American Express are offering 55,000 bonus Qantas Points for new cardholders of the Qantas American Express Ultimate.
This card is targeted at cardholders who want to maximise the Qantas Points earned from spend on an American Express, as well as receiving a range of travel-related benefits.
Note that American Express is adjusting both earn rates and points transfer rates for most cards effective 15 April 2019. Here is our take on the changes and further information from American Express.
You can fly Cathay Pacific First Class for as little as 26,000 Qantas Points (Hong Kong to Taipei)
You’ll also receive:
- a $450 Qantas Travel Credit to use when booking Qantas flights through American Express Travel;
- two Qantas lounge invitations as well as two entries to the American Express Lounge Sydney each membership year; and
- a complimentary Qantas Wine Premium Membership
How you could use the bonus points from this card
All redemption figures shown are examples only and exclude accompanying taxes and fees. Points redemption price data is provided by a third-party, so inaccuracies may be present. Please check with the airline directly for a complete and accurate total redemption cost.
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||1.25 Qantas Points earned per $1 on eligible purchases
1 additional Qantas Point per $1 spent on selected Qantas products and services in Australia
0.5 Qantas Points per $1 at government bodies in Australia
Until 14 April 2019, earn an additional 0.25 Qantas Points per $1 on purchases, except for spend at government bodies in Australia
|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 2.25 points per $ on Qantas spend will quickly rack up to boost your Qantas Frequent Flyer balance.
Other than that, you’ll earn a solid 1.25 Qantas Points per $ spent on most purchases, except government spend which earns 0.5 Qantas Points.
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.
$450 Qantas Travel Credit
This benefit gives cardmembers $450 towards the purchase of a Qantas domestic or international flight through American Express Travel.
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. Do note that if you do not use the entire credit in one booking, you forfeit the remaining balance, so try to save it for a booking over the value of $450.
You can use your travel credit for a Qantas flight in any class on any domestic or international flight
You’ll receive the credit each year you have your card but you can use it to book travel into the future, e.g. if credit expires on 5 July, you can book travel for 21 October.
It is unclear whether the credit 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.
As for points earn on the booking, the travel credit terms and conditions state:
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.
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 travel credit solely towards hotel, car or experience bookings.
As the taxes and fees on an award redemption using Qantas Points must be paid directly to Qantas through their website or over the phone and this travel credit is only available to use through the American Express Travel website, you cannot use your travel credit to pay the taxes and fees on an award redemption.
Cardholders are eligible to receive two Qantas lounge invitations.
You can access domestic Qantas Clubs, International Business Lounges (except at Los Angeles) and International (Premium) Lounges in Brisbane, Singapore, Hong Kong and London.
Note that the lounge pass does not admit any guests—only you—however, you could use your two passes for two people.
An important note is that in order to receive the Qantas lounge passes, you need to first make an eligible purchase with Qantas using the card, 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.
So, basically, you must first purchase a Qantas flight or purchase a Qantas Frequent Flyer or Qantas Club membership before you can use your lounge passes. This seems to exclude paying the taxes and fees on an award booking using this card.
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. You could then choose to transfer them to another Qantas Frequent Flyer member.
Another benefit of the Qantas American Express Ultimate card is access to the Sydney and Melbourne American Express Lounge, including additional guests. Unlike the Qantas lounge passes, you do not need to make an eligible purchase before receiving entry to this lounge.
Complimentary Qantas Wine Premium membership
Worth $99 a year, a premium membership to Qantas 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 4.25 points per $ spent on Qantas Wine products (3 points as a Qantas Wine Premium member + 1.25 points for regular spend on this card). It’s a bit weird that this doesn’t qualify as a purchase of a Qantas product or service, earning 2.25 points.
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.
American Express Apple Pay & Android Pay support
American Express cards support both Apple Pay & Android Pay, meaning you can use this card on your smartphone for easier payments. Find out more in our guides for each of the compatible services.
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 travel credit each year is a useful bonus to offset the annual fee, and the lounge passes and complimentary Qantas Wine Premium membership top off a solid offer.
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