How Qantas credit cards work
Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards are a type of rewards points credit card where the points come in the form of Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
Almost all major Australian credit card providers offer at least one Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card, with more than 50 to choose from.
There is a fee to enrol into the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. However, most Qantas credit cards come with free entry into the program if you’re a newcomer.
Earning Qantas Points
- Earn Qantas Points on everyday spending. Eligible purchases made with a Qantas credit card earn Qantas Points which are credited directly to the cardholder’s Qantas Frequent Flyer account. Points earned from card purchases are pooled with other points in the account (earned from purchasing Qantas flights, for example). They can be redeemed for award flights, seat upgrades, or other goods and services.
- Earn more points on cash bookings. If you frequently travel, taking flights for business or leisure, you can earn more Qantas Points per dollar spent when you pay for Qantas bookings with a Qantas credit card.
What you can redeem Qantas Points for
As a member of Qantas Frequent Flyer you can use your online account to keep tabs on your points and access Qantas online store, which offers over 1,000 choices for reward redemption.
- Qantas flights and services. You can redeem Qantas Points for flights, upgrade your seat, book accommodation and travel accessories, and car rentals.
- Goods and services from Qantas partners. You can also redeem Qantas Points on various non-travel-related products and services, including vouchers to spend with Qantas’ partners. The Qantas online store also features a rolling program of offers, prizes, and special offers for members.
What to compare when choosing a Qantas credit card
Although how many points you can get is undoubtedly an important feature, don't forget to include the value of any complimentary benefits when comparing.
Many Qantas credit cards come with free benefits and perks worth hundreds of dollars (if used). Since no two cards are identical, compare the details and determine which features have the most value for you.
Qantas Points earn rates
Points earning rates are normally expressed in terms of the number of points per dollar spent, e.g. 0.75 Qantas Points per dollar spent on eligible purchases.
The points earning rate varies from card to card, with the more expensive premium cards typically having a higher points earning rate. An individual Qantas credit card can have more than one earning rate, for example, a higher earning rate on purchases from Qantas, and a lower earning rate on government purchases.
Points caps and thresholds
While some cards limit the number of Qantas Points a cardholder can earn in any month or year, other cards have points caps or thresholds.
A points cap is an absolute limit on the number of Qantas Points that can be earned in any month or year. Once the cap is reached, the points earning rate for the remainder of the period falls to 0 points per dollar spent. The cap may be expressed in terms of dollars spent (e.g. Qantas Points earned on only the first $5,000 of eligible purchases per month) or in terms of Qantas Points earned (e.g. a cap of 7,500 Qantas points per month).
A points threshold is a limit beyond which the earning rate falls for the remainder of the month or year. For example, a card may have a 1.0 Qantas Points per dollar earning rate, up to a threshold of $5,000 of spending per month, beyond which the earning rate drops to 0.5 points per dollar for the remainder of the month.
Many Qantas Frequent Flyer Points credit cards offer substantial bonus points as an incentive to new cardholders. A target spending amount is usually attached to these offers. For example, a new cardholder may receive 60,000 Qantas Points for spending $2,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days of holding the card. These large bonuses are useful to anyone collecting points to redeem for a long-haul international award flight.
Qantas Frequent Flyer Points credit cards stipulate that only ‘eligible purchases’ will earn points. In practice, this means that cash transactions and cash equivalent transactions do not earn points. So no points will be earned on cash advances, balance transfers, purchases of traveller's cheques and foreign currency, card interest charges and fees, and transfers from a Qantas Points credit card account to another bank account.
As well as these types of cash transactions, many cards exclude government transactions (like payments to the ATO, Australia Post, vehicle registration and licences, local government rates, and fines) as eligible to earn Qantas Points. If a Qantas credit card earns points on government-related transactions, it will generally earn Qantas Points at a lower rate. Some cards also exclude gambling transactions and BPAY payments from earning Qantas Points.
Travel benefits and perks
Many Qantas credit cards offer travel-related benefits, including passes to access airport lounges, complimentary travel insurance, and status credits.
- Airport lounge passes. Platinum and black Qantas credit cards often come with several passes giving cardholders access to Qantas Club lounges around Australia and airport lounges at international airports.
- Complimentary travel insurance. This benefit comes with many of the best Qantas credit cards, covering the cardholder and possibly family and friends on bookings paid for with the card.
- Status credits. As well as earning Qantas Points, some cards reward cardholders with Status Credits. This makes it easier to attain a higher tier of Qantas Frequent Flyer membership.
Qantas Frequent Flyer program membership as a complimentary benefit
The Qantas Frequent Flyer program has a joining fee ($99.50 at the time of writing). You must be a member to earn Qantas Points with a Qantas credit card.
However, you can get free membership when you apply for a Qantas credit card and are approved.
How to check if a Qantas credit card is worth it
The card with the highest Qantas Points earning rate may not be the best one for you because the amount you spend each year may not be enough to justify the annual fee.
- Work out how many points you’re likely to earn in a year from your annual credit card spending by looking at how much you spent on your current credit card in the previous year.
- Multiply the dollars you spent by the Qantas Points earning rate per dollar on the card you are considering.
- If you place a conservative value of 1.0 cents on each Qantas Point, you’ll be able to decide if it’s worth paying the card’s annual fee.
- Annual amount spent: $18,000
- Earn rate: 0.75 Qantas points per dollar
- Total points earned in a year: 13,500 Qantas Points
- Points value: 13,500 Qantas Points = $135 (based on 1 Qantas Point being equivalent to 1 cent)
- Annual card fee: $99.
In this case, the value of the points exceeds the cost of the annual fee, so it’s worth having the card (which may also have other valuable complimentary benefits such as lounge access).
You may be able to extract a much greater value than 1.0 cents from each Qantas Point, depending on what type of award seat you can secure. If you use your points for redemptions other than flights, you’re likely to get a value of only 0.5 cents per point, or even less.