Announced by Westpac and American Express late last year, the deal for American Express to issue the Westpac-branded cards allows Westpac to offer higher rewards point earn rates than it would be able to afford if it self-issued – given the Reserve Bank’s ‘interchange fee’ regulations introduced in July 2017.
It was these fresh regulations which caused a number of major banks to discontinue their range of Amex companion cards.
In late January, the new American Express-issued, Westpac-branded Amex cards were only available to existing Westpac cardholders, but as of today, they are available to the wider public.
A Westpac spokesperson told Canstar: “We know how popular our American Express offer has been and our new partnership will ensure we continue to deliver innovative, market-leading products to our customers.”
Vice President Partnerships at American Express, Adam Roberts, said they are “very excited” about the new partnership.
“The bundled offering is a great option for consumers who might have previously held an American Express card issued by a bank, and for those who want to pool their points into an Altitude Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer account while enjoying the benefits that come with American Express,” he said.
‘Assess whether the extra rewards will outweigh the extra costs’
Canstar’s Group Manager of Research and Ratings Mitch Watson said Westpac customers who regularly used their old Amex companion card may find some benefit in taking advantage of these new bundles, but warned customers to be aware of additional fees.
“American Express has long been the card scheme of choice for many avid point collectors and these new bundles could help consumers to maximise their reward return,” Mr Watson said.
“Unlike other companion cards, these cards will be issued directly by American Express, meaning you’ll have a separate line of credit direct with American Express, will be issued a separate statement and most importantly, you’ll have an additional annual fee.
“When deciding if these cards are right for you, it is important to assess whether the additional rewards that you’ll be able to earn will outweigh the extra costs associated.
“But for consumers who regularly spend at merchants that accept American Express, there is definitely potential to come out in front.”
Annual fees & points
Customers who sign up for the American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum (Visa) credit card bundle will have a first year annual fee of $150 plus a $50 Qantas rewards fee for the Westpac card as well as a first year annual fee of $49 for the Amex card.
There is a points earning potential of up to 75,000 Altitude or Qantas points on this bundle for customers who apply by 11 June 2018 and meet the requirements set out by American Express and Westpac.
Image: Westpac (supplied). Westpac Altitude Platinum card (left) and associated American Express-issued card (right).
For customers who sign up for the American Express Westpac Altitude Black (Mastercard) credit card bundle, there will be a first year annual fee of $250 plus a $50 Qantas rewards fee for the Westpac card and a first year annual fee of $199 for the Amex card.
With this bundle, customers can earn up to 120,000 Qantas points if they apply by 11 June 2018, are approved and meet the minimum spend for each card.
Image: Westpac (supplied). Westpac Altitude Black card (left) and associated American Express-issued card (right).
|American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card||American Express Westpac Altitude Black Card|
|$49 annual fee||$199 annual fee|
|Altitude: Earn up to 3 pts per dollar; OR Qantas: Earn up to 1.5 QFF pts per dollar||Altitude: Earn up to 5 pts per dollar; OR Qantas: Earn up to 2 QFF pts per dollar|
|No points cap||No points cap|
|20.24% interest rate||20.24% interest rate|
|Access to Amex Offers and Amex Invites||Access to Amex Offers and Amex Invites|
|Complimentary insurance products||Complimentary insurance products|
|2 x annual passes to the American Express International Airport Lounges in Australia|
|Source: American Express, 19 April 2018.|
According to American Express, new card members can also receive a bonus offer if the card is approved before 11 June 2018:
- American Express Altitude Black Card: 40,000 Qantas or Altitude Points
- American Express Altitude Platinum Card: 15,000 Qantas or Altitude Points