The Big Review: Qantas American Express Ultimate
A prestige rewards card packed with premium travel benefits, the Qantas American Express Ultimate is now even more appealing, offering 55,000 bonus Qantas Points to new cardholders, as well as $450 Qantas Travel Credit, Qantas Wine Premium membership, and one of the highest Qantas Point earn rates on the market.
- Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card approval
- $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary Qantas Wine Premium membership
- Two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations
- Two complimentary entries per year to the American Express Lounge, located at Sydney International Airport or Melbourne International Airport
- Earn 1.25 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on Card purchases, except spend at government bodies in Australia where you will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent
- Earn 1 additional Qantas Point per $1 spent on selected Qantas products and services in Australia
- 0% p.a. on balance transfers for the first 12 months
- Complimentary domestic and international travel insurance cover
- Complimentary purchase protection
- Annual fee of $450
- Minimum income requirement of $65,000
- Standard variable interest rate on purchases currently at 20.74% p.a.
- Applicants who currently hold or who have previously held any card issued by American Express Australia Limited in the past 18 months are ineligible for the bonus Qantas Point offer.
- Applicants who are previous or existing bank-issued American Express companion cardholders are eligible for the bonus Qantas Point offer.
- Balance transfer offer has a 1% establishment fee, with a maximum balance transfer of $10,000 or 70% of your approved credit limit, whichever is less.
This Card: The Lowdown
As a prestige travel rewards card, the Qantas American Express Ultimate is designed for frequent travellers who want to be rewarded for their credit card spending, while also enjoying a wide range of travel-related benefits and extended travel and purchase protection.
With its 55,000 bonus Qantas Points offer, the Qantas American Express Ultimate is an incredible find for new cardholders.
In terms of travel-related benefits, the Qantas American Express Ultimate offers:
- $450 Qantas Travel Credit to use each year on eligible international or domestic Qantas flights, booked and paid for online at American Express Travel,
- Two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations after your first eligible card spend each year on selected Qantas products and services in Australia,
- Two complimentary entries per year to the American Express Lounge, located at Sydney International Airport or Melbourne International Airport,
- Complimentary Qantas Wine Premium membership, allowing you to enjoy gourmet food, beautiful wines and exclusive access to food and wine events around Australia.
As for added protection on travel and retail purchases, the Qantas American Express Ultimate provides:
- Medical Emergency Expenses Cover up to $2,500,000
- Transport Accident Cover up to $400,000
- Travel Cancellation Cover up to $12,500
- Baggage, Money and Documentation Cover up to $10,000
- Travel Inconvenience Insurance up to $200 on flight departure delays
- Refund Protection
- Purchase Protection
- Online Fraud Protection Guarantee
With the basics covered, it’s time to dig a little deeper into what’s on offer with the Qantas American Express Ultimate, so you can decide whether this card is right for you.
This Card: As a Rewards Card
One of the biggest drawcards of the Qantas American Express Ultimate is its rewards program. As one of the highest earning Qantas Points cards, it offers you the opportunity to earn big on your credit card spending.
- Earn 1.25 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on Card purchases
- Earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent at government bodies in Australia,
- Earn 1 additional Qantas Point per $1 spent on selected Qantas products and services in Australia
On this card, there is no cap on the number of Qantas Points you can earn, and no spend cap on your earn rate. You can also earn points faster by adding family members to your account card at no additional cost.
The points you earn will be transferred automatically to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account each month. From there, you can redeem them on whatever you choose.
You could choose to redeem your points for air travel, opting for a Classic Flight Reward or a Points Plus Pay Flight, or selecting an upgrade with Classic Upgrade Rewards or Bid Now Upgrades.
Alternatively, you could use your Qantas Points to purchase or renew a Qantas Club Membership, book car hire or accommodation with Qantas Hotels, shop for premium wines and gourmet food with Qantas Wine, or invest in extra protection with Qantas Insurance.
Of course, you could also redeem your points for merchandise at the Qantas Store.
- Electronics on offer include the Apple TV 4K (43,900 Qantas Points)
- Home essentials on offer include the Delonghi Nespresso U Milk (54,260 Qantas Points)
- Sports gear on offer includes the Fitbit Charge 2 Large (45,590 Qantas Points)
- Fashion items on offer include Ray Ban Aviator Classic Sunglasses (38,350 Qantas Points) and the Fossil Men’s Q Nate Hybrid Smartwatch (49,100 Qantas Points).
