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 too, 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 90,000 bonus Qantas Points (if you choose 'Amplify Qantas') or 90,000 bonus Amplify points (worth 45,000 Velocity, KrisFlyer or Enrich points when you choose 'Amplify Rewards'), to help keep you flying in business class.
BankSA Amplify Signature card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Black
- Card type: Visa Signature
- Loyalty program: Amplify Qantas or Amplify Rewards
- Qantas Points earned per A$1 spent: 0.75 in Australia (0.825/$1 including the 10% 'birthday bonus')
- Amplify Rewards points earned per A$1 spent: 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: $279
- Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $0 (one additional cardholder permitted)
- 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.
There's a generous sign-up bonus on the table right now as well of 90,000 bonus Qantas Points or 90,000 Amplify points (on-par with 45,000 Velocity, KrisFlyer or Enrich points/miles) when you apply by September 26 2018 and spend at least $4,000 on the card within 90 days of approval.
Continuing its focus on points, 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 choose 'Amplify Rewards' as your loyalty option, earning 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 card the highest-earning Visa or Mastercard plastic in Australia for building up Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles on everyday purchases, and a reasonable earner with Qantas, Velocity and Enrich.
Airport lounge access: 2.5/5
Two airport lounge visits are included each year, and those visits are tailored towards the reward program you've chosen, giving you the best chance of actually using them!
For example, if you opt for the Amplify Qantas rewards option to automatically earn Qantas Points every month, 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, when flying on a Qantas or Jetstar flight number.
Or, if you prefer to earn points with Velocity, KrisFlyer or Enrich via the Amplify program, you'll be given a complimentary Priority Pass lounge membership instead with two complimentary visits included each year, and the ability to pay US$27 for additional visits through Priority Pass, which can often be cheaper than a lounge's standard walk-in rates.
To buy an equivalent membership direct from Priority Pass would otherwise cost US$163 (A$210) per year – factoring in the base membership price of US$99, plus US$10 to receive your membership card and 2x US$27 lounge visits – so with the Amplify Signature card having a $279 annual fee, that reduces the yearly 'cost' to just $69 if you'd have otherwise paid for such lounge membership.
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 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.