Three years ago, Westpac added a feature to its rewards program allowing the automatic conversion of Altitude Rewards points to Velocity at a more favourable rate.

Westpac Velocity auto-redemption screenshot

However, they have announced changes to this option on their website:

From 15 April 2019, you will no longer be able to enrol your credit card for Velocity Auto-Redemption. If your credit card is currently enrolled, or enrolled before 15 April 2019, Velocity Auto-Redemption will operate as usual until further notice. This change does not impact customers who have an Altitude Business card.

The advantages of this option are:

  • Convenience if you are loyal to Velocity
  • A more favourable rate for automatic transfers (2:1) compared to manual ones (3:1)

The disadvantages are:

  • Automatically converts all Altitude Rewards points every month, losing the benefit of Altitude Rewards as a flexible points program
  • Loses the ability to take advantage of the 15% bonus on Velocity transfers that usually comes up twice per year (provided Westpac keeps participating in those promotions in the future)
  • Loses the ability to transfer to Velocity as soon as you’ve earned the points from your spend—you need to wait until your statement date each month before the transfer kicks in
  • Will convert all Altitude Rewards points in account at time of registration in auto-redemption, so if you want to transfer points to any other programs, do so before you register
  • As the statement above suggests, it is not guaranteed that this option will stick around, even for those who enrol in time

This change does not affect those who have opted to earn Qantas Points instead of Altitude Rewards points.

Note that Westpac devalued their rewards program in November 2018 and also in September 2016.

Enrolling in this option is a good idea for those who have Altitude Rewards points and transfer to Velocity on a regular basis anyway. If you have a Mastercard, the last day to register online for Velocity auto-redemption is 14 April. If you have an American Express card, you’ll need to call Westpac on 1300 887 820 by 8pm AEST on 12 April at the latest.


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 is 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 New Zealand 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:

The transfer rate to most programs is 3 Altitude Rewards points to 1 frequent flyer point/mile. The exceptions is Airpoints where the transfer rate is 180:1 (poor value).

If there are 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 Rewards 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 or American Express to Asia Miles or KrisFlyer is fairly valuable and as a result, is well worth considering.

Altitude Black 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.

Card Details

CardWestpac Altitude Black
Loyalty programQantas Frequent Flyer or Westpac Altitude Rewards
Points earned from spend on the Mastercard0.75 Qantas Points, 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 directly)
American Express annual fee$199 p.a.

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
(transferred from Altitude Rewards)
0.41 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 / $
*Points earn rate only if linked directly to Altitude Qantas

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 two included lounge visits—or if opted into Altitude Qantas, two Qantas lounge 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 Mastercard

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

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

Card Details

CardWestpac Altitude Platinum
Loyalty programAltitude Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer
Points earned from spend with the Mastercard0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Altitude Points per $ of eligible spend on the Mastercard
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 1 Altitude Points per $ on eligible government spend
Minimum income $30,000 p.a.
Included insurancesExtended Warranty & International Travel Insurance (PDS)
Points Capuncapped
Overseas transaction fee3.0% of the converted amount
Mastercard 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 ProgramMastercardAmerican Express 
Domestic SpendOverseas Spend
Qantas Points*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 friendlier 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.

American Express Westpac Altitude Blended Bundle

Westpac has recently introduced the American Express Westpac Altitude Blended Bundle that combines the benefits of the Altitude Platinum card with the American Express Westpac Altitude Black card.

Card Details

CardAmerican Express Westpac Blended Bundle
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 Altitude Platinum Mastercard
Points earned from spend with the American Express2 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 Westpac Altitude Black
Minimum income $30,000 p.a.
Included insurancesExtended Warranty & International Travel Insurance (PDS)
Points Capuncapped
Overseas transaction fee3.0% of the converted amount
Mastercard Annual card fee$0 for the first year, $150 p.a. ongoing + ($50 annual Qantas Rewards fee if you choose to earn Qantas Points)
Amex Annual card fee$199 p.a. ongoing

Effective Frequent Flyer Program Point Earn Rates

Frequent Flyer ProgramMastercard PlatinumAmerican Express Altitude Black 
Domestic SpendOverseas Spend
Qantas Points*0.5 point / $1.25 point / $2 point / $
Velocity Points
0.33 point / $1 point / $1.67 point / $
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles0.33 Mile / $1 Mile / $1.67 Mile / $
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles0.33 Mile / $1 Mile / $1.67 Mile / $
*Qantas Points are only earned if linked to Altitude Qantas Rewards.

Altitude Mastercard

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

Card Details

CardWestpac Altitude Mastecard
Loyalty programAltitude Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer
Points earned from spend0.5 Qantas Points or 1 Altitude Points for every $ spent on the Mastercard
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
Mastercard
Qantas Points*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 Mastercard 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 and associate rewards program and insurance policies are linked to from Westpac’s page, after clicking through from the link above.

Westpac ending Velocity auto-redemption option registration: should you opt in? was last modified: April 16th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt

Altitude Qantas vs Altitude Rewards

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

If you have an Altitude Mastercard, Altitude Platinum Mastercard, 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 sign-up bonus from a card to be more valuable in raw Qantas Points, but when using the card on an ongoing basis, there may be more value in taking advantage of Altitude Rewards’ flexibility from having a wide range of transfer options.

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.

Westpac ending Velocity auto-redemption option registration: should you opt in? was last modified: April 16th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt