Qantas mulls turning frequent flyer card into travel money card

By David Flynn, April 18 2012
Qantas mulls turning frequent flyer card into travel money card

UPDATE | Qantas has now confirmed the launch of its Qantas Cash travel money frequent flyer card, and we've got all the details.

PREVIOUS | Qantas is looking to turn its Frequent Flyer cards into prepaid travel money cards that can be used in shops, restaurants and ATMs overseas.

A survey sent by the airline to members of its frequent flyer scheme says "Qantas is considering enhancing your current frequent flyer membership card by enabling it to be also used as a prepaid travel card... to use to make purchases or withdraw money from an ATM."

Travellers would "also be able to earn Qantas frequent flyer points on purchases that you made whilst overseas."

Travel money cards are loaded up with foreign currency bought at that day's exchange rate and used like a credit card, or more accurately a debit card.

They're becoming increasingly popular with business travellers, both for use instead of cash as well as when you're to a limited expense account. Companies can preload a card with cash and use the card's statement to record where the money was spent.

Qantas' low-cost sibling Jetstar launched its own Jetstar Travel Card in February this year. Issued by Macquarie Bank and doubling as a prepaid MasterCard, each Jetstar card can hold up to nine different currencies in separate 'virtual wallets'.

The Red Roo's plans are along same lines as Air New Zealand's OneSmart card, which doubles as a MasterCard travel money card (issued by the Bank of New Zealand) and also works as contactless 'PayPass' card.

The Qantas survey also raises the possibility that "this card could also be used within Australia – like any credit or debit card – to pay for goods and services at merchant outlets", and asked "would you consider using the Qantas Frequent Flyer card as a payment card for purchases within Australia?"

Another question flagged the possibility that the Qantas Frequent Flyer prepaid travel card might be "an American Express branded card (as opposed to MasterCard or Visa)".

Qantas frequent flyer cards already contain smartchips which enable the card to be used a digital boarding pass in the Qantas Next-Generation Checkin system.

Thanks to AusBT reader Ronald Huynh  for the tip-off.

For the very latest news for business travellers and frequent flyers, tune into @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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2011

Total posts 183

I had a similar card at Uni. It was a ANZ Visa Debit, Uni student card and library card all in one.  Top up via bill pay, and had no fees.

If they made the QF one into a similar travel card as the Jetstar one from Macquarie bank, allowing different currencies to be stored and used, it might be tempting - depending on fee structure.

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