Reviews

Review: Westpac Altitude Platinum Mastercard credit card

By Chris Chamberlin, March 15 2017
Westpac Altitude Platinum Mastercard credit card
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.

Notes
The Good
  • Free overseas travel insurance
The Bad
  • Lower points earning rates
Added Value
  • Earn up to 80,000 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 Velocity Points, or 80,000 Altitude 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):
         Most everyday purchases (excluding ATO payments): 1
         Selected airlines*: 3.0, up to $10,000 per calendar month
         International spend, and at selected Australian merchants~: 2.0

* Selected airlines include Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia, on direct purchases made in Australia. Above $10,000 per month, these transactions earn points at the Mastercard's regular rate of 1 Altitude Points per $1 spent.

~ Other selected merchants include Spotify Premium, Uber, Uber Eats and Airbnb.

  • 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 on most everyday purchases) = 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:

  • 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:

New customers who apply by March 31 2020 can net a nice serve of bonus points to 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, as the number of bonus points earned, and the value of those bonus points, does vary.

Select Altitude Qantas and you'll fetch 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, or choose Altitude Velocity and you'll see a similar 60,000 bonus Velocity points.

However, opt for Altitude Rewards and although you'd earn a higher 80,000 bonus 'points', those are Altitude Points, which are worth a lower 26,666 airline frequent flyer points when converted from Altitude at a 3:1 rate. That's 26,666 Velocity points, for example, compared to 60,000 bonus Velocity points when opting for Altitude Velocity.

Pleasingly, there's no monthly or annual frequent flyer earning cap on this card, regardless of the rewards option chosen, allowing cardholders 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:

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:

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 in total 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).


Bank disclaimer: ^The interest free period is the maximum number of days during which interest is not charged on new purchases. If your account has an interest free period for purchases, to be entitled to that interest free period, you need to pay off the “monthly payment balance” listed on your statement of account (not the full closing balance) by the relevant payment due date.

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!


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