Qantas American Express Ultimate Card

Review: 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

  • Yearly $450 travel credit offsets the annual fee

Introduction

AMEX’s top-of-the-line Qantas Ultimate Card swaps its previously 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 $450 travel credit each year to offset the annual fee, complimentary Qantas epiQure Premium Membership, 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 $450 travel credit, which you can use towards the purchase of Qantas flights and which negates the cost of the annual fee: so if you'd have otherwise spent $450 on flights  throughout the year, making those bookings via AMEX at the same cost essentially makes this card 'free'.

New customers to American Express Australia can also take advantage of 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, awarded when applying and spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months.

That's more than 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 reward flight.

Airport lounge access: 4/5

Flash your card at American Express' Australian airport lounges before your next international flight to enjoy a free visit – up to two visits every calendar year, to be used either in Sydney or Melbourne – 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.

You'll also receive two complimentary Qantas Club lounge passes each year after your first spend on selected Qantas products and services (such as using your card to book a Qantas flight), which will be automatically credited to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.

They'll open the door to domestic Qantas Club lounges and international Qantas business class lounges (both in Australia and abroad where Qantas operates its own lounge, with the exception of Los Angeles) when flying on a Qantas or Jetstar flight number.

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 offset by the $450/year Qantas travel credit, 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 and three times as many points on utility and insurance payments than before.

We're also pleased that recent improvements to this card have introduced not just the offering of Qantas lounge passes, but also an epiQure Premium membership for the primary cardholder, which delivers extra points when purchasing wine through the Qantas epiQure scheme.

However, if you don't travel much yet still want to earn Qantas Points, 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 on which you'll earn 0.5/$1), with no annual fee.

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!
 

10 comments

  • David Z

    AviationGeek

    6 Sep, 2017 10:14 am

    I have had this card for two months now. Although I was weary about AMEX, it's a superior QF points card.

    In relation to the lower earning rate for government services, I have found that Australia PostBillPay online using PayPal is an easy way to bypass it and still get 1.5 points per dollar spent, such as on council rates. [But not at Australia Post outlets, which are treated as government bodies by AMEX].

    No member give thanks

  • MrT

    MrT

    29 Sep, 2017 09:44 am

    Does anyone have experience in how long it usually takes for the 100k sign up bonus points to be credited?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    29 Sep, 2017 10:14 am

    Usually they'll appear in your AMEX account on the same day the purchase that took you over the 'qualifying spend' threshold clears from being a pending transaction to being a finalised transaction. AMEX sends your points across to Qantas once per month, so the bonus points would then go across to your QFF account whenever the next automatic transfer is due to take place.

    (So from the time you've spent enough to the time you see the points in your Qantas account could be anything from a few days to a month - but as always, this isn't to be taken as 'personal financial advice'.)
    No member give thanks

  • MrT

    MrT

    29 Sep, 2017 11:32 am

    Thanks Chris - great advice. Didn't realise I could view my QF points tally in my AMEX account. Sure enough the bonus points are sat there waiting for the next scheduled monthly trasnfer.
    No member give thanks

  • adr

    adr

    17 Oct, 2017 09:08 am

    For anyone who has received their 100,000 bonus points already - did the $450 fee count towards 'eligible purchases'?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    17 Oct, 2017 10:25 am

    Annual fees generally don't count towards spend requirements for bonus points.
    No member give thanks

  • mjcj1971

    mjcj1971

    3 Nov, 2017 03:02 pm

    When do you get charged the $450 annual fee?
    No member give thanks

  • tuzza1

    tuzza1

    3 Nov, 2017 03:40 pm

    I got charged at the end of the first month
    No member give thanks

  • Pandem

    Pandem

    5 Mar, 2018 10:22 pm

    Does anyone know why the Business class lounge in LAX is excluded?
    No member give thanks

  • Grant Jeffrey

    Granto

    17 Jul, 2018 11:26 am

    Does anyone know the length of time the Travel Insurance applies ? ie is there a cap in days
    Also currently using a Commowealth Bank AMEX card which they are exiting so looking for a replacement as found excellent in overseas travel for NO foreign transaction fees does anyone know if this card has same benefit ?
    No member give thanks

Guest

18 Nov, 2018 11:57 pm

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