Westpac launches new, invitation-only American Express credit cards

By Chris Chamberlin, January 30 2018

Westpac customers can now apply for the bank’s new Westpac-branded American Express cards issued directly by American Express Australia – but at this stage, applications are available by invitation only.

That’s because the application process requires a unique ‘personal offer code’ to get past the first screen: without this, you can’t apply:

The new card range offers a Black-level American Express with a choice between earning Qantas Points or Altitude points in a customer’s existing Westpac Altitude Rewards account, and a Platinum-grade card with the same options.

By having American Express issue these cards as opposed to Westpac directly, the bank is able to continue offering high frequent flyer earning rates that otherwise wouldn’t be sustainable with a Westpac-backed AMEX, under new credit card ‘interchange fee’ regulations imposed by the Reserve Bank.

Read: How the RBA interchange cap will affect credit card frequent flyer points

While we expect these cards to eventually welcome applications from the general public, if you’re one of the Chosen Ones to receive a unique invitation code (check your Westpac online banking inbox or notifications, or your snail mail letterbox), here are your options:

American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card

Whichever rewards option you select, you’ll start by paying no annual fee in the first year ($199 thereafter), with two yearly visits to the AMEX Lounges at Sydney or Melbourne Airports included as well, along with the expected travel insurance inclusions, and no points capping.

Opt for Qantas Points and you’ll take home 15,000 to 20,000 bonus points (depending on your unique offer) when you apply by March 15 2018 and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within three months of card approval.

You can also earn 2.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent directly with Qantas such as on flight bookings and Qantas Club memberships; 2 Qantas Points per dollar spent abroad; and 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Australian purchases, except for government spend (including ATO payments) which attract 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.

Or, choose Altitude Rewards instead to collect 30,000-40,000 bonus Altitude points (equal to 15,000-20,000 Velocity points, again, depending on your unique offer) when you apply by March 15 2018 and spend $3,000 within three months of card approval.

Spend in foreign currencies reels in five Altitude points per $1 spent (worth 2.5 Velocity/Enrich points or 2 Asia Miles/KrisFlyer miles), while purchases in Australia earn 3 Altitude points per $1 spent (that’s 1.5 Velocity points or 1.2 KrisFlyer miles), and government charges attract one Altitude point per $1 spent (0.5 Velocity points or 0.4 KrisFlyer miles).

American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card

Slip a Platinum card into your wallet instead and you’ll enjoy many of the same perks like travel insurance and uncapped points earning, again in your choice of program, plus no annual fee in the first year ($49 thereafter).

For Qantas Points, you’ll get 10,000 of them when you apply by March 15 and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within three months of card approval, plus two Qantas Points per $1 spent directly with Qantas.

That’s complemented by an earn rate of 1.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on all overseas purchases in foreign currencies and 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent in Australia, except for government bodies in Australia at which you’ll get 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.

Choose to earn Altitude Rewards points instead and you’ll receive 20,000 bonus Altitude points (10,000 Velocity points) when you apply by March 15 and spend $3,000 within the first three months.

On international transactions in foreign currencies, you’ll earn a comparable 3 Altitude points per $1 spent (equal to 1.5 Velocity/Enrich points or 1.2 KrisFlyer/Asia Pacific miles); 2 Altitude points per $1 spent in Australia (1 Velocity point or 0.8 KrisFlyer miles), and 1 Altitude point per $1 spent with Australian government bodies (0.5 Velocity points/0.4 KrisFlyer miles).

Westpac's new approach to American Express cards

All of these new American Express-issued, Westpac-branded cards attract a 3% international transaction fee on foreign purchases – an improvement to the 3.5% payable on Westpac’s current range of AMEX cards, which will all close on April 4 2018.

Read: How Westpac's latest credit card changes will affect you

From that date, the only working American Express cards in Australia to show the Westpac logo will be those directly issued by American Express, as pictured above.

Existing Westpac customers who receive an invitation code from Westpac will be able to apply for one of these new cards – which will have a separate credit limit to any existing Westpac cards, and will be serviced directly by American Express, not Westpac.

That means online banking will be performed via the American Express website, payments will be made directly to American Express – not Westpac – and any customer service enquiries will also be fielded by AMEX.

