How the Qantas Premier Mastercard stacks up to the competition

How the Qantas Premier Mastercard stacks up to the competition

The new Qantas Premier Mastercard offers up to 1.5 Qantas frequent flyer points per dollar spent, a bonus of 60,000 Qantas Points for eligible new cardholders, further bonus points when booking Qantas flights and airport lounge passes.

It's a decent feature set – but how does the airline's new own-branded plastic compare to other credit cards in the market?

Certainly, American Express remains the go-to for earning the most frequent flyer points on your everyday spends – the drawback being that AMEX isn’t as widely accepted as Mastercard and sometimes attracts a surcharge.

Here's how the new Qantas card stacks up against its Visa and Mastercard counterparts.

How the Qantas Premier Mastercard compares: the sign-up bonus

Slip the Qantas Premier Mastercard into your wallet to scoop up 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, provided you spend over $3,000 within the first 90 days. That's enough points for a one-way business class flight from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Singapore or Hong Kong.

However, the Westpac Altitude Black card offers a higher 80,000 bonus Qantas Points if you apply by October 26 2017 and spend $5,000 on the account within the first 90 days.

Likewise, ANZ’s Frequent Flyer Black Visa, providing 75,000 bonus Qantas Points for eligible new customers who spend $2,500 within the first three months.

The ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa also delivers 75 Bonus Status Credits to eligible new customers who apply before September 30 2017 and then book and take a Qantas return flight by January 31 2018, helping you climb the frequent flyer ranks faster and giving you more than just points for signing-up.

(As of November 2017, Qantas Premier's sign-up bonus is now 75,000 Qantas Points, replacing the previous offer of 60,000 points.)

How the Qantas Premier Mastercard compares: earning points

An earning rate of one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to $10,000/month within Australia (0.5/$1 thereafter) and 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent in foreign currencies (uncapped) makes the Qantas Premier Mastercard both appealing and competitive for ongoing use.

Compare that to the popular HSBC Qantas Platinum Visa which provides one Qantas Point per dollar only on spends of up to $2,500/month (halved thereafter) and no bonus points abroad, and higher spenders could be earning significantly more points through Qantas Premier instead.

Aside from a few niche cards from small and relatively unknown banks (such as G&C Mutual and Bank Australia), the next-best Visa or Mastercard earner behind Qantas Premier is again the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa, giving one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to $7,500 per month – a ceiling most cardholders probably won’t reach – and 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar thereafter.

It's also worth noting that the Qantas Premier Mastercard gives no points on government-related payments – that includes Australia Post and the ATO, car registration, council rates, parking meters, road tolls and public transport – whereas ANZ and Westpac have no such restrictions with the exception of ATO payments.

How the Qantas Premier Mastercard compares: booking Qantas flights

When it comes to booking Qantas flights using your credit card, you’d expect the Qantas Premier Mastercard to be top of the pile with an earn rate of 1.5-2 Qantas Points per dollar spent on those bookings.

Yet most Qantas-partnered Mastercard and Visa cards give you this anyway, while AMEX cards can earn even more points for your flight booking but without any additional surcharge.

For instance, you could accrue a higher 2.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent on Qantas flight bookings via the American Express Qantas Ultimate Card, or a still-greater 2.25 Qantas Points on the same when using the American Express Qantas Premium Card or the Westpac Altitude Black AMEX (when opting for Altitude Qantas rewards).

Even the basic, no-annual-fee American Express Qantas Discovery Card delivers two Qantas Points per dollar spent on these charges, uncapped, whereas the Qantas Premier Mastercard drops from 2 to 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar after A$10,000 has been spent every month.

(It's also disappointing to see that Qantas doesn't waive its credit card booking surcharge, even for the airline's own plastic.)

How the Qantas Premier Mastercard compares: airport lounge access

Qantas Premier cardholders pocket two free Qantas Club airport lounge passes per year.

Given this is par for the course on many Qantas-earning cards, it’s a shame that Qantas is content to offer the same benefit as other cards already in the market rather than doing something better.

