Westpac Altitude Platinum Mastercard credit card

Review: Westpac Altitude Platinum Mastercard credit card

What's Hot

  • Free overseas travel insurance

What's Not

  • Lower points earning rates

X-Factor

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points

Introduction

Westpac's Altitude Platinum Mastercard credit card gives you the flexibility to earn frequent flyer points with Qantas, Virgin Australia and four other major airlines, with points automatically sent to either Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer, or manually converted to Altitude's various frequent flyer partners as you see fit.

Also thrown in is free international travel insurance and a nice welcome bonus of 60,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards points, or 60,000 Velocity Points, for eligible new customers.

Rounding out the deal, Qantas earners pick up an extra Qantas Point per dollar spent directly with Qantas.

Westpac Altitude Platinum card: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Platinum
  • Card type: Mastercard
  • 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 dollar (Qantas Frequent Flyer option):
         Spend directly with Qantas, such as booking Qantas flights or buying Qantas Club membership: 1.5
         All other purchases (excluding ATO payments): 0.5
  • Or, Velocity Points earned per dollar (Altitude Velocity option):
         Everyday purchases (excluding ATO payments): 0.5
  • Or, Altitude Rewards points earned per dollar (Altitude Rewards option):
         Everyday purchases (excluding ATO payments): 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 Rewards point ($1 spent) = 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

Fees, charges and interest: 3/5

  • Annual fee: $150
  • Qantas Rewards fee: $50/year (charged only if opting for Altitude Qantas)
  • Velocity Rewards fee: $50/year (charged only if opting for Altitude Velocity)
  • Additional cardholder fee: $0
  • Interest rate on purchases: 20.49% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 45
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 21.49% p.a.
  • International transaction fee: 3.0%
  • 'Recommended' minimum income: $30,000 p.a.
  • Minimum credit limit: $6,000

Earning points for free flights: 3/5

New customers who apply by October 15 2019 can net 60,000 bonus points for a solid boost to their rewards balance: just spend at least $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval.

But choose your rewards option wisely – those points come as either as 60,000 Qantas Points via Qantas direct (a $50/year Qantas Rewards fee applies), as 60,000 Velocity points via Altitude Velocity (a $50/year Velocity Rewards fee applies), or as 60,000 Altitude Rewards points for all other spenders, which are worth just 20,000 Velocity points or 20,000 frequent flyer points in other partner programs when converted from Altitude at a 3:1 rate.

Choose Qantas or Velocity and those points are enough to book a one-way business class flight from Australia's east coast to Hong Kong (with Qantas or Virgin Australia, respectfully), while choosing Altitude Rewards and shipping them to Velocity won't even get you a one-way economy flight to Hong Kong – but could land you a return business class upgrade from a paid economy Freedom fare between the east coast and Perth, including on flights with The Business.

Pleasingly, the card's former points capping restrictions have been removed, and as of April 4 2018, cardholders have been able to earn points on every dollar they spend on eligible purchases.

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 free international travel insurance on trips of three months or less when holding a return ticket before leaving Australia and using your Westpac Altitude Platinum credit card to pre-pay at least A$500 of your costs for that trip.

That can include booking your flights, pre-paying overseas accommodation expenses or charging 'overseas itinerary items' to your card such as tours, but if you use only frequent flyer points to book your trip, you're not necessarily covered.

Fortunately, the $500 count also recognises amounts paid in airport and departure taxes as part of frequent flyer reward bookings, so be sure to use your Westpac card to cover any co-pay amount with your reward flights, or to book a night or two of accommodation with the card for peace of mind.

The card also provides transit accident insurance along with purchase security protection and extended warranty cover, but other benefits like interstate flight inconvenience insurance and rental car excess cover are absent.

Airport lounge access: 0.5/5

Free airport lounge access isn't a perk offered by this card, although cardholders opting for Altitude Qantas do earn an extra Qantas Point per $1 spent on Qantas Club lounge memberships purchased directly from Qantas, in addition to the card's regular earning rate.

Westpac Altitude Platinum card: the verdict

Priced at $150 per year (or $200/year when earning Qantas Points, or with Altitude Velocity), the Westpac Altitude Platinum card pairs travel insurance with frequent flyer points and provides a choice of airlines with which to convert those points.

However, for higher points earning, you might instead prefer Westpac's Altitude Black Mastercard, delivering up to 0.75 frequent flyer points per dollar spent on everyday charges amid extras like airport lounge access, against an annual fee of $250 (or $300 if earning Qantas Points, or with Altitude Velocity).

Or, to earn more points per dollar, take a look at the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa which delivers one Qantas Point per dollar spent up to $7,500 per month (0.5/$1 thereafter).

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!
 

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21 Jul, 2019 10:39 am

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