Westpac Altitude Platinum AMEX + Mastercard combo

Review: Westpac Altitude Platinum AMEX + Mastercard combo

What's Hot

  • No points capping or tiering
  • Integrated points earning across American Express and Mastercard

What's Not

  • Two cards from two different issuers means you'll pay two separate annual fees (after the first year waiver)

X-Factor

  • Get up to 75,000 bonus points

Introduction

Following the 2017 changes to credit card 'interchange fees' which had sweeping effects for bank-issued American Express cards, Westpac and AMEX have teamed up to offer a new type of card combo: a Mastercard issued and serviced by Westpac, together with an AMEX card issued and serviced by American Express.

While it means the cards are no longer 'combined' onto one account (you'll receive separate monthly statements for each, each card has its own credit limit, and so on), you can still apply for both cards via single application, and the points you earn from all your spends are still pooled into a single rewards account.

If you're collecting Qantas Points, those will be transferred straight across to Qantas Frequent Flyer on a monthly basis, or if you opt for Altitude Rewards, your points will all be credited to the one Altitude account, keeping everything in the same place when it comes time to put your reward points to work.

There's also now the option of Altitude Velocity, whereby you can earn points directly into your Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer account, rather than converting them through Altitude Rewards – although those manual conversions still remain an option.

With an offer of up to 75,000 bonus Qantas or Altitude points, or 75,000 bonus Velocity Points across both cards, here's what the Westpac Altitude Platinum credit card pairing has to offer.

Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Platinum
  • Card type: Mastercard + American Express
  • Loyalty program: Choose between Altitude Qantas, Altitude Velocity or Altitude Rewards
  • Points capping: Earn uncapped points without tiering via your chosen rewards option.
  • Qantas Points earned per $1 spent (Altitude Qantas, split as Mastercard / AMEX):
         Spend within Australia, excluding government spend: 0.5 / 1
       
      International transactions: 0.5 / 1.5
         Charges directly with Qantas: 1.5 / 2
         Government spend: No points / 0.5
  • Or, Velocity Points earned per $1 spent (Altitude Velocity, split as Mastercard / AMEX):
         Spend within Australia, excluding government spend: 0.5 / 1
         International transactions: 0.5 / 1.5
         Government spend: No points / 0.5
  • Or, Altitude points earned per $1 spent (Altitude Rewards, split as Mastercard / AMEX):
         Spend within Australia, excluding government spend: 1 / 2
         International transactions: 1 / 3
         Government spend: No points / 1
  • Altitude Rewards airline conversion partners: Virgin Australia (3:1), Air New Zealand (180:$1), Cathay Pacific (3:1), Malaysia Airlines (3:1) and Singapore Airlines (3:1)
  • 1 Altitude point ($1 spent on Mastercard) = 0.33 Virgin Australia Velocity points, 0.33 Malaysia Airlines Enrich miles, 0.33 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, 0.33 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, $0.0055 in Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars
  • 2 Altitude points ($1 spent on AMEX in Australia) = 0.66 Virgin Australia Velocity points, 0.66 Malaysia Airlines Enrich mile, 0.66 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, 0.66 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, $0.0111 in Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars

Fees, charges and interest: 4.5/5

  • Mastercard annual fee: $150
  • Separate AMEX annual fee: $49
  • Qantas Rewards fee: $50/year (when earning points via Altitude Qantas)
  • Velocity Rewards fee: $50/year (when earning points via Altitude Velocity)
  • Additional cardholder fee: $0
  • Interest rate on purchases (Mastercard): 20.49% p.a.
  • Interest rate on purchases (AMEX): 20.24% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 45
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 21.49% p.a. on Mastercard only (no cash advances on AMEX)
  • International transaction fee: 3.0% (both cards)
  • 'Recommended' income to apply for the Mastercard: $30,000 p.a.
  • Income requirement to apply for the AMEX: $50,000 p.a.

Earning points for free flights: 4/5

With a solid earning rate of 1.5 Qantas Points per A$1 spent overseas on the American Express (when choosing Altitude Qantas) or 1.5 Velocity Points per A$1 spent abroad (with Altitude Velocity), this card is particularly rewarding for international travellers and those who shop regularly at overseas-based websites.

Opting-in for Qantas Points also allows you to earn two Qantas Points per $1 spent directly with Qantas, such as on Qantas Club membership costs and flight bookings in Australian dollars, on top of the points you'd normally earn when taking the flight.

Eligible new customers could also pocket up to 75,000 bonus Qantas Points or up to 75,000 bonus Altitude points via Altitude Qantas or Altitude Velocity (respectfully), which come in two serves: some points from the Westpac-issued Mastercard, and some from the AMEX-issued AMEX.

From Westpac, there's a bonus 60,000 Qantas or Altitude points when applying by October 15 2019 and spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval using the Westpac Altitude Platinum Mastercard.

