Learn how to compare the cards in the premium sector of the market.
Platinum credit card comparison
Rates last updated September 24th, 2016.
- HSBC Platinum Credit Card
$0 annual fee + 0% for 15 months on balance transfers offer extended until 31 December 2016
September 1st, 2016
- HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
Bonus points offer has been changed from 40,000 to 60,000 and extended until 31 December 2016.
September 1st, 2016
- American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Standard 10,000 bonus points offer has replaced the 30,000 bonus points exclusive offer.
September 1st, 2016
Platinum credit card review
In most cases, you will need to verify that you are earning an above-average income in order to qualify for a premium credit card. In return, most platinum cards also come with higher credit limits to suit those spending higher amounts each month. At first glance, the interest rates and fees associated with platinum credit cards appear significantly higher than most lower end cards. This is done partly to dissuade ‘regular’ credit cardholders from applying for the more expensive accounts, especially when they’re likely to find more benefit in applying for low rate cards or balance transfer cards. However, it’s also to partly cover the costs involved with providing premier services and exclusive offers as part of the account.
While the initial fees and charges might look daunting to some, it’s also worth noting that many customers with cards in the prestige ranges take full advantage of the features available to them. This often includes taking advantage of the interest free days offered on the card. For those customers, the advertised interest rate means very little as they don’t tend to pay any interest charges at all. The higher annual fee charged on these accounts is often a small price to pay for accessing a range of insurance policies attached to the account and the ability to earn rewards at a higher rate than is offered on regular cards.
Some banks are very happy to waive the annual fee on platinum credit cards that are packaged up with other banking products, such as a mortgage and other transaction accounts, in exchange for an annual package fee.
Features of a platinum credit card
The actual features you get included in your platinum credit card account may vary depending on the lender and the payment processor behind the scenes. For most people, prestige cards are sold based on the features and benefits attached to them. For others, accessing the higher credit limits to suit their higher spending amounts and owning a prestige card is what seals the deal.
One of the more prominent features attached to these cards are the complimentary insurance policies. These usually include international travel insurance that can be very handy for those who tend to travel overseas regularly. The international travel insurance policies are often quite extensive, usually featuring coverage for medical expenses incurred while overseas, cover for lost or damaged personal items, rental vehicle excess coverage, flight delay, travel inconvenience, personal legal liability, and a range of other handy travel-related policies. Most platinum credit cards also feature purchase protection insurance as well as the ability to extend the manufacturer’s Australian warranty for up to 12 months on items purchased with the card.
In most cases, platinum cardholders also receive better rewards under the rewards program allocated to their cards. This usually means earning more points per dollar spent, allowing customers to accumulate points faster. Another highly sought after perk offered to platinum cardholders is access to their own personal concierge. This service can be invaluable to busy people, as it’s a bit like having access to a personal assistant when you need one at any time of the day or night, seven days a week.
Your personal concierge is able to book tickets for events, make dinner reservations at nearby restaurants wherever you happen to be in the world, help you arrange meetings and functions, or even offer shopping advice.
Rates and fees of a platinum credit card
One of the primary reasons the quoted interest rates and annual card fees are higher on platinum cards than they are on basic credit cards is because platinum cards are marketed to different types of spenders. For example, some credit card providers understand that some customers tend to carry a balance over from month to month. These types of customers can obtain far greater benefits by shopping around for a low rate credit card or even taking advantage of a balance transfer card with a very low introductory rate.
By comparison, customers on higher incomes that tend to spend larger amounts on a credit card each month also usually have the available disposable income to repay their balances in full each month. As most platinum cards also offer generous interest free days on purchases made using the card, any customer willing to repay the amounts they spend before the due date won’t incur any interest charges on their accounts. For those customers, the actual interest rate quoted doesn’t impact their decision about which card to apply for, as they tend not to pay any interest anyway.
Another reason the annual card fee is higher for a platinum card than you’ll pay for a standard card is to help cover the additional benefits offered to premium customers. The increased rewards and additional insurance policies attached to the account are often worth far more to the cardholder than the annual fee paid.
Pros and cons of a platinum credit card
- Higher credit limit. Many lenders automatically issue platinum credit cards with higher minimum credit limits on them. The upper credit limits are also very generous, which is ideal for those on higher incomes who use their cards regularly.
- Travel perks. For those who travel regularly or intend to travel often find the complimentary travel insurance policies for both international and domestic trips to be very handy.
