The next domino falls: Westpac reduces credit card points

By Chris Chamberlin, May 1 2017
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Along with the Commonwealth Bank and NAB, Westpac is preparing itself for the RBA’s upcoming cuts to credit card ‘interchange fees’ with new frequent flyer earning rates across its suite of rewards cards which take effect from July 1 2017.

Among the changes: American Express cards will be retained but will generate less frequent flyer points per dollar spent, payments to the Australian Taxation Office will earn no points at all on personal cards and top-level cardholders will no longer accrue bonus points on international transactions.

Whether you have a shiny Black card or an entry-level rewards card, here’s how many frequent flyer points you’ll earn per dollar spent as of the new financial year.

Altitude Black (with Altitude points): AMEX spend decreases from 3 Altitude points per dollar to 2.5 (equal to 1.25 Velocity points/Enrich miles or 1.0 Asia Miles/KrisFlyer miles), while MasterCard spend overseas drops from 3 Altitude points per Aussie dollar to 1.25 (0.625 Velocity/Enrich points or 0.5 KrisFlyer/Asia Miles), with no changes to the domestic earn rate.

Altitude Qantas Black and Earth Black: Cardholders will earn 1.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent on AMEX – down from 1.5/$1 at present – and 0.625 Qantas Points on all overseas MasterCard spend: also down from a generous 1.5/$1. As with Altitude Black, these cards will remain uncapped.

Altitude Platinum Plus (with Altitude points): Although closed to new applicants, existing cardholders will earn 2.5 Altitude points per dollar spent on AMEX as of July 1 2017, down from 3 Altitude points at present.

Altitude Qantas Platinum Plus and Earth Platinum Plus: These cards will churn out 1.25 Qantas Points per dollar spent on AMEX from July, down from 1.5 Qantas Points.

All Altitude, Earth cards: Points will no longer be awarded on ATO payments made using American Express from July 1 2017. Visas and MasterCards issued under the bank’s Altitude and Earth banners already award no points on ATO payments.

There are no changes to Westpac’s direct-earning Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer credit cards – available only to existing customers – or to conversion rates from the Altitude Rewards program to airline frequent flyer schemes, as these were already reduced for KrisFlyer and Asia Miles members last year.

However, as of May 2 2017, Westpac BusinessChoice Rewards Visa cardholders will earn 0.33 Qantas Points per dollar spent on government payments (currently 0.66 Qantas Points per $1 – including for payments made to the ATO), while Altitude Business Gold customers will reel in 0.5 Altitude points per dollar on the same (currently 1-2 Altitude points per $1).

Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

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!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2016

Total posts 19

At least they still give you some points, and "some" is better than none.  ANZ have told us to cut up our ANZ Black Amex from July meaning zero Qantas points!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2016

Total posts 2

You will get 1 Qantas FF point per dollars up to $7000 per month and then .5 points per dollar. You are still getting the Qantas FF points...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Nov 2013

Total posts 8

Best get Amex card directly from AMEX, not through a bank.  May still be changes there but they should not be linked to July 1 changes because it is my understanding that Amex is not affected.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2016

Total posts 2

Amex offers a card free of charge giving 1ff per dollar...
Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 399

BJVincent. Correction. ANZ Amex, for black at least, ceases 5 August not July.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 340

So no change with MC for domestic spent? Not too bad as we are still earning 0.625 VA/MH and 0.5 KF/AM per dollar. 
The only changes are those indicated, so no change to the Altitude Black/Earth Black domestic MasterCard earn rates.

13 Apr 2017

Total posts 3

Are there any changes to the Vanilla Platinum cards? These hsve a different points earn to the Platinum Plus cards. 
All changes are as indicated - so if it's not mentioned, it's not changing. :)

(All Altitude/Earth cards have the ATO change, however.)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 3

As of August 5 ANZ will no longer honor your Amex card. 0 pts.

I have jumped over to Amex direct with a new Amex card and F F points I chose to jump ship and go with their pts system meanining I can convert to Velocity pts or several others. This particular card doesnt apply to Qantas pts.If their cards offered better Qantas pts I would have stayed with Qantas.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 185

these banks get fatter by the second yet they try to cut and curb everything-in the US there are million option to get the best deals regarding points with any cards this is a 3-rd world country where the arrogant banks think they can do anything they like with us shame on you Australia 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Dec 2015

Total posts 41

These changes are a direct result of RBA rule changes that no one asked for, cannot be justified, will benefit no one and were specifically recommended against by the Productivity Commission.

Your blame is misdirected I'm afraid. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 246

So with NAB, ANZ, WestPac and CommBank all slashing earn rates. What is the expert suggestion for the highest earning Visa or Mastercard product now?

(I excluded American Express cause it appear the consensus is to go direct and get a direct-issued one to get the full earn rate).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 31

G&C Mutual Bank Platinum Visa - flat rate $1=1 point. ALL purchases. Plus 1 point bonus for Qantas purchases.
Just to note that this card hasn't had any updates since the RBA regs were confirmed, so it's quite possible that this product could change between now and July 1.

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