Westpac's Altitude Black card has up to 100,000 bonus Qantas or Altitude points plus $200 off the 1st year annual fee. There are many ongoing card benefits, including Qantas or Priority Pass lounge invites and World Mastercard benefits.
- 20,000 Qantas Points or Altitude Rewards points on card approval
- Additional 80,000 Qantas Points or Altitude Rewards points when you spend $5,000 within the first 90 days from card approval
- $200 off the first year annual fee, making it $195 (usually $395)
- 1.25 Qantas Points or 2.5 Altitude Points for every $1 spent on the American Express
- 0.625 Qantas Points or 1.25 Altitude Points for every $1 spent on the MasterCard
- 2 x Qantas Club or Priority Pass invitations per cardholder year
- Access to World MasterCard benefits
- Overseas Travel Insurance, Purchase Protection and other insurances(PDS)
- $195 annual fee for the first year (usually $395 p.a.)
- $5,000 minimum spend in 90 days required to earn 80,000 bonus points
- Bonus points offer not available with switches, upgrades, customers accessing employee benefits or packages.
- Offer ends: 26th October 2017
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Westpac are offering a partner exclusive offer of 80,000 + 20,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards points plus a $200 discount off the first-year annual fee (bringing it down to $195) with the Altitude Black American Express and MasterCard.
What is a partner exclusive? It means you’ll only find this offer through a small number of Westpac’s advertising partners – like Point Hacks – and not through their own website, and it runs only until 26 October.
The bonus offer is split into two: the first 20,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards points will be received 8 weeks after card approval with no minimum spend criteria, while the additional 80,000 points will credit around 12 weeks after the minimum spend requirement of $5,000 spent in 90 days after approval is met.
This product is geared towards those who can spend a decent amount on their card, want a high earn rate, are happy to pay the larger annual fee and will get value from airport lounges and elite hotel perks.
In the current market, where points caps are becoming common, uncapped points earning is a key benefit of the Altitude Black. The annual fee for the first year is reduced to $195 (usually $395 p.a.), which is good given the extensive amount of benefits available and the decent earn rates for ongoing spend with the card. There’s also a recommended minimum income requirement of $75,000 p.a.
Best uses of the 100,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards point sign-up bonus
The current bonus for new, approved customers is 100,000 Qantas Points or Altitude Rewards points. 100,000 Altitude Rewards points are equivalent to 50,000 Velocity Points, or 40,000 KrisFlyer or Asia Miles.
A great feature is that Westpac also allows you to switch your Altitude Rewards account between earning points directly into Qantas Frequent Flyer or into Altitude Rewards.
Given the size of the sign-up bonus for Qantas Points is higher than for other transfer partners via Altitude Rewards, that could be used as part of a smart strategy to maximise your points.
You could pick up Qantas Points when you sign up, and then earn more flexible points from spend with Altitude Rewards. There’s more on that in our Altitude Rewards guide.
We’ve written up our take on the best uses of Qantas Points before and the current bonus offer goes a long way to achieving them.
You could also try and build your balance and aim for one of the ultimate (and best value) redemptions that Qantas offers: a round-the-world trip in Business or First Class.
You can also check out our Best Uses of Points guides for Velocity, KrisFlyer and Asia Miles.
The earn rate from spend on the Altitude Rewards Black cards is one of the best that Westpac offers. Basically, you’ll get the best earn rate by using the American Express card on spend.
The account comes with an American Express which has higher points earn rates on most spend than the accompanying ‘World’ MasterCard.
Points can be earned as either Altitude Rewards – which partners with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Velocity, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and Air New Zealand Airpoints – or if you select the Altitude Qantas Black option, to Qantas Frequent Flyer only.
The 1.25 point per $ effective earn rate for Velocity and Enrich is particularly high, while the effective 1 point per $ for KrisFlyer and Asia Miles is respectable and still worth considering.
