Qudos Bank: it's not a brand many Australians will recognise, but it used to be known as the more-familiar Qantas Credit Union, or QCU, known for its great Qantas Platinum Visa credit card with its solid frequent flyer earning rates.
However, Qudos' latest version of the card – now branded the Qudos Bank Qantas Visa Platinum credit card – swaps that high frequent flyer earn rate for one considerably less-so, while at the same time, increasing the card's annual fee.
That's not a typo: you'll now pay even more to earn even less, as Australian Business Traveller discovers in this week's credit card review.
Qudos Bank Qantas Visa Platinum credit card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Platinum
- Card type: Visa
- Loyalty program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qantas Points earned per $1 (first $2,500 spent per month): 1*
- Qantas Points earned per $1 (monthly spend over $2,500): 0.5*
- Bonus points earned per $1 – eligible Qantas spend: 1
- Points capping: Earn points on spends of up to $200,000 per year*
*Applicable from December 1 2016. Prior to this date, cardholders can earn one Qantas Point per dollar spent with no monthly tiering or annual cap.
Fees, charges and interest: 3/5
- Annual fee: $195 ($249 from December 1)
- Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchases: 18.99% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
- Interest rate on cash advances: 18.99% p.a.
- International transaction fee: 3.65%
- Minimum income requirement: None defined
- Minimum credit limit: $6,000
Earning points for free flights: 3/5
With no current sign-up bonus, Qudos Platinum Visa cardholders can instead earn one Qantas Point per dollar spent, uncapped, until November 30 2016.
But from December 1, that's restricted to the first $2,500 spent per month, after which the earn rate lowers to 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar until the new statement period begins. A new annual cap of $200,000 is also being introduced from the same date.
In practical terms, if you spent $8,000 per month under the current system, you'd earn 8,000 Qantas Points – enough for a near-free flight from Sydney to Melbourne – but spend the same from December and you'd earn a lower 5,250 Qantas Points instead.
Payments made to the ATO from December will also earn no points when using this card.
Airport lounge access: 0.5/5
Complimentary airport lounge access isn't a feature offered to Qudos Visa Platinum cardholders, although you can earn an extra Qantas Point per dollar when using your Qudos card to purchase a Qantas Club membership (and when booking Qantas flights).
Free international travel insurance: 1.5/5
As with the previous Qantas Credit Union Visa Platinum card, the complimentary international travel insurance offered to Qudos customers remains the most restrictive we've seen on any Australian card to date.
That's because you'll need to charge at least 50% of your total pre-paid and ongoing travel costs to the card, both before and during your trip, in order to both qualify for the cover and remain insured throughout your travels.
Yes, whip out the wrong credit card at hotel check-out time and the travel insurance you'd been enjoying could instantly be cancelled – as can also happen if your trip isn't solely and completely for "leisure purposes", even if that's just a quick coffee catch-up with a business contact during what's otherwise a holiday.
As a result, you'll also be stung by the bank's hefty 3.65% international transaction fee on all overseas charges to remain insured: so you may find better value (and peace of mind) in simply purchasing a standalone travel insurance policy before your trip.
There's one competitive aspect to the policy: if you book at least 50% of your travels using Qantas Points, or with a mix of Qantas Points and real money (charged to the card), you can also be covered.
Qudos Bank Qantas Visa Platinum credit card: the verdict
Although Qudos is cutting its Qantas Frequent Flyer earning rates from December, those new rates remain comparable to many other banks in the market – but with an also-increased $249 annual fee, the card does lose its competitive edge.
That's because you could earn the exact same number of points per dollar spent via the Woolworths Money Qantas Platinum Visa, yours for a lower $99 in the first year and $169 thereafter, or the HSBC Qantas Platinum Visa for a still-lower $199/year charge.
If you frequently shop where American Express is accepted, you could also use the Qantas American Express Discovery card to reel in one Qantas Point per dollar spent, uncapped, and with no annual fee.
With the Qudos Platinum Visa's strong frequent flyer earning rates whittled away from December, a very high international transaction fee and travel insurance that's needlessly complex, it's hard for us to see why anybody would now apply for this card in favour of a more competitive product.
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