With no limit to the number of points you can earn, Australia's highest earning rate for Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles on 'everyday' Visa spend and the ability to earn points with Qantas, Virgin Australia Velocity and Malaysia Airlines Enrich (depending on the card variation you choose), the BankSA Amplify Signature Visa shouldn't be overlooked when considering your next frequent flyer credit card.
Backed by Westpac Group – a portfolio that also includes St. George and Bank of Melbourne – BankSA tempts new cardholders with either 80,000 bonus Qantas Points (if you choose the Amplify Signature with Qantas Points card) or as an online exclusive, 100,000 bonus Amplify points (if you choose Amplify Signature with Amplify Points, being worth 50,000 Velocity, KrisFlyer or Enrich points), to help keep you flying in business class.
If you choose the Amplify points-earning card (as opposed to the Qantas Points option), you'll also pay no annual card fee in the first year, a $279 saving, while choosing the Qantas Points card instead comes with a reduced annual fee in the first year, of $179: still a $100 saving.
BankSA Amplify Signature card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Black
- Card type: Visa Signature
- Loyalty variants: Qantas Points (Qantas Frequent Flyer) or Amplify Points (Amplify Rewards)
- Qantas Points earned per A$1 spent (Qantas Frequent Flyer): 0.75 (0.825/$1 including the 10% 'birthday bonus')
- Amplify Rewards points earned per A$1 spent (Amplify Rewards): 1.5 (1.65 with that 'birthday bonus')
- 1.65 Amplify Rewards points = 0.825 Velocity Points, 0.825 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles or 0.825 Malaysia Airlines Enrich miles
- Points capping/tiering: None
BankSA Amplify Signature: fees, charges and interest
- Annual fee with Qantas Points: $279 (currently $179 in the first year)
- Or, annual fee with Amplify Points: $279 (currently waived in the first year)
- Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $0 (one additional cardholder permitted with either rewards option)
- Interest rate on purchases: 19.49% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
- Interest rate on cash advances: 20.24% p.a.
- International transaction fee: 3.0%
- Minimum income requirement: No defined minimum, joint applications accepted also
- Minimum credit limit: $15,000
Earning points for free flights: 3.5/5
One of this card's biggest upsides is that there's no points capping or tiering to get in your way – so unlike other banks which sometimes reward you less as you spend more, this card continues pumping out points at its full earn rate, regardless of how much you spend.
Take the Qantas route and you could take home 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply by January 23 2019 and spend $4,000 on purchases within 90 days of card approval, along with a reduced annual fee of $179 in the first year.
Or, choose the Amplify Points card to pocket 100,000 bonus Amplify Points – equal to 50,000 Virgin Australia Velocity points when converted at a 2:1 rate – via the bank's online exclusive deal, when you apply online by December 17 2018 and spend $4,000 on purchases within 90 days of card approval, with no annual card fee in the first year.
In either case, in the month of your birthday you'll also score a 10% 'birthday bonus' on all the points you've earned on your card over the past year (except for that sign-up bonus), which elevates the frequent flyer earning rate from 0.75/$1 upfront to 0.825/$1, regardless of which frequent flyer program takes your fancy.
For example, if Velocity points are your goal, you'd select the Amplify Signature card with Amplify Points to earn 1.5 Amplify points per $1 spent, on-par with 0.75 Velocity points when converted to Velocity at a 2:1 rate. Factoring in the 10% 'birthday bonus', this becomes 0.825 Velocity points per $1 spent, uncapped.
This birthday bonus also makes the Amplify Signature card with Amplify Points the highest-earning Visa or Mastercard plastic in Australia for building up Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles on everyday purchases, and a reasonable earner with Velocity and Enrich; and with Qantas, via the Amplify Signature card with Qantas Points.
Airport lounge access: 2.5/5
Two airport lounge visits are included each year, and those visits are tailored towards the card variant you've chosen, giving you the best chance of actually using them!
For example, if you get the Amplify Signature card with Qantas Points, you'll receive two complimentary Qantas lounge passes each year after requesting them from BankSA, which can be used for access to domestic Qantas Club lounges and international Qantas-operated business class lounges, except in Los Angeles and at the Perth Transit Lounge, when flying on a Qantas or Jetstar flight number.
Or, if you prefer to earn points with Velocity, KrisFlyer or Enrich and choose the Amplify Signature card with Amplify Points, you'll be given a complimentary Priority Pass lounge membership instead with two visits included each year, and the ability to pay US$32 for additional visits through Priority Pass, which can often be cheaper than a lounge's standard walk-in rates.
Free insurance coverage: 4.5/5
International travel insurance comes as standard – as you'd rightly expect of a Black-level card – and is activated on a per-trip basis after at least $500 worth of travel costs have been charged to the Amplify Signature card before leaving Australia and when holding a return ticket for trips of six months or less.
That flexible approach means you could purchase your international ($500+) airfare using the card to get over the line, or could simply pre-pay some of your accommodation costs, and use your hard-earned frequent flyer points to book your international flights instead, while still being covered (but do consult the policy terms and conditions to ensure you're covered and that the insurance meets your needs).
Domestic trips may also be covered through inclusions of interstate flight inconvenience insurance, transit accident insurance and rental vehicle excess insurance, with extended warranty cover, purchase protection and price guarantees also available on eligible purchases.
BankSA Amplify Signature: the verdict
With an affordable (or waived) annual fee, an attractive sign-up bonus, inclusions like airport lounge access and travel insurance and a reasonable ongoing earning rate, it's hard to fault the BankSA Amplify Signature card for the price.
That said, and while this card has the highest earn rate in Australia for KrisFlyer miles on everyday spend (AMEX and Diners excluded), you may be able to earn more frequent flyer points via other cards if Qantas or Velocity points are your preference, depending on how much you spend.
For example, for $199/year on the HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa, you could earn one Qantas Point per $1 spent up to $2,500 per month, and 0.5/$1 on the next $10,000 of monthly spend – giving you more points than BankSA if you spend less than $2,500 per month, but fewer points as you continue to spend more, owing to HSBC's reduced earning rate and points cap.
With Velocity points, a card like the ANZ Rewards Black Visa also delivers the equivalent of one Velocity point per $1 spent up to $5,000 per month and 0.5 Velocity points per $1 spent thereafter: again, offering more points than BankSA on smaller spends (in this case, of $5,000/month or less), but fewer points on larger payments and with a higher ongoing annual fee of $375 (but currently waived in the first year).
Of course, with a minimum credit limit of $15,000, the BankSA Amplify Signature card is geared towards higher spenders who'll put the card to good use, but even if you spend less, you could still come out ahead if you make good use of the card's other features throughout the year.