The Qantas American Express Ultimate has a 55,000 bonus Qantas Points on offer. It's one of the highest earning Qantas Point cards and comes with a $450 Qantas travel credit plus a range of premium travel benefits.
- 55,000 Qantas Points for new applicants
- Free access to the Sydney Airport American Express lounge twice a year
- $450 Qantas travel credit each cardholder year (from 31st October)
- Free access to Qantas lounges twice a year (from 31st October)
- Complimentary Qantas EpiQure Premium Membership (from 31st October)
- Travel and purchase protection insurances (PDS)
- 1.5 Qantas points earned per $ on eligible purchases including utilities and 0.5 points per $ on government spend
- 0% p.a. on balance transfers for the first 12 months, with a 1% establishment fee - maximum balance transfer is $10,000 or 70% of your approved credit limit, whichever is less
- $450 p.a. annual fee
- Minimum income requirement of $65,000
- Spend $1,500 on eligible purchases within 3 months of approval to trigger bonus Qantas points
- Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer. Previous and existing bank-issued American Express companion cardholders are eligible for this offer
I earn a maximum of $250 per applicant for this card. More about this →
The Qantas Ultimate is targeted at cardholders who want to maximise the Qantas Points earned from their spend on an American Express, as well as receiving a range of travel-related benefits.
From 31 October 2017, there will be three changes affecting both existing and new cardholders:
- a $450 Qantas Travel Credit replaces the current complimentary domestic flight benefit;
- 2 Qantas Club lounge invitations each membership year (in addition to the 2 American Express Lounge passes cardmembers already receive); and
- a complimentary Qantas EpiQure Premium Membership
Existing cardholders have been notified of the changes already; new cardholders from 1 August to 30 October will receive notification with their welcome packs; and from 31 October, new cardholders (even those who have been referred by an existing cardmember) will access the updated information.
The Qantas American Express Ultimate also had some recent changes with the revised points earn rates as part of the range of Qantas American Express cards. While the category bonuses have been removed, it is still one of the better Qantas Points-earning credit cards on the market, with the overall earn rate increased to 1.5 Qantas point per $1.
Digging into the benefits of the Qantas American Express Ultimate credit card
The Qantas American Express Ultimate has increasing competition in the premium credit card market, but still holds its own when it comes to the points and benefits on offer.
|Card||Qantas Ultimate American Express|
|Loyalty program||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Points earned from spend||2.5 Qantas Points per $ spent on selected Qantas products and services
1.5 Qantas Points per $ spent everywhere else
0.5 Qantas points per $ on Government spend
|Travel benefits||$450 Qantas travel credit each cardholder year
Free access to the Sydney Airport American Express lounge twice a year
Free access to Qantas lounges twice a year
|Included insurances||Medical emergency expense cover, travel cancellation cover, baggage/money/documentation cover, transport accident cover and inconvenience insurance (if your flight is delayed) when you pay for travel with the card (PDS)|
|Overseas transaction fee||3% of the converted amount|
Earning Qantas Points from spend
With the Qantas American Express Ultimate, there is no points cap on what you can earn, and the card will sweep over your points to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account on a monthly basis, as you’d expect.
If you find yourself booking several hundreds of dollars in Qantas flights on a regular basis, the 2.5 points per $ on Qantas spend will quickly rack up to boost your Qantas Frequent Flyer balance.
This card is also enabled for American Express ‘Local Champion’ program which allows you to nominate up to 10 specific local retailers at which you earn an extra bonus point per dollar spent. More on this in our guide linked below.
New: $450 Qantas Travel Credit
From 31 October, this new benefit will come into effect, giving cardmembers $450 towards the purchase of a Qantas domestic or international flight through American Express Travel – no other airlines are eligible.
The travel credit is designed to give cardholders more flexibility than the return domestic flight currently offered, and helps to directly offset the $450 annual fee. You can access this travel credit after you have paid your annual fee and as long as your account is current and in good standing.
You’ll be able to use your travel credit for travel in any class, including A330 Business Class
Customers can only book hotels, car hire or experiences if a Qantas flight is within the same transaction, i.e. cardholders will not be able to use their Qantas Travel Credit solely towards hotel, car or experience bookings.
