Mortgages & companion credit cards - seeking advice from experienced points earners/redeemers!

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Hi,

I’m new to the point hacks website, but have been doing a bit of reading up about the various ways of maximising earning/redeeming of points through various credit card programs. I am hoping that those of you who are far more experienced in this area are able to assist me with my current situation that I’m considering.

I have just recently purchased a home and am currently assessing which bank I will take out my mortgage with. I have narrowed it down to either Commonwealth Bank or Bankwest, both of which are offering me their top of the range credit card free of charge as part of the deal.

I tend to use my credit card for almost all of my spending and so I want to try and maximise my points earning ability as much as possible going forward with a view to redeeming thse points for a business flight upgrade to Europe in 2017. I have a few different options for which credit cards I could use going forward and so I’m looking for some advice/opinions on the best way to achieve my goal.

In summary:

Westpac Altitude Platinum – I currently have a Westpac Altitude Platinum card which attracts a $150 annual fee. The AMEX generates 2 Altitude points per $1 spent and the VISA card attracts 1 altitude point per $1 spent. At the moment, I have approx. 92,000 Altitude Points.

Commonwealth Bank – CBA are offering me their Diamond Awards Credit card for $0 annual fee. The AMEX generates 3 award points per $1 spent and the MasterCard generates 1.25 award points per $1 spent.

Bankwest – Bankwest are offering me their “More Platinum MasterCard” for $0 annual fee. The MasterCard generates 2 points per $1 spent. Bankwest are also offering 28,000 introductory bonus points for joining.

American Express Platinum Edge Card – My wife is a member of Chartered Accountants and with this is an offer to receive the AMEX Platinum Edge card. The annual fee is waived for the first year and is then $149 per year thereafter. They are also offering 10,000 bonus points for joining. With this card you also receive complimentary domestic return flight each year along with the ability to take advantage of point multipliers by using the card at supermarkets, petrol stations, etc.

At the moment, my hunch is that I will close the Westpac Altitude Platinum card and take up the AMEX platinum edge card and use this card as much as possible for everyday spend.

From purely a mortgage interest rate point of view, Bankwest are just slightly ahead of Commonwealth Bank, however it would appear that their Credit Card reward scheme isn’t as great compared to CBA’s, hence why I’m still considering CBA.

Any comments/suggestions regarding the information I’ve provided would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Great Response
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Just go for the best mortgage deal you can. The better deal is likely to far outweigh a couple hundred bucks in card fee.

Also, if you have a decent spend on the go, consider more than one card. I have the Westpac Black and value it for the large number of transfer partners. It works out to 1.5 airline points/miles per $ on the Amex. But I also use Amex Velocity as when you spend on travel and some other bits and pieces you get 3 Velocity points per $ or 2.2 Krisflyer miles per $.

  • 1000% agree with boff. IMO, don’t even factor points into the equation when you look for the best mortgage deal. If the companion card is free, take it (without an obscene credit limit), and then make the decision on whether to use it later.
    Then, start looking at PH and elsewhere to figure out what cards (note, multiple) you can bring together which will help you maximise your points earn. You could also consider grabbing cards just for bonus points as well, to help you meet your goal amount faster (which depends a bit on whether you want to protect your credit score etc.).
    FWIW, I have Citi Signature, my free credit card through my mortgage with my bank (not super great), and Amex Velocity Platinum (although I want to swap this for Platinum Edge). After doing the sums, the Citi and Amex would really accelerate our earn given our spend patterns. HTH.

  • I agree with everyones comments so far. But given NABs current offer of 250 000 velocity points could be something to consider??
    But only if the rate is the same or at least very very close.
    Remember the 250000 points will get you business return to Europe with Etihad for one with around $200 in tax or 218024 transferred to Krisflyer with $510 in taxes per person.
    Leaves you 2 years to save up the remaining points through credit cards and other avenues.

  • If you can get the same rate or lower, then the NAB deal is great. But, your mortgage is probably the biggest debt you’ll ever owe, so a few extra points here and there is insignificant in the long run. When I refinanced last year, NAB weren’t even on the cards – rates were just way too uncompetitive, so I’m not thinking they’ll be able to match or beat some of the other players out there. YMMV!

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Good Response
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I agree with the others, don’t let a choice of credit card influence your mortgage. whilst credit cards may be included in home loans, banks/lenders change their rules and eligibility all the time.

the best rate loans with lowest fees don’t have any credit card included but you’re likely to save thousands, which would possibly pay for a business class airfare to Europe anyway.

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Thanks everyone for your responses and your advice. Based on the consistent message that’s come through I think I will end up getting the AMEX Platinum Edge card to use for the majority of my spending. I will then use either the Bankwest or CBA provided card as the back up at times when I can’t use AMEX.

My only other question then relates to my existing Westpac Altitude Platinum card. I currently have approximately 92,000 points with that card at the moment but will end up closing the card as I will no longer be with Westpac going forward.

When I close the card, what happens to my Altitude reward points? Am I able to transfer the points over to a velocity frequent flyer account and just have them sit in there without redeeming the points for a particular flight at this point in time? I don’t really want to redeem the points on a flight that I don’t need/want or to waste their value on redeeming them for goods.

Thanks again!

  • Take a look at the current Priceline deal with the Edge as well. Will save you the annual fee in the first year, and you get a good MR points bonus too. See https://www.priceline.com.au/amex.

    99% chance that they will kill off your points if you close your Westpac card. Also a high chance that they will beg you to stay and promise you the world to keep you. If they do this, then get your annual fee waived for the year, and then keep it around so you can hold those points until you know how you want to spend them.

    If you don’t want to do this, or the service reps aren’t agreeable, then I would transfer them out to the account you’re most likely to fly with, or which has the least worst expiries. :)

    Velocity is a good one – expiry isn’t too bad, and it also lets you transfer to Singapore’s KrisFlyer miles (with a 1.35 tax, but better than nothing!). Just a tiny bit more flexible than others. But have a good look at the different transfer partners you’ve got, weigh them up, and then ask a new question on here asking which one would be best to meet your needs!

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I found myself in a similar situation recently and ended up with the best mortgage option as it simply outweighed any other factors.  As for the the Amex Platinum Edge, as robc said, it is a no-brainer .  The long term earn rate on essential spends makes too much sense and I value the yearly free flight as a fare off-set for the annual fee – even at $195

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I would agree with Darren above. I just got the Citibank Signature card too and plenty of opportunities to earn as basically 1 point/dollar once redemption transfer taken into account for Singapore Airlines/Virgin Australia. In regards to the Amex Platinum Edge, definitely a card to go for if you can get it for AUD149/year. They recently put the annual up to AUD195/year for me so will be getting rid of it shortly (been stuffed around a bit by them so that’s another story!). The points can be accelerated here by supermarket shopping (3 points/dollar) and spending at petrol stations (2 points/dollar). Their point transfer is usually 1 to 1 for most partners so plenty of opportunities to earn here. It’s also a no brainer if annual fee is waived for first year too.

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