Point Hacks Credit Card Guide

Guide to Westpac’s Altitude Rewards credit cards and the Altitude Rewards program

Westpac’s Altitude Rewards program is a flexible points program which should be considered if you’re looking for a rewards-based credit card. You can also link the account to Qantas Frequent Flyer and earn Qantas Points.

Westpac Altitude Rewards program guide

Westpac Altitude Rewards is Westpac’s loyalty program for credit card points earn from your day-to-day spend. It’s similar to the other major programs out there in that there are a range of cards in which you can earn Altitude Rewards points, and a number of frequent flyer transfer partners you can use them with.

Altitude Rewards is a versatile program, and partners with Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Air NZ Airpoints.

This guide attempts to cover off the ins and outs of Altitude Rewards, the card range and the best partners to transfer your points to.

Note: Westpac also owns St.George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and Bank SA. These three other banks all share a common program which is very similar to Altitude Rewards – Amplify Rewards. The affiliate partners aren’t quite the same though.

Using Points – Program Partners and Transfer Rates

Let’s get into the points first – the range of frequent flyer program partners that Altitude Rewards have available to cardholders.

In short, Westpac has a wide range of airline partners, with:

From 9 November 2018 onwards, transfer rates to all programs (except Air NZ) are reduced to 3 Altitude Rewards points to 1 frequent flyer point.

Do note that the Velocity auto-redemption transfer rate is staying at 2 Altitude Rewards Points to 1 Velocity Point.

If these changes at any time, this Altitude Rewards page should highlight this.

Note also that the Westpac Altitude Rewards Business cards have Qantas Frequent Flyer as a transfer partner, meaning you don’t have to direct sweep your points over to Qantas. There are very few cards on the market that offer Qantas transfers, and it’s a win for the flexibility of your points.

These programs are good options for competitive frequent flyer point redemptions in the region, and Westpac aren’t missing any key airline partners, which is great.

Earning points – the Altitude Credit Card range

If you want to maximise the number of flexible points you can earn, the ability to transfer points earned from a Mastercard, Visa or American Express to Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Asia Miles or Krisflyer is fairly valuable, and as a result is well worth considering.

Altitude Black World Mastercard

The Altitude Black is Westpac’s premium card, with an accompanying high annual fee. It’s geared towards those who spend the most on their card, want a higher earn rate, are happy to pay the larger annual fee and will get value from the ongoing benefits.

Westpac has launched a new American Express companion card for the Altitude Black card that comes with high earn rates for overseas spend together with a few added perks that are likely to be useful for the intended market.

Westpac Altitude Black - up to 120,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards Points

Westpac's Altitude Black Mastercard and American Express has up to 120,000 bonus Qantas or Altitude Points on offer for new cardholders. The card offers high points earn rates plus ongoing benefits, including American Express, Qantas or Priority Pass lounge invites.

  • 80,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards Points with the Mastercard, plus 40,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards Points with the American Express
  • $0 annual card fee for the first year for the Amex card, $199 each year thereafter
  • Holders of American Express-issued cards also eligible for bonus points from Westpac Altitude Black American Express
  • 2 x lounge passes to Sydney or Melbourne Airport American Express lounge for cardholders of the Westpac Altitude Black American Express
  • 2 Qantas or 5 Altitude Points for every $1 spent overseas, 1.25 Qantas or 3 Altitude Points for every $1 spent locally with the American Express, 0.75 Qantas or 1.25 Altitude Points for every $1 spent with the Mastercard
  • 2 x Qantas Club or Priority Pass invitations per cardholder year
  • Overseas Travel Insurance, Purchase Protection and other insurances(PDS)
  • Annual card fee for the Mastercard: $250 p.a. plus $50 annual Qantas Rewards fee if you choose to earn Qantas Points. Annual card fee for the Amex: $0 for the first year ($199 p.a thereafter)
  • $3,000 minimum spend and charged to the Mastercard within the first 90 days is required to earn 80,000 bonus points. $3,000 minimum spend and charged to the American Express card within the first 90 days required to earn 40,000 bonus points
  • Existing Westpac customers who currently hold an Altitude Platinum Visa Card or Altitude Black Mastercard, or who have held one in the last 12 months, are not eligible for the Mastercard bonus offer
  • Offer ends: 27 November 2018

