CommBank Awards is the credit card loyalty program of one of Australia’s biggest banks; it also has an interesting range of mainstream and niche frequent flyer programs that may appeal to certain travellers. 

With a range of cards, you can earn Award Points on qualifying purchases. There’s plenty to choose from on the rewards front: airline points, shopping, gift cards and more. But where the program excels in partners, it falls with lacklustre transfer rates.

What are the CommBank Awards cards?

There are four card tiers in the Commbank Awards portfolio: the base level ‘Awards’, followed by ‘Platinum’, ‘Diamond’ and ‘Ultimate’. Each tier comes with greater earning potential and perks, but along with a higher credit limit and stricter eligibility to apply.

The Commbank Awards card

Basic Awards Card
  • Earn 1 Awards point for every A$1 spent
  • Earn up to 50,000 points a year (capped)
  • $59 p.a. annual fee
  • Minimum credit limit of $500
CardAwards Card
Points Earn Rate1 point per $
Points cap50,000 Awards points per year
Minimum credit limit$500
ExtrasNo additional insurances included
Overseas transaction fee3%
Annual fee$59 (you can choose to pay this off with 11,800 points)

The Platinum Awards Card

Platinum Awards Card
  • Earn 1 Awards point for every A$1 spent
  • Earn up to 150,000 points a year (capped)
  • $249 p.a. annual fee
  • Minimum credit limit of $6,000
  • International travel insurance
  • Purchase security insurance
CardPlatinum Awards Card
Points Earn Rate1 point per $1 on eligible spend
Points cap150,000 points per year
Minimum credit limit$6,000
ExtrasTravel Insurance - for you and your partner + children (PDS)
Purchase Security Insurance - for up to 90 days
Extended Warranty Insurance - for up to 1 year
Concierge - a 24/7 service to help with your requests (fees apply)
Overseas transaction fee3%
Annual fee$249 (you can choose to pay this off with 49,800 points)

The Commbank Diamond Awards card

Diamond Awards Card
  • Earn 1.25 Awards point for every A$1 spent
  • Earn up to 1,000,000 points a year (capped)
  • $349 p.a. annual fee
  • Minimum credit limit of $15,000
  • International travel insurance
  • Purchase security insurance
  • Cashback offers at participating merchants overseas
CardDiamond Awards Card
Points Earn Rate1.25 point per $
Points Cap1,000,000 points per year
Minimum credit limit$15,000
ExtrasTravel Insurance - for you and your partner + children (PDS)
Purchase Security Insurance - for up to 90 days
Extended Warranty Insurance - for up to 1 year
Overseas transaction fee3% on the Mastercard
Annual Fee$349 (you can choose to pay this off with 69,800 points)

The Commbank Ultimate Awards card

CommBank Ultimate Awards Card
  • Earn 3 Awards points for every A$1 spent on international transactions
  • Earn 2 Awards points for every A$1 spent at major Australian supermarkets, departments stores and petrol stations
  • Earn 1 Awards point for every A$1 spent elsewhere
  • Earn 0.5 Awards points for every dollar spent above $10,000 in a statement period, regardless of category
  • No points cap
  • $35 monthly fee, waived if you spend at least A$2,500 in a statement period and receive online statements
  • Minimum credit limit of $6,000
  • International travel insurance
  • Purchase security insurance
  • Cashback offers at participating merchants overseas
CardCommBank Ultimate Awards
Loyalty ProgramCommBank Awards
Points earned from spend3 Award points for international transactions up to $10,000

2 Award points at major Australian supermarkets, department stores and petrol stations up to $10,000

1 Awards point on all other purchases up to $10,000

From May 2020, 0.5 Awards point for spend over $10,000 uncapped
Points CapSoft capped at $10,000 per category but no hard cap
Earns points at ATONo
Travel benefitsLounge access via LoungeKey
Insurance includedInternational Travel Insurance
Overseas
transaction fee
0%
Annual fee$35/month but can be waived if you spend at least $2,500 in your statement period

Bonus points with CommBank

In addition to the standard card rates above, all Awards cards can earn bonus uncapped points at the following partners:

  • 1 bonus point per A$1 with Crown Metropol, Promenade and Towers hotels online
  • Up to 10 bonus points per A$1 with retailers at the Bonus Points eShop
  • 10 bonus points per A$1 (online) with Onsport and Wine Direct
  • 15 bonus points per A$1 (online) with Kaligo

Where can I transfer CommBank Award points to?

