The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card is the top of the range Qantas points earning, co-branded card in the market. This card will appeal to those who want to get serious about collecting Qantas points, getting access to airport lounges, free travel insurance and many other benefits, but don’t wish to spend thousands of dollars on fees on more premium cards.
Earning Points on the Card
The card earns uncapped 1.25 Qantas points per $ on everyday spends, except on payments to Government bodies, where it earns 0.5 point per $. This isn’t a lot, but is better than several Visa & Mastercard issued cards which don’t earn any points on Govt transactions such as payments to ATO, Australia Post, local, state and federal institutions.
However, the card really sparkles on purchases made with Qantas, such as flights and Qantas Frequent Flyer or Qantas Club joining and/or ongoing membership fees (excludes Jetstar flights), where the earnings rocket to a very impressive 2.25 Qantas points per dollar. These points are automatically transferred to your linked Qantas Frequent Flyer Account every month after the card statement is generated.
Prominent Features & Fees
- Annual Fee – $450, Foreign currency transaction fee – 3%
- Welcome Bonus – 55,000 Qantas Points
- Qantas Travel Credit – $450 per year
- Lounge Access – 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney International and/or Melbourne International Airport and 2 single entry Qantas Club Lounge Invitations
- Complimentary Qantas Wine Membership
- Insurance – Complimentary Travel Insurance, Travel Inconvenience Insurance, Transport Accident Cover, Travel Cancellation Cover and more
Lets talk about the least attractive aspect of the card. The card has an annual fee of $450 which becomes payable after the inaugural monthly statement is generated. You can also order up to 4 additional cards for no extra cost.
Although the fee is slightly on the higher side, if you want a high points earning card that comes with plenty of bells and whistles, there is no getting away from paying the fee. But you shouldn’t be afraid of paying it, as the benefits easily outweigh the cost of this card, which I have explained later in the post. It also has a 3% foreign currency transaction fee, which is applied to the converted A$ amount.
Welcome bonus on The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card have ranged anywhere from 55,000 to 120,000 Qantas points over the years. The current, publicly available welcome bonus is for 55,000 Qantas points, which is at the lower end of it’s historical range. However, you could treat yourself to an extra 10,000 Qantas points in welcome bonus (total 65,000 points) when you apply for the card using this unique referral link for The Qantas American Express Ultimate card.
That is more than enough points for someone to fly Qantas from Melbourne to Singapore return in economy class.
Fly Qantas from Melbourne to Singapore return in Economy class for 50,400 Qantas points
If you are thinking of getting the card, consider applying through this link which takes you directly to American Express website. The welcome bonus is awarded to eligible card holders when they spend at-least $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months of approval.
Please note that if you currently hold a card directly issued by American Express, or have held one in the past 18 months, you are NOT eligible for this bonus. However, if your card was issued by a bank, you will be eligible to receive the bonus points upon meeting the minimum spend.
Disclosure : If you apply for this card using the links in this post and are approved, pointsHq or it’s related entity may receive some referral points.
Qantas Travel Credit of $450 per year
The card comes with annual travel credit of $450 which fully offsets the annual fee you pay. You can use this credit to book any eligible Qantas domestic or international flight. The booking has to be made through American Express Travel and the entire credit must be utilised in 1 transaction. If your booking is for less than $450, any unused amount is forfeited, so just keep that in mind.
It’s also worth pointing out that the travel credit must be used in the year it’s awarded and cannot be carried over into future years. Further, once you make the booking, it cannot be cancelled, as this will result in forfeiture of your travel credit. For these reasons, it’s best to make use of the credit only when you have firm travel plans.
With The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card you get 2 complimentary entries per year to American Express Lounge at Sydney and/or Melbourne International Airport. If you are traveling solo, you can utilise this benefit twice, couples travelling together can use up both entries at once.
To enter, simply present your Qantas American Express Ultimate Card and the boarding pass to staff at reception.
American Express Lounge, Sydney Airport
Note that you get 2 entries per card year across both locations, not 2 entries per lounge.
The card also comes with 2 single entry Qantas Club lounge invitations each year. Unlike entries to American Express Lounge which come activated on your card, access to Qantas Club needs to be activated each card anniversary, by making an eligible purchase on your card, such as a Qantas flight (excludes Jetstar flight) or by paying the Qantas Club membership joining fee and/or annual fee.
Once you make the purchase, it takes Qantas up to 2 weeks to activate the lounge invitations on your Qantas Frequent Flyer Membership card.
Qantas Club, Darwin Airport (Image courtesy : qantas.com)
Note that the Lounge invitations cannot be used to enter Qantas International First Class lounges, Qantas Chairman’s Lounge, oneworld alliance or partner lounges.