If a cardmember has already redeemed the flight benefit below by 31 October, they will become eligible to redeem the Qantas travel credit for the first time on their next card anniversary date.
Disappearing: The free Qantas domestic return flight each year
As a Qantas American Express Ultimate cardholder, you are currently eligible to claim a free Qantas domestic return flight in Economy Class between a range of Australian capital cities for each year you have the card.
The best-value uses of this benefit come from using it on routes which are relatively more expensive, or you may be able to book a flight for someone else and pocket the cash yourself!
Note that in order to access this benefit, you must make a first eligible card spend on “selected Qantas products and services”. What does that include? From Qantas:
Selected Qantas products and services are the following items purchased directly from Qantas: Qantas passenger flights (with a QF flight number), Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club membership joining and annual fees. Excludes Jetstar, Qantas Holidays, Qantas branded non-airfare products and any Qantas products and services not purchased directly from Qantas
So, you must first purchase a Qantas flight or purchase a Qantas Frequent Flyer or Qantas Club membership before you can use your free flight benefit.
The travel credit will officially ‘replace’ this benefit from 31 October 2017 but cardholders have until 30 April 2018 to use either one (but not both).
Improved: Lounge access
Another benefit of the Qantas American Express Ultimate card is access to the Sydney American Express Lounge, including additional guests.
American Express will also open a lounge at the Melbourne Airport in the second half of 2017 and it is expected that the passes will be able to be used there as well.
From 31 October, cardholders will also be eligible to receive 2 Qantas lounge invitations in addition to the Amex Lounge passes. However, just like the disappearing complimentary free flight benefit, you need to first make an eligible purchase, which is defined as:
Qantas passenger airfares with a QF flight number purchased directly from Qantas Australia by you (or by a travel agent on your behalf) that appear on your Qantas American Express Ultimate Card statement as a Qantas transaction; Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club membership joining and annual fees; and Qantas Travel shop purchases
Two weeks after you do so, you’ll be sent an email and your two digital lounge passes will be attached to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
Note that the lounge pass does not admit any guests – only you. You can access domestic Qantas Clubs, International Business Lounges (except at LAX) and International (Premium) Lounges in Brisbane, Singapore and Hong Kong.
New: Complimentary EpiQure Premium membership
Worth $99 a year, a premium membership to Qantas’ EpiQure wine, food & champagne portal gives you a bonus 3 points per $ spent as well as free delivery.
Plus, paying for these purchases with this Qantas-branded card will earn you a total of 4.5 points per $ spent on EpiQure products (3 points as an EpiQure Premium member + 1.5 points for regular spend on this card).
This benefit comes into effect from 31 October.
Insurances and other benefits
In the travel insurance bucket you’ll get medical emergency expense cover, travel cancellation cover, baggage/money/documentation cover, transport accident cover and inconvenience insurance (if your flight is delayed) when you pay for travel with the card. Read the PDS here.
You’ll need to dig into the various PDS of these policies if you intend on relying on this cover to make sure they work for you.
This guide references some of the benefits of insurance policies provided with this card.
You should read the PDS and obtain independent professional advice before obtaining this product.
Eligibility criteria for bonus points for existing American Express Card Members
American Express are quite specific about whether existing Card Members will be eligible for bonus points if they apply for a card, are approved, and meet the minimum spend criteria.
If you hold a bank-issued American Express – such as from Westpac, Commonwealth Bank or NAB – that won’t affect whether you’re eligible for bonus points with an American Express branded card offer. There’s more in our guide to this here.
However American Express don’t allow existing cardholders, even for different types of American Express cards (e.g. Charge, Credit or Business) to be eligible for bonus points offers for cards in a different family.
Summing up: Qantas American Express Ultimate
The Qantas American Express Ultimate card has a high annual fee but offers a high points earn opportunity for the die-hard Qantas Points collector.
The free flight or travel credit each year is a useful bonus to offset the annual fee, and the lounge passes and complimentary EpiQure Premium membership top off a solid offer.
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