Citibank is offering two credit cards for Australian residents that come with big Qantas Frequent Flyer bnonuses.

Only 1.4% of this blog’s visitors last month came from Australia. So what makes that relevant (at least to 98.6% of you)?

  • Big credit card bonuses are no longer strictly a U.S. phenomenon. While bonuses outside the U.S. tend not to be as large, and vary tremendously by market, this is the first time I’ve seen a 100,000 mile offer outside the U.S.
  • Bonuses are headed in the ‘right’ direction worldwide, rather than wondering whether world trends would shrink US bonuses.
  • Australia has done the most to limit credit card interchange fees, so as credit card processors enter settlements that have similar effects in the U.S. the Australian market can be seen as one potential extreme direction that the U.S. might go. And there are still big bonuses.

That said, 100,000 Qantas points don’t necessarily go that far. Here’s the Qantas award chart. Partner awards are more expensive. Los Angeles – Sydney roundtrip in first class (without any add-on flights) is 288,000 miles plus fuel surcharges.

The cards have big fees — $348 per year for the 80,000 mile signup offer and $749 for the 100,000 mile version of the card — but have no minimum spend requirement. The premium card comes with unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for the cardholder and a guest.

A 100,000 mile signup bonus, though, is enough for 12 economy one-way segments between Sydney and Canberra. It’s also enough for one-way business class Sydney – Los Angeles or roundtrip business class Sydney – Jakarta. So definitely worth signing up for in the Australia market.

(HT: Australian frequent flyer blog Point Hacks)

  1. JohnD said,

    Be warned – the likelihood of being able to use QF miles for business or first on any LAX-SYD/MLB flight anytime near the day you would like to travel is slim to none.

  2. Gary said,

    @JohnD – I disagree, using Qantas miles you can book when their schedule loads which is weeks ahead of when AA has access to the seats (and unfortunately now weeks ahead of when Alaska does, as well). And Qantas seats CAN be had in the weeks after their schedule loads. For what it’s worth I have a couple of first class awards booked myself :-)

  3. Return said,

    @Gary – that depends on you being able to lock down travel dates a year in advance, right?

  4. Gary said,

    @return – for Qantas seats it pretty much does. These are some of the hardest seats to get in the world.

  5. Djuha said,

    Those considering this should also be aware that Qantas is in very significant financial trouble right now and I wouldn’t be surprised at a bankruptcy that could negatively impact one’s ability to use their miles.

  6. Rado said,

    Thanks for the heads up. Pretty good offer. AMEX Platinum charge card have been offering 80k QF points for $1200 annual fee. Same card in the US is US$450.

  7. Keith - Point Hacks said,

    @Djuha unless Qantas goes under fully (unlikely, they need to try getting senior management replaced first) Qantas Frequent Flyer points and the program itself aren’t going anywhere. They are already not the best value, I can’t see a devaluation in the short term.
    @Gary – thanks for the HT!

  8. Victor said,

    I’m not sure I would be going for either of these offers. I don’t think QF miles are worth 0.5c/mile, given we can’t redeem them for international premium travel unless a year in advance, it costs 288k (!) miles PLUS fuel surcharges to go to the US and back compared to 110k for the same seats on AA miles? These miles are worse than Delta..

  9. Ed said,

    To add to what victor said, the bonus is being paid for by the vastly inflated (compared to the US) annual fee. I’ve recently moved from the US and there aren’t many (any?) rewards cards that are particularly rewarding down here, the annual fees are used to replace the revenue lost through limiting charges (AU$1200/yr for and Amex platinum, for example).

    Luckily, in Australia you can get qantas points for basic bodily functions like breathing, but as pointed out! they aren’t very useful.

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