NAB to remove American Express companion cards: will move to Visa only with increased earn rates but lower points caps

Following NAB’s changes that took effect in July this year, last week the bank signalled that they would be removing American Express companion cards from their Qantas and Velocity Rewards cards range effective 13 November, making their entire rewards cards line up Visa only.

This marks the second major Australian bank to remove American Express from their line up, following a similar move by ANZ earlier this year. NAB’s more recently launched Qantas Signature Visa and NAB Rewards Visa ranges are unaffected by these changes.

The American Express companion cards will no longer be available to new cardholders by mid-November. Existing cardholders will still be able to use their American Express cards up to 20 February 2018. The new Visa earn rates and points caps are kicking in on 13 November 2017.

Update: As of 11 February 2018, NAB have discontinued the NAB Velocity Premium and Classic cards. For those looking to earn Velocity points on spend, NAB’s own flexible Rewards Program offers the option to transfer points directly into Velocity frequently flyer.

In summary, NAB have:

  1. Removed the companion American Express from all accounts effective 13th November 2017
  2. Increased earn rates on their Qantas and Velocity Premium Rewards cards, up to a points cap ($3,000/month)
  3. Lowered initial points cap for both Qantas and Velocity Premium cards ($3,000 from $5,000 per statement period), but slightly increased the hard cap to $6,000 per statement period
  4. Retained Visa earn rates and points cap for their classic Qantas and Velocity Rewards cards
  5. Existing cardholders will be able to use their American Express accounts until 20th February 2018

Here’s a summary of the revised earn rates:

CardOld Earn Rates Change in Earn Rate before Points CapNew Earn Rates / Points Caps
American ExpressVisaVisa onlyVisa only
NAB Qantas Premium1 point per $ capped at $5,000 per statement period0.5 point per $ capped at $5,000 per statement period+0.16 point per $0.66 per $ up to $3,000 per statement period (1 point per $1.50)
0.33 per $ from $3,000 to $6,000 per statement period
NAB Qantas Classic0.75 point per $ capped at $3,000 per statement period0.5 point per $ capped at $3,000 per statement periodN/A0.5 point per $ capped at $3,000 per statement period
NAB Velocity Premium1 point per $ capped at $5,000 per statement period0.5 point per $ capped at $5,000 per statement period+0.16 point per $0.66 per $ up to $3,000 per statement period (1 point per $1.50)
0.33 per $ from $3,000 to $6,000 per statement period
NAB Velocity0.75 point per $ capped at $3,000 per statement period0.5 point per $ capped at $3,000 per statement periodN/A0.5 point per $ capped at $3,000 per statement period
NAB Qantas SignatureN/A1 point per $ capped at $5,000 per statement period
0.5 point per $ capped at $20,000 per statement period thereafter
N/A1 point per $ capped at $5,000 per statement period
0.5 point per $ capped at $20,000 per statement period thereafter

Summing Up – is this a good or bad move by NAB?

This is the latest move by one of the big banks as a result of the changes to interchange fees put in place by the RBA, which came in to effect in June 1st this year.

NAB have had an odd product line-up since, with some standalone (non-companion) Visa cards, plus their legacy companion cards. This move brings them into line as an all-Visa issuer.

The removal of an American Express option is obviously a blow for those who could put a significant amount of spend on their NAB-issued American Express cards, with the revised Visa earn rates understandably still below the existing points earn rates on the companion American Express cards – and the lowering of the points cap will impact the ability to earn points for larger spenders in another way too.

NAB to remove American Express companion cards: will move to Visa only with increased earn rates but lower points caps was last modified: February 13th, 2018 by Keith