Westpac and American Express have announced that they have agreed on a new partnership which should see a number of new points-earning rewards credit cards on the market in ‘early 2018’.
The key points
- Existing American Express cards issued by Westpac will be cancelled on 4 April 2018
- New American Express cards issued by Westpac will stop being issued from 1 February 2018
- New Westpac-branded American Express cards, issued directly by American Express, will launch in ‘early 2018’ (details to come)
- There will be a new annual $50 Qantas Rewards fee if you have selected to earn Qantas points (rather than Altitude Rewards) on your Altitude Black card from 4 April 2018
- Presumably, to help offset this new fee, the earn rate of Qantas Points on the Altitude Black Mastercard will increase by 20% from 0.625 to 0.75 Qantas Points from 4 April 2018
It is worth mentioning that the rewards program options of Altitude Rewards and Qantas Frequent Flyer will continue to exist for earning points—but the nature of how this will work for existing vs new cardholders, and whether existing cardholders will be transitioned to the new cards, hasn’t been announced yet.
This appears to be a way for Westpac to continue to offer high points-earning cards under the new RBA legislation that came into force earlier this year—American Express-issued cards are not covered under the legislation, whereas bank-issued cards of any type are.
The announcement prompts more questions than answers, for now – so we’ll share any more info we find in the coming months.
Press release follows:
SYDNEY: 2 November 2017 — American Express and Westpac today announced a new partnership, with plans to launch a range of new rewards credit card products for eligible Westpac customers in early 2018, issued and serviced by American Express.
It is expected the new cards will offer an attractive value proposition for customers, including an accelerated reward points earn rate, uncapped points, complimentary retail and travel insurance, and other benefits offered exclusively by American Express. Cardholders will also continue to access the flexibility of accruing points to either their existing Westpac Altitude Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer account. Further details about the new credit card products will be announced in early 2018.
Westpac’s current American Express cards, which are issued and serviced by Westpac, will close in early April 2018 following regulatory changes to credit cards announced by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Westpac Chief Executive, Consumer Bank, George Frazis said the partnership will provide Westpac customers with direct access to the benefits an American Express card offers.
“We know how popular our American Express offer has been and our new partnership will ensure we continue to deliver innovative, market-leading products to our customers,” Mr Frazis said.
American Express Managing Director for Australia & New Zealand, Rachel Stocks, welcomed the new partnership and the expansion of a strong relationship between the two companies, which has evolved over more than a decade.
“American Express and Westpac have a long history of close collaboration and partnership, delivering quality customer service and strong product value. Our corporate visions are aligned, with service, innovation and partnership in our combined DNA. We look forward to embarking on the next phase of our journey together by continuing to offer our customers exciting new products and services,” Ms Stocks said.