Top five credit cards for earning Qantas frequent flyer points

Top five credit cards for earning Qantas frequent flyer points

Banks across Australia are cutting the number of frequent flyer points that credit card users can earn in response to the Reserve Bank’s new cap on credit card ‘interchange fees’ – so if your existing plastic is about to become less fantastic, it's time to make a move.

For instance, even after these changes wash through, you’ll still be able to earn up to 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent on everyday purchases using cards direct-issued by American Express, or up to one Qantas Point per dollar spent in Australia on various Visas and Mastercards.

Australian Business Traveller wades through all the RBA-related credit card cuts and changes to bring you the top five credit cards for earning Qantas frequent flyer points as of July 1 2017, when the new cap on ‘interchange fees’ kicks in.

1. Qantas American Express Ultimate Card

With the Big Four Banks winding back points on their American Express cards – or in the case of ANZ, abolishing AMEX cards altogether – you can continue to earn 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent, uncapped (0.5/$1 on government charges), by slipping a Qantas American Express Ultimate Card into your wallet instead.

This card carries an annual fee of $450, but reduces the sting by including a free Qantas domestic return flight every year, two yearly visits to the AMEX Lounge at Sydney Airport, domestic and international travel insurance, an extra point per dollar spent when booking Qantas flights, and more.

New cardholders can also earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points after spending at least $1,500 on purchases within the first three months, provided they’re new to American Express Australia. Having an existing AMEX card issued by ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB or Westpac won’t disqualify you – only if you already have an AMEX card issued direct by American Express Australia.

2. Qantas American Express Premium Card

For a good balance between fees paid and points earned, look to the Qantas American Express Premium Card: delivering 1.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent without limits aside an annual fee of $249.

Using this card to purchase Qantas flights or Qantas Club lounge membership also attracts a higher 2.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent, while all government transactions accrue 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent.

Also thrown in as part of the parcel: two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year, worldwide travel insurance and an offer of 30,000 bonus Qantas Points for cardholders new to American Express Australia who spend at least $1,500 on purchases within the first three months.

3. Westpac Altitude Black American Express

The Westpac Altitude Black American Express card also promises 1.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent (including on government transactions, except for ATO payments) with no monthly or yearly capping, and 2.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent on purchases direct with Qantas.

It’s paired with a World Mastercard on the same account which instead delivers 0.625 Qantas Points per dollar spent to use where American Express isn’t accepted, with a total annual fee of $395 covering both cards: reduced to $195 in the first year if you apply by October 26 2017.

Apply by that date and you could also collect 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval via either the AMEX or the Mastercard – just be sure to choose the ‘Altitude Qantas’ rewards option during the application process to earn Qantas Points.

4. Qantas Frequent Flyer Diners Club Card

Although Diners Club acceptance trails that of Visa, Mastercard and even American Express, the Qantas Frequent Flyer Diners Club Card churns out 1.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent on all but government transactions, on which no points are earned.

Surprisingly, that earn rate is achieved not by applying for the standalone Diners Club card, but for the ‘Diners Club + World Mastercard’ combo for $260/year, because having the Mastercard attached to the account boosts the number of points earned on Diners Club payments, whether or not you actually spend on that Mastercard.

Using the Mastercard delivers 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent, while both cards provide one extra Qantas Point per dollar spent on Qantas flight bookings and lounge membership, being 2.25 Qantas Points per dollar via Diners Club or 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar through the Mastercard.

5. Earn one Qantas Point per dollar using Visa, Mastercard

Serious frequent flyer fiends should be using an American Express or Diners Club card wherever they’re accepted to earn the most points possible, while keeping a Visa or Mastercard in reserve to still earn some points on all other payments.

You’ll ideally want a card that earns one Qantas Point per dollar spent in these circumstances – such as the Qantas Premier Mastercard on the first $10,000 of monthly domestic spend (halved thereafter) or the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa on the first $7,500 of monthly spend (also halved thereafter).

You can also earn up to one Qantas Point per dollar spent on various Visa and Mastercard products from HSBC, Macquarie Bank, Woolworths Money, Qudos, Jetstar, Bank Australia and G&C Mutual Bank, with annual fees, points caps and monthly tiering arrangements varying from card to card.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin 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!
 

5 Comments

  • Lindsay Wilson

    QF WP

    20 Jun, 2017 04:22 pm

    Chris, has there been a review of cards that don't earn airline FF points, but rather status in other types of programs (like Macquarie Hilton Visa that has a tiered bonus structure based on $ spent p.a.). I keep it in my wallet for the Diamond status with Hilton - exceedingly handy as I don't stay enough to achieve it normally but I have the spend instead?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    20 Jun, 2017 05:34 pm

    Hi QF WP, you can find AusBT's review of the Macquarie Hilton Honors Visa card here.

    You might also find the following features of interest:

    However, note that both of those were published last year, so may not be up-to-date with the current offers in the market (and on aspects such as earn rates and fees). Certainly updates we should consider in the months ahead!

    Otherwise, we seldom cover credit cards that don't earn frequent flyer points (or points that can be converted to airline frequent flyer or hotel frequent guest schemes) - with the exception of the 28 Degrees card which had no international transaction fees and no annual fee.
    No member give thanks

  • Lindsay Wilson

    QF WP

    21 Jun, 2017 09:13 am

    Thanks Chris. Although the Macquarie article is a bit dated ;-) , given HotP closed some years ago and now there are no Hilton brand properties in Melbourne (yes there is a DoubleTree, but that's not a patch on the former HSW)
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    21 Jun, 2017 09:28 am

    Yeah, we ran that review back in 2014 - another candidate for a 'new review' some time this year, although at least the card hasn't changed much compared to many other products in the market recently.
    Member who gave thanks

    QF WP

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    21 Jun, 2017 05:15 pm

    The QF Woolies Platinum card at $160 fees pus lots of points and bonuses is better than the QF card at $300 fees without a lot more points unless one travels an awful lot.
    No member give thanks

  • ALDO vAN hEESWIJCK

    boris45

    21 Jun, 2017 05:26 pm

    I have a CBA black combo which gives 1.5-2.0 points/dollar, no annual fees (I have a wealth package) and no international transaction fees. Why is this card not mentioned?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    21 Jun, 2017 05:47 pm

    Hi boris45, as we explained when you last posed this question, your CBA Diamond cards do not earn 1.5-2 frequent flyer points per dollar spent - they earn CBA Awards points which convert to Qantas and Velocity at a 2.5:1 and a 2:1 rate, respectively. (So every time you earn 2 CBA Awards points, you're actually only earning 0.8 Qantas Points.)

    No member give thanks

  • ALDO vAN hEESWIJCK

    boris45

    30 Jun, 2017 05:30 pm

    I am quite aware of the difference between CBA reward points and frequent flyer points. On my last two statements I earned 8556 QF points on a $4695 spend and 17600 QF points on a $8609 spend. These equate to roughly 1.5-2 ff points/dollar spend as I stated. A recent statement from the bank says that my reward points will not change from July for overseas transactions and local supermarkets, department stores and petrol stations. There will also be no international transaction fees. As most of my AMEX transactions fall within these boundaries I foresee no change in my earning and the lack of international fees is a bonus.
    No member give thanks

Guest

18 Oct, 2017 11:17 am

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