Flexible transfer partners

As a flexible rewards program, you can transfer Commbank Award points to quite a few frequent flyer programs, including ones that aren’t commonly used in Australia:

  • Velocity: 2 Award Points to 1 Velocity Point (Diamond and Ultimate cards)
  • Velocity: 2.5 Award Points to 1 Velocity Points (Awards and Platinum cards)
  • IHG Rewards: 2.5 Award Points to 1 IHG Rewards point
  • AirAsia BIG: 2.5 Award Points to 1 BIG point
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 3 Award Points to 1 mile
  • China Eastern: 3 Award Points to 1 point
  • EVA Air: 3 Award Points to 1 mile
  • Etihad Guest: 3.5 Award Points to 1 mile
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich: 3.5 Award Points to 1 point
  • Japan Airlines: 4 Award Points to 1 mile
  • Lufthansa Miles&More: 4 Award Points to 1 mile
  • United MileagePlus: 4 Award Points to 1 mile

While it’s good to have coverage for a range of overseas programs such as United MileagePlus, a 4:1 transfer rate is quite high and makes it harder to earn meaningful rewards.

CBA Awards have dropped the requirement for a minimum of 3,600 Awards points to make your first exchange to Velocity Points, and every subsequent exchange needing to be a minimum of 1,000 Awards points. You can now exchange points on a ‘per point’ increment. 

Want to earn Qantas Points instead? That’s possible, but through a different process.

Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct

To opt-in to earning Qantas Points, you’ll need to sign up for ‘Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct’ via the Awards website or by calling 13 16 61. There is a $30 additional annual fee to pay, and all Awards points earned on your Commbank cards will automatically be transferred to Qantas; this means you won’t be able to earn at any of the flexible partners listed earlier.

The transfer rate is 2.5 Awards points to 1 Qantas Point.

What else can I use CommBank Award points for?

Pay with points at Myer and Flight Centre

An interesting facility that CBA offers is the ability to pay using your Awards points. At the moment, it’s only for Myer and Flight Centre, but if it gains traction we can probably expect to see this option rolled out to more retailers.

The way it works is by presenting your credit card in-store and telling them that you’d like to use your points rather than your actual money. You can also use your points online and over the phone with Flight Centre.

The Awards exchange rate at both Myer and Flight Centre is $200 points per $1. At Myer, you need to be spending at least 200 points ($1) to use this function, but at Flight Centre, the minimum is 2,500 points.

One thing to note: if you are a Myer One member you will be able to claim credits on your Myer One card on purchases you make using Awards points but you can’t use Awards points to pay off any money you owe in a Myer credit account or on layby.

Gift cards

You can also exchange your award points for gift cards. Let’s be honest — gift cards are the next best thing to cold hard cash, and if you’re not an airline points person, then chances are this is the best way to spend your Awards points.

Gift cards range from $25 to $500 and surprisingly, you don’t need to get the largest gift card to get the best exchange rate for your points (the sweet spot starts from $100). Note that cards from different retailers may have different price points, so the figures below are just an example.

Gift CardAward Points NeededRate (points per dollar)
$255,400Each $1 costs you 216 points
$5010,700Each $1 costs you 214 points
$10020,000Each $1 costs you 200 points
$25050,000Each $1 costs you 200 points
$500100,000Each $1 costs you 200 points

Pay off banking fees or get cashback on your purchases

It means you’re not locked into any one frequent flyer program. For example, you will usually get better value on oneworld airline flights when using Asia Miles rather than Qantas Points.

There may also be transfer bonuses that give you more points whenever you convert your Membership Rewards balance to a partner program, increasing the value of your points accordingly.

Card TypeAnnual FeePoints needed to pay off annual fee
Award$5911,800 points
Platinum Award$24949,800 points
Diamond Award$34969,800 points

Summing up: is CommBank Awards for you?

There are a number of ways to use CommBank Awards points, including transferring to frequent flyer programs, redeeming them for gift points or cashback on your statements, or even using those points to pay at the Myer checkout.

One of the more common ways we hear of CBA cardholders obtaining a Diamond Awards card with a discounted annual fee is through a home loan package. If this is available to you, then the Diamond card could be worth considering.

CBA’s partnership with both Qantas and Velocity — as well as other frequent flyer programs — makes those programs an attractive option. However, the Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct requirements are restrictive, cost $30 more a year, and stop you from making use of any of the program’s other reward options.

While it looks promising on paper, unfortunately, the points earn rates and reward rates on Commonwealth Bank Awards-linked credit cards are poor, with greater value to be had by looking elsewhere.

A guide to the CommBank Awards program was last modified: April 20th, 2021 by Evin Tan Khiew