Point Hacks Credit Card Guide

Qantas Ultimate American Express offers high Qantas Point earn rate and travel benefits for cardholders

Qantas American Express Ultimate - 55,000 Qantas Points

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
  • Free access to Qantas lounges twice a year
  • Complimentary Qantas EpiQure Premium Membership
  • 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

Find out more or apply →

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.

American Express have made some updates to the card effective 31 October 2017, 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

Qantas Sydney International Business Lounge

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 Details

CardQantas Ultimate American Express
Loyalty programQantas Frequent Flyer
Points earned from spend2.5 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
Points capNone
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 insurancesMedical 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 fee3% of the converted amount
Annual fee$450

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

This new benefit give cardmembers $450 towards the purchase of a Qantas domestic or international flight through American Express Travel.

It is unclear whether this is restricted to Qantas-operated and -marketed flights, or if codeshare flights, e.g. an Emirates flight with a QF flight number, are also eligible. Please comment below with your experience and we can clarify for other readers.

The travel credit is designed to give cardholders more flexibility than the return domestic flight previously 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 free flight benefit 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

Existing Qantas American Express Ultimate cardholders are 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 officially ‘replaced’ the Qantas flight benefit from 31 October 2017 but existing 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 early 2018 and it is expected that the passes will be able to be used there as well.

Cardholders are now 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.

The terms and conditions of the Qantas Club lounge benefit are available here.

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).

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.

Qantas Ultimate American Express offers high Qantas Point earn rate and travel benefits for cardholders was last modified: November 10th, 2017 by Keith

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.

Qantas Ultimate American Express offers high Qantas Point earn rate and travel benefits for cardholders was last modified: November 10th, 2017 by Keith

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Comments Expand Comments

  1. Anthony S

    Hi, If we have 2 card holders is it $450 per card holder, or $450 per account? Also, can I use the $450 to purchase a ticket and use my points to upgrade to Business?

    • There is no cost to add a supplementary cardholder, so just $450 all up.

      I’m not 100% sure about the upgrade eligibility but I’d vouch that your fare would be eligible as I can’t see anything in the travel credit terms and conditions that prohibits it. On a related side note:

      Your booking and travel will accrue Qantas Points in the usual way, except for the $450 Qantas Travel Credit portion of your booking which will not earn Qantas Points.

  2. Clare

    Thought I’d share my experience. Signed up to the card, spent $1500 in the first month, received the 100,000 points (took about 3 weeks and 2 phone calls to Amex to see them in my FF account).

    Booked a domestic QF flight on the card and haven’t redeemed the $450 travel credit but will do next year.

    Asked repeatedly about lounge passes, was told on the phone that I could call a couple of days before my international flight and they would send me Qantas Lounge passes (as opposed to Amex passes). Called 2 days before my flight and they told me that I needed to have paid for the flight on my Amex and given them 2 weeks notice. They said this was an ‘additional benefit’, even though other support team members had told me otherwise. This was new information to me. They couldn’t manually override this though, so I had no choice but to use the Amex lounge.

    The Amex lounge was accessible by just showing the card. But we flew on a Monday morning and there were no seats left. So we ended up leaving.

    I think signing up for the card was worth it for the bonus points and the flight, but the lounge passes are overrated and not worth the hassle of getting the correct information out of Amex. I’ll be redeeming the flight credit next year and will promptly cancel my card after this.

    • Edward

      I had similar experience with trouble getting the Qantas passes. Even though the terms and conditions say you can book the eligible flight through a travel agent, they now tell me Flight Centre bookings are not eligible. The T&C should be updated to reflect that

  3. Christine

    Hi Keith,
    I signed up for the new AMEX Qantas credit card a few months ago and have received my 85,000 bonus points, my husband is the secondary card holder. I received my 85,000 points and am now looking at the best way to utilise the $450.00 flight credit.
    However I understand that you have to book via Amex and these flights are approximately twice the price available elsewhere. I cannot see the benefit in this and tbh it seems to be a bit scandalous. Also I am confused regarding the spend required on Qantas services before you can access the $450 credit? I was told on the phone by an amex representative that this must be used by 31st March 2018. Am I correct in assuming that it is worthless after this date. I am feeling rather disillusioned, or perhaps I am missing a vital point.

    • Hmmmm, some incorrect information there.

      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, i.e. you do not need to spend on Qantas products/services – that’s to access the two Qantas lounge passes.

      The travel credit is valid for your whole cardholder year (one year from when you were approved for the card).

      And sometimes Amex has prices that are higher than found on the official airline’s websites but double the price does not sound normal. It should be the same price or just above, so perhaps search for different routes or dates.

