Westpac Altitude Black World Mastercard credit card

Review: Westpac Altitude Black World Mastercard credit card

What's Hot

  • Choice to earn points in six frequent flyer programs
  • Two free airport lounge visits each year

What's Not

  • New fee to earn Qantas Points from April 2018


  • 80,000 bonus points for eligible new customers


If you want the flexibility to earn points on your credit card spend but to choose where they wind up at a later date, Westpac's Altitude Black World Mastercard credit card could be just what you're looking for.

You'll have the freedom to first earn points in the Altitude Rewards program before transferring them to the likes of Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and two other carriers, or if you're entwined with the Roo, simply opt for 'Altitude Qantas' instead.

New cardholders who apply by March 28 2018, are approved and spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval could also receive a bonus 80,000 Qantas Points or 80,000 Altitude points (equal to 40,000 Velocity points).

With reasonable earning rates and elevated income and credit limit requirements, we'd peg this card as a good fit for working professionals with heavy spending and travel habits: less so for those on lower incomes.

Westpac Altitude Black: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Black
  • Card type: World Mastercard
  • Loyalty program: Qantas Frequent Flyer direct or Altitude Rewards
  • Altitude Rewards airline partners: Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines
  • Qantas Points earned per dollar (Qantas Frequent Flyer option):
         Spend directly with Qantas, until April 3 2018: 1.625
         All other everyday spend until April 3 2018, excluding ATO payments: 0.625

         Everyday spend from April 4 2018, again excluding ATO payments: 0.75
         Spend directly with Qantas from April 4 2018: 1.75
  • Or, Altitude Rewards points earned per dollar (Altitude Rewards option):
         All spend, except for ATO payments (both now, and after April 4): 1.25

  • Altitude Rewards airline partners: Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines
  • 1.25 Altitude Rewards points ($1 spent) = 0.625 Virgin Australia Velocity points, 0.625 Malaysia Airlines Enrich miles, 0.5 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, 0.5 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, $0.00694 in Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars
  • Points capping: Earn uncapped points without tiering via either rewards option. Points will continue to be uncapped after April 4 2018.

Fees, charges and interest: 4/5

  • Annual fee: $250*
  • Qantas Rewards fee: $50/year (when earning points via Altitude Qantas from April 4 2018)
  • Additional cardholder fee: $0
  • Interest rate on purchases: 20.24% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 45
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 20.74% p.a.
  • International transaction fee: 3.0%
  • 'Recommended' income requirement to apply: $75,000 p.a.
  • Minimum credit limit: $15,000

* The card's annual fee is currently $250 for new customers (reduced from $395), and from April 4 2018, the ongoing annual fee will also be lowered from $395 to $250. This means new cardholders will only pay the lower fee, both this year and in future years.

Earning points for free flights: 4.5/5

Whether you choose Qantas Frequent Flyer or Altitude Rewards as your loyalty program, there's no limit to the number of points you can earn from your Altitude Black card.

Choose 'Altitude Qantas' and a near-free Sydney-Melbourne hop in Qantas economy is yours after spending $12,800 on purchases within Australia: but because the earn rate on the card is increasing from April 4 2018, you could book the same flight from a reduced spend of $10,667 after that date.

Or, choose the regular Altitude Rewards option and convert your points to Virgin Australia Velocity for a Sydney-Melbourne flight after a spend of $12,480.

Customers opting for Altitude Qantas also collect an additional Qantas Point per dollar when booking Qantas flights or paying for their Qantas Club membership, although an extra fee of $50/year will apply from April 4 2018.

Also don't forget Westpac's offer of 80,000 bonus Qantas Points or 80,000 bonus Altitude points (equal to 40,000 Velocity points) for eligible new cardholders, which can get you flying even faster.

Inclusive travel insurance: 4.5/5

International journeys of six months or less are covered by Westpac's complimentary insurance offering – underwritten by QBE – provided you hold a return ticket and charge at least A$500 of eligible travel costs to your Altitude Black card before departing Australia.

That amount can be your flights, any airport and departure taxes, pre-paid accommodation and any 'overseas itinerary items' such as an arranged tour, so you could even book your flights using points and simply pre-pay a night or two of accommodation to still be covered.

Joining this is a generous array of other cover including transit accident insurance; interstate flight inconvenience insurance; purchase security, extended warranty and 'price guarantee' covers and even rental car excess cover of up to $5,500 when hiring in Australia.

Airport lounge access: 2/5

Altitude Black cardholders are treated to two airport lounge visits each year, depending on their frequent flyer earning preferences.

Cardholders collecting Qantas Points get two free Qantas Club visits each year, while those opting for Altitude Rewards points get a free Priority Pass membership, complete with two visits every year to any of the 1,000+ lounges in its network.

Westpac Altitude Black credit card: the verdict

With a $250 annual fee (both in the first year, and ongoing when next being billed after April 4 2018), the Westpac Altitude Black card appeals to higher spenders and frequent travellers, and may quickly pay for itself if you're poised to take full advantage of the benefits.

Included on that roster: complimentary airport lounge visits, uncapped frequent flyer points and the long list of insurance covers, which can help you wind up ahead.

Note that while an extra $50/year charge is being introduced in April to earn Qantas Points – taking the total yearly cost to $300 – that's still lower than the card's previous all-inclusive annual fee of $395, with even higher savings enjoyed by those choosing to earn Altitude Rewards points instead.

