Reviews

Review: BOQ Specialist Visa Signature card with Qantas Points

By Chris Chamberlin, May 23 2016
BOQ Specialist Visa Signature card with Qantas Points
Notes
The Good
  • Earn up to 1.5 Qantas Points per $1
  • Generous travel insurance
  • Up to 20,000 bonus Qantas Points for new customers
The Bad
  • Limited to professionals working in particular fields
Added Value
  • Unlimited Priority Pass airport lounge access

Introduction

With free and unlimited airport lounge access, generous travel insurance coverage and a bonus 20,000 Qantas Points for new customers, Bank of Queensland's BOQ Specialist Visa Signature credit card punches well above its weight.

Earning up to 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent and with no points cap, this card is aimed at professionals working in – or recently graduated into – the medical, dental, veterinary and accounting fields.

If you're employed in another industry, unfortunately this card isn't one you can apply for.

BOQ Specialist Visa Signature: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Above-platinum
  • Card type: Visa Signature
  • Loyalty program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qantas Points earned per $1 (domestic spend): 1.0 up to 10,000 points per month, 0.625 thereafter
  • Bonus Qantas Points per $1 spent with Qantas: 1.0
  • Qantas Points earned per $1 (abroad): 1.5 with no tiering
  • Points capping: None, but tiering applies to domestic spend

Fees, charges and interest:

  • Annual fee: $400
  • Supplementary cardholder fee: $0
  • Interest rate on purchases: 20.50% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 20.50% p.a.
  • International transaction fee: 3.2% (recently raised from 2.95%)
  • Minimum income requirement: $60,000 p.a.
  • Minimum credit limit: $15,000
  • Employment requirements: Open to medical, dental, veterinary and accounting professionals and graduates

Earning points for free flights:

Rather than most other banks which offer new customers bonus points in exchange for spending a certain amount, BOQ Specialist's approach encourages you to reach for your Visa Signature card with every purchase, regardless of amount.

Make just 10 purchases within the first two months and you'll net an easy 20,000 bonus Qantas Points, atop what you'd normally earn every day.

Joining that bonus with a further 5,000 Qantas Points – either by spending $5,000 in Australia or $3,334 abroad – you'd have enough for a one-way business class upgrade between Sydney and Hong Kong or Singapore from a flexible economy ticket.

Use your Qantas Points for a business class upgrade to Asia...
Use your Qantas Points for a business class upgrade to Asia...

Or, if your travels are within Australia, the same number of points can unlock five one-way upgrades to business class on shorter flights between Sydney and either Melbourne or Brisbane from flexible fares.

Inclusive travel insurance:

Using your BOQ Specialist card to pay for your return overseas flight before leaving Australia unlocks free travel insurance on trips of 120 days or less, pleasingly including journeys between mainland Australia and Tasmania or Norfolk, Christmas, Lord Howe or Cocos Islands.

You're also covered if your journey is booked using Qantas Points or even Velocity Points (earned by other means), or using a combination of these frequent flyer points and dollar amounts paid for by using your card.

Other domestic trips aren't covered, such as between New South Wales and Victoria, but may be covered by the card's domestic flight inconvenience insurance.

BOQ cardholders also receive transit accident insurance, purchase security insurance, extended warranty protection, a 'best price guarantee', global car hire excess waivers and even golfers' insurance if your clubs are stolen or accidentally damaged.

Airport lounge access:

Begin your journey in one of over 900 Priority Pass airport lounges at no cost thanks to a free and unlimited Priority Pass membership courtesy of BOQ, which also allows you to bring in one guest at no charge with each visit and additional guests for US$27 each.

Open to Priority Pass members: the Al Reem lounge in Abu Dhabi...
Open to Priority Pass members: the Al Reem lounge in Abu Dhabi...

Included on Priority Pass' network are major transit cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and Abu Dhabi where freshening up in between flights is most welcome, although the only lounge you'll find in Australia is the Reef Lounge in Cairns.

BOQ Specialist Visa Signature: the verdict

At $400/year, you'd be forgiven for thinking twice about paying the annual fee – but if you'd otherwise be paying for your own Priority Pass membership, you'll come out well ahead of the curve.

That's because the same unlimited membership retails for US$409 (A$562), on top of which you'd also pay US$27 (A$37) every time you bring in a guest.

BOQ covers you for the first guest on every visit – an immediate A$370/year saving if lounging with a guest 10 times a year, with the annual fee for the credit card also $162 less than a mere Priority Pass membership.

When you consider the other inclusions such as the generous travel insurance, the bonus Qantas Points for new customers and the reasonable number of points you'll earn as you keep spending on the card, it's a deal not to be overlooked.

Also read: Citi Signature (Visa Signature) credit card review

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 339

I'm sorry to say that this card doesn't appeal to the customer it is aiming for. I'm a medical specialist and I can't see any use of this card being made for "specialists". 

Firstly, there is no benefits that is geared towards our practice, such as bonus points for using this card related to our practice, this may include college subscription fees, purchase of medical equipments...etc. 

Secondly, the reduced point earn >$10000/mth is also rediculous. Our college exam fee is already $5000, medical indemnity can easily go over $10000, most medical conference we go are all well above $2000, and medical equipments are all very expensive to purchase! I don't think there are many medical specialists that can keep the spending within $10000/mth. 

Priority pass sounds like a good perk, but it is practically useless in Australia. Most specialists are so busy that we don't travel overseas that often (we are not like business man). Maybe once in a year for a conference or family trip (to many private practice specialists, this means shutting down the consulting room, and no income, you can imagine how many holidays we take in a year!) So unlimited visit is rather useless. It would've been better if they supply unlimited QC or VA lounge access as we are more likely to just do domestic travel for a weekend getaway.

At $400 annual fee I can't see myself getting it. I would rather fork out a bit more and get the $700 citiprestige which has no cap and no tier on earning. Overseas earning has a even higher earn rate. Even at $400 mark, Westpac and ANZ black cards which comes with companion Amex may have a higher earn than this card. Also there are other uncapped cards such as Qudos which come at a much lower annual fee. 

I would suggest BOQ to talk to some of us and know what our needs are and hopefully come up with a card that may be more appealing to us. 

obanpointer

obanpointer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 168

I agree entirely Michael. More aimed at the intern or medical student than the specialist. My monthly spend is several times their capped rate if you include business expenses, ATO payments and conferences.

I take few overseas trips and hence always fly in premium cabins, I have no need for priority pass.

I dont mind high fees as I can tax deduct. what I need is decent points earn, good insurance and a concierge service for flights and travel which is tailored to me.

However this is BOQ so what should we expect?

PaulST

PaulST

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2014

Total posts 52

I used the cheaper Platinum CC when I was a med student (I don't suppose any other bank would have given me a CC) but after graduating and starting work, I closed my BOQ card and have used others. There's cheaper cards with decent earn rates and much bigger sign-up bonuses.
Having said that, BOQ-S offered me a great deal on car financing!  


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