As is stands, the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa trumps Qantas’ own card in terms of lounge access. You get the same two Qantas Club passes per year but also gain discounts of up to $475 on year-round Qantas Club membership plus unlimited use of international Velocé lounges: perfect when flying on a different airline with which you hold no status.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

22 comments

  • Richard R

    rcnr25

    14 Jun, 2017 08:20 am

    The ANZ FF Black is clearly a better option.
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  • russell

    russell

    14 Jun, 2017 08:40 am

    Agreed, wanted to wait to see how the Qantas card compared to the ANZ Black before applying...in the end it was an easy decision. The ANZ Black wins.
    No member give thanks

  • levelnine

    levelnine

    14 Jun, 2017 12:55 pm

    Completely agreed. It seems Qantas cannot be a market leader even when it is handing out its very own points.
    No member give thanks

  • Hayden

    Hayden

    14 Jun, 2017 09:05 am

    ANZ Black wins hands down, but now every second year, when i cancel my anz black, i will apply for the QF card to keep getting the signup bonuses each year
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    14 Jun, 2017 09:58 am

    Hi Chris,
    I am wondering why AUSBT continuously ignoring Bank Australia Platinum Visa Card in your card review? It has modest annual fee and whopping point per dollar earning uncapped as least this is current situation. So for me it makes it top dog for earning point in Australia except of Amex/Dina of course.
    Yes, Bank Australia is nowhere easiest financial institution to deal with, but IMHO everyone who earning points via card must have this one in the valet.
    Member who gave thanks

    wdeguara

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    14 Jun, 2017 10:14 am

    Hi Serg, it's not that we 'ignore' Bank Australia - far from it, given that we've published a standalone feature review of the card - it's more so that the bank has not yet made any adjustments to its frequent flyer credit card in reflection of the July 1 'interchange fee' caps which will impact the revenues that Bank Australia earns on every transaction (and by extension, the amount of cash the bank has available to spend on things like buying points).

    Accordingly, it wouldn't be fair of us to compare 'RBA ready' cards like Qantas Premier (and ANZ, Westpac etc., plus HSBC which has made a number of changes over the past couple of years in the lead-up to this) with those not yet adjusted, like Bank Australia, because its products may well be amended shortly, being one of the only banks that has not already done so.

    From a credit card application perspective, when recently-changed or recently-launched (and 'RBA ready') cards award points at full rates on spends of $7,500-10,000 per month, any serious points-earner would be using an AMEX where they can anyway, making the Visa/Mastercard more of a 'backup' card to use everywhere else: and the vast majority wouldn't be spending $90,000-$120,000 per year just on that backup card in addition to their AMEX spend (unless running business expenses through a personal card, which we'd not recommend), so 'untiered' points on Visa/Mastercard versus a ceiling of $7.5-10k/month (after which points are halved) doesn't make any real difference for most points-savvy readers.

    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    14 Jun, 2017 10:38 am

    I agree on AMEX as main card and Visa/Master as backup part, this is what I do anyway. Thus I agree (but only partially) on irrelevance uncapped vs 10k points because I cannot get "unless running business expenses through a personal card, which we'd not recommend" - if it is not in contradictory with T&C then why not? Moreover when I was working for someone I did plenty of purchases on my personal card (flights, petrol, computer equipment) with later reimbursement - IMHO greatest way to boost your earning if you only can do it.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    14 Jun, 2017 11:14 am

    If it is not in contradictory with T&C then why not?

    With many credit cards, you'll find that it is against the T&Cs - but each bank's definition and treatment of business transactions may be different, so because of that and without reading the T&Cs in full for every product we cover, it's not something that we can openly encourage.

    (Some banks may also have a distinction between "transactions made in operating a business" as an owner/director and purchases made for reimbursement as an employee of a business which may not be considered 'business transactions', but to be completely sure you'd need to read the fine print relative to each card product or speak with the bank that issues each product.)
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  • Runningonempty

    Runningonempty

    14 Jun, 2017 03:45 pm

    I spent $1.65 million on my Citibank Personal Prestige Card in the last 12 months. All redeemed for QF points, all business use and never questioned by Citibank. As long as they are making money why would they care? A a business user, AMEX is as good as useless - not excepted widely and if accepted at all, hit with a merchant fee. 
    Member who gave thanks

    big_block_hg

  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    14 Jun, 2017 11:54 am

    In all fairness, the QF premium card is aimed at different market. Both Westpac and ANZ black card requires a much higher income requirement. My wife just didn't qualify. But she can apply for QF premium cuz of the much lower income requirement. I think QF has done the math and came up with this card. 