Find out more or apply →

Point Hacks receive a range of commissions per applicant for this card. More about this →

Card Details

CardWestpac Altitude Black
Loyalty programQantas Frequent Flyer or Westpac Altitude Rewards
Points earned from spend on the Mastercard0.75 Qantas Points or 1.25 Altitude Points per $
Points earned from spend on the American Express2 Qantas or 5 Altitude Points per $ spent in foreign currency
1.25 Qantas or 3 Altitude Points per $ on domestic spend
0.5 Qantas or 1 Altitude Point per $ on government spend
Travel benefitsPer year:
2 x American Express Airport Lounge at Sydney and Melbourne with the Amex card
2 x Qantas Club Pass or Priority Pass invitations
with the Mastercard
Included insurancesExtended Warranty & International Travel Insurance (PDS)
Points capuncapped
Overseas transaction fee3.0% of the converted amount
Minimum incomeFor Westpac: $75,000 p.a. (recommended)

For Amex: $65,000 p.a.
Mastercard annual fee$250 p.a. + ($50 annual Qantas Rewards fee if you choose to earn Qantas Points)
American Express annual fee$199 p.a. (waived for first year)

Effective Frequent Flyer Program Point Earn Rates

Frequent Flyer ProgramMasterCardAmerican Express Companion card
DomesticForeign currency/interntional
Qantas Points*0.75 points / $1.25 points / $2 points / $
Velocity Points
(auto-redemption)
0.625 points / $1.5 points / $2.5 points / $
Velocity Points0.41 point / $1 point / $1.67 points / $
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles0.41 mile / $1 mile / $1.67 miles / $
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles0.41 mile / $1 mile / $1.67 miles / $
*Qantas Points are only earned if linked to Altitude Qantas Rewards

Given the number of benefits that come with Altitude Black, there’s a full standalone guide to the Altitude Black and Altitude Qantas cards here.

In brief, the benefits are:

  • Airport lounge access with Priority Pass membership and 2 included lounge visits – or if opted into Altitude Qantas, 2 x Qantas Club passes
  • Sydney or Melbourne American Express airport lounge access twice per year with the American Express companion card
  • Broader insurance coverage, including travel and extended warranty (See PDS here)
  • Access to Westpac concierge and their Black concierge App
  • Access to Amex Offers and Amex Invites

This guide references some of the benefits of insurance policies provided with this card.

You should read the PDS and obtain independent professional advice before obtaining this product.

Altitude Platinum Visa

The Altitude Platinum is the mid-range card in the Altitude range with an annual fee of $150 with the Visa.

Westpac also launched a companion American Express card for the Altitude Platinum that comes with higher earn rates and a $49 annual fee.

Westpac Altitude Platinum - up to 75,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards Points

The Westpac Altitude Platinum Visa and American Express has up to 75,000 bonus Qantas or Altitude Points plus $0 first year annual card fee on offer, benefits include decent Qantas Point earn rates on the Amex, access to Platinum concierge and a range of complimentary insurances.

  • 60,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards Points with the Visa
  • 15,000 Qantas or Altitude Rewards Points with the American Express
  • $0 first year annual card fee for both Visa and Amex card, a $50 annual Qantas Rewards fee applies if you choose to earn Qantas Points
  • 0.5 Qantas or 1 Altitude Point per $1 spent on the Visa
  • 1.5 Qantas or 3 Altitude Points per $1 spent on foreign currency, 1 Qantas or 2 Altitude Points on domestic spend the American Express
  • Overseas Travel Insurance, Purchase Protection etc. (PDS)
  • Annual Card Fee: $0 p.a. for for the first year for both Visa and Amex plus $50 annual Qantas Rewards fee if you choose to earn Qantas Points. ($150 p.a. for the Visa and $49 p.a. for the Amex ongoing).
  • $3,000 minimum spend charged to the Visa card within 90 days is required to earn bonus the 60,000 bonus
  • $3,000 minimum spend charged to the American Express card within 90 days is required to earn bonus the additional 15,000 bonus
  • Existing Westpac customers who currently hold an Altitude Platinum Visa Card or Altitude Black Mastercard, or who have held one in the last 12 months, are not eligible for the Mastercard bonus offer.
  • Offer ends: 27 November 2018