      Hope that helps!

    • Matthew

      I just booked MEL>SYD>MEL through Amex using my travel credit and the price was exactly the same as on the Qantas site. In fact, as I was able to select 4A (737) on both legs without status and without a fee, so technically the Amex method is cheaper.
      Bear in mind that if you do not use the entire credit in one booking you forfeit the balance.

  4. Chris

    Hi Keith,

    I signed up to this card when the bonus points were 100,000 points. I can no longer find infomation on that deal. Just wondering was the minimum spend of $1500 over 3 months the same for the 100,000 points? For some reason I seem to remember it being $1200 over 2 months, but I may be wrong.

    Thanks

  5. Alex

    Can the $450 travel credit be used on codeshare airlines with a QF flight number booked through QANTAS? ie. Ek to AKL on QF8xxx?

    • Here is what the terms and conditions state:

      The $450 Qantas Travel Credit can be redeemed for any eligible Qantas flight booked (i.e. a QF flight number on your ticket)…

      And the marketing states:

      A $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year to use for eligible international or domestic Qantas flights…

      So it seems that a codeshare flight on another airline with a QF flight number may work but we aren’t 100% sure on that. As this benefit comes into effect today (31 October 2017), we’d love to hear if anyone has any success seeing the discount on the booking page of a codeshare flight.

  6. Vicky

    Hi Keith,
    Two ques I’m hoping u can help answer
    1. I just joined the Amex Ultimate card before Oct 2 so was eligible for the 100K QFF reward points but I’ve forgotten what was the spend qualification and until when do I have to spend that amount? The info they sent me didn’t state it and the web now has a diff offer of 55K points which was not the deal when I signed up. Would u happen to know?

    I’m new to epicure – how exactly do u access the free premium membership w the card?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Vicky,

      The minimum spend requirement for the previous 100K offer was $1,500 within the first 3 months, it would be best to contact Amex to confirm this for your account.
      As for Epiqure, you should be able to find the instructions on how to access it on your welcome pack, it will take effect 31st October. If you need more information, please call Qantas directly.

  7. Katie

    Hi there,

    Are the x2 Qantas lounge entries only available to the cardholder or can partners access the lounge if travelling on the same QF flight?

  8. Thomas

    Hi,

    I just read the T&C on the 2 Qantas Club invitations and it seems that you have to spend on Qantas products before you are eligible to receive these. I have booked a flight to Europe on Qatar for May 2018 and wanted to use the lounge access in Perth as well as on a domestic flight to Melbourne, however it seems that I won’t be able to get the invitations for either as I did not spent with Qantas and Domestic Business Lounge is also excluded from the pass!? Could you confirm this as this would seriously lower the value I get from my card.

  9. Marilyn

    I’ve received my card today and doesn’t say how I can get the points on my FF membership? Do I need to apply/link to get the 100K points after a spend? I can’t find info on the 100K promo anymore. Thanks!

    • Hi Marilyn, if you applied by 2 October 2017, then you will be eligible for the 100k bonus points offer and you don’t need to click on anything else – just meet the minimum spend requirement.

  10. luke

    I signed up to get the bonus points before the deadline to get 100k qantas points but now I can’t find any info on that deal anywhere and I’m sure I got in before cutoff date. Doesn’t seem worth it that my mate got 30k points just for his referral and I get 55k ?

    • As long as you applied by the offer end date, you will be eligible for those bonus points. Offers change periodically, so that’s why you can’t ‘see’ the previous offer now.

  11. Jess

    Do I need to be a Qantas FF to use points ?? Or can it just be used through Amex site?. If so can I join with my card once I receive it, to get extra Qantas points ? How do I linked to card? Thanks

  12. Chris

    Hi Keith,

    It says offer valid until 2nd of October. Do I just need to apply before then or do I need to be approved by then or actually have the card by then? And how long does it generally take for approval?

    Thanks.

  13. Hi,

    It says in this guide that you would earn 1.5 Qantas Points/dollar spent at the Epiqure store (in addition to the 3 points as an Epiqure member).

    I would have thought that Epiqure purchases would be counted as the selected Qantas products and services and thus attract 2.5 Qantas points/dollar.

    Could anyone confirm whether or not this is the case?

  14. Edward

    According to the PDS to get the new Qantas lounge passes you have to buy a qantas flight directly or through a travel agent.

    If I purchase flights through say Flight Centre, how will Amex know the payment is for a qantas flight?

  15. Rachel

    Hi Keith, just wondering if you could compare this card to the Explorer, maybe in another article?

