Qantas and Mastercard Announce New Generation Frequent Flyer Card

Sydney | Published on 20th February 2013 at 12:37

Qantas has announced major improvements to its Frequent Flyer program, with a host of new features that Australian-based members can unlock with a new chip-enabled card.

The next generation Qantas Frequent Flyer member card will have in-built prepaid functionality, called Qantas Cash™, which will enable members to transfer money onto the card and use it for shopping at 35 million locations where MasterCard is accepted. Members will also have the opportunity to earn points on eligible transactions.

Doubling as a travel card, members will be able to withdraw cash and foreign currency from over 2.1 million ATMs in Australia and overseas, in addition to existing functions of the current Frequent Flyer card, such as faster, smarter check-in at airports and serving as a boarding pass.

The new cards will be available to Australian-based members from the third quarter of 2013.

Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant said the Qantas CashTM feature would make the new generation card indispensable for many people.

“There are more than nine million Qantas Frequent Flyer members and we are investing in making their membership card even more valuable,” said Ms Grant.

“The Qantas Cash feature will tap into the rapidly expanding area of electronic payments as people shift from cash to cards, and let members earn points from these transactions.

“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,” said Ms Grant.

Key features of the card will be:

– Single card for multiple purposes: loyalty membership, airline check-in and boarding, everyday purchases, travel money card.

– Load up to nine different currencies on the card, lock in exchange rates, and use it for in-store transactions when travelling overseas, to withdraw foreign currency from ATMs internationally or to purchase online.

– Earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points for making eligible purchases on the card.

– The ability for Bronze Frequent Flyers to use their card to check-in at airports and as their boarding pass (currently only available to Silver, Gold and Platinum card holders).

– Several layers of security, including chip, PIN and signature to authorise transactions and ongoing fraud protection provided by MasterCard’s Zero Liability.

Ms Grant said the new features announced today represented one of the biggest leaps in innovation for the Qantas Frequent Flyer program since it started in 1987.

“Frequent Flyer is one of the core strengths of the Qantas Group portfolio, and it has succeeded because its members are passionately involved in the program,” she said.

“It’s not just another card in your wallet – it is a passport to a family holiday, or an upgrade to Business Class or a new appliance.
“By diversifying the uses of the card and creating a new way to earn Frequent Flyer points, we are increasing engagement levels of our members and the value of the program to our partners,” added Ms Grant.

Qantas will join with MasterCard and other financial service providers that will deliver the electronic payment function and hold funds loaded on the card.

MasterCard Australasia Division President, Eddie Grobler, said the new multi-purpose card announcement is a game changer.

“We’re proud to partner with Qantas and bring our expertise in payment technology to drive an Australian-first. The new card combines everyday spend and travel, which allows users to speed through the airport check-in the same way they do when buying their groceries with PayPass technology,” said Mr Grobler.

“We are witnessing a growing trend in Australia, with consumers actively moving away from using cash in favour of electronic payments and card products.

“The new generation Frequent Flyer card featuring Qantas Cash directly appeals to those who prefer the convenience and security of a payment card over handling cash,” Mr Grobler added.

A detailed Product Disclosure Statement will be made available closer to the time of launch.


1. Is this a credit card or a debit card?

The new generation Qantas Frequent Flyer Card is a prepaid card not a credit or debit card. You can only spend the funds that you have pre-loaded (e.g. via BPay or via a transfer from your bank account). Being a prepaid MasterCard allows members to use it to pay online and over-the-phone anywhere that MasterCard is accepted. There is no line of credit available on this card.

2. Does this mean Qantas is moving into personal banking?

No. Qantas is joining with MasterCard and other financial service providers that will deliver the pre-paid component of the card, and with an authorised deposit taking institution to hold the funds members load onto their cards. Qantas remains focused on running an airline and loyalty business.

3. Will this compete with customers currently earning Frequent Flyer points by making purchases on their credit cards?

No. For many customers and many transactions, a credit card linked to their Frequent Flyer membership will remain the best choice for them. For other customers and other transactions, Qantas CashTM lets members earn Frequent Flyer points for transactions where they would not do so if they used cash.

4. Who is this card aimed at?

There are a wide range of potential users, from people who don’t necessarily want to use a credit card, through to those who travel overseas and need access to different currencies, or people who want a different way to purchase online.

Please note: The offer of Qantas CashTM is subject to certain regulatory requirements being satisfied. To be eligible to receive the new Qantas Card with the option of Qantas CashTM you must be an Australian resident Qantas Frequent Flyer Member. Alternative cards without the payment facility are available to all other members. Other terms and conditions and fees and charges may apply. The proposed issuer of the prepaid facility is Heritage Bank Limited, subject to final agreement. A Product Disclosure Statement will be made available when the prepaid facility is available, expected to be later this year, via, and will also be given to applicants for the facility. A person should consider the Product Disclosure Statement in making any decisions about whether the prepaid facility is appropriate for them. MasterCard and the MasterCard Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated. PayPass is the trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. Any advice in this document is provided by Qantas in its capacity as Authorised Representative of Access Prepaid Australia Pty Ltd (AFSL 386 837) (a MasterCard business).