Changes to the American Express Frequent Flyer Program

Information verified correct on December 7th, 2016

You may have noticed the credit card space is alive with changes to the Qantas frequent flyer program. How will these changes impact you?

All major credit card providers like ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac, American Express, Diners, Suncorp, Citibank and St.George will continue to offer customers the ability to earn reward points on everyday spending. However, if you own one of these credit cards you will still need to check whether your card has been affected by these changes.


What has changed?

  • Qantas has also updated some of its frequent flyer cards and eliminated a few credit cards from its range. The change, which was put in place in April 2014, puts an end to how points were being transferred to Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
  • Overall, the changes gave customers more choice of travel rewards to choose from. Qantas has advised that 12 credit and debit cards will continue to offer customers the ability to earn Frequent Flyer points on everyday spending.

First off the rank is American Express. Here's some of the adjustments they've brought into the market.


 American Express Qantas frequent flyer changes

American Express (Amex) announced that there will be a change in the number of frequent flyer points in which their cardholders can earn on their Amex Qantas Premium and Virgin Australia Premium and Gold credit cards.

The basic Amex cards like the Qantas Discovery Card and Velocity Escape credit card are not affected by these changes and will still maintain their points earning.

From 22 July 2013, these three credit card will no longer earn a set rate of frequent flyer points per dollar spent. Amex’s previous rate was 1.5 points per dollar spent on the Qantas Premium and Velocity Platinum credit card, and 1.25 points per dollar spent on the Velocity Gold credit card.

The new rules state that for some services like booking flights, supermarket shopping with your Qantas credit card and dining out with your Velocity credit card you’ll earn extra points.

However, other card purchases will now only earn 1 point per dollar spent. Paying your bills such as utilities, phone, insurance and government charges has been reduced to 0.5 points per dollar spent. The table below summarises the Amex changes.

Frequent Flyer points

Qantas American Express Premium Card

American Express Velocity Platinum Card

American Express Velocity Escape Card

3

Selected restaurants, Virgin goods and services

2

Major supermarkets, petrol stations and selected Qantas products in Australia

Travel expenses through selected agencies, spend in foreign currency when overseas and online

For every $1 spent with Virgin Australia

1

Insurances by Amex and other goods and services not listed above or below

Other expenses not mentioned above or below, insurances offered by Amex

For every $1 spent on eligible purchases everywhere else.

0.5

Household and phone bills, insurances not offered by Amex, Government fees and charges

Household and phone bills, insurances not offered by Amex, Government fees and charges

The Qantas American Express Premium credit card before and after

With this credit card there is no cap on the amount of Qantas frequent flyer points you can earn. You also have them automatically transferred to your Qantas frequent flyer account each month.

  • Before 22 July 2013: 1.25 points per $1 spent
  • After 22 July 2013: please see the table above for new rates

man-thinking-case-study-american-express

Ben usually spends $1500 a month on his Qantas American Express Platinum credit card. He spends approximately $800 shopping at major supermarkets, $500 on social gatherings and eating out and $200 on household bills.

  • Before 22 July 2013: Ben would have accumulated 1875 points
  • After 22 July 2013: Ben would have accumulated 2200 points (600 + 500 + 100)

After the Qantas frequent flyer changes, it seems that Ben can earn more points on his credit card because he spends most of his cash shopping at supermarkets, which now has an increased earn rate.

The most important thing to understand from all these credit card changes is to communicate with your rewards credit card provider and find out how likely these changes affect you. In some cases you could be worse off under these new changes related to the Qantas frequent flyer program, which could be a sign that you may want to consider switching credit cards to one that better rewards you.

Jonathan

Jonathan is the Assistant Publisher for credit cards and travel money at finder.com.au He's driven by solving problems for consumers, helping them find the product for their needs.

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