Review: HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa

By Chris Chamberlin, May 29 2019
HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa
Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Notes
The Good
  • Earn up to 1 Qantas Point per $1 of everyday Visa spend
  • Bonus points on Qantas flights, Qantas Club membership
The Bad
  • Low points tiering threshold of $1,000/month plus a monthly cap of 7,500 Qantas Points
  • No points are earned on any government transactions
Added Value
  • $99 annual fee

Introduction

Offering up to one Qantas Point per dollar spent where Visa is accepted, an extra point per dollar spent with Qantas and support for both Apple Pay and Google Pay, HSBC's Platinum Qantas Visa credit card positions itself as something of a backup to a higher-earning AMEX or Diners Club card, without adding much weight to your wallet in terms of annual fees.

There's also international travel insurance, as you'd expect, and no extra fee to add an additional cardholder onto the account to maximise your points: although a very low monthly tiering threshold of $1,000 may prove an issue for many cardholders, and with no points awarded at all on payments to local, state and federal government bodies.

Here's how HSBC's card stacks up in 2020.

HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Platinum
  • Card type: Visa
  • Loyalty program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qantas Points earned per dollar:
         Everyday spend up to and including $1,000 per month:  1.0
         Everyday spend >$1,000 per month:  0.5
         Selected Qantas products and services:
      1 bonus point in addition to the above
         Payments to government bodies:  No points
  • Points capping: Earn up to 7,500 Qantas Points per month (excludes bonus points).
  • Supported mobile wallets: Apple Pay, Google Pay

Fees, charges and interest:

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Supplementary cardholder fee: $0
  • Interest rate on purchases: 19.99% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 21.99% p.a.
  • International transaction fee: 3%
  • Minimum income requirement: $40,000 p.a.
  • Minimum credit limit: $6,000

Earning points for free flights:

With a $99 annual fee and an 'everyday' earning rate of up to one Qantas Point per dollar spent, HSBC's Platinum Qantas Visa credit card dishes up rewards without excessive fees.

Given the low $1,000/month tiering threshold – at which, the number of points earned per dollar spent is halved – this card may be a better fit for spenders who already have another rewards credit card under their belt, such as a higher-earning American Express or Diners Club card.

Strategically, that AMEX or Diners Club card could be used wherever possible to earn the most points, while relying on the HSBC card eveywhere else to scoop up even more rewards: perhaps, without reaching that monthly ceiling.

Just note that using the HSBC card to pay government bodies earns no points at all, covering everything from car registration and council rates through to ATO payments, government fines and other charges made directly by the government.

HSBC's Platinum Qantas Visa is also marginally more competitive on the points front for lower spenders than comparably-priced plastic like the $99/year St.George Amplify Platinum Visa with Qantas Points card, which gives a flat 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.

However, St.George does so without the monthly cap of 7,500 Qantas Points as with HSBC.

Airport lounge access:

You won't get complimentary airport lounge access with this card, although purchasing Qantas Club airport lounge membership does deliver an extra Qantas Point per dollar spent, over and above the card's regular earn rate – that's 2/$1, if the transaction is in the first $1,000 of monthly spend, or 1.5/$1 beyond that line, as above.

HSBC Platinum Qantas cardholders also receive a complimentary Frequent Values membership through Entertainment Publications, which offers savings at restaurants, leisure providers and travel companies including selected airlines.

Included international travel insurance:

Complimentary international travel insurance may be available on a trip-by-trip basis when charging at least 90% of the cost of a return ticket to the card prior to leaving Australia, when the cardholder will be out of Australia for four consecutive months or less.

That 90% rule makes allowances for things like arrival or departure taxes and fees that can only be paid in cash at the airport (not by credit card), but doesn't extend cover to journeys booked using frequent flyer points, including Qantas Points earned via this credit card.

Unfortunately, the cover can't be activated in other ways either – such as pre-paying ground costs like hotel stays or tours prior to leaving Australia – so read the policy carefully to ensure you're covered and that the insurance meets your needs.

There's also purchase protection insurance, extended warranty insurance on selected new appliances, access to 'guaranteed pricing scheme' and transit accident insurance, along with some cover for domestic trips and domestic rental car insurance as well (again, refer to the policy documents for full information).

HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa: the verdict

With an annual fee of $99, an earning rate of up to one Qantas Point per $1 spent on everyday purchases isn't to be sniffed at: especially so given the even-higher earn rate of 1.5-2 Qantas Points per $1 on things like flight bookings and Qantas Club memberships purchased directly with Qantas.

That said, under the card's current earn structure, the more you spend, the fewer points you'll earn each month: so an investment in a higher-priced credit card could prove more rewarding overall for those with big monthly bills.

For example, a cardholder spending $20,000 per month would be well and truly constrained by the HSBC card's monthly limit of 7,500 Qantas Points, which averages out to just 0.375 Qantas Points per dollar spent.

Compare that to a higher-tier card like the Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard, which has a set earning rate of 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent but without a monthly ceiling, and the same spend would deliver a solid 15,000 Qantas Points – double that provided by HSBC's card, against an annual fee of $250 plus a $50/year Qantas Rewards fee.

Repeating that same spend over a 12-month period, Westpac's card would cost $201 more in fees (assuming the $99 HSBC annual fee is paid), but with a much more sizeable pile of frequent flyer points in return: 180,000 Qantas Points versus 90,000 Qantas Points from HSBC, the difference alone being almost enough for a one-way first class flight from Sydney to Singapore with Qantas.

Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

23 Mar 2019

Total posts 1

I have had this card for several years now when the annual fee was $199.00

The fee is now $79.00 but HSBC will not reduce my fee down (despite all benefits being identical) without filling in a new set of paperwork including providing income details etc.
Absolutely ridiculous. Just prior to renewal next year will be time to switch cards.

The problem with this card is that it is issued by HSBC. The fact they still have a banking license in this country is still beyond me. Extremely lacking in important areas like fraud prevention and recovery (when someone was able to activate my partner’s new card and withdraw $10k in cash), and it took months to resolve. We had all our banking with them for two painful years and were happy to see the back of them. Archaic online systems also. Much better deals to be had and no wonder they have reduced the annual fee to what the card is actually worth.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 125

Their online system is improving fairly considerably but holy **** was it bad. In my first few months of having this card, I didn't even check my balance (and just guessed payments) because it was just too painful to log in - especially on mobile.

 
Now they at least send me statements, but if the fees not dropping to $79 for existing customers, then in the shredder it goes.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 108

HSBC have recently cut the Qantas points earn on this card. It was previously earning 1 Qantas point per dollar up to $2500 spend per month. That has been reduced to 1 Qantas point up to $1000 spend per month. They've also lifted the annual fee to $99.

Hi wdeguara, that's correct for new customers, although HSBC has confirmed that there are no changes for existing customers. You can read more in our article here.

The changes to earning rates and annual fees for new customers were introduced at the same time as a promotion offering 20,000 bonus points for those new customers.


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