Offering up to one Qantas Point per dollar spent where Visa is accepted, double points on purchases with Qantas, 60,000 bonus Qantas Points for eligible new customers and Apple Pay support, the HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa credit card represents an affordable way to earn points on your everyday purchases, particularly when used in tandem with a higher-earning American Express card.
International travel insurance is also included and there's no extra fee to add an additional cardholder to the account (such as your partner or spouse) to maximise your points, although a low monthly tiering threshold of $2,500 may prove an issue for higher spenders, with no points at all awarded on payments to local, state and federal government bodies.
Here's how HSBC's card stacks up in the post-RBA era.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Platinum
- Card type: Visa
- Loyalty program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qantas Points earned per dollar:
Everyday spend up to and including $2,500 per month: 1.0
Everyday spend >$2,500 per month: 0.5
Selected Qantas products and services: 1 bonus point in addition to the above
Payments to government bodies: No points
- Points capping: Earn up to 7,500 Qantas Points per month (excludes bonus points).
- Supported mobile wallets: Apple Pay
Fees, charges and interest: 4/5
- Annual fee: $199
- Supplementary cardholder fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchases: 19.99% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
- Interest rate on cash advances: 21.99% p.a.
- International transaction fee: 3%
- Minimum income requirement: $40,000 p.a.
- Minimum credit limit: $6,000
- Balance transfer offer: 0% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to cash advance rate)
Earning points for free flights: 3.5/5
New cardholders who apply by June 30 2018 and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months can earn a cool 60,000 bonus Qantas Points: enough for a one-way business class flight from Australia's east coast to destinations like Hong Kong and Singapore when you pay the associated taxes and fees with money on the side.
An earning rate of one Qantas Point per dollar on a Visa also isn't to be sniffed at these days, although the $2,500 tiering threshold is lower than many comparable cards including NAB Qantas Rewards Visa Signature ($5,000), ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa ($7,500) and the Qantas Premier Mastercard ($10,000) – although with HSBC's card having a lower annual fee than these products, the lower tiering threshold is an understandable compromise and one that positions the card as a good pairing to a higher-earning American Express card.
For example, you might choose to use the Qantas AMEX Ultimate Card wherever American Express is accepted to earn 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent, or the lower-priced Qantas AMEX Premium Card to earn 1.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent, reverting to the HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa everywhere else to earn up to 1 Qantas Point.
There's also now a monthly cap of 7,500 Qantas Points, although the earning rate is unchanged: so provided you spend $12,500 or less on the HSBC card each month, the number of points you can earn remains the same.
Assuming you remain within the $2,500/month ceiling (earning one point per dollar spent), you'd earn enough points for a near-free Sydney-Melbourne flight after spending $8,000 on everyday purchases (spread across several months), or if you exceed the tiering threshold, spending $12.500 in one month and then $500 in the second month would deliver the same number of points.
You'll also earn one bonus Qantas Point per dollar spent in addition to the applicable everyday earning rate when using your card to book Qantas flights directly with Qantas in Australian dollars and when paying for Qantas Club membership, although no points are awarded on any government transactions, including paying your car registration, council rates, parking costs at street meters, fines, infringements, or payments to the ATO.
Airport lounge access: 0.5/5
Complimentary airport lounge access is no longer offered to HSBC credit card holders, although using your HSBC card to purchase Qantas Club membership does deliver bonus points, as above.
HSBC Platinum Qantas cardholders also receive complimentary Frequent Values membership through Entertainment Publications, which offers savings of 5-10% on airfares with airlines like Emirates and Virgin Australia, along with discounts on dining and leisure activities.
Included international travel insurance: 4/5
International travel insurance can be unlocked on a trip-by-trip basis when charging at least 90% of the cost of your return ticket to the card prior to leaving Australia, when you'll be out of the country for four consecutive months or less.
That 90% rule makes allowances for any arrival or departure taxes and fees which can only be paid in cash at the airport – such as in Brunei – as opposed to some other policies which require your entire return travel costs be charged to the card even though this may not always be possible.
However, there's no cover if you booked your international flights using frequent flyer points, including points earned via this credit card, nor are you covered by using the card towards other pre-paid travel costs such as hotel stays or tours prior to leaving Australia, as some other credit card policies allow.
HSBC's coverage line-up does also include purchase protection insurance, extended warranty insurance on selected new appliances, access to the guaranteed pricing scheme and transit accident insurance, along with some cover for domestic trips and domestic rental car insurance as well.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa: the verdict
HSBC's Qantas credit card may not have all the features of years past, but when it comes to earning points in the current post-RBA climate, this is a reasonable contender for your wallet – especially if your monthly spends are quite low, or when pairing this card with a higher-earning American Express or Diners Club product to keep as your back-up plan.
iPhone and Apple Watch users will also appreciate having Apple Pay available, allowing cardholders to use their iDevice to make purchases wherever contactless credit cards are accepted, without needing to carry their physical HSBC card.
A low minimum income requirement of just $40,000 p.a. also makes this card accessible to most full-time workers: so unlike some high-end rewards cards which require a salary of $65,000-$150,000 to apply, you don't need to be earning the big bucks to qualify and earn big points.
However, make sure you read and understand the Terms and Conditions of the included insurance covers (which you'll receive in the mail along with your credit card) before relying on that insurance, to make sure you qualify and that the coverage meets your needs.