Find out more or apply →

Point Hacks receive a range of commissions per applicant for this card. More about this →

Card Details

CardWestpac Altitude Platinum
Loyalty programAltitude Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer
Points earned from spend with the Visa0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Altitude Points per $ of eligible spend on the Visa
Points earned from spend with the American Express1.5 Qantas or 3 Altitude Points per $ on eligible foreign currency spend
1 Qantas or 2 Altitude Points per $ on eligible domestic spend
0.5 Qantas or Altitude Points on eligible government spend
Minimum income $30,000 p.a.
Included insurancesExtended Warranty & International Travel Insurance (PDS)
Points Capuncapped
Overseas transaction feeVisa/MasterCard: 3.0% of the converted amount
Visa Annual card fee$150 p.a. ongoing + ($50 annual Qantas Rewards fee if you choose to earn Qantas Points)
Amex Annual card fee$49 p.a. ongoing

Effective Frequent Flyer Program Point Earn Rates

Frequent Flyer ProgramVisaAmerican Express 
Domestic SpendOverseas Spend
Qantas Points*0.5 point / $1 point / $1.5 point / $
Velocity Points
(auto-redemption)
0.5 point / $1 point / $1.5 point / $
Velocity Points
0.33 point / $0.67 point / $1 point / $
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles0.33 Mile / $0.67 Mile / $1 Mile / $
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles0.33 Mile / $0.67 Mile / $1 Mile / $
*Qantas Points are only earned if linked to Altitude Qantas Rewards.

It comes with fewer benefits than the Altitude Black, but gives access to the Altitude Rewards program with uncapped earn rates and a more friendly annual fee.

With the Altitude Platinum card, you’ll get a range of insurances, including overseas travel insurance for trips of up to three months, transit accident insurance and extended warranty. You should check the descriptions for each policy if you plan to rely on them. Read the PDS here.

This guide references some of the benefits of insurance policies provided with this card.

You should read the PDS and obtain independent professional advice before obtaining this product.

Altitude Visa

The entry-level Altitude Rewards card comes in with a $100 annual fee, and few extra benefits.

Card Details

CardWestpac Altitude Visa
Loyalty programAltitude Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer
Points earned from spend0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Altitude Points for every $ spent on the Visa
Points Cap5,000 Altitude points or 2,500 Qantas Points per statement period
Overseas transaction fee3.0% of the converted amount
Annual fee$100

Effective Frequent Flyer Program Point Earn Rates

Frequent Flyer Program
Visa
Qantas Points*0.5 point / $
Velocity Points
(auto-redemption)
0.5 point / $
Velocity Points0.33 point / $
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles0.33 Mile / $
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles0.33 Mile / $
*Qantas Points are only earned if linked to Altitude Qantas Rewards.

The earn rates are the same as the Altitude Platinum Visa card, but there’s a reduced points cap of 5,000 Altitude Rewards points or 2,500 Qantas Points per statement period.

How the bundled American Express cards from Westpac work

This is a bit technical but American Express is now issuing cards for Westpac directly, instead of being issued by Westpac (as previously used to be the case). However, for bonus points eligibility, this card is considered to be a bank-issued card, so won’t affect your eligibility for bonus points on American Express-issued cards. You can read more about bank-issued vs American Express-issued cards here.

What does this mean? You essentially have two credit card accounts, one from each provider, which are linked for the purpose of earning points. You can also only apply for the companion Westpac American Express card once you’re an existing Westpac credit card cardholder of an Altitude Platinum or Altitude Black Mastercard, or at the time of making an application for Westpac’s own card.

When it comes to earning points, you’ll earn your points from each card into either your Qantas Frequent Flyer account or your Westpac Altitude Rewards account. We understand that points from either card will be credited to your rewards account separately.

The American Express Westpac Altitude card is 100% issued and serviced by American Express. This means you’ll be able to use their digital portal, including their dedicated website and the American Express app.

For existing American Express cardholders of other cards issued by Amex such as the American Express Explorer or Qantas Ultimate American Express, the Westpac card isn’t considered for bonus points eligibility purposes—we have been informed by Westpac that holding an American Express-issued card would not preclude you from earning the bonus points on a Westpac American Express card.

Finally, because the two cards are issued by two separate credit providers, it is likely that both will check your credit record.

