Your Guide to Visa Signature
Comparing rewards cards is never easy. There are just so many to choose from. One way to narrow your search is to decide what style of rewards card you want. If you generally don’t spend much day to day, and simply want to earn rewards, a classic rewards card may be your best bet. However, if you tend to have a bigger spend – and you want more from your card in terms of features – a higher end rewards card, such as a Visa Signature rewards card, may be worth investigating.
What is a Visa Signature card? A Visa Signature card offers Signature benefits. Unlike benefits offered by the card provider itself, these Signature benefits are provided by Visa direct. And while Signature benefits differ according to the card, you could expect them to include travel perks such as airport lounge access and travel insurance, premium customer assistance such as a concierge service, and added protection, in the form of extended warranty and purchase protection.
When choosing a Visa Signature credit card, you will have to decide which rewards program you want to earn points on. Big banks often have their own rewards programs, while frequent flyer programs such as Qantas offer an alternative for those keen to focus their rewards on travel. As with any rewards card, you will need to scope out the various rewards programs offered on each Visa Signature card in order to make the right choice for you.
As an example, Westpac affiliate banks St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA allow Visa Signature cardholders to earn points on Westpac’s Amplify rewards program, with the option to opt in to Qantas to earn Qantas Points directly. Meanwhile, NAB offers Visa Signature cardholders the opportunity to earn points on its NAB Rewards program or with Qantas direct.
Once you’ve decided on a rewards program, you will need to look at the earn rate offered on each card, to then weigh that against your estimated spend and the card’s annual fee. It’s also worth checking the small print for any points caps or points shaping, as this may affect the number of points you can earn – and the overall value of the card to you.
Signature Introductory Offers
Premium cards often have premium introductory offers. Why? As higher end cards, they usually come with a higher annual fee. So, to entice new cardholders to sign up and try out the card, card providers will often provide appealing introductory offers, which either reduce the annual fee for the first year, or provide bonus rewards points after an eligible spend.
Reduced Annual Fee: Choosing a card with a reduced annual fee can be a great way to ‘test’ a card out, helping you decide whether the card, its rewards potential, and its features are right for you. Essentially allowing you to get more value from the card, these intro offers can be a great find. Just make sure the card still offers value at full cost if you decide to keep the card long term.
Bonus Rewards Points: Allowing you to boost your points balance, this type of offer could see you picking up thousands of bonus rewards points while adding real value to your card. When comparing offers, find out what the value of the points bonus equates to when redeemed. For example, find out where your bonus points could take you in the world. Also keep in mind how much you have to spend on the card to be eligible for the bonus, making sure it’s an affordable amount you can pay off before it starts accruing interest.
Balance Transfer: Rewards cards obviously reward spending. In general, it’s not a great idea to spend on a card when you’re paying off a balance transfer. However, if you are set on using this type of card as a balance transfer card, you may find some worthy balance transfer deals on offer.
0% Purchases: Allowing you to pay zero interest on your purchases throughout the introductory period, 0% purchase offers provide an easy way to save on interest day-to-day. Intro offers tend to rise and fall in popularity, so while you may not find any Visa Signature cards with 0% purchase offers right now, there may be some in the future.
Aside from the card’s own features, each Visa Signature credit card will also provide a range of Signature features, which are offered by Visa direct. Here are some of the features your Visa Signature card may include.
Concierge Service: As you would expect on any premium card offering, Visa Signature cards provide a personal concierge service that cardholders can access 24/7. Acting in a similar capacity to a personal assistant, the Visa Premium concierge service is on hand to help with anything from last-minute restaurant reservations to gift buying for a loved one.
Visa Front Line Access: Partnered with Ticketek, Visa Front Line Access allows cardholders to reserve and purchase pre-sale tickets to events before the general public. All you need to do is register online, to allow you to book using your unique code. Visa will also notify you of the latest concerts and pre-sale opportunities via email.
Discounted Airport Lounge Access via Dragonpass: Visa Signature offers cardholders discounted annual Dragonpass membership, with a range of plans on offer.
Discounted Airport Chauffeur Services: With a Visa Signature card, cardholders can benefit from a 15% discount on airport transfer services for up to six people provided by TBR Global. There are terms that apply, for example, you need to make bookings at least 72 hours in advance.
Discount at Hotels.com: When booking through Hotels.com, Visa Signature cardholders can save US$75 when spending a minimum of US$500. To get the discount, cardholders must enter the promotional code VISA75 via hotels.com/visapremium. Note, not all hotels are included in this offer, and payment must be made in USD.
Special Guest Status at the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: At more than 900 Visa Signature Luxury Hotel properties worldwide, Visa Signature cardholders will enjoy special privileges, which include:
- Complimentary room upgrade (where available)
- 3pm late checkout
- Complimentary internet
- Complimentary breakfast
- US$25 food and beverage voucher
Travel Perks: Other travel perks may include rental car privileges, and access to exclusive experiences within the world of golf, fine wine and dining, and more.
Protection: Providing peace of mind to cardholders, Visa Signature offers a wide range of protection day to day. This may include:
- Visa’s Zero Liability Policy
- Extended Warranty Protection
- Emergency Card Replacement
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
- Emergency Cash Disbursement
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement
- Trip Delay Reimbursement
- Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Reimbursement
- Airline Incidental Fees
- Baggage Delay Reimbursement
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Price Protection, Return Protection and Purchase Security
Access to Global Customer Assistance: Assistance is available 24/7 for Visa Signature cardholders who need to report their card lost, damaged or stolen, no matter where they happen to be in the world.
Access to Visa Offers and Perks: Cardholders also have access to a wide variety of everyday savings and exclusive Visa Signature offers. Check out the website for more details on this, as deals change regularly.
Visa Signature Credit Cards - Frequently Asked Questions
When comparing Visa Signature credit cards, it’s important to think about what you want and need from your card. This type of premium rewards card is designed to be appealing – but that doesn’t mean the card with all the bells and whistles will be the one that suits you best. Consider what you need, then look at the following factors.
Rewards: Think about which rewards program you want to earn points on, taking into account the value you will get from those rewards as a result of your spending. Calculate your estimated monthly spend, and work out what that will equate to in points. Now, check for points caps or points shaping to ensure you will get the maximum return on your spending.
Bonus Points: You will often find Visa Signature credit cards have some very tempting bonus points introductory offers. Carefully consider the spend requirement to be eligible for those bonus points, and make sure that spend fits your budget.
Features: Check out what extras each card offers, in terms of both Visa Signature features and features offered by the card provider. Consider whether these extras on offer provide value to you, and whether you will actually use them.
Annual Fee: Visa Signature credit cards are marketed as ‘premium’, so for all those premium features, you can expect a premium price tag. Annual fees for Visa Signature cards range from around $150 to $400, with the lower end of scale typically offering fewer features and a lower earn rate than those on the higher end. After working out what your annual spend equates to in points value, this should give you an indication of what you should be paying in annual fees.
Purchase Rate: Again, premium cards tend to attract a higher interest rate, on both purchases and cash advances. That’s why, if you tend to carry a balance, this type of card won’t be a great fit for you.
To work out if a Visa Signature credit card is right for you, you will need to think about whether it offers value as you use it day to day. Will you use its features? Will your spending return enough rewards value to make its annual fee worthwhile? Can you afford to meet the minimum spend requirements for the bonus points offer, and pay off your balance before it starts accruing interest?
It’s also worth looking closely at the small print to make sure you meet the card provider’s eligibility requirements in terms of income and credit history.