Macquarie Visa Platinum Card (Qantas, Macquarie Rewards)

Review: Macquarie Visa Platinum Card (Qantas, Macquarie Rewards)

What's Hot

  • $99 annual fee in the first year
  • Range of insurance cover

What's Not

  • Earning rate halves after spending just $1,000/month
  • Annual fee climbs to $199-249 after the first year

X-Factor

  • 40,000 bonus points for new customers

Introduction

Macquarie's Platinum Visa credit card knows how to tempt new customers with a reasonable bonus of 40,000 Qantas Points and a reduced annual fee in the first year – but come Year Two, you'll pay considerably more as an existing customer to earn considerably less.

Here's how the Macquarie Platinum Visa credit card holds up, on which you can earn either Qantas Points or Macquarie Rewards points.

Macquarie Platinum Card: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Platinum
  • Card type: Visa
  • Loyalty program: Qantas Frequent Flyer or Macquarie Rewards
  • Qantas Points earned per dollar: 1.0 up to $1,000 per statement period, 0.5 thereafter
  • Bonus points earned per dollar on eligible Qantas spend: 1
  • Alternatively, Macquarie Rewards points earned per dollar: 1.25
  • Points capping: Earn points on spends of up to $200,000 each year. No points earned on government charges via either option, including ATO payments.

Fees, charges and interest: 2/5

  • Annual fee: $99 in the first year, then $199 with Macquarie Rewards or $249 with Qantas Points
  • Supplementary cardholder fee: $0 (max. 4)
  • Interest rate on purchases: 20.70% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 21.95% p.a.
  • International transaction fee: 3.0%
  • Minimum income requirement: $50,000 p.a.
  • Minimum credit limit: $6,000

Earning points for free flights: 2/5

Although you can use Macquarie Reward points to book flights via the bank, what you end up doing is purchasing a commercial airfare with those points at retail value, so if your aim is to travel, opting for Qantas Points may prove the more rewarding option, as you can't convert points from Macquarie Rewards to the airline: you have to make the choice first.

Taking the Qantas route, you can start with a bonus 40,000 Qantas Points when you apply for the card and spend $2,000 on eligible purchases within 60 days of approval, which isn't a bad sign-up bonus given the reduced $99 annual fee in the first year, but beyond that, the value proposition significantly lags the competition.

That's because you'll only earn points at the full rate on the first $1,000 of your monthly spends: exceed that, and your earning rate halves until the next month, and, depending on how much you spend, could make the card relatively 'pointless'.

For example, you'd need to spend $20,000 per year on this card (with at least $1,000 of spend in each month to attract points at the highest rates) just to earn 16,000 Qantas Points from your everyday purchases – enough for a return economy trip between Sydney and Melbourne, but which will still cost you around $70 in fees and charges when you book.

That means you're paying $319 all up, to take a trip that you may otherwise be able to purchase outright for less, without the hassle of earning and then redeeming points.

If you're spending significantly more on the card, the numbers may swing into your favour: but equally, you may find a higher-earning card more rewarding, so it's a catch-22.

Airport lounge access: 0.5/5

Airport lounge access isn't offered to Macquarie Platinum cardholders, but if you opt for Qantas Points and choose to pay for Qantas Club airport lounge membership, you'll earn one extra point per $1 spent on your membership over and above your card's regular earn rate of either 1 or 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.

Inclusive travel insurance: 4/5

Pay for an overseas return flight with your Macquarie Platinum Card and may be covered by the bank's complimentary travel insurance on that trip, provided it's of 90 days or less and subject to the policy wording.

You may also be covered if you earn and then redeem Macquarie Rewards points for the same, or earn and then redeem Qantas Points to book your flight.

(For Qantas flyers, the bank's insurance definition appears to refer only to points earned using the credit card, not all points earned from all sources – so you'll want to make sure that you've earned at least as many points as your trip costs via the Macquarie card to satisfy this requirement, but as always, contact the card issuer or insurer for more information.)

Also included: purchase security insurance, extended warranty cover, transport accident insurance, interstate flight inconvenience insurance and a global hire car excess waiver.

Macquarie Platinum Card: the verdict

Despite its Platinum colour, this card is far less rewarding year-on-year than many other Platinum-grade products, with a particularly high ongoing annual fee compared to the rewards you'll earn in return.

Based on the calculations above, if you're spending less than $20,000/year on the card, you're unlikely to earn enough points to outweigh the cost of the $249 annual fee – and may be far better off simply taking that money and using it to book the flight you want to take, rather than going to the trouble of earning and redeeming points.

While Black-level credit cards do provide more points, they're often more expensive and have higher minimum income and credit limit requirements: so if you're wanting to stay within Platinum territory, there are other cards that could provide you with either savings at the hip pocket or more points in your account.

For example, the St. George Amplify Platinum Visa clocks in at just $99 with an uncapped earn rate of 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent – the same as Macquarie's card above the $1,000 ceiling, yet with an ongoing annual fee less than half as expensive.

If you're not tied to earning Qantas Points, the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Visa credit card also comes in at a cheaper $225/year, but includes a free return Virgin Australia flight every year as one of its benefits, and that's in addition to the points you can earn on the card (being up to 0.75 Velocity points per $1 spent).

On the Westpac Altitude Platinum Visa, you could also be earning 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent (via Altitude Qantas) or 0.5 Velocity points (via Altitude Rewards with Velocity Auto-Redemption) but with no annual fee in the first year ($150 thereafter) – there's just a $50/year fee on top when earning Qantas Points, but even in future years, that's still less than with Macquarie.

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!
 

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24 May, 2019 03:24 pm

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