Westpac’s new Altitude Velocity program boosts your points

By Brandon Loo, June 25 2019

Westpac Altitude Rewards credit card holders have a new way to boost their Velocity Points balances with the introduction of the 'Altitude Velocity' opt-in rewards feature.

Running alongside the existing Altitude Rewards and Altitude Qantas programs, Altitude Velocity promises Velocity Frequent Flyers a larger chunk of points for their spend, but at a price.

Here's what you get in exchange for the extra $50/year fee: the ability to earn Velocity Points direct instead of Altitude Points, a much heftier sign-up bonus in Velocity Points, up to 75 bonus status credits for new customers (on the Altitude Black Bundle only – or up to 50 bonus status credits on the standalone Altitude Black Mastercard), and two Economy X Seat Upgrade Vouchers in addition to the usual perks of lounge entry passes and insurance.

Westpac has confirmed to Executive Traveller that Altitude Platinum and Altitude Black Mastercard customers can still switch between Altitude Velocity and the existing Altitude Rewards or Altitude Qantas programs later on. Only the Altitude Rewards program is fee free, with both Altitude Velocity and Altitude Qantas charging an extra $50 per year.

Westpac Altitude Velocity: crunching the numbers

The biggest impact this change has is the difference in sign-up bonuses for new customers.

The Westpac Altitude Black Bundle typically offers 120,000 Altitude Points on sign-up which converts to 40,000 Velocity Points at the prevailing rate of 3:1. However, by opting-in to Altitude Velocity, you could get the full bonus of 120,000 Velocity Points instead, which is a significantly bigger offering.

To earn this bonus, you will have to spend a total of $7,000 on your cards within 90 days of approval, being split into $4,000 of eligible purchases on your Mastercard and $3,000 on your American Express.

The Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle has a similar deal with 75,000 Velocity Points on sign-up. The first 60,000 points will be awarded after $3,000 of eligible spend on your Mastercard, and the remaining 15,000 points are yours after a further $3,000 of eligible purchases on your American Express.

Opting-in for the Altitude Velocity program when signing up for the Westpac Altitude Black Bundle means you can be earning up to 1.25 Velocity Points per dollar spent in Australia, or 2 Velocity Points per dollar spent in foreign currency on the American Express Black card. The Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard offers 0.75 Velocity Points per dollar spent across the board, uncapped.

The Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle offers 1 Velocity Point per dollar in Australia and 1.5 Velocity Points per dollar in foreign currency on the American Express card, while the accompanying Mastercard gives a flat 0.5 Velocity Points per dollar everywhere else.

Altitude Velocity compares favourably to earning points with Altitude Rewards, the latter of which converts at a rate of 3:1 to Velocity. In all cases, you would be earning fewer Velocity Points with the Altitude Rewards program per dollar spent, compared to earning in the Altitude Velocity program.

Westpac Altitude card:

 (All figures per A$1)

Altitude Rewards

(3:1 to Velocity)

Altitude Velocity

(Direct Earn)

Mastercard Platinum

All earn:

0.33 Velocity Points

0.50 Velocity Points

American Express Platinum

Australia:

0.67 Velocity Points

1.00 Velocity Points

Foreign spend:

1.00 Velocity Points

1.50 Velocity Points

Government:

0.33 Velocity Points

0.50 Velocity Points

Mastercard Black

All earn:

0.42 Velocity Points

0.75 Velocity Points

American Express Black

Australia:

1.00 Velocity Points

1.25 Velocity Points

Foreign spend:

1.67 Velocity Points

2.00 Velocity Points

Government:

0.33 Velocity Points

0.53 Velocity Points

The updated Westpac Altitude Black Bundle with Altitude Velocity also packs in up to 75 Velocity status credits for new and approved applicants – while it's nothing groundbreaking on its own, these bonus status credits could just be the difference between reaching Velocity Gold or Platinum elite status, giving you a year of unlimited lounge access and priority benefits.

Breeze through Premium Entry in Sydney, Brisbane and soon Melbourne with Velocity Gold or Platinum status

Also read: Best perks of Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum for domestic economy travellers

The bonus is broken down to 50 status credits after spending an additional $6,000 in your first year with the Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard (being $10,000 in total, including the $4,000 spent in earning the sign-up bonus), and 25 status credits if you spend $3,000 on the American Express card within 90 days of approval.

Other new benefits of the Altitude Velocity program include two Economy X Seat Upgrade Vouchers after you spend with Virgin Australia on your Mastercard, valid on domestic routes.

Economy X grants you one-time access to extra legroom seats, priority check-in and priority boarding on your next domestic flights and usually costs between $29 to $69 to add to your booking.

Economy X on Virgin Australia

Finally, in lieu of the two Priority Pass lounge visits with the Altitude Rewards program, the Altitude Velocity program provides two digital passes for Virgin Australia domestic lounges for those with the Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard. These passes will be automatically allocated to your Velocity account within 10 business days of making a direct spend at Virgin Australia.

All up, the new Altitude Velocity rewards program isn't too shabby for its $50 annual enrolment fee. New customers will have the most to show with up to 120,000 Velocity Points on sign-up, although the lounge access passes and Economy X upgrade vouchers may tempt current customers too.

Of course, you're free to sign-up for the Altitude Velocity program in your first year, collect the bonuses, and then switch back to Altitude Rewards for future years, which doesn't attract the extra $50 yearly fee.

Brandon Loo

Brandon divides his time between Perth and Launceston, with ample hours spent in airport lounges in between. He recently picked up photography and tries to capture the beauty of Tasmanian landscapes, aeroplane cabins and in-flight food, to varying degrees of success.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

Aren't there also 2 AMEX lounge passes with the bundle?

Brandon Loo

Brandon Loo

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 76

Yes, the Amex lounge passes remain part of all bundles regardless of which Altitude program you pick.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

Ah I didn't realise the QF bundle also came with it as well

EmZed

EmZed

09 May 2017

Total posts 1

I still haven't used my 2 compli PP entry fr WBC Blk M/C. Intend to use them on o/s trip in Sep/Oct. If I auto switch to new program on 2/8/19, will I lose the 2 PP?

tgt01

tgt01

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 3

I got my letter yesterday, seems they are migrating customers to the new program, unless you opt out.

callan17

callan17

17 Jan 2017

Total posts 3

"These passes will be automatically allocated to your Velocity account within 10 business days of making a direct spend at Virgin Australia."

Is this referring to flights or anything from the Velocity E-Store?


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