AMEX changes points earn rates on Qantas credit cards

Sally McMullen 26 February 2017 NEWS

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How will American Express' new earn rates impact how many Qantas Points you can earn on your credit card purchases?

American Express is changing how cardholders can earn points on the Qantas Ultimate, Qantas Premium and Qantas Discovery cards. However, whether you’ll benefit or lose out from these changes will depend on how you usually spend and earn Qantas Points with your American Express. So, while there are some increases in earn rates on some eligible purchases, some specific bonuses have been cut back.

For example, while you’ll see the number of points you can earn on transactions with Qantas or at restaurants, hotels and overseas drop across some of the cards, you’ll see transactions such as utilities and telecommunications picking up more points per $1.

These points changes won’t affect existing American Express cardholders until 1 June 2017, but new applicants will see the changes when they get their new cards. If you haven't already, you can expect a letter from American Express detailing the changes in further detail in the coming weeks.

To see exactly how these changes will impact how many points you can earn when paying on plastic, we’ve broken down how the earn rates will change how they’ll impact different types of cardholders below.

Changes to American Express Qantas Ultimate Card earn rates

Transaction type Old earn rates New earn rates
Qantas products and services 3 Qantas Points per $1 2.5 Qantas Points per $1
Restaurants 3 Qantas Points per $1 1.5 Qantas Points per $1
Airlines, accommodation and travel agencies 2 Qantas Points per $1 1.5 Qantas Points per $1
Non-AUD transactions 2 Qantas Points per $1 1.5 Qantas Points per $1
Utilities, insurance and telecommunications 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 1.5 Qantas Points per $1
Government spend 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 0.5 Qantas Points per $1
All other eligible purchases 1 Qantas Point per $1 1.5 Qantas Points per $1

If you’re a frequent traveller who regularly uses a credit card for booking flights and hotels and shopping overseas, you’ll get fewer points for your money when the changes roll out on the Qantas Ultimate card. However, you’ll get more bang buck when you use your card to pay for utilities, insurance policies, phone bills and on all other eligible purchases.

Changes to American Express Qantas Premium Card earn rates

Transaction type Old earn rate New earn rate
Qantas products and services 2 Qantas Points per $1 2.25 Qantas Points per $1
Supermarket and petrol stations 2 Qantas Points per $1 1.25 Qantas Points per $1
Airlines, accommodation and travel agencies 1 Qantas Point per $1 1.25 Qantas Points per $1
Utilities, insurance and telecommunications 0.5 Qantas Point per $1 1.25 Qantas Point per $1
Government spend 0.5 Qantas Point per $1 0.5 Qantas Point per $1
Eligible purchases 1 Qantas Point per $1 1.25 Qantas Points per $1

Unlike the Qantas Ultimate, Qantas Premium cardholders will actually earn more points per $1 spent with Qantas and travel costs such as accommodation and travel changes with the new changes. You’ll also earn more points on utilities, insurance and telecommunication costs and all other eligible purchases. However, cardholders will earn 0.75 points less per $1 spent when supermarket shopping or filling up their car.

Changes to American Express Qantas Discovery Card earn rates

Transaction type Old earn rate New earn rate
Qantas products and services 2 Qantas Point per $1 2 Qantas Point per $1
Card purchases 1 Qantas Point per $1 1 Qantas Point per $1
Utilities, insurance and telecommunications 1 Qantas Point per $1 1 Qantas Point per $1
Government spend, Australia Post and ATO 1 Qantas Point per $1 0.5 Qantas Point per $1

As you can see, the major change on the Discovery Card is the drop in how many points you can earn on government spend. This is a loss for cardholders who like to earn points on ATO bills come tax time. However, as it’s one of the few cards that still lets you earn points on government transactions, it still has an advantage over other products on the market in this regard.

These earn rate changes have apparently been implemented following customer feedback and requests for a more simple way to collect points.

“We’re implementing the changes based on feedback from our customers. From the extensive research we conducted recently, we know they prefer simple earn rates and this is why we have made an investment in our Qantas Premium and Ultimate cards with a higher, fixed earn rate across most categories. Based on the way they spend, most of our Card Members will be better off as a result of these changes," explained a spokesperson from American Express.

However, whether or not the American Express earn rate changes will impact you positively or negatively will depend on how you use your credit card. As always, make sure you thoroughly compare your options to ensure that the earn rates are compatible with your spending habits to get the most value from the card.

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