Not too many credit cards offer the flexibility to choose between a frequent flyer program and a standard rewards program, and even switch back and forth between the two as the need arises. But the Bank of Melbourne Amplify Credit Card does exactly that. The points earning rate is not the best, but, given the moderate annual fee and some less obvious built-in benefits, this card provides an excellent opportunity to find out whether earning points is a good fit for you.
Long 0 percent p.a. interest period on purchases – another good reason to switch
There’s no zero-interest balance transfer on offer with this card, but there is an introductory offer which may suit you even more – 14 months at 0 percent p.a. on purchases. This means that for the first 14 months of holding the card, you can, if you choose, make only the 2 percent minimum monthly repayments.
However, it’s important to make sure you don’t spend amounts that you won’t be able to repay at the end of 14 months, because any balance left unpaid at the end of that period will start attracting interest at the unpleasant ongoing purchases interest rate of 19.49 percent.
The best approach would be to put an amount equal to your purchases total for each month into a savings account or mortgage offset account. At the end of 14 months you can withdraw a lump sum to cover your debt, and pocket the interest you have earned or saved.
Flexible points earning
The rewards program on offer with this card is probably the most flexible in the market, and flexibility is important because it allows you to take advantage of special offers as they arise as well as changing direction in your points earning to suit your current needs. You’ll be asked to make an initial choice between Qantas Frequent Flyer Points the bank’s own Amplify Rewards, but after that, you can apply to switch between the two programs whenever you need to, although points you have already earned cannot be transferred from one program to the other.
Less-than-stellar standard points earning rate
You’ll earn 1.0 Amplify points or 0.5 Qantas points per dollar spent on purchases. Compared with other cards it’s far from being a high earning rate, but you won’t need to spend all that much before you’ve recouped the cost of the moderate $79 annual fee.
For example, you’d need to spend $11,100 to earn a $50 eGift shopping card through Amplify Rewards, which is an equivalent return of 0.5 cents per dollar spent. Many other rewards cards have a much higher fee.
Redeeming Amplify Rewards points
Earning points can be tedious, but there’s nothing boring about spending them, especially through Amplify Rewards which offers a wide range of choices. You can choose the store gift cards already mentioned, homewares, fashion and beauty products, sporting goods, technology, toys and travel, including holidays and domestic and international flights with nearly 30 airlines.
You can even choose to transfer your Amplify points to your frequent flyer account with Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines or Malaysia Airlines, currently at the rate of two Amplify points per airline point. And if you don’t have enough Amplify points to redeem for your chosen product, you can choose a combination of paying with points and cash.
Redeeming Qantas points
Alternatively, choose Qantas points and accrue, for example, 8,000 points (that’s $16,000 of spending) to redeem for an economy return flight between Sydney and Melbourne worth around $145 net of charges and taxes. That’s a return of about 0.9 cents per dollar spent.
You can also exchange Qantas points for flights with Jetstar and 35 partner airlines, Qantas flight upgrades, and gift cards and merchandise from the Qantas online store.
Other card benefits worth having
OK, so there are no insurance policies included with this card, which is not a bad thing if you don’t think you would use them. That’s because the annual fee would be much higher if ‘complimentary’ insurance cover was provided. There are, however, several other advantages which may not seem all that impressive to begin with, but they’re extremely useful and don’t come with every credit card:
Avoid losing your card
Keep track of your card’s whereabouts at all times, not just for the security of your account, but because you’ll want to avoid the bank’s rather steep overseas card replacement fee. Lose your card in Australia and replacement is free, but hang onto it overseas, because a replacement there will cost you $52.50. And if you’re in a hurry (inevitable, if you’re overseas) you can add a further $45 for emergency courier costs.
Are there any other flexible rewards cards?
The Bank of Melbourne is in the same group as St. George and BankSA, so both these banks also have an Amplify credit card which lets you choose between a conventional rewards program and QFF points. Otherwise, the nearest equivalent is the Westpac Altitude range of cards, allowing you to take your pick between Qantas points and the bank’s Altitude Rewards points. However, the lowest level Altitude card is the platinum version with complimentary insurance policies and a much higher annual fee.
Who should consider this card?
Perhaps you’ve been using a credit card for a few years. You’re used to your current card, but you can’t help thinking that you’re missing out now that both your income and spending have risen, and you’re not getting anything back. Earning points can become an almost automatic process if you use your credit card at every possible opportunity, and redeeming them is a positive pleasure.
If you want to test the water without paying a huge fee ($79 is not bad for a rewards card) and be able to switch between a frequent flyer scheme and a wider-ranging rewards program, this card could be a good fit for you.
This card is well worth it for the bonuses and the rates offered when you have a bank account with them. The rate is quite good compared to other cards out there in the marketplace.
There are good ties into Virgin Velocity, with automatic monthly transfers.
The app is easy to use, as is the website.
This is a great credit card from a trusted bank that earns us Qantas points at the same time. It has tap-and-go, which we love. I originally got it as part of a home loan package. Since refinancing home loans to another provider, we’ve kept this card. I’ve got a joint credit card with my wife for extra convenience. Friendly and helpful customer service
Collecting points means collecting things we actually need and they’re free! An electric juicer for all the freshly squeezed organic oranges for my son in the mornings, iTunes vouchers for my passionate music loving partner, a new toaster when the old one burnt out, Bunnings vouchers for the ever expanding organic garden.
This credit card is mother’s little helper, or should I say spoiler!
Pretty good for a first credit card. First months of low interest and reasonable annual fee….very flexible and handy. Didn’t like customer service phone calls a lot. I had the card for emergency but it became too accessible and handy, good tho because I chose a low limit. Good online banking too.
|Interest rate||Period||Fee||Limit||Revert rate|
|Purchases||0% p.a.||14 months||N/A||N/A||19.49% p.a.|
|Cash advances||1.69%||20.24% p.a.|