Signature. It’s the new black.
When your black, or platinum or premium card no longer gives you the rewards and privileges you’ve come to expect, it’s time to take a serious look at the NAB Rewards Signature Card. A Visa Signature card is the new benchmark for top-of-the-range cards in the real world – that is, outside the narrow market for 'invitation only' cards, or those with a stratospheric annual fee. A Signature card says you’ve made your mark and expect to reap the rewards, and the NAB Rewards Signature Card’s long list of benefits will not disappoint.
This is a rewards credit card, offering both regular and bonus points in the NAB Rewards loyalty program. It’s a relatively new program, so the chances are that new cardholders won’t already have any points.
You get 100,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on everyday purchases within the first 60 days of account opening and another 40,000 bonus points for retaining your card beyond the first year.
Here are some examples of how you could redeem those 90,000 points when your card is still shiny and new:
The tiered points earning rate is a little complex, but in a good way, because it means you can earn more points by directing your spending (or just make your everyday purchases and still watch the points roll in). The details are:
The triple points on overseas transactions goes some way towards compensating for the 3% fee levied on these transactions. Most cards charge a fee of 2-3% for overseas transactions, but very few offer extra points for overseas purchases.
There’s no cap on how many points you can earn in a month or a year, which is great news compared to the points caps and thresholds NAB has placed on its Qantas and Velocity rewards cards.
Points expire within three years of being earned if not redeemed, so don’t hang on to them for too long.
The wide range of ways to redeem your points has already been mentioned, but here’s a comprehensive list:
Most redemptions have a ‘Points + Pay’ option, where you can choose to pay the balance in cash if you don’t have quite enough points.
You’ll want to use your NAB card whenever you pay for travel, accommodation and any major items for yourself or your home, because this extensive suite of complimentary insurance policies will then protect your purchases and travel:
This isn’t a battler’s card, so the standard interest rates are as high as you would expect: 19.99% p.a. for purchases and 21.74% p.a. for cash advances. Most rewards card users will already be aware that these cards are only cost effective if all interest charges are avoided by making prompt and full repayments and avoiding cash advances.
But you might just want to transfer your balance from your old card if you’ve recently made a major purchase on it, because you’ll pay no interest for six months on the transferred balance. You could save heaps in interest cost, even though the savings will be slightly reduced by the 3% upfront balance transfer fee.
Remember, that you’ll lose the normal interest-free days on purchases while you have an unpaid balance transfer. This means that you’ll have to pay interest from the transaction date on those purchases you need to make in order to score the bonus points. So think hard about whether you really need that balance transfer.
You’ll get up to 44 days interest free each month with this card (postponed for six months if you have a balance transfer), which isn’t as generous as the many cards which have up to 55 days. But this shorter period applies to the vast majority of NAB cards. What it means is that your repayment cash will spend 132 fewer days each year working for you in your savings or mortgage offset account, when compared with a 55-day card. On an average $4,000 monthly balance, that could cost you $43 a year in savings interest or $57 in mortgage interest.
A premium card like this one comes with a premium concierge service as a matter of course. Whether you’re at home or away, you can let someone else plan and book your trips, dining and entertainment, 24/7. In emergencies, your concierge can even arrange an interpreter and medical or legal services.
You’ll also benefit from Visa Premium Access – a step up from plain old Visa Entertainment – to get your hands on the hottest tickets before the general public gets a look-in, and enjoy other privileges and discounts.
Boost your card’s security and functionality with the NAB Mobile Banking app, and, if you have an Android phone, NAB Pay for Android. You’re already automatically protected against fraudulent transactions by NAB Defence, and for online transactions by Verified by Visa’s additional identity confirmation system. But if you download the apps you can also:
It’s pretty clear that this is an attractive package with many appealing features, so the cost will be the decider. The annual fee is $295 – quite a big commitment, even though the bonus points more than cover it in the first year. But the insurance policies alone could be worth around $1,370 per year. Annual card spending of $45,400 would offset the annual fee completely with points earned, even if you only achieve a rate of 1.25 points per dollar (and it’s likely to be more) and redeem your points for retail gift cards (which don’t always deliver the best return).
The cost commitment for a Signature card ensures it isn’t for the average cardholder. It’s for the financially-astute bigger spender, probably a regular overseas traveller who doesn’t want to be limited to a single airline’s loyalty program. For this person, the NAB Rewards Signature Card provides a very worthwhile points earning rate, redemption flexibility and a suite of benefits providing measurable value.
Reviewed by Yvonne Taylor
Lead Product Analyst