- $50 yearly fee to earn Qantas Points
- No points cap on Platinum cards
- Changes to Altitude Black earn rate, annual fee
Westpac is reshuffling its Altitude credit cards deck and dealing out some surprisingly good news: some spenders will fork out less in fees to earn more points, with others are being unleashed from the confines of their current monthly points cap.
The changes come in preparation of the bank’s new partnership with American Express, which will see AMEX directly-issuing Westpac-branded credit cards as standalone products from next year, separate to the bank’s Mastercard and Visa cards which continue to be provided by Westpac.
Here’s how Westpac’s latest round of revamps affect you.
Westpac firms up timeline for closing American Express cards
Westpac will stop directly-issuing new American Express credit cards from February 1 2018, the bank has confirmed, with all existing Westpac-issued American Express cards to be cancelled on April 4 2018.
That doesn’t mean your entire Westpac credit card account will be shut down, as you’ll still be able to spend on your Westpac Visa or Mastercard: you just won’t be able to buy things using your existing Westpac American Express card after that date.
Ahead of this change, Westpac’s new line-up of American Express rewards cards will be unveiled in “early 2018” – and as these will be issued directly by American Express Australia, we expect to learn more about the transition options for existing Westpac cardholders when the new cards launch.
Westpac Altitude annual fee shuffle
The bank’s top-of-the-line Altitude Black Mastercard will become more affordable next year with the current ongoing annual fee of $395 decreasing to $250 as of April 4 2018.
However, choosing to earn Qantas Points on any Altitude Black, Platinum or Classic credit card (by opting-in to the ‘Altitude Qantas’ rewards option) will attract a new yearly ‘Qantas Rewards Fee’ of $50, over and above the card’s regular annual fee.
For Altitude Black cardholders, that’s still $95/year less in fees compared to the current pricing – or an even-higher $145/year saving for those earning Altitude Rewards points instead – although Platinum and Classic cardholders will pay more overall than they do now to earn Qantas Points.
No additional rewards fee will apply when choosing to earn points via the Altitude Rewards program instead, from which credit card points can be converted into frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia Velocity, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and more.
No more points capping on Platinum cards
Currently, Westpac Altitude Platinum cardholders can earn up to 3,750 Qantas Points per month via Altitude Qantas, or the equivalent of 3,750 Velocity points per month via Altitude Rewards (delivered as 7,500 Altitude points).
From April 4 2018, that points cap disappears, allowing cardholders to earn an unlimited number of points on their everyday purchases: helping to offset the additional $50/year fee as will apply to earn Qantas Points from the same date.
The number of points Platinum cardholders can earn per dollar spent remains unchanged and will not be subject to ‘tiering’ – where the earn rate is reduced after spending a certain amount each month – with the points cap also being removed on the no-longer-for-sale Altitude Platinum Plus cards.
Earn more Qantas Points on the Altitude Black Mastercard
Whipping out Westpac’s Altitude Black Mastercard currently delivers 0.625 Qantas Points per dollar spent when earning points through the Altitude Qantas scheme.
From April 4 2018, that earn rate increases to 0.75 Qantas Points per dollar spent, being 20% more points than are earned today, and for a lower annual cost at that ($300 all-inclusive from the same date, against the current $395 fee).
Customers enrolled in the Altitude Rewards program will continue to earn 1.25 Altitude points per dollar spent on their Altitude Black Mastercard, equal to 0.625 Velocity points (no change), with all other Westpac Visa and Mastercards continuing to earn the same number of points per dollar spent as well.