Westpac opens new American Express cards to the public

By Chris Chamberlin, April 23 2018
Westpac opens new American Express cards to the public
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.

Westpac’s next-gen American Express cards are now available for open application, following a soft launch in January exclusively by invitation for existing customers.

Being issued directly by American Express Australia instead of Westpac, these cards aren’t subject to the same crippling ‘interchange fee’ caps as normal bank-issued AMEX cards, allowing Westpac to continue offering a higher number of points on these purchases.

However, these new cards aren’t offered as standalone products – they’re only available when paired with a Westpac-issued Altitude Platinum Visa or an Altitude Black Mastercard, which gets confusing, because that AMEX and its companion Visa or Mastercard are both issued by different banks.

Here’s how that works for Platinum and Black cardholders.

Westpac Altitude Black AMEX + Mastercard bundle

At the top end of town, the Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard now offers an ongoing annual fee of $250 when earning Altitude Rewards points – which can be converted to the likes of Velocity and KrisFlyer – or $300 in total when earning points direct with Qantas.

Adding the new American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card onto the account costs an extra $199/year, pegging the total yearly cost at $449-499 when combined.

Having the AMEX allows you to earn 2.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent directly with Qantas, two Qantas Points per $1 spend on overseas transactions, 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent with government bodies and 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent everywhere else, when opting-in for Qantas Points.

Prefer Altitude Rewards points instead? You’ll fetch the equivalent of 2.5 Velocity points per $1 spent overseas and 1.5 Velocity points per $1 spent in Australia, except on government charges where the earn rate equals 0.5 Velocity points per $1 spent via the Altitude Rewards scheme.

(To compare, the Altitude Black World Mastercard offers a flat earn rate of 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on most purchases, or the equivalent of 0.625 Velocity points per $1 spent.)

Eligible new cardholders can also scoop up 80,000 bonus Qantas Points or 80,000 bonus Altitude points (40,000 Velocity points) when applying by October 23 2018 and spending $3,000 on eligible purchases using the Altitude Black Mastercard within 90 days of card approval.

Spending $3,000 on eligible purchases using the new American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card within 90 days of approval also provides an additional 40,000 bonus Qantas Points or 40,000 bonus Altitude points (20,000 Velocity points), bumping your total bonus to 120,000 points across both cards.

Westpac Altitude Platinum AMEX + Visa card bundle

For Platinum-grade customers, the journey begins with the Westpac Altitude Platinum Visa, carrying its own annual fee of $150* when earning Altitude Rewards points or a total annual fee of $200* if earning points directly with Qantas.

You’ll pay an extra $49* per year to have the new American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card as well, on which you can earn up to 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent abroad and one frequent flyer point per dollar spent in Australia, except at government bodies where the earn rate is halved.

When using the Altitude Platinum Visa, you’d instead earn 0.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent (such as with Qantas via opt-in, or Velocity through Altitude Rewards), so by paying that extra $49/year charge, you can double your frequent flyer haul by using the AMEX.

Eligible new customers who apply for the new two card bundle by October 23 2018 can also earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points or 60,000 Altitude points (equal to 30,000 Velocity points) when spending $3,000 on purchases using the Visa card within 90 days of card approval.

On top of that, 15,000 bonus Qantas Points or 15,000 Altitude points (7,500 Velocity points) are also up for grabs when spending $3,000 on eligible purchases using the American Express card within 90 days of card approval, giving you up to 75,000 bonus points across both cards.

* The $150 Visa annual fee and the $49 AMEX annual fee are currently waived in the first year for new Altitude Platinum customers. The $50/year Qantas Rewards Fee is still payable if choosing Altitude Qantas, however.

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 not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 73

WOW AMEX a card for day to day teansactions earning more than a AMEX Platinum / Centurion card.....some thing for AMEX to review I would suggest

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

Do the altitude points still convert 2:1 to krisflyer?

2:1 is for conversions to Velocity only. Altitude changed its KrisFlyer conversion rate to 2.5:1 in late 2016.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

Ah yes I remember now...I converted all my points and closed my previous card around that time

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 438

So as an existing customer, now that I have my new AMEX card, am I required to maintain my Earth Black Mastercard ? Overall value at $500 is not great.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 438

Make that $450,still not great.

18 Nov 2013

Total posts 48

I successfully cancelled mine after I got the AMEX. I didn't see much benefit from the high annual fee so got rid of it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 23

Too late Westpac... have moved to a Qantas American Express. Westpac sent me the invitation on April 1... had moved a week earlier. Would cancel the MasterCard as well if all my merchants took the AMEX.

23 Apr 2018

Total posts 1

Well this is a bit late. I just took my 10K spend per month directly to AMEX.

LP
LP

30 Jun 2016

Total posts 49

Is this amex pairing subject to the usual 18 month exclusion for current amex issued card holders? Or does Westpac’s involvement mean you can still score the bonus points even if you hold an Explorer?

BOF
BOF

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 15

So let's see, Westpac took away my companion AMEX, didn't change the annual fee, and now want me to pay more to get the AMEX back??

Sorry, already decided Westpac card no longer worth its annual fee given poor earn rate. Much better options with AMEX directly.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Dec 2012

Total posts 6

Agree with BOF. I have Westpac premier package which paid for both black MC and Amex (1 cc fee pa included). Westpac never mention the Amex fee in their marketing nor, so far as I could see, their fine print. I'm just using MC now.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 137

Agree - It’s a fairly big drop in value for the package, and they don’t appear to be acknowledging it.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Westpac opens new American Express cards to the public

Notice (8): Undefined variable: infiniteScroll [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 216]
Notice (8): Undefined variable: infiniteScroll [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 222]
Warning (2): Invalid argument supplied for foreach() [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 222]