- Gift cards on offer include the Westfield Gift Card ($50 for 12,450 Qantas Points), the Woolworths Gift Card ($50 for 9,850 Qantas Points), and the JB Hi-Fi Gift Card ($50 for 9,090 Qantas Points).
(Correct as of 15 March 2018)
This Card: As a Travel Rewards Card
The ideal travelling companion for people who love to travel, the Qantas American Express Ultimate offers an outstanding range of travel-based perks.
$450 Qantas Travel Credit
Helping to offset the card’s $450 annual fee, the Qantas American Express Ultimate provides cardholders with $450 Qantas Travel Credit every year.
Replacing the card’s previous offer of one return domestic flight each year, this Travel Credit is designed to offer more flexibility, providing cardholders with $450 that can be put towards the purchase of a Qantas domestic or international flight booked through American Express Travel.
To be eligible for this Travel Credit, you must have paid the annual fee, and your account must be current and in good standing. It is worth noting that Travel Credit must be used in a single booking, and any unused portion will be forfeited. Travel Credit also can’t be carried over to the subsequent year if it remains unused.
You can redeem Travel Credit for any eligible Qantas flight you want to book, as long as there is a QF flight number on your ticket. You can’t use your Credit for accommodation or car hire unless there is a Qantas flight within the same transaction.
In terms of points-earning potential, you can earn points on the portion of the booking that is not paid for with your Travel Credit. So, if your flight costs $1250, you can earn points on $800 of that booking.
Another point to note regards fees and taxes on your booking. As these need to paid directly to Qantas through their website or over the phone, and the Travel Credit can be redeemed only through the American Express Travel website, that means you cannot use your Travel Credit to pay the fees and taxes on an award redemption.
The Qantas American Express Ultimate provides cardholders with two types of Lounge access. As a cardholder, you will receive two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations each year after your first card spend on selected Qantas products and services in Australia.
So, to be eligible, you will need to book a Qantas flight (with a QF flight number) through Qantas direct, or at participating travel agents, or pay for Qantas Frequent Flyer or Qantas Club membership.
Within two weeks of that purchase, two Qantas Club Lounge Invitations will be assigned to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account. Each invitation provides you a single Lounge visit, which means you can’t bring a guest, unless you gift them one of your invitations.
Also on offer is complimentary access to the Sydney International Airport American Express lounge or Melbourne International Airport twice a year. This offer doesn’t require an eligible purchase.
This Card: Extras on Offer
Having covered the rewards program and the travel perks, it’s now time to look at the various other extras the Qantas American Express Ultimate has up its sleeve.
First up, you will receive complimentary Qantas Wine Premium membership, worth $99 per year. As a premium food and wine portal, Qantas Wine allows you to partake in gourmet food, outstanding wines and exclusive access to food and wine events around Australia. Earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas Wine purchases (in addition to the 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent earned for spending on eligible purchases on your card).
In terms of complimentary insurance cover, this card has plenty to offer. However, it’s a good idea to check the PDS closely to find out more about the various insurance covers available, so you know exactly what’s covered – and what isn’t.
Domestic and international travel insurance includes Medical Emergency Expenses Cover up to $2,500,000, Transport Accident Cover up to $400,000, Travel Cancellation Cover up to $12,500, Baggage, Money and Documentation Cover up to $10,000, and Travel Inconvenience Insurance up to $200 on flight departure delays.
The Qantas American Express Ultimate also works to protect your purchases.
- Refund Protection will credit your account if you're refused a refund on an unused eligible item within 90 days of purchase,
- Purchase Protection will repair or refund eligible items if they’re accidentally broken or stolen within 90 days of purchase,
- The Online Fraud Protection Guarantee means you won't be held responsible for any unauthorised charges online using your card details.
This Card: The Essentials
Now we’ve covered the fun bits, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty. Firstly, the annual fee is $450. This may seem like a significant amount, but when you take into account all the extras on offer, it could in fact be great value. It really depends on how much you use the features provided.
The Qantas American Express Ultimate has a standard interest rate on purchases of 20.74% p.a. As this is relatively high, it’s best to make sure you clear your balance at the end of each statement period.
To be eligible for this card, you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or hold a current Business Long Stay Visa, subclass 457), you must be over 18, you must have no history of bad debt or payment default, and you must have a personal or household gross pre-tax annual income of at least $65,000.
With so much to offer, the Qantas American Express Ultimate is hard to say no to, especially with 55,000 bonus Qantas Points currently on offer. If you want extensive travel perks and features, and a high-earning rewards program backed by excellent customer service, this card could indeed be the one for you.