Offering up to one Qantas Point per dollar spent where Visa is accepted, an extra point per dollar spent with Qantas and support for both Apple Pay and Google Pay, HSBC's Platinum Qantas Visa credit card positions itself as a prime backup to a higher-earning AMEX or Diners Club card, without adding much weight to your wallet in terms of annual fees.
There's also international travel insurance, as you'd expect, and no extra fee to add an additional cardholder onto the account 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 2019.
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, Google Pay
Fees, charges and interest: 4/5
- Annual fee: $79 (currently $0 in the first year)
- 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
Earning points for free flights: 3/5
With no annual fee in the first year for eligible new customers who apply and are approved by June 30 2019 ($79 thereafter) and an 'everyday' earning rate of up to one Qantas Point per dollar spent, HSBC's Platinum Qantas Visa credit card dishes up reasonable rewards without excessive fees.
Given the $2,500/month tiering threshold – at which, the number of points earned per dollar spent is halved – this card may be a better fit for spenders who already have another rewards credit card under their belt, such as a higher-earning American Express or Diners Club card.
Strategically, that AMEX or Diners Club card could be used wherever possible to earn the most points, while relying on the HSBC card eveywhere else to scoop up even more rewards: perhaps, without even reaching that monthly ceiling.
Just note that using the HSBC card to pay government bodies earns no points at all, covering everything from car registration and council rates through to ATO payments, government fines and other charges made directly by the government.
HSBC's Platinum Qantas Visa is also marginally more competitive on the points front for lower spenders than comparably-priced plastic like the $99/year St.George Amplify Platinum Visa with Qantas Points card, which gives a flat 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
However, St.George does so without the monthly cap of 7,500 Qantas Points as with HSBC, and with St.George also offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus Qantas Points (when you apply by October 2 2019 and spend at least $2,000 on eligible purchases within the first 90 days of card approval), versus the HSBC card, which doesn't currently off bonus points on sign-up.
Airport lounge access: 0.5/5
You won't get complimentary airport lounge access with this card, although purchasing Qantas Club airport lounge membership does deliver an extra Qantas Point per dollar spent, over and above the card's regular earn rate – that's 2/$1, if the transaction is in the first $2,500 of monthly spend, or 1.5/$1 beyond that line, as above.
HSBC Platinum Qantas cardholders also receive a complimentary Frequent Values membership through Entertainment Publications, which offers savings at restaurants, leisure providers and travel companies including selected airlines.
Included international travel insurance: 3/5
Complimentary international travel insurance may be available on a trip-by-trip basis when charging at least 90% of the cost of a return ticket to the card prior to leaving Australia, when the cardholder will be out of Australia for four consecutive months or less.
That 90% rule makes allowances for things like arrival or departure taxes and fees that can only be paid in cash at the airport (not by credit card), but doesn't extend cover to journeys booked using frequent flyer points, including Qantas Points earned via this credit card.
Unfortunately, the cover can't be activated in other ways either – such as pre-paying ground costs like hotel stays or tours prior to leaving Australia – so read the policy carefully to ensure you're covered and that the insurance meets your needs.
There's also purchase protection insurance, extended warranty insurance on selected new appliances, access to 'guaranteed pricing scheme' and transit accident insurance, along with some cover for domestic trips and domestic rental car insurance as well (again, refer to the policy documents for full information).
HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa: the verdict
With a recently-reduced annual fee of just $79 – previously $199, and dropped to $0 in the first year – an earning rate of up to one Qantas Point per $1 spent on everyday purchases isn't to be sniffed at: especially so given the even-higher earn rate of 1.5-2 Qantas Points per $1 on things like flight bookings and Qantas Club memberships purchased directly with Qantas.
That said, under the card's current earn structure, the more you spend, the fewer points you'll earn each month: so an investment in a higher-priced credit card could prove more rewarding overall for those with big monthly bills.
For example, a cardholder spending $20,000 per month would be well and truly constrained by the HSBC card's monthly limit of 7,500 Qantas Points, with all purchases in the $12,500-$20,000 range attracting no points at all.
Compare that to a higher-tier card like the Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard, which has a set earning rate of 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent but without a monthly ceiling, and the same spend would deliver a solid 15,000 Qantas Points – double that provided by HSBC's card, against an annual fee of $250 plus a $50/year Qantas Rewards fee.
Repeating that same spend over a 12-month period, Westpac's card would cost $221 more in fees (assuming the $79 HSBC annual fee is paid), but with a much more sizeable pile of frequent flyer points in return: 180,000 Qantas Points versus 90,000 Qantas Points from HSBC, the difference alone being enough for a one-way first class flight from Sydney to Hong Kong with Qantas, or from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Singapore with Qantas or Emirates, as offered.
That's not to mention Westpac's current sign-up offer of 80,000 bonus Qantas Points for eligible new customers who apply by June 2 2019 and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases using the Altitude Black Mastercard within 90 days of card approval, delivered over and above the card's everyday earning rates.