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Qantas Cash travel money card: what you need to know

By David Flynn     Filed under: qantas, Qantas Frequent Flyer, travel money, Qantas Cash

Qantas begins rolling out its ‘next generation’ Qantas Frequent Flyer cards this week, with the new Qantas Cash prepaid travel money feature built into every card.

Similar to other travel money cards, Qantas Cash lets you store and spend money in nine currencies: Australian, US, Canadian, NZ, Singapore and Hong Kong dollars, British pounds, Euros and Japanese Yen.

Here’s a quick dive into Qantas Cash to get you up to speed.

Everybody gets a card

From the VIPs of the Chairman's Lounge to the lowliest Bronze, every member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program will receive their new card by the end of this year.

Qantas says that frequent flyers who registered their interest and “members with tier status” will receive the shiny new plastic by the end of October, while “all other eligible members will receive their Qantas Card between October – December 2013.”

This includes travellers with Bronze status – which also means that for the first time they’ll be able to take advantage of Qantas' streamlined Faster Smarter Checkin system through which travellers can check in for domestic and selected international flights with a tap of the smartchipped card.

(The smartchipped version of the Qantas Frequent Flyer card was previously available only to Silver, Gold and Platinum members.)

However, you won’t be able to use Qantas Cash until you’ve activated the Qantas Cash facility online – and you’ll need to be resident of Australia and over 16 years of age.

That’s one point of difference to Virgin Australia’s Global Wallet, where members of the Velocity Frequent Flyer program need to specially request a Global Wallet card.

If you don’t want to use Qantas Cash, simply don’t activate the card.

Grab the app

Once you’ve got your card and have activated Qantas Cash, grab the free Qantas Cash app for your iPhone or Android smartphone.

This lets you manage your card and transfer money between each of the card’s 10 currency wallets, although at the moment you can’t load money onto the card itself (however, Qantas says this is coming).

Loading money onto your Qantas Cash card

The Qantas Cash card is a prepaid or debit card, not a credit card – so you need to load money onto the card before you start shopping.

The good news is that it’s easy: you can transfer money into your Qantas Cash account using BPAY or POLI.

The bad news is that it’s slow: you have to allow “up to 2 - 3 Australian business days for the transfer to be processed to your card”, Qantas warns.

Loading up your Qantas Cash card isn’t something to leave until the day before you fly, and if you run short of money while overseas there’s no fast way to top up your card.

You can load money directly into any currency via the qantascash.com website, and into a default currency (initially set to Aussie dollars, but this can be changed to any of the eight foreign currencies) using your bank’s BPAY facility.

Transferring money between the nine ‘virtual wallets’ is instant and free, and can be done on the mobile app. That's handy if, for example. you've got £1,000 sitting on the card but find yourself on a quick trip to Germany and short of Euros.

The bottom line: if you expect to be using your Qantas Cash card frequently, and especially if you’ll be making several trips into several countries, whack a stash of cash into the card’s Australian Dollar account and keep it topped up. 

So what about those fees?

All travel money cards hit you up for range of fees, and Qantas Cash is no exception.

Where it beats a few of the competing travel money cards is that there’s no fee to load money onto the card, although withdrawing cash at an overseas ATM will cost around A$2.

The exchange rates are of course a few points under what you’d get buying cash at good over-the-counter rates.

Here are the Qantas Cash exchange rates at the time of writing (Wednesday 28 August, 2013):

Click here to see the current rates .

Earning Qantas points

There are no surprises here: Qantas has adopted the same earning rate as Virgin Australia’s Global Wallet card.

You’ll pick up one Qantas Point for every $2 you spend in Australia (because the card doesn’t have to be used overseas – it works as a MasterCard debit card complete with tap-and-go PayPass functionality, making it good for everyday use in Australia).

Using Qantas Cash overseas will earn you one point for the equivalent of every Australian dollar spent in foreign currency – so it’s not one point per Euro, per Pound or per-anything else.

(The Aussie dollar equivalency rate is based on MasterCard’s foreign exchange rates at the time of your purchase.)

You can check out the Qantas Cash FAQ for plenty more details...

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 28/8/13 by AusFlyer

Now if Qantas had offered 1 point per $1 I would be tempted to use it... As it stands it earns a lot less points than my credit card so I won't be in a hurry to load it up.

1 on 28/8/13 by spinoza

Don't think you can expect a credit card and a debit card to be close on points because the economics for the card company is totally different, both from a merchant fees and interest charges. I might be wrong but most debit cards have no points whatsoever?

1 on 28/8/13 by AusFlyer

Probably right... I have no idea about how that side of it works. That's fine if that is the case... but I have no real reason to move to using a Debit card and the fact that it is only 1 point per $2 doesn't influence me to want to use it. I'm not fussed either way... If it had been 1 point per $1 I might have given up my Mastercard Credit Card and replaced it with this.

2 on 28/8/13 by jamesbarutha

I use an Amex card and miss out on points when retailers don't accept Amex. I have been reluctant to get a Visa/Mastercard in addition to Amex because the annual fee degates the benefit in points.

For someone like myself the Qantas Card could be a good way of earning some points. 1 per $2 is not great but better than nothing considering I'm not paying an annual fee. Unless I'm missing something critical!

