NAB is pulling the pin on its partnership with American Express, becoming the second of Australia's Big Four banks – after ANZ – to axe AMEX credit cards.
The bank's current 'combo card' rewards packages for Qantas and Virgin Australia frequent flyers – which pair a Visa card with an American Express card – will no longer be available from November 13 2017, while all NAB-issued AMEX cards will cease working as of February 21 2018.
NAB is blaming its decision on "new regulations from the Reserve Bank of Australia" which reduce how much banks can earn from each credit card transaction – and which in turn means a thinner margin for buying frequent flyer points to lure customers in and keep them on the hook.
NAB's card shuffle will also see a revamp of the points-earning proposition for it Qantas Rewards and Velocity Rewards (standard and premium) frequent flyer cards, with tiered rates replacing the current flat earning model for Qantas or Velocity points per dollar.
From 13 November 2017 the earn rates across both the Qantas Rewards and Velocity Rewards cards will be
- 1 point per $1.50 up to a $3,000 spend per statement period
- 1 point per $3 from $3,001 to $6,000 per statement
That speed bump at the $3,001 mark halves your earn rate will put the brakes on big spenders building up their points balance, and every dollar you put on the new NAB cards beyond $6,001 per statement will earn you zero points.
Swinging the numbers around, the new NAB earn rate is revealed as 0.66 points per dollar up to $3,000 per statement, and 0.33 points per dollar for $3,001 to $6,000 – which translates to a monthly cap of 2,970 Qantas or Virgin Australia frequent flyer points.
Note that those earning rate changes apply only to the Qantas Rewards and Velocity Rewards branded cards which are today paired with an AMEX.
Other cards in NAB's portfolio – the Qantas Rewards Signature Card launched earlier this year, NAB Rewards Classic, Platinum and Signature card family (with points which convert to Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific) and NAB Flybuys Rewards Card (with points which convert to Virgin Australia and Etihad) – retain their current earn rates.
Additional reporting by Chris Chamberlin