Personally speaking, I find this whole rigmarole of having to activate the Qantas Club Lounge invitations quite unnecessary. It should really be automated, as is the case with access to American Express Lounge. The Lounge invitations are valid in the card year they are awarded and cannot be carried forward, although Qantas does allow you to transfer them to another Qantas Frequent Flyer member.
Complimentary Qantas Wine Membership
If you are a wine drinker, this benefit could be really valuable to you. Ordinarily, Qantas Wine Premium Membership has an annual fee of $99 or 13,000 Qantas points per year. However, it comes free with The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card.
Save $99 each year on Qantas Wine Membership with The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
The membership allows you to purchase gourmet food, premium wines and provides access to food and wine events around Australia. You also earn 3 bonus Qantas points per $ spent on wines, which is over and above the 1.25 Qantas points per $ you earn on your card purchases. Further, all food and wines are delivered to your home absolutely free.
Note that any orders for food and/or wine, paid by the card is NOT considered an eligible purchase to activate the Qantas Club Lounge invitations.
The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card comes with a whole host of insurances. Some of these are:
The card provides you with complimentary travel insurance when you charge the full return airfare to it. If you only purchase a one-way flight, the cover does not apply. You are also covered if you pay for your flight with Qantas points or the Qantas Travel Credit.
Remember that the cover is only for the primary cardholder. If any additional cardmembers are travelling with you, they may need to take out a separate travel insurance cover.
Travel Inconvenience Insurance
The travel inconvenience insurance covers you for flight delays, missed connections or delayed arrival of your luggage. If any of these were to occur, under the terms of the cover, primary card members can receive an amount between $200 – $400 per event as prescribed under the Card benefit documents, which you can refer to via this link.
Transport Accident Cover
This cover applies to both, primary as well as any additional cardmember. Under the cover, you will be paid a prescribed amount (of up to $400,000) in case one or more events included in the cover were to occur. The list of events is too exhaustive to cover here, so if you are relying on your card for insurance, it is of paramount importance that you take the time to read and understand them over here.
Refund & Purchase Protection
The refund protection is a useful cover to have for situations where you have simply had a change of mind after the purchase, and for whatever reason, the retailer will not take it back. Under these circumstances, items paid for by The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card can be returned to American Express, who will reimburse you with an amount specified under the terms of the cover.
Under Purchase protection, you are covered for up to $20,000 per year and up to $2,500 per claim ($50 excess applies) on items stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase. To avail this cover, you must have paid for your purchase with The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card.
As insurance can be a tricky area and there are conditions attached to each of these cover, it’s important that you familiarise yourself with them by referring to Qantas American Express Ultimate Card Insurances.
Other Card Benefits
The Qantas American Express Utimate Card is also eligible to participate in Amex Offers. This is a great feature of American Express cards where different cards are eligible for different offers. Note though, that not every card is targeted for every offer. Also, some offers may only be available on primary cards where as others may be more widely available.
Personally speaking, I love Amex Offers. In many instances, the savings you make on the purchase is more than adequate to cover the annual fee on your card.
You can save hundreds of dollars every year by taking advantage of Amex Offers
If you are not very familiar with this benefit, check out one of my earlier posts on Amex Offers over here.
Lastly, like all American Express cards, The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card is fully compatible with Apple, Samsung and Google Pay. Genuine points and miles enthusiasts would appreciate this feature as this can be a real wallet saver 🙂
This brings us to the last but an important question:
Who can apply for this card?
You are eligible to apply for this card if you meet the following conditions:
- You are at-least 18 years old.
- You are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or on a long term visa of 1 year or longer, excluding student visa.
- You have pre-tax income of $65,000 pa or more.
- You have a good credit history and no payment defaults.
- If self employed, you should have been trading for at-least 18 months, or 12 months in case you hold an existing American Express issued card.
If Qantas points are the main points currency you accumulate, getting The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card should be a no-brainer. The card offers well rounded benefits, great perks, reasonable qualifying criteria and an annual fee that is fully offset with the included Qantas Travel Credit.
Although it might seem like the card is targeted at advanced points collector, someone beginning their points and miles journey would also greatly benefit from it. If you take 1 or 2 domestic and/or international economy flights each year, you would appreciate free access to American Express and Qantas Club Lounges that come with the card.
Complimentary Wine membership is handy for those with a taste for gourmet food and premium wines. Besides earning 4.25 Qantas points per $ on wines on an ongoing basis, you can often earn thousands of bonus Qantas points upon ordering selected bottles or cases during promotion.
If you would like to apply for this card, apply here and it will take you straight to the American Express website.
What are your thoughts on this card? Leave a comment below.