    It would be nice if QF will come up with another top end card that's better than ANZ And Westpac. 
    No member give thanks

  • alenb

    alenb

    14 Jun, 2017 01:04 pm

    just like their ff program this card is not worth it 
    No member give thanks

  • Jaspal Singh Bhalla

    jaspalsb

    14 Jun, 2017 01:29 pm

    Would paying bills via Post Bill Pay also be excluded from earning points (falling under the T&C mentioning Australia Post)? 

    I'm about to start my next cycle of credit cards by cancelling some and applying for others, and that means it'll soon be the first time I have cards which have these new "government" exclusions. 

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    14 Jun, 2017 02:32 pm

    Hi jaspalsb, while we can't provide any personal financial advice regarding these products, we can suggest that you'd have the best chance of earning points at full rates by paying your Postbillpay bills using your credit card via PayPal on the Postbillpay website, rather than making the payment direct to Australia Post by simply keying in your card number. This way, PayPal is the payment processor (and not a government entity) rather than Australia Post which is.

    (Again, this isn't a guarantee or 'financial advice', of course, merely a suggestion that you might consider. You might also consider simply paying your billers directly by credit card if they allow it and they're not government entities, which would also normally attract credit card points on most cards.)

    No member give thanks

  • Jaspal Singh Bhalla

    jaspalsb

    14 Jun, 2017 03:19 pm

    Thanks for the reminder on that - I do actually pay via Paypal right now on PostBillPay so that I can use my Amex so should be no change from now.
    No member give thanks

  • Mike Enderby

    Mike E

    14 Jun, 2017 03:16 pm

    Lots of comments about who has the best card. However, would be good to see a an Annual fee comparison between all of the cards mentioned in earlier comments.
    No member give thanks

  • worldwanderer

    worldwanderer

    14 Jun, 2017 09:39 pm

    I echo the comments of MikeE - this article only focuses on outputs and not inputs - the annual costs of running each of the cards. There is a big difference between paying nil or $195 pa as opposed to over $1000 for some of the AMEXs.
    No member give thanks

  • ALDO vAN hEESWIJCK

    boris45

    14 Jun, 2017 06:06 pm

    I have a CBA Black combo Amex/MasterCard. As a wealth client I have minimal fees. On an average $4000/month spend I get 12,000 QF points. This seems a good deal of 3 points/$ compared to other cards.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    14 Jun, 2017 06:32 pm

    Hi boris45, you might want to double-check your numbers there. Currently, the CBA Diamond AMEX gives 3 CBA points per dollar spent (these aren't Qantas Points), which then convert to Qantas on a 2.5:1 basis, giving 4,800 Qantas Points at best from a $4,000 monthly spend. From July, you'll earn only 0.5 CBA points per dollar spent on the same Diamond AMEX (except at supermarkets, petrol stations, department stores and overseas), with 0.5 CBA points on-par with a paltry 0.2 Qantas Points per dollar spent - giving you just 800 Qantas Points for a $4,000 monthly spend.
    No member give thanks

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    14 Jun, 2017 08:13 pm

    I have a QF Woolworths Platinum card with fees half the QANTAS card. The only advantage I can see is in flitght bookings and a half point on OS spends all for an extra $150 in fees. It does not add up unless flying is at a very high level indeed.
    No member give thanks

  • AeroSexual

    AeroSexual

    14 Jun, 2017 10:02 pm

    QF Premier MC doesn't have Apple Pay and that is a #fail in my view. It's 2017, I'm not carrying multiple pieces of plastic ever again, so until/unless they allow Apple Pay, it's ANZ Black all the way.
    No member give thanks

  • lm1

    lm1

    15 Jun, 2017 05:27 pm

    This I agree with until you're overseas, where often ancient terminals have no tap - a mistake made only once!
    No member give thanks

  • Colm Bowler

    Bowler

    22 Jun, 2017 01:16 pm

    DO NOT get this card. Worst card ever. You can't even use it. Qantas block it at every transaction for being suspicious. 3 times in 24 hours I've had to spend 20 min talking to some helpdesk overseas to unblock. Once for use at a Chemist.   Once I get the sign up points I will glady burn it. Be warned!!!!
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20 Jul, 2019 01:39 pm

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