Qantas AmEx Ultimate Vs AmEx Explorer Credit Card or Any other card

Hey guys,

Happy New Year to you all!

I'm very new to the credit card game, although I've had a bank-issued Amex with CBA for the past 3 years now that's gone I realised how crap their points system is.

Would have racked up so much points with Amex issued cards instead.

Anyway, I've been looking into Explorer vs. Qantas Ultimate but having a hard time to decide which one to go with.

Devastated that I missed out on the 100k MR bonus on the Explorer in November! I was hoping if some of the experienced ozbargainers could give me a few tips.

I read up there are some big changes to points in April, so just wanted to check which card is the best!

  • I'm not a frequent traveller. I rarely do domestic travels but I will try to do 2 international trips per year (I will do 3 this year)

  • Spend around $2k on my credit card pm

  • Don't really mind Qantas or not

Thanks in advance!

Edit: I've seen some comments in the past, people saying that "The $400 travel credit is a joke. Don't get this card on the basis it will offset the $395 fee. It won't.It's nearly impossible to use. Very limited options in terms of flights, hotels, rental cars."


  • +2 votes

    "The $400 travel credit is a joke. Don't get this card on the basis it will offset the $395 fee. It won't.It's nearly impossible to use. Very limited options in terms of flights, hotels, rental cars."

    I have the QANTAS Ultimate card with a $450 travel credit. When I want to use it, I log on to the AMEX Travel website and book flights with it. I am aware it does not show some sale fares. If I were booking domestic I'd probably avoid using it on that basis. When I'm booking international however, I'm looking to book into a travel class which I can (attempt to) upgrade with points. On that basis, the price on AMEX Travel is exactly the same as the price on the QANTAS website, and it's entirely $450 not spent on flights, in my hand. It's not funny money, my cash fare is reduced by $450 which I paid for the card, making it all even.

    Add in statement credits and I'm ahead. What am I missing here? Works fine for me.


      Thank you for the reply! My other concern is that Qantas is generally more expensive than other airlines, hence I'm also considering the Explorer card where I can transfer points to airlines like SG/Cathy!


        I couldn't tell you the answer to this unfortunately, I only have the Qantas card. It comes down to personal preference, I fly relatively frequently and therefore stick with Qantas for 2 reasons - one is status, where I can get benefits such as lounge access as Gold even when flying economy, the other is that SCs count towards lifetime status on Qantas which means that while it is more expensive than other airlines, I have the opportunity to pick up a lifetime oneworld status by directing all of my flying dollars to QF.

        Each to their own, there are many other approaches too.

        Also, Cathay earn SCs and points for Qantas Frequent Flyer so it still makes sense to credit to QFF for oneworld partners.


      I feel the options covered all flights that I wanted, i checked Jetstar and my preferred Garuda flights were on there. I noticed though they were all priced slightly high.

      I'd value the travel credit at $350 or so


      Are you referring to Domestic?

      Because I checked multiple Internationals from multiple airlines and they were all there.. they varied from the same price to $50 more

  • +2 votes

    I've had no issues with the travel credit. Obviously some hotels are more expensive, but I've found some really good deals on the Amex Travel website (cheaper than other aggregators and direct) - just requires a bit more stuffing around.

  • +1 vote

    At the end of the day, both have their pros and cons. Instead of splitting hairs, I'd be erring on the one with the bigger sign up bonus. You should only aim to keep the card until the points come in and then cancel immediately, set your calendar for 18-months and repeat. At $2,000 per month, you're not putting enough through to justify keeping it.


      If I keep getting $400 or $450 of travel credits, I don't think it's a bad idea to keep it as I do travel internationally as least one year? Am I missing something here?

      I currently have the CBA diamond awards card but the value on that is trash. :(


        There are two schools of thought. One is that you should keep "strategic cards" - as I do. The second school of thought is that no card is valuable enough to be a keeper and you should just continue churning through signup bonuses forever.

        Nobody really knows who is right and who is wrong, ie will there ever be a ban imposed on churners from AMEX. I doubt it would happen, but I prefer to hold on to my AMEX as it has benefits that Visa/MC cards don't have (better insurance, better rewards, statement credits).

        You can make your own mind up, either Lunarboogie nor I are intrinsically right, he will just have a much larger point balance than I do :)


          True true! I'm going to keep my CBA diamond card still.

          My plan is to get a 'strategic card' like explorer or Qantas ultimate.


    It's not a free travel credit. You're paying for it in annual fees. Accordingly, given the limitations with the Amex travel site (not giving you all options and erring on the more expensive ones), you're better off buying travel directly off the travel provider and thereby get a cheaper deal and the bonus points with that provider. The aim in this caper is to maximise frequent flyer points which is done by signing on to new cards as much as possible. By holding on to any Amex, you're denying yourself that opportunity with Amex itself, while reducing your scope to get others because of the credit limit that the amex card is eating up. Sign and burn is my motto.


      Doesn't that affect ur credit rating? I've already got a mortgage so I'm not too fuss but surely it will affect ur ability to apply for credit cards if sing n burn all the time? Sorry I'm a noob hence the doubt haha.


        No worries. It's a question that comes up all the time. Applying for credit cards within moderation will have little impact on your credit rating. I have no firm proof for this, other than my own experience where I have applied for a new card every month for the last 18 and my credit rating has actually improved over that time (probably helped by the new credit rating system). During this period, I have amassed over 1.5m points and have travelled the world extensively in business and first class and have sold a huge swath to . Nothing in life comes for free and in this case, it's potentially my credit rating that could be damaged but fortunately for me it hasn't (I also took out a mortgage 2 months ago to buy a new house and the credit card splurge had no impact - admittedly I had cancelled all my cards the day before I applied for the mortgage, and took out 2 new cards in the week the mortgage was approved).


          Well awesome! congrats on your new house!

          Have you been cancelling your cc as soon as the benefits hit your account? Do you only sign up to cards that waive 1st year annual fee, so you can take advantage of the points without paying? Or do you sometimes cope the annual fee for the first year because for cards like Amex, fee for first year is not waived.

          Also, do you cancel your cards before applying for a new one?

          Thanks again!

          • +1 vote

            @sauce2k: Yup. As I mentioned upthread, I apply, get points and then cancel immediately. I never have more than 2 on the go and I always opt for the lowest credit amount. As you are only putting through $2,000 per month (or $36,000 over 18-months), you're much better off earning 100,000 in bonus sign on points every 18-months, than acquiring around 36,000 points through purchases. And come the big devaluation on 15 April, there will be even less incentive to keep Amexs as your earn rate will be cut in half. It's your call but if you're objective is to get points (which it seems to be), then the burn and churn method looks more effective option in your case.


              @Lunarboogie: Thanks for this man!

              In ur experience how often does the 100k bonus points come out? I'm tossing whether to wait until the new rates starting to apply that Amex might do a special promo haha

              • +1 vote

                @sauce2k: New deals are released like clock work. A new Amex velocity deal offering 100,000 points that hit my email overnight (for the velocity platinum) so I wouldn't sweat it.


                  @Lunarboogie: Will the new credit code I n April reduce/impact the sign up bonuses offered?

                  • +1 vote

                    @midlake: Potentially. The dramatic cut in earn rates may even lead to a doubling in sign on bonuses to compensate. At the end of the day, this is a game where the rules change and change often. You gotta stay fleet footed to stay ahead. Advice on this site and AFF helps immeasurably.


    This page should have all your questions answered:

    Check out the table of new effective Amex conversion rate to AsiaMiles/Velocity.

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