You can apply for the Westpac Altitude Black credit card here.

Chris Chamberlin
Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

-5 Comment

  • Guvner


    2 Aug, 2017 03:56 pm

    Little tip if you get the Qantas version, you can still register for priority pass. So you get both teh QC invites and teh PP card.
    Member who gave thanks


  • Victor Perez


    3 Aug, 2017 09:49 pm

    Wait, what. I've had the Qantas version for years and was unaware of this. 
    No member give thanks

  • Joe


    3 Aug, 2017 12:06 pm

    ANZ wake up and take note. 1.25 QF points  per dollar spent on your now Visa only offering for Black card holders is in order. Capping it at 7500 is also too low-its a black card it should be uncapped!
    No member give thanks

  • Mr Mink

    Mr Mink

    5 Oct, 2017 12:46 am

    still impatiently waiting on the 80K bonus QF pts (I was approved at beginning of June - they do threaten up to 12 weeks before you get em. Any experience from others on how long it takes in real life?
    No member give thanks

  • Simon Frost


    23 Dec, 2017 03:43 am

    I got mine in August, met the spend criteria and didn’t get the points.... called the number on the back of the card this week, got the points allocated almost immediately. Poor form that that’s what I had to do - but it got it done!
    No member give thanks

  • Simon Frost


    26 Dec, 2017 01:17 pm

    Sorry - they called me and said that I’d receive the points on 24/12.... guess what - no points yet.....!!! Grrrrrr
    No member give thanks

  • frank lanzo


    25 Oct, 2017 08:24 am

    i always read with interest about free access to lounges with black earth cards. I have those cards and i have never been able to find out anything. Yes you can use but where how when? it is a total coon. as i mainly use the cards for travel insurance . If they were serious each year they would send you out the 2 vouchers to use with conditions attached. Living in Cairns which is my choice I can fly Cathay or Silkair so the card is useless to my way of understanding. Once again if they were serious they would let us use then flying Cathay who is a one alliance partner.

    No member give thanks

  • Skipp


    21 Dec, 2017 05:55 pm

    Hi globalspark. It is thanks to websites like this that help us to understand a lot of the hidden perks or issues associated with CC's. To my understanding of the article, if you have the Westpac Black Altitude Rewards card you are entitled to priority pass membership that entitles you to two free visits to a priority pass lounge.

    In your case flying from Cairns International, the Reef Lounge located airside would be available to you through priority pass, regardless of what airline you wished to fly internationally from Cairns.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin


    22 Dec, 2017 07:51 am

    Skipp: You're correct - and on top of the Priority Pass inclusions, you can also present the AMEX card at the AMEX Sydney Airport lounge for a further two lounge visits each year when flying with any airline.
    No member give thanks

  • Daniel Nel


    22 Dec, 2017 08:57 am

    After more than 3 months of making the minimuim spend, still waiting for the bonus points. About to lodge a formal complaint for deceptive inducement with Westpac. Been given the normal run around by Westpac and QFF.
    Member who gave thanks


  • Josh Thomas


    22 Dec, 2017 10:02 am

    I have applied mid June and I am yet to see the 80,000 show up. Bit disappointing as my Amex ultimate had 100,000 show up after I paid my first statement. I have called a few times, but so far no conclusion.
    Member who gave thanks


  • Roddy MacDonald

    Good Drying

    7 Feb, 2018 01:57 pm

    Got mine in Aug 17. Made spend in 2 months.
    Still waiting on 80k bonus points.
    No help from help Centre.
    Went on Westpac Facebook page today and sent Message.
    Got reply in less than an hour.
    Waiting on phone call.
    No member give thanks

  • Roddy MacDonald

    Good Drying

    26 Jan, 2018 11:19 am

    Got this card in August 2017. Met all the qualifying conditions in first 2 months.
    Still no bonus points ??!!
    No member give thanks

  • Mr Mink

    Mr Mink

    6 Feb, 2018 09:29 pm

    I was approved at end of May 2017 as I already noted. In early Dec.17 rang (that is 3mths to spend + 12 weeks+ post) - and was fobbed off and they did not even check anything. In late Jan.18 rang again from o'seas and they said they would √ęscalate"the issue. It was only today that I rang again - after failing to get any result y'day, and was finally told that yes, it had been approved after my Jan. call and the 80K pts would transfer over on my next statement due at end of Feb. Only 9-10 months! They naturally did not bother advise me in any way whatsoever of this "congratulations" or finally positive action on their part.

    I would say avoid like the plague as it seems you have to beg them or chase them for them to fulfil their end of the bargain (pts spend was going over monthly to my QFF acct so knew there was no error in acct no.). This is the worst bank performance ever - or maybe chasing NAB, who in the last month when you cancel the card did not give me any FF points at all! (they clearly value their customers so much they give you a kick in the pants as you are leaving!). Given the Amex card folds its tent with Westpac on 4 April I can see absolutely no reason to stay hitched to Westpac, to put it mildly. Caveat emptor, and chase them to comply with their end of the bargain you signed up for if you do.
    No member give thanks

  • Roddy MacDonald

    Good Drying

    7 Feb, 2018 03:57 pm

    Got on to the Westpac Facebook page.
    Sent Message this morning.
    Dialogue with someone called James.
    Bonus points being transferred on the 18 feb.
    Good result.
    Don’t waste your time with the Call Centre.
    No member give thanks


19 Mar, 2018 12:22 pm


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