The Qantas American Express Ultimate card

Credit Card Review: The Qantas American Express Ultimate card

What's Hot

  • Bonus points on Qantas spend
  • Domestic and international travel insurance
  • Up to 55,000 bonus Qantas Points

What's Not

  • Lower earning rates on government charges

X-Factor

  • Free return domestic flight each year with Qantas

Introduction

AMEX’s top-of-the-line Qantas Ultimate Card swaps its complex roster of earning rates in favour of a baseline 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar on most charges – including utilities, telecommunications and insurance – and 2.5 Qantas Points on selected Qantas products and services.

While this is down from the previous 3 Qantas Points per dollar on dining and Qantas travel, your points haul is boosted by 50% on all other spends and triples when paying your next insurance, utility or telephone bill.

What's more, new cardholders can earn up to 55,000 bonus Qantas Points just for signing up and meeting the spend criteria.

Also thrown in is a free return domestic flight each year with Qantas between selected cities, and both domestic and international travel insurance: automatically activated when booking each journey with your card.

Qantas American Express Ultimate card: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Platinum
  • Card type: American Express
  • Loyalty program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qantas Points earned per dollar:
         Selected Qantas products and services: 2.5
         Government charges: 0.5
         Everywhere else: 1.5
  • Points capping: Uncapped

Fees, charges and interest: 4/5

  • Annual fee: $450
  • Supplementary cardholder fee: $0
  • Interest rate on purchases: 20.74% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 44
  • Interest rate on cash advances: Not offered
  • International transaction fee: 3.0%
  • Minimum income requirement: $65,000 p.a.
  • Minimum credit limit: $3,000

Earning points for free flights: 4.5/5

Reward yourself each year with a free domestic return flight with Qantas on selected routes after you first use your card with Qantas – such as to book flights or renew your Qantas Club membership.

New customers to American Express Australia can also take advantage of 55,000 bonus Qantas Points sign-up deal, awarded after spending $1,500 on eligible purchases within the first three months.

That's enough to upgrade most economy tickets to business class on Qantas flights to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Thereafter, you'd earn enough points for a near-free flight from Sydney to Melbourne after spending $3,200 with Qantas; $16,000 on government charges or $5,334 everywhere else, plus a small payment to cover taxes and fees when booking your award flight.

Airport lounge access: 2/5

Flash your card at the American Express Sydney Airport lounge before your next international flight to enjoy a free visit – up to two visits every calendar year – regardless of the airline you're flying with or where you're sitting on board.

Those visits can be taken by the cardholder on two separate trips, or could be used at the same time to have a partner, friend or colleague join you – after which you can pay $55 per person, per visit for further access until the next year begins.

Inclusive travel insurance: 4/5

With the Qantas AMEX Ultimate card, you may be covered by free domestic and international travel insurance when using the card to pay for your return ticket, including up to $2.5m for emergency medical expenses, but oddly, not when using the Qantas Points you've earned to book your flights instead.

Also included is refund protection should you be denied a refund on an unused eligible item bought with the card within the first 90 days, plus purchase protection if an eligible item bought with the card is stolen or accidentally broken within 90 days of purchase.

Qantas American Express Ultimate Card: the verdict

With the $450 annual fee significantly offset by the free domestic return flight each year, free insurance coverage and the points you'll earn from your spend, the overall value of the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card stacks up well.

The recent revamp of the frequent flyer earning rates also sees you pocketing 50% more Qantas Points on your everyday spends or three times as many points on utility and insurance payments.

Depending on how much you plan to spend and the benefits you require, also consider the Qantas American Express Discovery Card: churning out two Qantas Points per dollar spent directly with Qantas and one Qantas Point per dollar everywhere else (excluding government charges), with no annual fee.

 

7 Comments

  • Brent Rogers

    Brent Rogers

    8 Mar, 2017 10:44 am

    Recently subscribed to this card, having been lured by the 100,000 bonus point offer they were running.  Disappointed to find out they do NOT offer a rental car benefit, which has been an Amex hallmark for many decades.  It's a deal-breaker for me, and they'll only be socking me with one $450 annual fee.
    No member give thanks

  • GBRGB

    GBRGB

    21 Apr, 2017 11:27 am

    Not living in a capital city the free return airfare had little value for me, as did the Amex lounge access, so I went for the premium card with the 60,000 points after $1500 spend and a lower fee of $245 
    No member give thanks

  • John Geromoschos

    JTG

    21 Apr, 2017 12:56 pm

    I have had this card for a couple of years and it has been ideal for me. With the reduction of Qantas spend down from 3 to 2.5 points per dollar and foreign spend down from 2 to 1.5 it is now less attractive. Since I travel 8-10 time a year to Singapore it might be time to look for  a credit card with Krisflyer benfits.
    No member give thanks

  • V Champion

    Vulch

    21 Apr, 2017 05:06 pm

    The limitations of...Government charges:0.5
     Everywhere else:1.5...means the points earning ability is actually quite poor, compared to cards with a lower annual fee. Very sneaky fine print that. 
    No member give thanks

  • rjp

    rjp

    2 May, 2017 03:42 pm

    Hi there

    I was lucky enough to receive this card recently with 75k Qantas bonus miles offer.

    I've been an ANZ black FF holder for a while, but due to the ending of their Amex card thought this would be a great replacement.

    I think Qantas and Amex thought this too as they were also offering 0% on balance transfers...

    Or so the advertising says... 

    However, clearly if things look to good to be true, they are.

    You can balance transfer for 0%.
    However, if you then purchase anything and don't pay off the whole amount, including the both balance transfer and all purchases on the card to activate the offer of 75k FF miles, on the first statement after the balance transfer, you will incur interest charges on your purchases.

    I spoke to Amex about something else to be informed of  this and the staff were incredibly helpful, but clearly had been instructed to volunteer this information to customers and they also said they had received numerous complaints about this.

    I've been a bank manager in my time and this offer and application of the 0% balance transfer is rewriting all the 'societal rules' of such an offer and our understanding of it and indeed credit card use.

    Indeed I question the legality of the marketing, given you have to click into 3 levels of T&C's to find this.

    Most people will be attracted by the FF miles, then may take the balance transfer as a supplementary add on, to only then be faced with having to pay it out in full almost immediately to avoid interest, for trying to achieve the purchase spend for the FF qualification.
    No member give thanks

  • Andrew Lau

    Netsnipe

    2 May, 2017 11:41 pm

    I was recently disappointed to discover after getting this card that it doesn't provide "Buyer's Advantage" extended manufacturer's warranty on purchases. Especially more so with the cheaper American Express Explorer card providing this feature even with a $30 cheaper annual fee!
    No member give thanks

  • Andrew Lau

    Netsnipe

    2 May, 2017 11:42 pm

    Correction: The Explorer is actually $55 p.a. cheaper!
    No member give thanks

Guest

25 May, 2017 04:58 pm

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