Would you pay $20 per year to be covered by overseas travel insurance, extended warranty insurance, purchase protection insurance and transport accident insurance? Of course you would. That small extra amount is all you’ll pay to get this wide-ranging insurance cover when you choose the Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum Credit Card rather than sticking with the Amplify Credit Card, the slightly less expensive, non-platinum version. In addition, you’ll receive several 'welcome aboard’ extras in the first year.
Very reasonable fee for a platinum card
The annual fee is $99 p.a., which makes it exceptional value compared with the already reasonable $79 charged for the Amplify card. But why just compare it with its Bank of Melbourne stablemates? With the exception of the HSBC Platinum Credit Card and the ANZ Rewards Platinum Credit Card (neither of which offer the opportunity to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points) this is the lowest annual fee you’ll pay for a platinum card combining both rewards points and insurance.
Platinum card insurance benefits
Let there be no mistake about this: $99 p.a. per year does not buy you the best of the best. The Bank of Melbourne has created two distinct tiers of insurance benefits, and the Amplify Platinum card is a 'Level 2’ card, not qualifying for quite the same extensive benefits as a 'Level 1’ card. (Level 1 cards include the much more expensive Amplify Signature Card and the Vertigo Platinum card.) Even so, the insurance cover is very worthwhile, and the following policies are provided:
Level 2 cards like this one receive lower compensation amounts and have lower claim limits and shorter periods of cover than the Level 1 cards, but the cover provided is still very comprehensive. You will, however, need to choose a Level 1 card if you want cover for rental vehicle excess in Australia, interstate flight inconvenience or purchase price guarantee.
Don’t forget the rewards points
Yes, you do get insurance and rewards points for your $99 p.a. annual fee. You even get a choice of rewards, with both the bank’s Amplify Rewards program and the Qantas Frequent Flyer program on offer. You will need to make an initial choice, and cardholders with an eye on value returned per dollar spent will want to opt for QFF points and redeem them for Qantas flights or upgrades. (The bank will pay your $89.50 QFF joining fee if you’re not already a member.) However, you can switch between the programs at any time, and as often as you like, but you can’t transfer across the points you already earned.
Generous bonus points to get you started with a bang
No matter which rewards program you choose, you’ll enjoy the 50,000 points which will come your way if you can manage to spend $2,000 in the first three months of holding the card. That’s an average of only $667 per month.
Those 50,000 points are more than enough for three economy return flights between Melbourne and Sydney (48,000 QFF points) or $225 worth of retail gift cards (49,950 Amplify points).
Unexceptional points earning rate
However, the ongoing earning rate of 1.0 Amplify points or 0.5 QFF points per dollar isn’t particularly inspiring – again, look at a more expensive card if a higher earning rate is what you’re looking for – but the points will still mount up surprisingly quickly.
Importantly, there is no monthly or annual points cap, a pleasant surprise when compared with many competing rewards cards which have points caps or thresholds to restrict your earning rate.
As previously mentioned, Qantas award flights and flight upgrades purchased with QFF points are probably the most financially rewarding way of using points, but if you have more points than you can sensibly use for flights, or no need for air travel, there are lots of other things you can do.
You can redeem your Amplify points for such items as shopping cards at major retail outlets, movie tickets, household appliances, technology, beauty products, clothing, and even donations to your favourite charity. Through Amplify Travel you can exchange points for domestic and international flights, nights in hotels, car hire, weekends away and longer holiday packages. If you are a member of a frequent flyer program at Virgin Australia, Malaysia Airlines or Singapore Airlines, you can convert your Amplify points to frequent flyer points. (The current exchange rate is 2 Amplify points = 1 frequent flyer point.)
Qantas also has an online store, so as well as using your QFF points for Qantas, Jetstar and partner airline flights and upgrades you can also choose to swap them for merchandise and experiences. The usual range of goods is available, including hotel stays, car hire, gift cards, insurance, toys, TVs, toasters, and so on.
Other extras in the package
A Visa Platinum cardholder automatically has access to the Visa Platinum concierge service. Help and advice is available by phone or online, for booking travel, entertainment, dining and any other platinum lifestyle experience you can think of.
Verified by Visa protects you with one-time passwords via SMS when you’re shopping online, providing an extra layer of security on top of the 24/7 Falcon Fraud Monitoring.
A look at the competition
The HSBC Platinum Credit Card offers both rewards points and a range of insurance policies, and currently refunds the annual fee in any year where you meet a low target spending amount.
If you want to be able to switch between conventional rewards points and QFF points, and are prepared to pay a higher annual fee, take a look at the Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card.
An ideal card for . . .
. . . anyone who travels overseas regularly but still expects value for money. The Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum Card is the perfect traveller’s card, providing overseas travel insurance including car rental excess, the opportunity to switch between QFF and Amplify points, and generous bonus points. It manages to do all this while charging an annual fee below the $100 mark.
I got this credit card as part of a bundle with my mortgage. The fees are more than I would like, but in all likelihood quite reasonable.
I love the rewards system. I don’t think about it for a year or two, and when I look at my points I can actually get things I want. The last lot helped me with my kitchen renovation.
I’ve never had a problem with it working, and there are no hidden fees.
I don’t pay an annual fee for the credit card as it’s part of my home loan package, and this is for the life of the loan.
I have all my direct debits coming out of this card, as well as grocery shopping, etc, so I can earn as many points as possible to redeem for flights or other items.
Staff members in my branch are very helpful and made the process very easy. I have my credit card linked to Qantas points and the annual fee is waived as part of my home loan advantage package. I also receive complimentary travel insurance through the credit card, which is very helpful.
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