1 on 28/8/13 by PLATY

Perhaps the Qantas Woolworths card is the answer for occasional non-Amex transactions. Low annual fee, easily offset by the 16,000 point enrolment bonus and 1 point per dollar on eligible purchases...

3 on 28/8/13 by russell

I can see this being handy overseas. Still cant beat the 28 degrees card although this does give you points and allows you to lock in the rate. Also like how you can switch currencies instantly on tap.

As for domestic use, no thanks. 1 point for each $2 simply not good enough. Cant see the motivation. 

4 on 28/8/13 by stewardnurse

What about a fee if you don't use the card..I got the virgin card a couple of weeks ago and noticed that if you don't use the card you are charged a fee,so have not activated yet to see what Qantas offers

1 on 28/8/13 by spinoza

"Monthly Inactivity fee (charged at the start of each month if you have not made any purchase or ATM withdrawal transactions using Qantas Cash in the previous 12 months, unless the remaining balance is less than the inactivity fee)" = $1

Seems a bit silly to me. If you leave their money with them, they can earn interest on your money and don't need to pay you anything...

2 on 28/8/13 by sjariel

A list of fees can be found here

http://www.qantascash.com/why-qantas-cash/fees-and-charges/

In regards to inactivity here is the extract...

Monthly Inactivity fee (charged at the start of each month if you have not made any purchase or ATM withdrawal transactions using Qantas Cash in the previous 12 months, unless the remaining balance is less than the inactivity fee) AUD 1.00

 

5 on 28/8/13 by spinoza

The main appeal of the card for me is that "the exchange rate used for the initial load of that currency will be locked in until you’re ready to use the funds"

The rates aren't that bad. Today the USD amount is only 2% lower than the spot rate, which I think is better than what I can get at a bank. I'd be keen to lock in a bit of USD today in anticipation of further falls in the next 12-18 months...

6 on 28/8/13 by watson374

From what I can gather, there is no minimum spend per transaction, but what's an 'eligible purchase'?

1 on 28/8/13 by watson374

I just realised something: is it possible to double-dip by using Qantas Cash to pay for a transaction that earns QFF points through Everyday Rewards?

1 on 28/8/13 by songman

I would imagine yes, since the same can be done with a point earning credit card.

7 on 3/9/13 by Lourens

Did you know that Qantas Cash has a $1.00 monthly inactivity fee and there is no facility available to change your pin number.

1 on 5/9/13 by Chrisor

Yes, I was just about to mention that as I received my card today and was prepared to load it up as I am going away next week, now I'm not sure if I will. I don't want a PIN I may forget.  I'll probablt stick with taking cash and credit cards. 

8 on 9/9/13 by Frank

Having just had another fraudulent transaction from O/S on my debit card, this would seem to be a good option to load up with cash when travelling overeseas, and then unload it on return so no more frauds.

9 on 4/11/13 by Thomas Ian

In the discussions below, on the Qantascash(QC)/Mastercard, I've seen no mention of when the exchange is uplifted by a 3% commission.

It seems to apply when a Mastercard transaction has either no or insufficient of the transaction currency and has to convert another currency on the QC card to to cover the transaction, e.g. a USD transaction or withdrawal greater the USD balance, if any, on the QC card. In this case the Mastercard exchange rate is inflated by 3%.

It also seems to apply when currency is moved from one QC wallet to another. If I request some of my GBP balance be converted to say Euros, I understand that the QC set GBP/Euro exchange rate will also be uplifted by 3%.

But what about initial loads? If I initially load say GBP 2000, I can't seem to specify this amount exactly if AUD is my default currency. The on-line load facility only allows me to specify an AUD load amount, so need to specify an AUD that approximates the GBP amount I require.

But does this amount go into my AUD wallet initially and then transferred to my GBP wallet with a 3% currency conversion fee? If so that a lot higher than other travel cards such as ANZ Visa or Amex.

10 on 11/11/13 by AMANDA76

Ok, I just tried to use this card, before I travelled overseas, and thank god i did. I loaded $50 on here, and went to use it at a cafe/restaurant and it got declined!  I rang Qantas cash card before I got home, and they told be the reason it was declied as I have insufficent funds.  Even though the transaction was $50, they hold an addtional 20% for tipping/service fee.  I told her that in Australia we do not have this compulsory, so why it is on this card.  She basically said they can't do anyhting about it.  Well I have now transferred the money out, and will not be using this card again.  STICK TO YOUR NORMAL BANK.... NOT WORTH THE HASSLE

11 1 day, 7 hours ago by Lisa

The qantas card is no good for  using overseas, as the currency when  you buy it is locked in only for the day you buy it. Then everyday after that  it is not and the rate can either go up or done, so you either gain money or loose money, it is just pot luck.. I put $400 aud on my card and changed it into hong kong for a holiday and went i went to use it  the money had already dropped. By the time i finished my holiday i ending  up losing $40 aud by using the card. You are better of using cash money or one of the  banks  foreign cash cards, because at least you get what you change unlike  the qantas cash card as there are to many hidden fees and clauses and not locking in the rate once you have purchased for the whole duration

 

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