Whether you spent all your points during the holiday season or are well progressed in saving up for your next big trip, carefully selecting the right credit card is one way to keep your points balance climbing higher: not only when spending on the card, but also in the beginning following your application.
Right now, it’s possible to earn as many as 120,000 bonus Qantas Points from a single card deal – enough for a return business class flight to Asia – so to kick of the New Year with points a’plenty, here are January 2019’s top credit card deals from the likes of AMEX, ANZ, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, Bendigo Bank, Citibank, NAB, St.George and Westpac.
1. American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle, ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa
Tempting with up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points, the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle – which pairs a Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard with an American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card – and separately, the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa, which comes with its own sweetener of $150 back to your card and 75 bonus Qantas Status Credits for eligible new customers.
With Westpac, that serving of bonus points is awarded in two chunks: one being 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply for the Black bundle by April 2 2019 and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval using the Altitude Black Mastercard (issued and serviced by Westpac).
Alongside that, you could also take home 40,000 bonus Qantas Points when spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the same 90-day period using the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card (issued and serviced by American Express), which also generates 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on most everyday purchases in Australia, uncapped.
Combined, that’s up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points on offer. The Altitude Black Mastercard carries a $250 annual fee; the AMEX, a $199 annual fee; and there’s also a $50/year Qantas Rewards fee levied for earning Qantas Points.
Or, look to ANZ’s Frequent Flyer Black Visa to earn 120,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus $150 back on your card, when you apply by March 31 2019 and spend $7,500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
On top of that, you could also grab 75 bonus Qantas Status Credits when you apply by the same date and book and travel on two new Qantas flights by June 30 2019.
Spending on ANZ’s Visa provides one Qantas Point per $1 spent on everyday purchases (up to and including $7,500 per month, 0.5/$1 thereafter), with a total annual fee of $425: although the true ‘cost’ of this is just $275 in the first year, when you factor in the $150 statement credit after spending $7,500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
2. Qantas Premier Platinum Mastercard
Lined up in second place with an offer of up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, Qantas’ Premier Platinum Mastercard also comes with a halved annual fee in the first year ($149 vs. $299).
This offer comes with a twist, though – you won’t earn the full 100,000 bonus points up-front, or even in the first year: instead, the first serving comes as 70,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply by February 28 2019 and spend $3,500 within the first 90 days of card approval.
To receive the remaining 30,000 bonus Qantas Points, you’ll need to keep the card for a year and pay a second annual fee ($299), with those final points landing in your account within 12 weeks of the card’s anniversary date, being about 15 months after your initial application.
Given it has a strong domestic earning rate of one Qantas Point per $1 spent up to $10,000 per statement period (0.5/$1 thereafter) and 1.5 Qantas Points per A$1 spent in foreign currencies, that shouldn’t prove much of an issue, but is something to keep in mind if you were counting on having all those bonus points sooner, to put towards your flight booking or upgrade.
3. NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
Next and with an offer of 90,000 bonus Qantas Points, the $395/year NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card, which is also reduced in price in the first year to $295.
Eligible new customers could earn those bonus points, which are credited directly to Qantas Frequent Flyer, by spending $4,000 on everyday purchases within 60 days of account opening.
Everyday purchases generate one Qantas Point per $1 spent up to $5,000 per month; then 0.5/$1 on spends of $5,001-$20,000, and no points thereafter until the next monthly statement period, excluding ATO payments, which don’t earn points at any time.
4. St.George Amplify Signature, Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard, AMEX Platinum
With separate offers of 80,000 bonus Qantas Points this month, the St.George Amplify Signature Visa with Qantas Points, the standalone Westpac’s Altitude Black Mastercard, and the AMEX Platinum Charge Card – here’s what you need to know about each deal.
St.George: apply online for the Amplify Signature with Qantas Points card by January 23 2019 and spend $4,000 on purchases within 90 days of card approval, while also earning 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday purchases, plus a 10% ‘birthday bonus’ awarded in the month of your special day, taking that to 0.825 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
Read: How St.George’s annual ‘birthday bonus’ boosts your points by 10%
You’ll also find this bonus offer on the near-identical Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature Visa with Qantas Points and the BankSA Amplify Signature Visa with Qantas Points credit cards when applying online – which, like St.George, are backed by Westpac Group.
Westpac: Separate to the Black bundle offer above, Westpac’s Altitude Black Mastercard is also available as a standalone product (without the AMEX), and right now, comes with up to 80,000 bonus Qantas Points for eligible new customers who apply by April 2 2019 and spend $3,000 on purchases within 90 days of card approval, while paying a $250 annual card fee plus the bank’s $50/year Qantas Rewards fee to earn Qantas Points.
Eligible purchases provide 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent, excluding ATO payments.
American Express: Apply for the AMEX Platinum Charge Card, pay a $1,450 annual fee and spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months to pocket 80,000 bonus Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points, and between 0.5 and 3 points per $1 spent on the card depending on each transaction, all of which can currently be converted into Qantas Points at a 1:1 rate.
However, from April 15 2019, the Platinum Charge Card’s earning rate is changing to be the equivalent of 1.125 Qantas Points per $1 spent on all purchases, except for government charges which continue to receive 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
From the same date, the conversion rate from Membership Rewards to Qantas Frequent Flyer is also changing from 1:1 to 2:1, so while the 1.125/$1 earning rate we’ve indicated takes the card’s new earning and conversion rates into account, any existing points in your account on that date will lose 50% of their value if not converted prior, or if you’re not offered ‘double points’ from AMEX to offset the conversion rate change.
Read more: American Express overhauls credit card frequent flyer points
Also read: Why American Express is doubling the points of some cardholders…
5. ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum Visa, American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle
With offers of up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points, ANZ’s Frequent Flyer Platinum Visa, and separately, the American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle occupy fifth place.
Apply for ANZ’s card and you could net those bonus points – plus $75 back on your statement, reducing the sting of the $295 annual fee to $220 in the first year – by spending $5,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months, with the card having an ‘everyday’ earn of 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases up to and including $3,000 per monthly statement period (0.5/$1 thereafter).
With Westpac, its Platinum-grade bundle deal mirrors the Altitude Black Bundle by splitting your bonus points into two distinct amounts: firstly, with 60,000 bonus Qantas Points for new customers who apply for the American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle by April 2 2019, and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval using the Altitude Platinum Visa (issued and serviced by Westpac).
In addition, you could earn 15,000 bonus Qantas Points after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval using the using the American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card (issued and serviced by American Express), for a grand total of up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points, as one card application (lodged by April 2 2019) can cover both the American Express card and the Visa.
Also as with Westpac’s Black-level cards, there’s a $50/year Qantas Rewards fee to be paid when earning Qantas Points, although the usual $150 annual fee on the Altitude Platinum Visa is currently waived in the first year (a $49 annual fee applies on the American Express card from the first year).
Honourable mention: Citi Prestige Qantas Credit Card
Not far behind with an offer of 70,000 bonus Qantas Points, the Citi Prestige Qantas credit card is offering that bounty to eligible new customers who apply by January 31 2019 and make a purchase on the card once within 90 days of approval.
While on the pricier side at $700/year – plus a $49/year charge to participate in the Citi Qantas Rewards Program – it does allow you to earn 1.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on all eligible international purchases, and at major restaurants, hotel chains, airlines (flights only), travel agencies and travel aggregators in Australia.
You can also earn one Qantas Point per $1 spent at major petrol outlets, supermarkets and national retailers in Australia, and 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases in Australia, with some exclusions like government and government-related transactions which award no points (such as payments to the ATO).