New "Qantas Cash" combines travel money & frequent flyer card

By David Flynn, February 20 2013

Qantas is taking its frequent flyer card to the next level with "Qantas Cash", allowing the plastic to be used as a prepaid multi-currency travel money card which can also earn points when used for purchases in Australia, overseas and online.

Available from the third quarter of 2013, it rolls a prepaid MasterCard travel money card into the smartchip-enabled Qantas Frequent Flyer card to create what Qantas CEO Alan Joyce considers "the Swiss Army Knife of cards".

The new cards will be sent to all Qantas Frequent Flyer members, including travellers with Bronze status – marking the first time they'll be able to enjoy the Qantas' streamlined next-generation check-in — now named Faster Smarter Check-in — at Australian airports. (The smartchipped Qantas cards were previously available only to Silver, Gold and Platinum members.)

Cards for everyone, but opt-in for the cash

"Existing Qantas cards will continue to function until members receive their new cards" says Lesley Grant, CEO of Qantas Loyalty, although members will need to opt in to activate the cash functionality on their card.

"We have over 9 million members in Qantas Frequent Flyer and our research says that over over 70% of members carry their Qantas card wherever they go" Grant says.

The Qantas Cash card will also permit cash withdrawals from ATMs internationally and within Australia.

Each card can store up to nine currencies in separate 'virtual wallets' – these will include the usual suspects such as US dollars, UK pounds and Euros, plus we'd tip NZ, SIngapore and Hong Kong dollars – with a new Qantas cash website and smartphone app making it easy to load currencies before each trip and manage the card.

Waiting for the fine print...

So just how many frequent flyer points will you earn per dollar spent on the card – and what about those assorted fees for loading the card and pulling cash from an overseas ATM?

That's yet to be revealed, with Grant saying that the earn rate plus details on fees would come closer to the Qantas Cash card's launch in the third quarter of the year.

However, Grant confirmed that using the card to make payments with Qantas Frequent Flyer partners such as Woolworths and Optus would allow double dipping on points.

Keep up to date on the latest news for business travellers and frequent flyers: follow @AusBT on Twitter!


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Intersting idea. but until the earn rate is revealed, im not going to get too excited.

Friend of mine has 600,000 points right now with QF and can't redeem a business class flight to EU and back. and she was told that, it might be better for her to buy a Premium Economy ticket and then try to upgrade to business. So it's easy for her to earn points, but she can't use it when she wants, so whats the point (no pun intended).


10 Mar 2011

Total posts 529

You have to be organized to book In a premium cabin. I have two seats booked in Business Class to Europe for July but I booked them last year. I've done the same for the last few years and never had an issue. Just got to plan ahead. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Apr 2013

Total posts 146

I don't seem to have too much of a problem booking with points, I have several flights booked, being first and business all on points. You just need to book in advance, as has been stated.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 529

Great initiative... Might as well have an additional use of the card and if you don't want to use it you don't have to. Being able to store multiple currencies is also a great idea. Now lets see if the points earns at least equal what I get on AMEX and if it does the. I may just have to move across. 


10 Jul 2012

Total posts 3

Yes, yes excellent idea. Depends on the point yield of course, but the opportunity to earn points without a credit card is great.

Crediting it with different currencies is really smart, too.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 48

Any details on which bank will be managing the cash card in the background? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 581

Well, the sample images have "Heritage Bank Limited" on the back of the card.

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 196

Heritage Bank also manage the "Cash Passport" card. So maybe the Qantas Cash card will be the same but re-branded?

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 218

About the only thing we all need to know is what percentage commision QFF will take in exchange rate cash card, if its under 2% they will make a fortune.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 244

Good idea. Air NZ Airpoints have it but only to NZ residents.

However, if QF starts charging ridiculous annual fees, ATM withdrawal fees, loading fee, awful exchange rate, then I don't see this card is any useful at all. I might just stick with my No Foreign Transaction fees card e.g. 28 Degrees Mastercard, Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard would give me favourable Mastercard wholesale rates, QF points earn (Bankwest), platinum benefits.

12 Jul 2011

Total posts 76

In the picture of the card, it says 'Prepaid Platinum'. Are we to assume that this will come with the usual Platinum Mastercard amenities? Is there a difference? Will higher status members be allocated 'Prepaid World' cards?

Can't wait to find out what all these things will mean!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

Don't get me wrong, it is a brilliant Idea, but giving Bronze members the benefit of FSC by default, does that not deduct yet another perk from elite status... Bronze cards should include the cash capability but The Q Chip should remain exclusive to Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One, in my opinion :)

anyone agree?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

I'm not for that - next-gen checkin's been around for a while and by now it may as well be a standard feature for all Qantas frequent fyers rather than just a perk of the top end. It's also a little value-add which Vigin doesn't have, and in this competitive environment, Qnatas would be wanting to arm up with everything it has, including making next-gen checkin available to everyone.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

Now you put it that way, I can see how it would encourage people to join the program. I think I will opt in for the Cash feature :)

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

I reckon a lot of us will be opting in - all depends on the rates being competitive, of course - I can see huge convenience in this.

But the rates are thing: Qantas could set totally competitive rates and get almost all QFF members using it, or they could make their rates slightly higher on the (probably correct) assumption that they'll still have enough travellers using the card so that the extra revenue will more than offset the slightly lower total userbase compared to competitive rates.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

Double dipping at Woolies and Optus definitely floats my boat though :) I would GUESS that the earn rate would be anywhere between 0.5points - $1 to 1point - $1 and that they would add on a small fee for ATM withdrawals, currency exchange etc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 43

looks like a positive 'enhancement' for a change. It is also a good reason for me to start carrying my card.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Apr 2013

Total posts 11

Just checked out the exchange rates at Heritage Bank and they are crap!! They will need to sharpen the pencil to make it worth while when you compare other banks.

27 Mar 2014

Total posts 1

Do not rely upon. I have uploaded cash and have yet to be able to use the card and Qantas have yet to be able to explain why.  In the meantime they keep deducting the amounts which have been rejected whilst I await an explanation from Qantas. Avoid at all costs.

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