- Personal Concierge. Many people who qualify for platinum cards love having access to their own personal concierge. Your concierge is able to assist you with booking tickets for events, making dinner reservations, or assisting you in a multitude of ways at any time of the day, 24/7.
- Rewards programs. Almost every platinum credit card offers some form of rewards program. As a premium customer, you’re rewarded with the ability to earn more points per dollar you spend on eligible purchases using your card than you would with a regular credit card. It’s completely up to you which rewards program suits you best, but you should check whether you prefer to earn frequent flyer points or points in the lender’s own rewards program, based on what you’re most likely to redeem your points on.
- Exclusive access. most platinum cardholders are eligible to receive exclusive offers that are reserved for prestige customers only. These can include VIP seating at sporting and entertainment events, concerts and theatre tickets, and plenty more.
- Interest free days. Many customers on higher incomes tend to pay for the things they need on a credit card at the beginning of the month. This gives them a few weeks to repay the amounts they spent on purchases without incurring any interest charges. Not only do they get to earn rewards on the amounts they spend, but they also don’t have to pay interest on those funds.
- Increased card security. As most platinum cards come with higher credit limits, the actual security levels on these cards are also increased. Lenders tend to monitor these accounts for any fraudulent or suspicious activity and cards are fitted with chips that further increase security.
- Extended warranty coverage. Having access to a higher credit limit makes it easier to purchase personal items with a bigger price tag. Whenever you use your card to pay for a purchase, you can extend the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on that product for up to a maximum of 12 months at no additional charge.
- Higher annual card fee. Most prestige credit cards charge a higher annual card fee than their regular counterparts. In some cases, you could be paying up to $400 per year for access to the perks and benefits attached to your card. For some, this is a small price to pay for the bonuses they receive. For others, the benefits may not outweigh the costs.
- Higher interest rates. The interest rates quoted on platinum credit cards are often higher than those displayed for low rate cards. If you find that you regularly carry a credit card balance over from month to month and you pay high interest charges on your account, you may be better off looking for a low rate card or even a balance transfer credit card instead. However, if you regularly repay your entire balance in full at the end of each month, the interest rate quoted won’t mean a thing to you.
- Additional qualifying criteria. In order to qualify for a platinum credit card and the higher credit limits associated with these accounts, you’ll need to verify that you earn more than a specified income each year. Some lenders will require that you can show earnings of more than $75,000 per year to qualify. Others may restrict eligibility to those earning more than $100,000.
Who should be applying for a platinum credit card?
If you’re the type of customer who always repays your entire credit card balance every month, you can definitely benefit from a platinum card. These types of accounts are squarely aimed at customers who show a high level of financial responsibility. By repaying the amounts you spend on your card regularly, you can take advantage of the interest free days on your account and not pay any interest on eligible purchases. By the same token, if you’re using your card regularly to pay for purchases you also get the benefit of earning rewards points at a higher rate.
Likewise, if you travel regularly either internationally or domestically, you can take advantage of the generous travel-related insurance policies attached to your account. However, if you tend to struggle to pay down more than just the minimum payment due each month, it may be wise to consider an alternative card. This is due largely to the higher interest rates and higher annual fees on platinum credit cards. If you can’t repay your balances regularly, you’ll end up paying much higher interest charges and paying a high annual fee each year for no actual benefits.
The majority of platinum credit cards available have eligibility requirements that need to be met before you’ll be approved. If you can verify that you have an income that is greater than the minimum requirement for that card, you should qualify.
Factors to consider when choosing the best platinum credit card*
Many different lenders and credit card providers offer platinum cards. Some will offer very different features than others. Some will be linked to different types of rewards programs. Before you choose a platinum credit card, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
Do you have any existing credit card debts?
If you’re struggling to pay off your existing credit card debt and you only manage to pay barely more than the minimum due, perhaps consider a platinum credit card with a balance transfer offer attached. These allow you to transfer any outstanding balances from your old credit card account over to your new platinum card. For an introductory period the interest rate charged on the amounts you transfer is significantly reduced. This can help to cut down your interest charges and make it a little easier for you to repay that debt more quickly.
Do you travel frequently?
If you travel on a fairly regular basis and you use your credit card to pay for your travel arrangements, you should look closely at some of the travel-related perks available on various platinum cards. Many of them will offer very similar types of complimentary insurance policies, but the actual extent of coverage offered may differ. Look for the platinum card with policies that best suit your individual needs.