    Can’t seem to decide which one to apply for between the two, and I believe I’m not the only one. Comments seem to suggest that the change of free flights to the $450 travel credit may not be as flexible as the travel credits for the Explorer?

    Thanks!

  16. GerryL

    thinking of getting this. but i’m unsure if I will be double-dipping with my train of thought. & if it even works.

    because the minimum cost for the 100K bonus points is a $1500 spend, if I decide to purchase a multi-city business class seat to NZ (BNE-SYD-NZ) in December, it easily goes beyond $2200. with the $450 travel credit (after 31 Oct), does that bring the price down to $1750? Do I also get the multiple points per dollar spent for purchasing a Qantas product?

    FYI, i’m purchasing the seats because i’m new to this whole travel hacking thing & i’m thinking of saving points at this early stage first, before using them.

  17. Jason

    Hi,
    Can you confirm that you also get 2 free entries to qantas lounges in addition to the Sydney/Melb Amex lounge entries? There is no mention of this on the Amex website (it only details the 2 entries to the Amex lounge)

    • Yes, the two Qantas lounge passes are in addition to the two Amex Lounge passes. The Amex website will update on 31 October but both existing and new cardholders will receive this new benefit.

  18. Deb

    Hi everyone,

    I’m planning to fly to Melb for work so work will pay for the flight anyway and this will activate my Qantas Travel Credit – I’m wondering if I can use the $450 travel credit to pay for the ‘fees’ for a points flight to Japan next year?

    Also, is the annual travel credit eligible from our card anniversary date? Not calendar year?

    Thanks!

    • No, that travel credit can only be used through American Express Travel, which only provides the ability to purchase a flight, not pay the taxes and fees on a points redemption. But good question!

      You’re right in that the benefits are based on cardholder year, not calendar year.

  19. jdog88

    Looks like it needs to also be on QF metal to use the flight credit. QF 5759 is a codeshare with JQ BNE-HBA but doesn’t appear in the search on the amex travel site.

    • Correct, it needs to be on a Qantas-operated flight, i.e. not Jetstar.

      “…giving cardmembers $450 towards the purchase of a Qantas domestic or international flight through American Express Travel – no other airlines are eligible.”

  20. Kim Morrow

    I’m still a bit confused on the bonus points eligibility. My husband is a supplementary cardholder to my Amex issued card. If he applies for his own Amex does that make him ineligible for the bonus points as he is a current supplementary cardholder?

    Thanks!

  21. Matt

    I spoke with an AMEX rep on the phone the other day and she mentioned that if you add a supplementary cardholder over the phone with AMEX you receive a further 5000 QFF points. This is an August promotion. You can only receive the 5000 points over the phone, this is not valid if you add a supplementary cardholder online (as you complete your application) and you do not have to supply any financial information of the supplementary cardholder which they do ask for in the online process.

  22. rock

    Keith,

    The free flights are also being changed come 31 October, to $450 travel credits. However, there do look to be some caveats & it might not be as flexible as other AMEX cards travel credits.

  23. Alex

    Hi Keith,

    I have a company issued green corporate amex, which was assigned to me in Dec 2015. Does this card exclude me from the 100k QF bonus points?

    Thanks

  24. David

    Keith,

    Further to my previous comment, I can confirm I received the 75,000 bonus points on the Amex Ultimate card despite holding a David Jones Amex within the preceding 18 months.

  25. David

    Hi Keith

    I’ve previous held a David Jones Express card within the last 18 months. I called Amex to ask if this would make me ineligible for the 75,000 bonus points offer and was told that David Jones cards are exempt (in the same way as bank-issued cards are exempt), therefore making me eligible for the bonus points. I queried the wording of ‘any Card product’ and was assured that DJ’s cards are not treated as ‘Amex issued’ for this bonus offer. Further, the person I spoke to offered to record notes on my account confirming same. I will let you know how it plays out!

  26. David

    Hi Keith,

    I hold an American Express Velocity Platinum card.

    I read your rundown on whether or not I am eligible for bonus points + status credits, but I am still confused.

    Would I be eligible?

  27. Ben

    Definitely keen to take up this offer (or the Explorer card) as the Amex on my ANZ card is about to go soon.

    This might be a stupid question but do you have to have a qualifying Qantas spend every single year to get the free annual flight or is it just a one-off once you first get the card?

    Looking at the comments above there is still some uncertainty over the options available to activate the free flight as well.

    Any advice on all this is greatly appreciated.

