With free and unlimited airport lounge access, generous travel insurance coverage and a bonus 20,000 Qantas Points for new customers, Bank of Queensland's BOQ Specialist Visa Signature credit card punches well above its weight.
Earning up to 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent and with no points cap, this card is aimed at professionals working in – or recently graduated into – the medical, dental, veterinary and accounting fields.
If you're employed in another industry, unfortunately this card isn't one you can apply for.
BOQ Specialist Visa Signature: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Above-platinum
- Card type: Visa Signature
- Loyalty program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qantas Points earned per $1 (domestic spend): 1.0 up to 10,000 points per month, 0.625 thereafter
- Bonus Qantas Points per $1 spent with Qantas: 1.0
- Qantas Points earned per $1 (abroad): 1.5 with no tiering
- Points capping: None, but tiering applies to domestic spend
Fees, charges and interest: 4/5
- Annual fee: $400
- Supplementary cardholder fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchases: 20.50% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
- Interest rate on cash advances: 20.50% p.a.
- International transaction fee: 3.2% (recently raised from 2.95%)
- Minimum income requirement: $60,000 p.a.
- Minimum credit limit: $15,000
- Employment requirements: Open to medical, dental, veterinary and accounting professionals and graduates
Earning points for free flights: 4/5
Rather than most other banks which offer new customers bonus points in exchange for spending a certain amount, BOQ Specialist's approach encourages you to reach for your Visa Signature card with every purchase, regardless of amount.
Make just 10 purchases within the first two months and you'll net an easy 20,000 bonus Qantas Points, atop what you'd normally earn every day.
Joining that bonus with a further 5,000 Qantas Points – either by spending $5,000 in Australia or $3,334 abroad – you'd have enough for a one-way business class upgrade between Sydney and Hong Kong or Singapore from a flexible economy ticket.
Or, if your travels are within Australia, the same number of points can unlock five one-way upgrades to business class on shorter flights between Sydney and either Melbourne or Brisbane from flexible fares.
Inclusive travel insurance: 4.5/5
Using your BOQ Specialist card to pay for your return overseas flight before leaving Australia unlocks free travel insurance on trips of 120 days or less, pleasingly including journeys between mainland Australia and Tasmania or Norfolk, Christmas, Lord Howe or Cocos Islands.
You're also covered if your journey is booked using Qantas Points or even Velocity Points (earned by other means), or using a combination of these frequent flyer points and dollar amounts paid for by using your card.
Other domestic trips aren't covered, such as between New South Wales and Victoria, but may be covered by the card's domestic flight inconvenience insurance.
BOQ cardholders also receive transit accident insurance, purchase security insurance, extended warranty protection, a 'best price guarantee', global car hire excess waivers and even golfers' insurance if your clubs are stolen or accidentally damaged.
Airport lounge access: 4/5
Begin your journey in one of over 900 Priority Pass airport lounges at no cost thanks to a free and unlimited Priority Pass membership courtesy of BOQ, which also allows you to bring in one guest at no charge with each visit and additional guests for US$27 each.
Included on Priority Pass' network are major transit cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and Abu Dhabi where freshening up in between flights is most welcome, although the only lounge you'll find in Australia is the Reef Lounge in Cairns.
BOQ Specialist Visa Signature: the verdict
At $400/year, you'd be forgiven for thinking twice about paying the annual fee – but if you'd otherwise be paying for your own Priority Pass membership, you'll come out well ahead of the curve.
That's because the same unlimited membership retails for US$409 (A$562), on top of which you'd also pay US$27 (A$37) every time you bring in a guest.
BOQ covers you for the first guest on every visit – an immediate A$370/year saving if lounging with a guest 10 times a year, with the annual fee for the credit card also $162 less than a mere Priority Pass membership.
When you consider the other inclusions such as the generous travel insurance, the bonus Qantas Points for new customers and the reasonable number of points you'll earn as you keep spending on the card, it's a deal not to be overlooked.
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