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, 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 currently offers up to 140,000 Altitude Points on sign-up which convert to 46,666 Velocity Points at the prevailing rate of 3:1. However, by opting-in to Altitude Velocity, you could get the full bonus of up to 100,000 Velocity Points instead, which is a significantly bigger offering.

To earn this bonus, you would 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 convert to Velocity at a 3:1 rate. 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

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
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 100,000 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 581

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

Brandon Loo

Brandon Loo

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 82

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 581

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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