Westpac has quietly axed its Qantas Earth Black and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Platinum credit cards, leaving Altitude Rewards and Altitude Qantas as the only options for the bank’s points-hungry travellers.
Existing Westpac clients with either card in their wallet can continue using them, although new customers and existing spenders migrating from one Westpac rewards card to another are now stuck with the Altitude lines.
If you were looking to apply for either credit card but have missed the boat, here’s what it means to you.
Earning Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles via Westpac
As the only direct-earning KrisFlyer credit card in Australia, the Westpac Singapore Airlines Platinum American Express served up 1.5 KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent, plus double points when using the card to buy flights with SQ for an annual fee of $250.
With that option off the table, new Westpac customers can instead earn KrisFlyer miles through the Altitude program, with the Altitude Black American Express also paying out 1.5 miles per dollar once points are converted from Altitude Rewards to KrisFlyer.
You’ll also net 0.625 KrisFlyer miles per dollar charged to the Altitude Black World MasterCard in Australia and an impressive 1.5 KrisFlyer miles when using the MasterCard abroad: an improvement over the 0.5 miles earned on the KrisFlyer Visa Platinum card.
However, you won’t pick up any extra points on Singapore Airlines spend – which sees a $6,000 airfare earning just 9,000 KrisFlyer miles via Altitude Black rather than the more-impressive 18,000 miles via the now-defunct Singapore Airlines Platinum card.
As of November 9, the Altitude Black American Express also awards the equivalent of just 0.75 KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent with the ATO, such as on personal income tax obligations and HECS debt repayments, whereas the obsolete card earned points at the full rate.
All up, you’ll pay a hefty $395 annual fee for the privilege of Altitude Black against the $250 previously levied on the dedicated Singapore Airlines product.
Earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points via Westpac
Potential Westpac customers eyeing off Qantas Frequent Flyer points on the Earth Black cards can instead lean towards Altitude Black, but must opt for ‘Altitude Qantas’ in order to earn points with the Red Roo.
That’s because Altitude Rewards normally acts as its own loyalty scheme, with cardholders first earning Altitude Points that can later be converted into points and miles with airlines Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia.
After opting-in for Altitude Qantas, any points earned via your credit card each month will automatically appear in your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, as they did with Earth Black.
The Altitude Black card with Qantas Rewards serves up the same number of points as Earth Black – including an extra Qantas Point per dollar spent with the Flying Kangaroo – has the same annual fee and the same features, including two free Qantas Club passes each year.
As with Altitude Qantas, ATO spend on the Earth Black cards is also subject to the same reduced earning rate of 0.75 points per dollar on the AMEX and a flat zero points on the MasterCard, so there’s no change for those indebted to the Tax Office.
In essence, you’re paying the same annual fee as Earth Black to earn the same number of frequent flyer points and to receive the same privileges, so this change for Qantas earners is in name only.
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