However, any Altitude Rewards points earned on these new American Express cards will be credited to the cardholder’s existing Westpac Altitude Rewards account, which means you can keep all your points together in the one place, including if you continue to hold a Westpac-issued, points-earning Visa or Mastercard.

These new American Express cards will also support Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, as with all other AMEX cards directly issued by American Express Australia.

Australian Business Traveller exclusively revealed Westpac’s plan back in January 2017, when the bank floated a draft of how an AMEX-issued, Westpac-branded American Express card could operate.

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!

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 527

Are you still eligible for the bonus points if you have another Amex card directly issued by Amex or does this disqualify one for the bonus?

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Hi mviy, if invited, you'd need to refer to the T&Cs of the offer you have received to ascertain whether or not you're eligible for the sign-up bonus based on your own individual circumstances, particularly as there are multiple offers on the table which may each have different conditions attached. As always, as a media outlet, we can't provide readers with personal financial advice or interpretations of legal documents, beyond the general information we publish as part of our news editorial.

Ftinopragma

Ftinopragma

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 1

I have been a Westpac customer for over 20 years and didn’t receive an invitation to this offer. When I called Westpac I was told I don’t meet the eligibility criteria, however they couldn’t tell me what the criteria was. They said when the card gets released later in the year to the general public I could apply for this card. Having being told I am a loyal customer with excellent credit history I am at a loss as to why I don’t meet the eligibility criteria.

I would love to hear from other Westpac customers who didn’t receive an invitation to this offer and have experienced similar to me.

I think I really need to review who I Bank with in the future.

bigimps

bigimps

09 Apr 2018

Total posts 1

Go to the bank branch. I did today, there is another round of letters being posted out by 30/4. Was told that the Bank has not set the criteria for the new card that is done by Amex, they have control over the offers. I lodged my interest, the lovely girl on the enquiry desk actually rang the card centre on my behalf to do so.

Randomtraveller

Randomtraveller

14 Dec 2017

Total posts 4

I just asked Amex live chat this question, their response is :"As of now, we don't have any such update about sign-up bonus terms after this Card. Please allow few days for the terms to be updated so that we can help you with the details."

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

1.25 QF points per dollar and 0.5 for ATO? Worse than the old card! No thanks.

deanr

deanr

04 May 2015

Total posts 231

Hardly... Westpac's current black Amex card already gives 1.25 Qantas FF points per dollar (but is being switched off in April), so the new card is the same. Yeah, it previously gave 1.5 per dollar but that changed a while back. Westpac also stopped giving points on ATO payments recently, so this change means those transactions will start earning points again, albeit at a low rate similar to other Amex cards.

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Was referring to the old card. Previously 1.5 QF per dollar including ATO. Changed July last year - clearly “a while back”.

Mightyreds

Mightyreds

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 266

Will Apple Pay work on this AMEX?

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

We don't have that information just yet, but fingers crossed!

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Mightyreds: Just to update, AMEX has contacted me to advise that these Westpac-branded cards will indeed support Apple Pay, as with all other American Express cards issued directly by AMEX.

Mightyreds

Mightyreds

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 266

Thanks for the update Chris, a positive move that I am sure myself and many have been waiting for.

Dale

Dale

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Dec 2011

Total posts 90

Interesting I wonder if the others will follow.

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 259

I understand why they are doing this to get around the RBA change, but I'm struggling to see the point? Why would I go to Amex to apply for a Westpac card, and talk to Amex about my Westpac account, to trade Memership Rewards for the Altitude program. Of all the options available, of all the cards, why on earth would you say....yep this is THE one.

ajd

ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 40

You wouldn't so much go to Amex to apply for this card, as Westpac will come to you and strongly suggest you apply for an Amex card.

I'd say this card isn't really designed for the points hacker who understands how to extract the best value - it's just trying to leverage Westpac's existing customer base.

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 259

Thanks ajd. So strange.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 581

Lol those bonus points offers are pitiful...almost as bad as commbank

tim_f99

tim_f99

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 May 2015

Total posts 1

Interesting, I did the application this morning and I don't recall getting the option to select which rewards program I wanted, hope it defaults to the same as the current amex I have with westpac which is the Qantas points.

