Suncorp, Card Services and more slash credit card frequent flyer points

By Chris Chamberlin, January 21 2016

Earning frequent flyer points on your everyday spend is about to become harder for Suncorp and Card Services customers with the earning rates slashed and airline conversion rates reduced on Citigroup’s broader range of credit cards.

Following similar changes seen with Citibank and Virgin Money, this latest round of cuts also applies to cards issued under the CUA, IMB Bank, QT Mutual and Southern Cross Credit Union banners, while Bank of Queensland cardholders aren’t immune from change either.

Hardest hit are Suncorp’s Clear Options Gold cardholders who will earn just 0.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent from May 1 2016, or 1 Suncorp Rewards point per dollar on the first $1,500 of monthly spend and 0.5 Suncorp Rewards points per dollar thereafter, with an annual cap of 65,000 points.

Suncorp Rewards points can currently be converted into Virgin Australia Velocity points or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles on a 2:1 basis with a minimum transfer of 20,000 points, but that also changes on May 1 to a less impressive 2.5:1 ratio and a higher 25,000-point minimum.

The new rate gives you the equivalent of just 0.4 Velocity/KrisFlyer miles per dollar on spends below $1,500/month and a paltry 0.2 Velocity/KrisFlyer miles on any further transactions made until your next statement, soon rendering it Australia’s worst credit card for earning frequent flyer points.

Suncorp’s Platinum cardholders opting for Qantas rewards will have their current earning rate of 1 Qantas Point per dollar cut in half to 0.5 Qantas Points per dollar, while those enrolled in Suncorp Rewards will also be affected by the upcoming 2.5:1 airline conversion rate.

Frequent flyer cuts for Card Services

Many other banks also outsource their credit card arm to Citi’s own Card Services division including CUA, IMB Bank, QT Mutual and Southern Cross Credit Union, with their cards also going under the knife.

From May 1 2016, all Platinum-grade cards with the issuers above will earn 1 Card Services Rewards point per dollar spent with an annual cap of 100,000 points, down from up to 1.25 Card Services Rewards points per dollar previously.

The conversion rate from Card Services Rewards to Virgin Australia Velocity and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is again worsened from 2:1 to 2.5:1 from the same date, which means all affected customers will earn the equivalent of just 0.4 Velocity/KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent.

Bank of Queensland customers – whose cards also come via Citigroup – emerge unscathed with no changes to their everyday Q Rewards earning or frequent flyer conversion rates, but as with all the banks covered in this article, points issued on BPAY transactions will, however, cease from May.

Also read: Virgin Money cuts credit card frequent flyer points

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive 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!

mrmaxwell

mrmaxwell

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

How can any professional person drawing up revisions for card benefits include earn rates of 0.2 / 0.5 miles per dollar spent and keep a straight face?

Earn rates are going down, award rates rise and the fuel surcharge gouging continues when oil is under US$25 per barrel...

PeterLoh

PeterLoh

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

Credit card spend for me attributes to less than 10% of the points/miles earned every year, so this continuing devaluation on overall credit card spend is both good and bad news.

Great for frequent flyers who actually earn most of their points through flying, with the potential for less competition on business/first award seats!

deanr

deanr

04 May 2015

Total posts 231

The conversation probably went  something like this:

Boss: "How can we cut our points back to be lower than any bank has ever gotten away with before, while still making customers think they're getting a great deal?"

...

Ideas Man Steve: "Aha! I know! Tell them they can still earn up to one point per dollar: just make each point worth even less than it already is, give them less points when they spend more money with us and make it so you need even more of our 'points' before you can get anything with them, by which time we'll probably have cut their value again, or the customer will have worked out our little game and cancelled the card before having a chance to cash those points in."

...

Boss: "You just made partner."

Skipp

Skipp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2012

Total posts 126

Dean, you are correct. Citibank Corporation screwing the customer from both ends (collecting AND transferring points),is termed "changes to your {insert card type} terms and conditions".

Citibank trust however that most customers will either not be aware of the changes, or generally to lazy to switch credit card providers when their credit card anniversary falls due.


KK

KK

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 104

It makes HSBC Platinum very attractive at the moment.

obanpointer

obanpointer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 168

But less so than others

The Evil Muppet

The Evil Muppet

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Dec 2015

Total posts 41

All of the card issuers who have announced cuts have one thing in common - they simply don't have the acquiring or other business base to absorb the Interchange rate limits imposed by the RBA.

 

Of course, the RBA has imposed these limits with no demonstrated modeling or benefit to businesses demonstrating their inability to regulate this aspect of the payments system. 

Would anyone else be interested in an open letter to those responsible with a view to getting a formal response?

brucek

brucek

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2013

Total posts 6

Yes I would "be interested in an open letter to those responsible with a view to getting a formal response".  

Doubleplatinum Banned

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

Cue the whingers!

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Hi Doubleplatinum, apologies, we missed this comment when it first appeared.

As we've asked you before, please be mindful of AusBT's published comment policy which applies to you and all other users, specifically:

  • Focus on the topic (especially when commenting on an article) and add value to the conversation.
  • Don't attack others for their opinion: if you disagree, then make your case. But stay objective and stick to the topic.

evilbrian

evilbrian

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

Hardly surprising that Suncorp have come out with the nastiest points reductions in the market so far. They've been a toilet of a bank in terms of customer service and lending rates for existing customers in the last 4 years. If I wasn't on target to repay my mortgage in the next 2-3 years I'd have long since moved the remaining balance to Ubank or similar.


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