Then from AMEX, 15,000 bonus Qantas or Altitude points when spending a separate $3,000 on eligible purchases using the American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card within the same time frames, giving you up to 75,000 bonus Qantas or Altitude points in total.

Alternatively, select the new Altitude Velocity option to fetch up to 75,000 bonus Velocity Points when you apply by October 15 and meet the minimum spend for each card – that's 60,000 bonus Velocity points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval using the Westpac Altitude Platinum Mastercard.

Plus, 15,000 bonus Velocity points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval using the American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card

As an added bonus exclusively for those taking the Altitude Velocity path, enjoy two complimentary Economy X seat upgrade vouchers per year to use on selected domestic flights, available when you spend with Virgin Australia on your Mastercard.

Inclusive travel insurance: 4/5

You may qualify for complimentary international travel insurance on journeys of three months or less when pre-paying at least $500 of your travel expenses for that trip before it commences: such as paying for your flights or hotels using your Altitude credit card.

This could allow you to redeem airline frequent flyer points to book your ticket while simply using your credit card to cover off a few nights of accommodation costs while still being covered, but as always, read the policy documents carefully to ensure you qualify for the cover and that the insurance meets your needs.

Transit accident insurance and purchase security insurance are available too, along with extended warranty cover when buying eligible new appliances using your Altitude credit card: again, all subject to eligibility criteria and the policy wording, so have a good read of those documents (available from Westpac and AMEX) before deciding if these insurance products are right for you.

Airport lounge access: 0.5/5

As is standard of most Platinum-grade cards, complimentary airport lounge access isn't offered with Altitude Platinum, but is available via the higher-tier Westpac Altitude Black AMEX + Mastercard combo.

However, customers who opt-in for Altitude Qantas can earn one extra Qantas Point per $1 spent on Qantas Club membership purchases, over and above their applicable card's regular 'everyday' earning rate.

Westpac Altitude Platinum credit card combo: the verdict

All things considered, the Westpac Altitude Platinum AMEX + Mastercard pairing unleashes a solid earning rate on international transactions, and on spend directly with Qantas for those earning Qantas Points.

On other purchases in Australia, these cards are less rewarding than what you'd get from the Westpac Altitude Black AMEX + Mastercard combo, but with a strong sign-up deal and access to things like AMEX Offers – where spending money at certain businesses triggers a cash rebate on your credit card statement – there's still plenty of value to be had at a modest ongoing annual fee.

Although the conversion rates from Altitude Rewards to its partner programs have recently changed, having these options still gives you the flexibility to transfer points on occasion as a 'top up' if you've already earned some points in those other schemes from flying, although it may make Altitude Qantas or Altitude Velocity the most appealing choice for many spenders.

That's especially true of Altitude Velocity for regular Virgin Australia flyers, given this option includes those two complimentary Economy X seat upgrade vouchers every year and a boosted Velocity earning rate (compared to conversions via Altitude Rewards) in exchange for the $50/year Velocity Reward fee.

You can apply for the Westpac Altitude Platinum credit card combo here (Altitude Qantas or Altitude Rewards), or here (Altitude Velocity).

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and 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!
 

4 comments

  • Buddy Bell

    bbell20

    18 Jul, 2018 03:22 pm

    Can you still get the bonus if you've had a Westpac card before (ie Westpac Altitude Black)?
    No member give thanks

  • Nic Jay

    jnic

    18 Jul, 2018 05:54 pm

    I had to spend $3000 over 3 months (from memory, hopefully that is correct) to receive 20,000 Altitude points. The application process was completely painless and the credit limit they applied was similar to my original combined limit but in addition to that original limit …. effectively doubling the credit limit by taking away and re-issuing the Amex card. It doesn't make me spend twice as much but it's nice as a backup should the Black Card get lost or stolen.
    No member give thanks

  • Jared Lord

    jared7825

    25 Mar, 2019 02:51 pm

    bbell20.
    In the fine print you will see that it has to be over 12 months since you have had a altitude card to get the bonus points, this is the same typically for the ANZ and NAB offers.

    I cycle between these three providers with who has the free or lowest priced first year, hold for a year, cancel and wait a year. Keeps the fees low if you can get it at the right time and means bonus points each year. Ive done ANZ black x3, NAB x 2 and this is my second on the Westpac Altitude also. I pay by credit card to get points not for cash flow reasons.

    I have the Black version of this card and the separate statements is not that annoying but having the card issues by AMEX means its a separate credit limit not combined with the MasterCard.
    No member give thanks

  • Michael Gibbons

    rowwdy

    25 Mar, 2019 04:02 pm

    And if you have a home loan package with them, they’ll waive the MasterCard fee (not the Amex fee)
    No member give thanks

Guest

18 Jul, 2019 07:38 pm

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