Westpac to axe unlimited Qantas points on Platinum credit cards

By David Flynn, March 18 2013
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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 is slamming the lid on its customers' ability to earn unlimited frequent flyer points with the bank's current family of Altitude and Earth credit cards.

A new points-capping rule is being introduced across the board, from the cheapest entry-level cards to the top-tier Platinum Plus plastic across the MasterCard, Visa and American Express editions.

As of 17 June 2013, Westpac will no longer permit an unlimited number of Qantas Frequent Flyer points to be earned each month through its line of Earth-branded rewards cards.

The basic Earth card will be limited to 2,500 Qantas Frequent Flyer points per month, while Earth Platinum and Earth Platinum Plus will be capped at 3,750 points per month.

However, bonus points earned “on selected Qantas products and services”, at the rate of one point per dollar spent, will not count towards the cap.

A similar ceiling is being imposed on the Altitude credit cards which currently funnel an unlimited number of  Westpac’s own Altitude rewards points into the frequent flyer schemes of five other airlines: Virgin Australia’s Velocity, Malaysia Airline's Enrich, Air New Zealand Airpoints, Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles.

The standard Altitude card will be limited to 5,000 Altitude points pr month, starting 17 June 2013, while Altitude Platinum and Altitude Platinum Plus will top out at 7,500 points.

As with the Earth cards, bonus Altitude points will be excluded from the monthly cap.

Westpac’s Singapore Airlines Gold and Platinum cards will remain uncapped, however, allowing SQ travellers to rack up as many KrisFlyer miles as their budget can afford.

Black is the new uber-Platinum

But all is not lost for Westpac’s point-hungry travellers: next week the bank will launch new Earth Black and Altitude Black cards.

Available from 25 March 2013, the Black cards will feature the uncapped frequent flyer points previously available through each the card’s non-Black counterparts.

In letters sent to existing Earth Platinum Plus cardholders, Westpac has advised that the Earth Black card will cost no more than their current cards.

The Earth Black American Express card will earn 1.5 Qantas Frequent Flyer points per dollar, while the Earth Black MasterCard will earn 0.625 Qantas points per dollar in Australia and 1.5 points per dollar overseas.

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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.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 246

they're definitely not winning my business.

Although CBA has points capping on their Award cards, at least it can be earned and not run into the cap amount. 55 days interest free days instead of 44 for WBC.

17 Nov 2011

Total posts 26

This is a serious annoyance.

I've been with Westpac for years, and until now haave heavily used an Earth Platinum. I have another card which I can use to earn QFF points, however it does not offer a bonus when purchasing Qantas products, nor is its travel insurance offer as good.

Whilst Westpac note that you can still earn an uncapped amount of 'bonus' points, this is still an issue because if for example you wish to purchase a business class seat at $6000, you will already be over your 'regular' cap for the month, missing out on several thousand points depending on what Qantas product you are purchasing.

 

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 213

I just got the Westpac Black Card letter. All is not lost, 0.625 points per dollar on Mastercard, 1.5 on Amex all uncapped. The bonus is for travel, 1.5 points per dollar for overseas purchases on Mastercard. 

The kicker will be the annual fee and I'm guessing it will be substantially more than the Platinum fee of $250

Qantas

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 177

I don't understand why anyone would be using a credit card offering <1 point per dollar when Woolworths' Everyday Rewards credit card offers 1 point per dollar on Mastercard. And before you say "because you can earn more with Amex" ... you'll end up paying for those points through Amex surcharges anyway. https://www.woolworthsmoney.com.au/wowm/wps/wcm/connect/WowMoney/WowMoney/Credit+Cards/Woolworths+Qantas+credit+card/

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I agree Dan, I think that if you can get a 'premium' card with extras like travel insurance, entry into airport lounges etc that might be worth it but Amex not being accepted at many places and at many others where they make you pay extra for using Amex, Mastercard and Visa really seem the best choice.

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 263

SImilarly, I'm now using the Woolworths credit card, with unlimited points so far.  Only thing I dislike about this card is the extremely low credit limit they gave me, a quarter of what I previously had with another bank.  I move between credit cards, abandoning a bank when they dump their reward points, including Amex green card, and Citibank Platinum Visa which halved their points last year.