NQflyer

NQflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 31

It does, I phone up and said my card application was automatically linked to accruing QFF points as I have a Westpac Earth Qantas Black card.

andrew1

andrew1

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 2

what is the status of the SQ amex card where the points are credited directly to KrisFlyer.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Hi Andrew, all existing Westpac-issued American Express cards will close on April 4 2018: Westpac announced this last year. Cardholders should contact Westpac to discuss their options, such as to apply for one of the new cards above which can convert points to KrisFlyer.

jhor

jhor

18 Nov 2013

Total posts 48

I haven't received anything in by snail mail (except a letter saying this change is coming) and there's nothing in my online banking inbox. I wonder if an offer for me will come later, or perhaps I'm not of interest to Westpac?

camtraveller

camtraveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2017

Total posts 7

I’ll probably apply for the new AMEX, but I’ll need to have a good think about whether to keep this going after the first fee-free year. Currently for my dual Altitude Black cards, I’m paying one $395 fee to Westpac.

Under this new arrangement (after the fee free year) I’ll be paying nearly $500. $300 for the Westpac mastercard and $199 for the AMEX, just with a slightly higher earn rate (0.75) on the mastercard.

ATreeFiddy

ATreeFiddy

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 2

Particularly interested what Westpac's approach to those on their Premier Advantage (home loan) package, who currently get the Altitude Platinum or Black cards for free as part of the package annual fee, will be. Bit of a value degradation if they now expect us to pay $199 to have an AMEX that we've always had for free.

wellabove

wellabove

31 Jan 2018

Total posts 2

Does the invite come by post or e-mail? I called Westpac and they knew very little about it instead saying you had to apply online via their website but couldn't give me the link.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

To quote the article above: "check your Westpac online banking inbox or notifications, or your snail mail letterbox".

Not all cardholders have received an invitation code, though, so hang tight.

wellabove

wellabove

31 Jan 2018

Total posts 2

Thanks Chris. My invitation arrived seconds after I posted my comment!

AeroSexual

AeroSexual

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 14

I'd agree that I don't really get it. I recently left Westpac after being a customer for 30 years for a couple of key reasons, but one bonus of my new banking arrangement was Apple Pay across the board. Under this arrangement, you can use Apple Pay on your AMEX issued Westpac or dual Westpac/AMEX branded card, but if you still have a Westpac issued Master or Visa attached to the same Altitude account - you can't. There's a few vendors who won't accept AMEX where you'd have to use that card - and Westpac still make you carry the plastic. Weird. No thanks - all my cards are now on my Apple Watch and everything works a treat.

cre8ive

cre8ive

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 2

I haven’t received an invite despite spending 400k per annum on the cards. Possibly my spending profile isn’t profitable, as I spend a lot with AusPost and Google AdWords.

andrew1

andrew1

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 2

I have a SQ Amex/Visa card and have not yet receive my invitation. Not sure if there is an issue there.

Russell G

Russell G

06 Mar 2018

Total posts 1

Would it not be more beneficial to apply for the Qantas AMEX Ultimate Card offering 100000 points for which I am eligible, rather than the Westpac offer of only 20000 points and free first year membership.

B Ierino

B Ierino

04 Jun 2018

Total posts 1

I applied by invitation for the new platinum AMEX card. Having previously had my Westpac Visa/ AMEX for 15 years and paying account monthly to maintain my AAA rating I was refused a new card.

After lots of run around and dozens of calls from overseas call center I really wasn't given an explanation. Could the powers that be tell me why this was the case. I am debt free!

cre8ive

cre8ive

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 2

There are several factors which may make you declined for a credit card - Do you have a high income? Do you already have an AMEX card? Have you applied for other credit cards over the last 12 months? As the card is issued by Amex now, its an Amex decision rather than a Westpac decision.

hangry.lee

hangry.lee

29 Apr 2018

Total posts 2

hey all. I ended up taking the offer on the AMEX Westpac Altitude Black card with a supposed 15-20k bonus points when spending >$3000 in first 3 months... but I still haven't received the bonus points and its been well over 3 months now. Anyone else had any luck?

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