|Card||Westpac Altitude Black &
Westpac Altitude Qantas Black American Express/Mastercard
|Loyalty program||Qantas Frequent Flyer or Westpac Altitude Rewards|
|Points earned from spend||1.25 Qantas Points or 2.5 Altitude Points for every $ spent on the American Express
0.625 Qantas Points or 1.25 Altitude Points for every $ spent on the MasterCard
|Travel benefits||Per year: 2 x Qantas Club or Priority Pass invitations
World MasterCard benefits
|Minimum income||$75,000 p.a.|
|Included insurances||Extended Warranty & International Travel Insurance (PDS)|
|Overseas transaction fee||Visa/MasterCard: 3.0% of the converted amount
American Express: 3.5% of the converted amount
Effective Frequent Flyer Program Point Earn Rates
|Frequent Flyer Program||American Express||MasterCard|
|Domestic and overseas spend||Domestic spend||Overseas spend|
|Qantas Points*||1.25 points / $||0.625 points / $||0.625 points / $|
|Velocity Points||1.25 points / $||0.625 points / $||0.625 points / $|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles||1 Mile / $||0.5 Mile / $||0.5 Mile / $|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1 Mile / $||0.5 Mile / $||0.5 Mile / $|
|*Qantas Points are only earned if linked to Altitude Qantas Rewards|
Airport lounge access benefits
If you opt for the Altitude Rewards Black, you’ll receive airport lounge access with Priority Pass membership and two included lounge visits per year, which are now valid at four airports in Australia (there are now seven eateries at Sydney and three at Brisbane Airports included). Additional visits are charged at a $27 USD fee.
If you opt for Altitude Qantas Black, you’ll be sent two single-entry Qantas Club invitations which can be used at any Qantas Club (domestic) or Qantas International Business Class lounge. The passes are sent after your first Altitude Black Card spend on selected Qantas products and services, defined as Qantas flights or Qantas Frequent Flyer or Qantas Club joining and membership fees.
Note: You must first register and then make the applicable card spend directly with Qantas to receive the lounge passes.
With both Altitude Rewards Black and Altitude Qantas Black, you’ll also receive two lounge visits free of charge to the modern Sydney International American Express lounge too, usually a cost of $55.
All up, it’s a useful range of lounge access for those who aren’t travelling in Business Class all the time.
Included insurances and other benefits
The Westpac Altitude Black comes with travel and extended warranty insurance coverage. As I say with every credit card guide, the value of each card’s insurance can only really be assessed by you looking at the PDS and deciding whether it is a fit for your needs. Read the full PDS here.
This guide references some of the benefits of insurance policies provided with this credit card.
You should read the PDS and obtain independent professional advice before obtaining this product.
You’ll also gain access to Westpac Concierge and their Black Concierge app, which could give some useful restaurant or ticket reservation shortcuts, amongst other potential uses.
Altitude Qantas vs Altitude Rewards
The Altitude Card range offers a choice of which points program you want to direct your points into: either Qantas Frequent Flyer or Westpac’s own loyalty program Altitude Rewards.
You’ll earn the sign-up bonus with the card in one program, but you can later switch to the other option on request, however, your points won’t move with the switch.
When choosing Altitude Qantas Black over Altitude Rewards Black, you’ll also need to factor in the different earn rates of each currency and transfer rates to partner programs.
The choice between Altitude Qantas or Altitude Rewards is dependent on your personal points earning preference.
You might find the sign-up bonus from the card to be more valuable to take as Qantas Points but then using the card ongoing, there may be more value for you in taking advantage of Altitude Rewards’ flexibility from having a wide range of transfer options.
A quick overview of Altitude Rewards
In short, points can be transferred into Velocity and Malaysia Airlines Enrich at a rate of 2 Altitude Rewards points to 1 frequent flyer program point/mile and 2.5 Altitude Rewards points to 1 mile for Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
Note: Westpac have discontinued the Altitude Bonus Partner program starting in May 2017, which means cardholders will no longer have the ability to earn bonus points on spend at a range of retailers and partners.
Summing up: the Westpac Altitude Black and Westpac Altitude Qantas Black credit cards
This is the kind of card that you need to take a critical look over the ongoing benefits and sign-up bonus to assess whether the annual fee is worth it for you.
When the sign-up bonus is large, like now, it’s a compelling offer.
Most infrequent travellers may be able to get some use out of the lounge access and other World Mastercard benefits, particularly if you educate yourself on how to make the most of both benefits.
You’ll earn more points in some specific categories (e.g. travel or supermarkets) with some American Express Membership Rewards cards, but on the whole, the across-the-board earn rate for Velocity, KrisFlyer, Asia Miles and Enrich cancannott be beaten.
All up, it is an appealing product with this large sign-up bonus, and assessing value in subsequent years should be based on the use of the benefits and the high points earn rate.
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