CL9
CL9

22 Mar 2012

Total posts 200

The annual fee isn't a huge annoyance for me, do none of you care about the ridiculous interest rate!?

21 Feb 2012

Total posts 40

Interest rate is moot, because I pay off my card in full.

Its sad to see that the Citibank Credit Cards are the only cards still worth the most in terms of their points earning and the fact that they use Visa for their main card

CL9
CL9

22 Mar 2012

Total posts 200

Benifit of Visa?

21 Feb 2012

Total posts 40

Its widely accepted everywhere, unlike American Express haha.

CL9
CL9

22 Mar 2012

Total posts 200

Haha LOL, yes I have to agree with American Express being full of crap!

Qantas

10 Sep 2011

Total posts 162

When I first signed up to the Earth Credit Card many years ago, it promised to be a good travel card (one you can use all over Earth).  While factually correct, the fees went up.  For Forex transactions now, you cannot go past 28 Degrees (GE) and the BankWest Platinum range (none of which acrrue points on Forex).  For domestic transactions look for a card with a better earn.

No fees is better value than points.

David, while I will overlook your lack of real journalism stealing the majority of your tips from the Australian Frequent Flyer Forum, I will not overlook your factually incorrect statement that Earth Platinum Plus customers will be offered the black card at no higher cost than their current card. This has to date only been offered to selected customers. Many will be left high and dry with a capped card that represents little value.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

ComeFlyWithMe, let's get a few things straight.

"I will overlook your lack of real journalism stealing the majority of your tips from the Australian Frequent Flyer Forum" – honestly, mate, that's not just insulting, it's a load of total and utter rubbish.

Besides that I am not even a member of AFF, it's arrogant to assume that any one website is the sole source of all stories and tips. Last week I received emails on the cards going capped from two AusBT readers; at 9.30am today I called Westpac Media Relations to get more information on that and the new card; and today I had more info from other readers as they received their card offers from Westpac (including this Tweet: https://twitter.com/timothy_89/status/313504325534105600). And for every other lame claim you make that we 'steal' tips (again, not that anybody 'owns' tips) I could produce a similar timeline or details on my own development of the story. In summary: get your hand off it, mate.

"I will not overlook your factually incorrect statement that Earth Platinum Plus customers will be offered the black card at no higher cost than their current card." - then I suggest you re-read the article, because you've got this wrong.

I did not write that all Earth Platinum Plus customers will be offered the black card at no higher cost.

I wrote "in letters sent to existing Earth Platinum Plus cardholders, Westpac has advised that the Earth Black card will cost no more than their current cards." (italics mine, for emphasis)

So I'm clearly citing individual letters sent to some cardholders, not stating this as a blanket polity – and this is based on AusBT readers who hold Earth Platinum Plus cards and have received a letter from Westpac saying there would be no extra cost for the Earth Black card.

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 3

save yourself the $250 that westpac will charge for the black card , if  you are a premier westpac customer you can have the qantas earth platinum card aligned to your package as part of the yearly fee of about $390

so if westpac decide to offer this card to there current customers one would hope that they do the right thing and offered it as an alternative to earth platinum

otherwise im dropping the credit limit right back to the minimum and looking else where!

CL9
CL9

22 Mar 2012

Total posts 200

eeew... Westpac

31 Mar 2013

Total posts 1

what happens to existing points accrued in the Altitude scheme? Can you use them after the 17th of June to book flights with?

07 Apr 2013

Total posts 1

Okay everyone, so I can say on good authority that a lot of existing Altitude and Earth (notice I didn't just mention Platinum/Platinum Plus) customers will be quite satisfied with their new black cards.

Anyone who already uses their current cards regularly and meets the minimum credit criteria etc will likely get upgraded at no extra cost. New customers, however, will need to pay the full annual fee (unless they can swing a good deal).

Also, your card and rewards accounts are unaffected – it's just the cards themselves that are changing (plus you get some extra benefits too).

And if you have an Altitude Visa card you might want to give Westpac a call to see what they can do for you!


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