The terms and conditions for earning points from Westpac’s American Express Altitude cards are here, while a number of terms documents for the Westpac Altitude Mastercard/Visa and associate rewards program and insurance policies are linked to from Westpac’s page, after clicking through from the link above.

Guide to Westpac’s Altitude Rewards credit cards and the Altitude Rewards program was last modified: November 16th, 2018 by Keith

Personal Cards: Altitude Qantas vs Altitude Rewards

Westpac make it relatively easy to swap between Altitude Qantas and Altitude Rewards:

If you have an Altitude Visa card, Altitude Platinum Visa card, or Altitude Black card, you may switch all cards linked to the card account between Altitude Rewards and Altitude Qantas programs at any time and any number of times, subject to the time it takes us to process each request. You should allow at least 10 business days for a request to switch to be processed or as advised at the time of your request.

Note that there is an annual $50 Qantas Rewards fee if you opt to earn Qantas points (rather than Altitude Rewards).

This makes it possible to take a signup bonus in one currency (e.g. Altitude Qantas), and then earn points ongoing in another (e.g. Altitude Rewards), if there is value in doing so.

When choosing Altitude Qantas over Altitude Rewards cards, you’ll need to factor in the different earn rates of each currency and transfer rates to partner programs.

With Qantas Points, you will earn an additional bonus point per dollar when spending with Qantas.

All up, the choice between Altitude Qantas or Altitude Rewards is primarily up to your personal points-earning preference – you might find a signup bonus from a card to be more valuable in raw Qantas points, but in the long-run when using the card ongoing, there may be more value in taking advantage of Altitude Rewards’ flexibility from having a wide range of transfer options.

Altitude Rewards and Velocity Auto-Redemption

Westpac Altitude Rewards added a feature in early 2016 for Altitude Rewards cardholders – ‘Velocity Auto-Redemption‘.

In a nutshell, this will allow you to automatically convert your Altitude Points to Velocity Points on a monthly basis. And the recent changes just made this option a bit more attractive as the transfer rate will remain at 2 Altitude Rewards Points to 1 Velocity Points.

Depending on your circumstances, I think that using Auto-Redemption is not always a good idea.

  • By enabling Auto-Redemption your full balance of hard-earned Altitude Rewards points is going to be moved over to Velocity, losing the benefit of Altitude Rewards as a flexible points program
  • You’ll also lose the ability to take advantage of the 15% bonus on Velocity transfers that usually comes up twice per year, if Westpac keep participating in those promotions in future.
  • You’ll lose the ability to transfer to Velocity as soon as you’ve earned the points from your spend – you’ll need to wait until your statement date each month before the transfer kicks in

All up, the main benefit for using Velocity Auto-Redemption on a long-term basis is convenience if you are loyal to Velocity and now sweetened by the better transfer rate.

The full set of terms are here.

My take – Who is Westpac Altitude Rewards and the Altitude Card range for?

Westpac Altitude Rewards is a pretty versatile program with a range of points transfer partners, making it suitable for those looking for flexibility in how they can use their points.

This is a key benefit for when your ‘go-to’ airline or frequent flyer program isn’t offering points redemption seats for your chosen routes or dates, and may make it easier for you to use more of your hard earned points in the long run.

Guide to Westpac’s Altitude Rewards credit cards and the Altitude Rewards program was last modified: November 16th, 2018 by Keith

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Comments

  1. Hi, I have been an Altitude Rewards Black member for a while. As I would like to earn some Qantas points (foot in both Qantas and Star Alliance), I have changed to Qantas Rewards part of Altitude Rewards. I was told by Westpac staff that I have to use the Altitude Rewards points within 90 days. Is this correct

  2. Wahyu

    It appears that to opt-out of “Velocity Auto-Redemption”, you need to call their customer service centre. I guess I will be making the call at the end of March….

    Thanks

  3. Dave

    Hi Keith,

    What other Business Credit Cards (Mastercard/Visa) have a better earn rate than the Westpac Altitude Business?

    Cheers

  4. Eugene

    FYI, just noted this on the Altitude travel site:

    Effective 08 February 2015, Altitude Black cardholders will receive 0.33 Altitude Points per $1 spent on the Altitude Travel Service. Click here for terms and conditions.

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