There’s more to the Bankwest Qantas Transaction account than sign up bonuses – it’s one of the only points-earning savings accounts on the market.
Digging into the details of the Bankwest Qantas Transaction account
Bankwest offer several transaction accounts that offer more features than the standard “no fee if you deposit enough money, unlimited use, no interest” accounts that the big-4 banks offer. These are:
- Easy Transaction account (formerly Zero Transaction) – fee-free use of any ATM from the big-4 banks
- Hero Transaction account – earn interest on amounts up to $5000 in your account
- Rewards Transaction account – earns points in Bankwest’s own internal rewards program, which doesn’t allow transfers to Frequent Flyer programs so doesn’t hold much opportunity for high value redemptions
- Qantas Transaction account – earn Qantas Points on transactions and the balance in your account.
Obviously to us Point Hackers the Qantas Transaction account is going to be of most interest. Let’s take a look in more detail:
Features of the Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
- 5 Qantas points per eligible purchase (not per dollar as with many credit cards)
- 12 Qantas points per month per $100 balance in your account
- 5 Qantas points for overseas ATM withdrawals (but likely an ATM owner fee, and a 2.95% currency conversion fee, so you might be better off using a card with no overseas ATM fees when you’re away)
- Unlimited transactions and no monthly account fee if you deposit at least $2000/month ($6/month fee otherwise)
- Unlimited use of Bankwest and Commonwealth Bank ATMs in Australia
The two major opportunities for points earning are through purchases and on the money you hold in your account.
Using the Bankwest Qantas Transaction account to earn Qantas points on purchases
“Eligible” purchases is the operative word for points earn, and the product disclosure statement has a big list of exclusions, but it basically boils down to, points are earned on purchases made through the Mastercard debit system or EFTPOS transactions without cash out.
5 points per purchase is for the most part not a great earn rate compared to a credit card earning based on the number of dollars you spend, however there are opportunities for optimising points earn on small purchases.
If, for example, you have another Qantas points earning card which earns 1 point per dollar, then for any purchase below $5 you would be better off using the Bankwest account (for other cards or other points programs, it will depend on your points valuation what the cut-off is).
Based on an analysis of small value purchases in the past year in my personal budgeting system and a few other thoughts, here are some suggestions of the types of purchases that may be advantageous:
- Take-away coffees
- Short term car parking
- Small ebay purchases (my wife sometimes purchases cake decorating supplies at $1-$2 each, and even when making a bulk purchase Paypal seems to process each one as an individual transaction, so each would earn the 5 points)
- Quick runs to the local store for a bottle of milk, or a missing ingredient
- Small purchases where the retailer has a minimum or a surcharge for credit card payments but allows EFTPOS (for example a couple of small fruit & veg stores in my area)
- If you really want to be clever, if you have a credit card that only earns points on whole dollar amounts (for example most Amex-issued cards), you could use the self-checkouts at supermarkets to do a split payment, put the whole dollar amount through the credit card and the remaining cents on this card.
Earning Qantas Points on your account balance with the Bankwest Qantas Transaction account
The 12 points per month per $100 (actually calculated as 0.4 points per day per $100) in the account is effectively in lieu of interest on the account (you earn interest at 0.01%pa).
However there is no limit on the balance on which you can earn points (Bankwest’s interest bearing transaction account caps out at a balance of $5000), and many other transaction accounts do not earn interest at all (instead requiring you to transfer money between your transaction account and an online savings account).
Depending on how you value Qantas points, and the rate at which you are taxed on interest earned, this may work out to be a better deal (along with more convenient because you don’t have to shuffle money between accounts manually).
Particularly if you put most of your purchases through another points earning credit card and only intend to use this account for small purchases, holding money in this account to cover your spending on your credit cards, and having the statement balances from your card direct debit from this account on the due date, will maximise your points earn (on a 55-day interest free day card, if you spend $100 on your card on the first day of the statement, you would earn an extra 22 Qantas points on this account (55 days × 0.4 points). Not much in itself but it all adds up!
That being said, if you have a mortgage with an offset account, you may be better off parking money in there to cover your credit card spending rather than earning points. This one is definitely worth doing your own maths on.
The Bankwest Qantas Transaction account is not an account you would use for all your day-to-day spending if you’re interested in maximising the points you can earn, however could be a useful way to earn points for low value purchases, as well as on the money you’re holding to cover your higher-earning credit card spending.