Qantas’s new prepaid Frequent Flyer card allows fee-free reloads and the ability to earn points.
UPDATE: Qantas Frequent Flyer members can now be among the first to receive the new card when it becomes available in late 2013 by registering online. Qantas has mentioned that only a limited supply will be available at first, so members are advised to register before 12 May 2013.
Qantas Frequent Flyers are now able to shop overseas, gain points and board their flight using the new Qantas Frequent Flyer member card.
As part of Qantas’s latest improvements to its loyalty program, members will be able to shop overseas using the inbuilt prepaid functionality, called Qantas Cash.
The chip allows members to transfer money onto the card in the form of ‘prepaid’ credit, and then use it to shop at up to 35 million locations where MasterCard is accepted. The card also doubles up as a travel card, allowing members to withdraw cash and foreign currency from up to 2.1 million ATMs in Australia and overseas.
‘This new generation card will open the door to a lot of other uses through smart chip technology and the ability to integrate it with mobiles, meaning the sky really is the limit,’ says Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant.
But not only can the Qantas Frequent Flyer Card change the technological landscape of cards, it can also rival its financial services against the banks. According to financial blogger, Ben Sandliands, ‘there is little room to doubt that Qantas will have a competing offer for some retail banking ‘extra’ services, keeping in mind you will need to preset or precharge the Qantas Cash reserve from your bank account.’
Prepaid travel cards and fees
Prepaid travel money cards may not benefit you if you intend to spend less than $3000 overseas. This is because the fees you usually pay for having a travel card may outweigh the transaction costs you’ll incur. ‘Given the poor standing of banks in relation to fees, it is possible that Qantas could score some major kudos for this initiative’ says Sandilands.
But you can lock in the exchange rate when you load up your prepaid travel card, it will protect you in the event the Australian dollar drops – this can outweigh any fees or costs associated with the travel card. But if the exchange rate remains stable, then you may just be paying high fees with your card. The Qantas Cash has relatively low fees- it doesn’t charge for reloads, nor does it have an initial cost. Still, you may want to consider;
- Nine currencies available via BPAY or POLi
- Card purchase fee/initial loading fee
- ATM fee per withdrawal
- Maximum load
- Reload fee
- Currency conversion
- Monthly inactivity fee
- Fee for a replacement card
Features of the Qantas Frequent Flyer Card
- Security. Includes a chip. PIN and signature to authorise transactions and ongoing fraud protection provided by MasterCard’s Zero Liability.
- MasterCard Facilities. Accepted at 35 million locations and 2.1 million ATMs worldwide.
- One card with many purposes. Loyalty membership, everyday purchases, travel money card
- Bronze Frequent Flyers. Bronze Frequent Flyers can now enjoy the same check in and boarding convenience as Silver, Gold and Platinum members by using the Frequent Flyer card.
- Foreign Currency. Up to nine different currencies, lock in exchange rates, use for in-store purchases when travelling overseas, withdraw foreign currency from ATMs. These may include the standard currencies such as US dollars, UK points and Euros. Credit Card Finder also tips New Zealand dollars, Singapore and Hong Kong dollars to be part of the nine-currency family.
- Be rewarded. Earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points for eligible purchases
- Airline check in and boarding pass. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum card holders to be able to use their card to check-in at airports and as a boarding pass.
What are the value of my Frequent Flyer points?
You’ll earn one point per dollar spent overseas for eligible transactions, and one point per two dollars spent in Australia. You’ll also earn one point per dollar spent in foreign currencies when shopping online.
Qantas Frequent Flyer points are earned on transactions between A$50-A$10,000. You can also earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points when you purchase foreign currency cash from Qantas Travel Money online and must present your membership card.
The Qantas Cash has no initial fees, nor does it charge for reloads – either by BPAY or POLi. It also doesn’t charge fees for domestic ATM withdrawals, and doesn’t have fees for moving leftover funds to your bank account. You also save by not paying currency conversion fees when paying in a currency loaded onto the card.
There are fees for international ATM withdrawals (approximately $2 per withdrawal), getting cash out over the counter (approximately $10 per transaction) and having a negative balance ($20). There’s also a $1 fee for each month you don’t use your card, and a currency conversion fee of 3% if you pay in a currency not loaded onto your card.
You may be interesting in learning more about Qantas Points earning frequent flyer cards.