Do you buy electronic goods or high-ticket items regularly on your credit card?
Having access to a higher credit limit makes it much easier to pay for more expensive items on your card. Upgrading to a platinum credit card may also give you the advantage of complimentary purchase protection insurance for items you bought using that card. This can cover you against accidental loss, theft or damage of the item for up to 90 days with some providers, or up to 60 days with others. Likewise, most platinum cards will also allow you to benefit from extending the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on the items you purchase for up to a maximum of 12 additional months at no charge to you.
Are you a business owner?
Upgrading to a platinum business credit card can be a smart move for some business owners. Most businesses tend to spend more than the average personal consumer, so having access to accelerated rewards earnings, complimentary business insurance policies and higher credit limits may be ideal. The most suitable card for you is the one that offers the perks and benefits that relate most to your income, your lifestyle and your financial habits. Always compare the options available before choosing the right one for you.
How to compare the best platinum credit cards*
The marketing spiel for a particular platinum credit card might make it seem like it is ideal for you. However, it’s important to look at certain factors in more detail and be sure you can maximise the perks available in your own favour. The rewards program If you’ve chosen a platinum credit card for the rewards program attached to it, it’s important to look at your own spending habits first to see whether it’s worth the effort for you.
Everyone will have their own preferences when it comes to redeeming rewards points. You may prefer to spend your points on free flights or shopping vouchers or even just buying general merchandise. It’s expected that premier platinum cardholders are going to earn more points per dollar they spend. However, be absolutely sure that the rewards you’re redeeming for are worth your effort in the first place.
For example, you may find that you earn the same number of points per dollar with several different cards. The difference between them, however, may be the conversion rate of points back to dollar value. You may find that you earn the same points with either card, but one will charge you 3,500 points to redeem the precise same item that will cost you 7,500 from the other. See if you can view the rewards and points charged to redeem for items of the same or similar value before you make a decision.
The ability to earn additional points for each dollar you spend on your platinum card is great. However some cards will have limits at which the number of points you’re able to earn are capped. If your own spending habits show that you spend more than $50,000 per year on credit card purchases, you’ll want a card which doesn’t limit you. Many of the platinum cards have very high caps or no caps at all.
Complimentary insurance policies
While it’s expected that all platinum credit cards will offer a range of complimentary insurance policies, it’s wise to check what level of coverage you’re offered and what conditions apply. By comparison, policies underwritten by QBE, such as those available from ANZ, may only require you to spend a minimum of $250 towards the cost of your travel on your platinum card in order for insurance to apply.
You’ll also find the amount of excess payable if you make a claim on any policy will vary between insurers. If you’re choosing a platinum card purely to take advantage of the insurance policies that come with your account, always be sure to compare the policies available in detail. Check what level of coverage you have and know what amount of excess is payable if you make a claim. You should also check what you are insured for and what instances or situations may offer you no coverage at all.
Visa or MasterCard
Your own bank may have its own corporate logo branded on your platinum card, but you still have the option of a Visa or MasterCard as the payment processor behind the scenes. For most people, there’s no real difference between the two processors. However, there are some subtle differences that will matter to some cardholders. If you travel overseas regularly and you use your credit card to pay for things, your choice could affect your overall fees. Take a close look at the differences in how international purchases are treated between Visa and MasterCard. The slight variance in fees might not mean a lot at first glance, but if you travel a lot those fees can add up. Some cardholders really love the additional perks they receive on their platinum cards. The differences in perks can vary between Visa and MasterCard cardholders, but in most cases they have similar offerings.
Ensure that the perks, rewards programs and other features offered through a platinum card give you enough value once the annual fee is factored in. These fees can be high so be sure that you’re getting what you want in exchange for the fee.
Read the fine print
Regardless of how good the rewards program appears or how generous you feel the complimentary insurance policies are, it’s still vitally important to read the fine print. Understand the exact terms and conditions that apply to your card type from your individual lender or credit card provider. Know what fees and charges you can expect for your account and always check your statements when they arrive to ensure your account is operating smoothly.
Be sure you know your payment due date and always strive to repay your entire balance in full. This will make sure you don’t pay unnecessary interest charges and you’re ensuring your rewards exceed the cost of the annual fee you pay on your card. If you’re keen to take advantage of the perks available to you on your platinum card, be sure you understand what you’re eligible for and know how to make it happen.
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