Prior to 2018, many Australian banks offered rewards credit cards that came with bank-issued American Express companion cards. These companion cards gave cardholders the ability to earn rewards points at higher reward earn rates than standard rewards cards, making them a sought-after option for people who liked ways to earn rewards points faster.
This article outlines what has changed and why. It also explains how a new partnership with American Express® gives Westpac cardholders one of the most competitive earn rates currently offered by a major Australian bank.
- Why were there changes to bank-issued American Express Cards?
- Introducing the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card Bundle
- Accelerated points: earn up to 5 Altitude points per dollar^1
- 2 great cards, one pooled points balance
- Lounge access with up to 4 entries each year
- Up to 120,000 bonus points with the Black bundle2~
- Wider access to premium benefits
- Apply for both cards with 1 application form
Why were there changes to bank-issued American Express cards?
On 1 July 2017, the Reserve Bank of Australia introduced new interchange regulations that affected rewards cards issued by Australian banks.
This regulatory change prompted many major banks in Australia to stop offering companion credit cards with their core rewards card range.
As of 2 September 2018, no Australian bank will automatically issue an American Express Card with their main rewards credit cards for customers to use.
But with Westpac, you can now bundle a Westpac Altitude Card with an American Express Card.
Introducing the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card Bundle
The new American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card bundle is only available to Westpac customers. The partnership has seen the launch of 2 cards – one issued and serviced by Westpac and one issued and serviced by American Express. Each card has its own annual card fee, credit limit, statement and monthly repayment, but also its own points earn rate and set of premium extras.
Customers can enjoy the combined benefits of the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card and the Westpac Altitude Black MasterCard by taking up the Black bundle or adding the American Express Black Card to their existing Westpac Mastercard.
You can also link your Westpac Altitude card to an American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card if you’re after a lower annual Card fee.
While some features will be familiar to people who’ve had these types of cards before, others are new. So what does this new bundle involve? What are the benefits and how could it help you earn more points in the current rewards card market?
Benefit #1 – Accelerated points: earn up to 5 Altitude points per dollar^1
The American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card bundle gives you all of the benefits of both cards – and this starts with the rate at which each card earns rewards points.
If you’re approved for the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card bundle, and choose the Altitude Rewards program, you could earn up to 5 Altitude Points per $1 spent on foreign currency on your American Express Card^ and 1.25 Altitude Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases with your Westpac card1.
If you’re approved for the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card bundle and choose the Qantas Rewards program, you could earn up to 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on foreign currency spent on your American Express Card5 and 0.75 Qantas Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases with your Westpac card1.
Please see below for details of all earn rates on both cards:
|Altitude Rewards||Altitude Qantas|
|American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card|
|per $1 spent in foreign currency.||5||2|
|per $1 spent in Australia.||3||1.25|
|per $1 spent at government bodies in Australia such as Australia Post and the Australian Taxation Office.||1||0.5|
|Altitude Black Mastercard|
|per $1 spent.||1.25||0.75|
The American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card also offers compelling earn rates. See ‘Things you should know’ below for more details.
Benefit #2 – 2 great cards, one pooled points balance.
Each card is issued and serviced by the separate provider – Westpac and American Express – but all points you earn on both contribute to the same points balance. Whenever you use either card, all your points go into your chosen rewards pool of either Altitude Rewards or Altitude Qantas.
With two points-earning cards, you can make purchases at a wider range of merchants worldwide, while increasing the number of opportunities to maximise the points you earn per dollar.
Having 2 premium rewards cards means you can make the most of the benefits that come with each card.
Choose Altitude Qantas and access up to 2 Qantas Club Complimentary Invitations4 per year after you spend the minimum amount on selected Qantas products and services each year using your Altitude Black World Mastercard. You will need to first register and opt in to take advantage of this benefit.
If instead you choose Altitude Rewards, you can register your Altitude Black World Mastercard to receive 2 complimentary lounge visits per year to use at more than 1,000 VIP airport lounges worldwide.3#
Plus – your American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card gives you two complimentary visits6 each year to the American Express Airport Lounge at Sydney or Melbourne International Airports. Simply present your Card and boarding pass at either lounge to gain admission.
