
As an illustration of this point, consider the points cost of a $50 retail gift card. You’ll need 11,100 Amplify points or a minimum of 9,500 Qantas points to qualify. Qantas sounds cheaper, until you compare the spending required to earn those points: Amplify $11,100, Qantas $19,000. Case closed.
But remember, your decision is not set in stone. Once you have earned enough points for your desired reward in one scheme, you can switch to the other. And back again.
Complimentary insurance for the traveller and the shopper
There are yet more perks for the traveller, while the stay-at-home shopper is not forgotten, with four complimentary insurance policies:
Concierge service – another facility to help travellers
This card gives you access to the Visa Platinum concierge service.
A concierge service, for assistance with recommendations and bookings for entertaining and dining, can be useful even in your home town. But when you are travelling overseas it becomes a truly valuable amenity, unlocking local knowledge and providing vital assistance, especially if you don’t speak the language.
Pity about the 3% foreign transaction fee
After all these bonuses for the traveller, it’s unfortunate to see a 3% fee charged on foreign exchange transactions. Although this is a fairly typical credit card charge, a few cards do come with no surcharge on foreign currency transactions. It would be good news it this travel-oriented card was one of them, but it’s not.
$99 p.a. annual fee
The annual fee of $99 p.a. is a bargain if you use all the benefits.
Suppose, for example, you chose Amplify Rewards, and used the card to spend $1,850 per month. At the end of the year you could redeem your points for retail gift cards worth the same amount as the annual fee. Spend more, or make use of just one of the insurance policies, and you’re ahead. In fact, the total estimated annual value of the insurance policies is over $1,000.
The St. George Amplify Platinum Credit Card may suit you because . . .
Does any of this sound like you? Then this could be your card.
I took this card on offer with no first year fees. The card is valuable, with a minimal interest rate for the first year. You can go for it if you want to earn rewards and save some money on interest. I found this to be the lowest interest rate card compared with any other rewards card in the market.
Although my card doesn’t give me rewards this is compensated by having to pay no fees. I have this card with no fees for the life that I have it. I don’t know if the no fees I enjoy are the same for everyone, but I’m happy to have it.
This card has been useful for earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points and it has saved me money on travel insurance. The interest rate is only adequate and probably a bit on the high side. It’s very easy to use overseas and widely accepted. The card has a yearly fee as well for those looking to use it, so please look at all the obvious and hidden costs.
This card was great. It came as part of my home loan package and had a great earn rate, but then it changed to 1/2 a point per dollar spent. It’s now no longer rewarding me for being loyal to my bank and I think I could get a better deal switching to a different bank.
|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|