    • The spend is required annually. In terms of options, a Qantas flight is outlined in the terms and conditions. Other options might work, but no guarantees – they could stop working at any time. Qantas Gift Vouchers are another easy one, along with Qantas Carbon Offsets, that we have heard may work.

  28. Con

    Hello again Keith,
    Another related question concerning the free flight trigger – can you confirm that purchase of a Qantas Gift Certificate would qualify?

    Cheers, Con

  29. Con

    Hi Keith,
    You mentioned a while back that you believe that a Qantas points top-up purchase qualifies as the free flight trigger.
    Can you confirm this?

  30. Hi Laura and others, just to confirm, by using the ‘Carbon Off-set’ method as described above, my free flight and the bonus 2,500 became available to me with this method.
    I did this on the most recent Saturday and the statement on my account showed up on the Monday:
    QANTAS AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA $11.21 22 2,511 2,533
    – Qantas First Spend Bonus 0 2,500
    – Qantas Airlines 0 11
    – Call 1800507104 to redeem your QF flight

    As you can see, my offset was $11, which was for a planned flight im taking to Tokyo (with points naturally), it is more than I probably needed to spend, but I genuinely am interested in offsetting my carbon footprint…

    So, from my single example, this appears to work nicely.

    All the best,
    Dave

  31. Hey Laura – usually the points will show up in your Amex points statement online immediately after the transaction that takes you over the $1500 clears, and then will hit your FF account in the next monthly sweep. Are you an existing cardholder of another card? You probably wouldn’t get the bonus if so.

  32. Tom

    Any updates on this Keith for what will trigger it?

    Qantas Flights
    Qantas Gift Vouchers ($50 minimum)
    Qantas Epiqure purchases
    Qantas Carbon Offsets (make sure you do $1 or more) – http://www.qantasfutureplanet.com.au
    But no guarantees on any of the above, that’s all from anecdotal reports – any of those might trigger the Qantas-related component of the signup bonus / the flight.

    If the Carbon off is correct this may be the cheapest work around if it works?

    • I don’t have the card so can’t personally test it, but have heard from others who have used the Qantas Future Planet option – and which has worked for them to trigger the bonus. Carbon offsets can be done for less than $1, but would suggest a transaction with more than that to ensure it credits as a points earning transaction.

    • In short, we believe the list is…

      But no guarantees on any of the above, that’s all from anecdotal reports – any of those might trigger the Qantas-related component of the signup bonus / the flight.

  33. Beerad

    One aspect that has not been mentioned, and that I cannot find on the terms and conditions is regarding a cancellation fee. If, after say, 11 months, I decide that I do not want to use the card anymore, is there a cancellation fee? Does anyone know the answer?

  34. I’m still a little confused about the sign up eligibility.
    I hold an Commonwealth Platinum Awards American Express card.
    Does this mean I am eligible for the American Express Qantas ultimate?

    • Yes, you’d be eligible for the bonus points – have to be specific about that, Amex still have to assess your credit-worthiness for the card when you apply, but if you don’t hold another personal Amex-issued American Express then you’ll be eligible for the bonus that comes with it if you are approved.

  35. Mark

    Good point – what exactly is spend at ‘Qantas
    Travel shops’ – and what is the minimum spend to get the flights? Anyone know this one?

  36. Matthew

    The T&C’s for a free flight state that you must purchase selected Qantas products to qualify:

    “Selected Qantas products and services are: (a) Qantas passenger flights
    with a QF flight number purchased on the Qantas merchant account i.e.
    directly with Qantas or some travel agents or (b) purchases from Qantas
    Travel shops. Excludes: Qantas Holidays, Qantas Freight, Jetstar and
    Qantas branded non-airfare products operated by third parties e.g. Qantas
    Box Office.”

    Not sure a key ring will cut it…!

  37. Matt

    Looking at the fine print you need to spend with Qantas to get the free flight. It seems like buying from qantasshop.com.au would qualify from the T&C’s – can anyone confirm? Far cheaper to buy a keyring than a flight…

  38. Michael

    Hi Keith,

    You are now also entitled to two entries into The American Express Sydney Airport Lounge per calendar year with this card. The entries may be used by the basic Card Member, Supplementary Card Member or a guest travelling with a Card Member. Complimentary access is available for the Card Member’s children between the ages of 2-17. Not bad.

    • Keith Author

      Indeed – I’m visiting the lounge in a couple of weeks with a review in mind. Once thats up, I’ll update all the guides to cards which get complimentary access with some pictures. It’s a decent benefit – kudos to Amex.

Links to this article

  1. American Express Sydney Lounge review & the eligible cards
  2. American Express Velocity Platinum & Velocity Escape Guide

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