Benefit #4 – Wider access to premium benefits
For example, Westpac cardholders gain access to unique benefits and discounts through the Rewards & Offers tab within Westpac Live online and mobile banking.
As an American Express cardholder, you will get access to benefits offered through Amex Invites, including pre-sale and reserved seating offers, and access to American Express Invites Lounges. You also get access to a range of shopping, dining, travel or entertainment offers from American Express partners through Amex Offers.
For a limited time, each card comes with its own bonus point offers for new cardholders. You could earn 80,000 bonus points on the Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard2 and an additional 40,000 bonus points on the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on each card within 90 days of card approval. Offer ends 2nd April 2019.
Although both cards are serviced by separate providers, you can apply for the bundle with a single, simple online application.
So if you’re looking to multiply your rewards in 2018, consider whether the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card Bundle could help you reach your rewards faster.
Things you should know
Credit criteria, fees and charges apply. Offers are not available in conjunction with any special offers that are not listed on www.westpac.com.au. Switches, upgrades or Westpac group staff are ineligible. Offer may be withdrawn or extended at any time. Terms and conditions available on request.
American Express will pay a monthly commission to Westpac in relation to your account. As the commission is dependent on all American Express Westpac Altitude customers’ use of their Cards, the amount is not ascertainable.
You will not pay any fees or charges to Westpac in relation to your American Express® Westpac Altitude Card.
Be credit savvy: Before applying, consider a realistic credit limit and check all conditions, interest rates, fees and charges on your selected card.
Westpac Altitude Cards
1. Rewards Points for Westpac Altitude Cards: The earning and redemption of Altitude Points and Qantas Points is subject to the Altitude Rewards and Altitude Qantas Terms and Conditions. Purchases that are not eligible to earn Reward Points are set out in the Altitude Terms and Conditions. For example: payments to the Australian Tax Office, cash advances and BPAY payments do not earn Reward Points. You do not receive points if your card account is in arrears for 2 consecutive statement cycles and in other circumstances.
2. Bonus Rewards Points Promotion for Westpac Altitude Cards: The respective bonus points promotion is available when you apply and are approved for a new Altitude Platinum or Altitude Black card between 28th November 2018 and midnight 2nd April 2019 and spend the minimum amount of $3,000 on eligible purchases on an Altitude Black card or $3,000 on eligible purchases on an Altitude Platinum card within 90 days from card approval in one or more transactions.
Eligible purchases do not include fees, cash, cash equivalent transactions, payments to the Australian Tax Office, BPAY, BPAY equivalent transaction, refunds and balance transfers debited from the card account. The bonus Altitude Points or Qantas Points will be added to your points balance within 12 weeks once you meet the eligible spend criteria. Existing Westpac customers who currently hold an Earth Platinum, Earth Platinum Plus, Earth Black, Altitude Platinum or Altitude Black credit card, or who have held one in the last 12 months, are not eligible for this offer. Qantas Points earned during a statement cycle are added to your Qantas Points balance on a monthly basis.
3. Priority Pass Membership: To enrol, go to altitudeblack.com.au. Lounge usage in excess of two visits per 12-month membership period and all guest visits will be charged directly to your Altitude Black World Mastercard at the prevailing visit fee which is currently US$27 per person, per visit. The first two visits within each 12-month membership period are complimentary to the primary cardholder only, after which every visit would be charged as per the prevailing rates. Any accompanying guests will be charged the prevailing visit fee, which is currently US$27 per person, per visit, which will be automatically charged on the cardholder's Altitude Black World Mastercard. A Westpac Foreign Transaction Fee will apply to the conversion amount. Prices are current as of February 2018. The date of visits determines which year of membership the visit is allocated to. Unused visits cannot be carried forward to the following 12-month period of membership. The number of free visits will be reset to two per each 12-month period. If you have enquiries about the Priority Pass program, contact Priority Pass by visiting the Contact Us page on www.prioritypass.com. For full details on terms and conditions, visit Priority Pass website at prioritypass.com/Conditions-of-use.cfm.
4. Qantas Club Complimentary Invitations: As a Westpac Altitude Black World Mastercard cardholder earning Qantas Points, you are eligible for two Qantas Club Complimentary Invitations within each 12-month period of your anniversary registration date when you register your Altitude Black World Mastercard via loungepass.altitudeblack.com.au and use your card in Australia to purchase selected Qantas products and services. Selected Qantas products and services are the following items purchased directly from Qantas: Qantas passenger flights (with a QF flight number), Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club membership joining and annual fees. Excludes Jetstar, Qantas Holidays, Qantas branded non-airfare products and any Qantas products and services not purchased directly from Qantas.
