ANZ has broken ranks with American Express and is closing down its extensive suite of AMEX + Visa Qantas Frequent Flyer and ANZ Rewards cards to become standalone, single-card Visa products.
The bank is no longer accepting applications for new American Express cards, although existing customers can continue to spend on both their ANZ American Express and ANZ Visa cards until August 5 2017.
That's the use-by date for your ANZ AMEX plastic, after which the cards – including Black, Platinum, Travel Adventures and basic cards – will be disabled and no longer accepted for purchases.
As part of the shake-up, ANZ is also adjusting the number of frequent flyer points that can be earned per dollar spent across its surviving Visa cards for both new and existing cardholders, with some welcome improvements for higher spenders with up to one frequent flyer point per dollar spent.
The changes are in anticipation of the Reserve Bank’s reforms to credit card ‘interchange fees’ from July 1 2017, which severely cut the revenue that banks can earn from each transaction: leaving fewer funds available for banks to purchase frequent flyer points for customers.
"While we have had a very successful partnership with ANZ, we understand the decision (is) in the context, and as a consequence of, the current regulatory environment," a spokesperson for American Express told Australian Business Traveller.
"People can continue to enjoy American Express service and rewards programs through taking up a credit card with us directly or with one of our other bank partners."
An ANZ spokesperson confirmed that the move comes as a "response to new card payment regulations being introduced later this year."
ANZ, American Express part ways: what happens now?
If your wallet currently wields an ANZ American Express card, you’d be wise to make a list of any direct debits currently in place on that card such as for bill payments, health insurance, tolling accounts, gym memberships and other recurring expenses like Netflix, Stan, Tripit Pro or ExpertFlyer.
That’s because you’ll need to shift all of those payments to a different card by mid-year to ensure your regular payments remain up-to-date, as all existing ANZ AMEX cards will no longer be accepted for purchases from August 5: even if the expiry date shown on the card is beyond that date.
This also applies to other systems which store your card details for regular transactions such as Uber, PayPal and Apple Pay, as trying to use your ANZ AMEX card beyond August 5 will see a declined transaction.
"We are writing to customers about these changes to give them plenty of time to understand them and consider any impacts to their card use, especially if they have direct debits set up on their American Express card," an ANZ spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.
Also of note, access to the American Express lounge at Sydney Airport currently requires an ANZ Rewards Black or ANZ Frequent Flyer Black American Express – so with these cards being withdrawn, this existing benefit will follow suit.
ANZ’s new Visa frequent flyer credit card earning rates
Apply for a new ANZ Visa credit card from today and you can earn points on eligible purchases at the following rates.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa: Earn one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to $7,500 per monthly statement period, then 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent on any further spend until the beginning of the next statement period.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum Visa: Earn 0.75 Qantas Points per dollar spent up to $3,000 in each monthly statement period, then 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent thereafter.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Visa: Earn 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent on the first $500 of monthly spend, then earn 0.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent on all further purchases in the same statement period.
ANZ Rewards Black Visa: Reel in two ANZ Rewards points per dollar spent until August 5 2017. From that date, cardholders will earn two ANZ Rewards points per dollar on the first $5,000 per statement period, then one ANZ Rewards point per dollar spent thereafter.
ANZ Rewards Platinum Visa & Rewards Travel Adventures Visa: Earn 1.5 ANZ Rewards points per dollar spent until August 5 2017 – after which, that earn rate applies to the first $2,000 charged each month, with 0.5 ANZ Rewards points earned per dollar spent thereafter.
ANZ Rewards Visa: Accrue one ANZ Reward point per dollar spent until August 5 2017. Then, earn one ANZ Reward point per dollar spent up to $1,000 per month, with 0.5 ANZ Rewards points earned per dollar thereafter.
For the time being, existing ANZ cardholders can continue to earn points on both their American Express and Visa cards at their existing rates, but will transition to the new rates above for Visa spend from August 5 2017.
There’s no change to the conversion rates from ANZ Rewards to the bank’s airline partners of Virgin Australia (2 ANZ points = 1 Velocity point), Cathay Pacific (3 ANZ points = 1 Asia Mile), Singapore Airlines (3 ANZ points = 1 KrisFlyer mile) and Air New Zealand (2 ANZ points = $0.01 in Airpoints).