The Qantas Club Complimentary Invitations will be made available within 14 business days of meeting eligible spend via the Qantas Complimentary Invitations Portal, provided you are not in breach of the Credit Card Conditions of Use (PDF 258KB) and your account remains open. Log in to the portal using your Qantas Frequent Flyer account to access your invitation, link it with an eligible Qantas flight booking, or to find out more information. To receive your Complimentary Invitations, you must have provided Westpac with your Qantas Frequent Flyer Number. If you have not yet registered for your complimentary Qantas Frequent Flyer Membership, you may join at qantaspoints.com/ffjoinwestpac.
Qantas Club Complimentary Invitations are provided courtesy of Westpac, and are valid for Qantas Club and Qantas operated International Business Lounges only (excluding Los Angeles Tom Bradley Airport lounge). Not valid in International First Class lounges, Chairman's Lounge, Qantas Domestic Business, Qantas oneworld® alliance airline, partner airline or associated lounges. Each invitation is valid for a single visit before the expiry date specified on the invitation, when travelling with Qantas or Jetstar with a Qantas (QF) or Jetstar (JQ, 3K, GK, BL) flight number. Qantas Club Complimentary Invitations must not be resold. Qantas reserves the right to cancel invitations and disqualify future invitations that are in breach of this policy.
Access and use is subject to Qantas Club rules which are available at qantas.com/qantasclub. Access may not be available if the applicable lounge is full or near capacity, at the full discretion of lounge staff. Access and use of Qantas Club lounges is subject to Qantas Club terms and conditions.
American Express Westpac Altitude Cards
~Bonus Rewards points for American Express Westpac Altitude Cards: Offer only available to selected Westpac Altitude cardholders who apply online for the new American Express Westpac Altitude Card between 28th November 2018 and 2nd April 2019, are approved and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on their new Card within 90 days of Card approval date. Bonus Points will be awarded to the eligible Card Member’s account 8-10 weeks after the spend criteria have been met.
^Altitude Points for American Express Westpac Altitude Cards: The earning of Altitude Points and bonus Altitude Points using an American Express issued Altitude Card is subject to the American Express Westpac Altitude Cards Points Terms and Conditions. Redemption of Altitude Points is subject to the Altitude Rewards Terms and Conditions available at altituderewards.com.au. You may not be able to redeem Altitude Points if your Card account is in arrears for 2 consecutive statement cycles and in other circumstances.
Eligible purchases: do not include cash advances, interest, balance transfers, fees and charges for traveller’s cheques and foreign currencies. For the full list of exclusions, please refer to the American Express Westpac Altitude Cards Points Terms and Conditions.
Government: Merchants classified as “government” include the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post), federal/state and local government bodies.
5. Qantas Points for American Express Westpac Altitude Cards: You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem points. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to the terms and conditions of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. Qantas Points are earned on Eligible Purchases in accordance with and subject to the American Express Westpac Altitude Cards Points Terms and Conditions as long as your account remains current and in good standing. Eligible purchases: do not include cash advances, interest, balance transfers, fees and charges for traveller’s cheques and foreign currencies. For the full list of exclusions, please refer to the American Express Westpac Altitude Cards Points Terms and Conditions. Government: Merchants classified as “government” include the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post), federal/state and local government bodies.
6. Lounge access: Entry into The American Express Lounges is governed by the full Terms and Conditions available at amex.com.au/airportlounge. All entrants must adhere to the General Conditions of Entry. American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card members are entitled to two entries per calendar year to the American Express Lounges, located at Sydney International Airport or Melbourne International Airport. The total entitlement of two entries per calendar year applies across both Sydney and Melbourne Airport Lounges. Complimentary access is available for the Card Member’s children between the ages of 2-17. Card Members wishing to bring additional guests may be subject to a charge that is to be processed on the Card Member’s American Express Card.
American Express Westpac Altitude Cards are issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited ABN 92 108 952 085, Australian Credit Licence No. 291313.