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Westpac’s credit card designers were certainly at the top of their game when they came up with the Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card Online Only Offer, which neatly packages most of the features that any credit card user could ask for, even though it comes with the usual hefty fee for a black credit card (discounted, however, in the first year). If you choose this card, you’ll want to hang around for at least a year to make the most of the multiple benefits, including choice of rewards, high points earning rates coupled with substantial bonus points, and a suite of complimentary benefits.
Qantas or Altitude points? Take your pick.
Qantas frequent flyers can choose to earn QFF points, while anyone can opt for Westpac Altitude Rewards and redeem points for a range of consumer products, entertainment and travel, financial services and shopping gift cards, or even put them towards the purchase price of a new Holden. While you usually get a far greater dollar value from QFF points, Altitude points have the advantage of offering a larger range of redemption options, including converting them to points with Altitude’s partner airlines, which include Virgin Australia, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific.
Your points choice is not set in concrete, because you can switch between the two rewards programs as often as you like. Just remember to allow a few days for the change to be processed, and bear in mind that the points already earned cannot be transferred between programs.
You can also set up auto-redemption for Virgin Australia Velocity points, automatically receiving one Velocity point in exchange for every two Altitude points you earn.
Westpac’s highest points earning rate, uncapped
Here are the points earning rates:
*0.625 pts per $1 spent * or 1.25 pts per $1 spent per dollar spent
While the Qantas points earn rate is not as high as that of some competing cards, it does have the advantage of being unrestricted by any points cap or threshold. Earn as many Qantas or Altitude points as you like, every month.
'Golden hello’ bonus points
Effectively a sign-up reward, a whopping 80,000 points (QFF or Altitude, depending on your initial reward choice) will be credited to your account, as long as you spend a minimum of $5,000 in 90 days of account approval. That’s $1,000 per month, an achievable target for most people considering a black-tier credit card.
To give you an idea of what this is worth, 80,000 points will buy you around $285 worth of retail gift cards delivered electronically, while 60,000 QFF points is enough for a one-way economy flight to Europe or New York. Convert the Altitude points to Velocity, and the resulting 30,000 points could be used for almost four economy flights between Sydney and Melbourne (31,200 points).
First year annual fee reduction
Although the ongoing annual fee for this card is a high $395 p.a. in the first year of holding the card you will pay just $250 p.a. significantly reducing the cost of trying out the card to see if it is a good fit for you.
Almost every conceivable complementary benefit
This is the area where, on top of the high points earning rate, the card justifies its $395 p.a. annual fee after the first year. (Note that you can get an additional card free of charge, unlike similar cards which charge around $65 for every extra cardholder.)
The extensive, money-saving complementary benefits include:
That’s quite a list, and it not only matches but in many cases exceeds the benefits offered with other black cards.
Anyone interested in a top-of-the-range card like this is unlikely to be concerned by the card’s interest rates, since they probably plan to pay off their purchase balance in full every month. But for the record, the purchases interest rate is 20.24% p.a. while the cash advance interest rate is slightly higher at 20.74% p.a.
Competing black cards
If you’re in the market for a black card, you’ll need to compare Westpac’s offerings with ANZ Rewards Black and ANZ Frequent Flyer Black cards, as well as the Citi Prestige card.
Westpac Altitude Black is designed for . . .
. . . someone who wants it all and can afford to pay for it, but still expects top value per dollar spent: a choice of Altitude Rewards or QFF points, a high points earning rate, bonus points, airport lounges passes and free insurance cover that’s better in many respects than the cover provided by competing cards.
This is a very good card with great rewards.
They give very good service with enquiries answered in Australia. Their website is very good and easy to use. They are there to help 24/7, and do help if you need them.
They give reward points quickly and have great rewards.
We try to use our credit card for more purchases, for security and convenience and so we can budget our expenses each month.
The interest we try not to use so we attempt to pay the full balance each month, to our advantage.
We’re happy with statements and services from Westpac in relations to this card.
It’s a good card to have if you have a Premier Advantage Home Loan package with Westpac, as the fees are already paid for in the Advantage Package fees.
It’s a reasonable offering for complimentary travel insurance. Rewards are reasonable, although you may wish to switch to Velocity Membership points when there is a promotional period on.
I tend to use the American Express card more than the MasterCard because of the accumulation of points — not that I have ever redeemed any points, but I have accumulated a great many in the hope of one day redeeming them.
Most of my purchases are made online, so the card is convenient. I don’t like carrying lots of cash, so in store the card is convenient.
$395 annual fee. Rewards are pretty standard compared to the other big banks. AmEx Velocity (annual fee $349) is better — free domestic flight anywhere plus points, insurance etc)
If I need to speak to a customer rep it is easy (direct phone line).
3 points to the dollar on AmEx, 1.25 points to the dollar on MasterCard. As a family we rack up points quickly, and convert them to fuel and Woolies cards
I’ve had 2 non-authorised transactions in the past, but Westpac was quick to review and rectify.
We transferred our card from another lender and got a great balance transfer deal. The rewards program is awesome with 2 card options to maximise points. The interest rate is good and as long as you pay on time you have no issues. A decent payment and interest-free period gives you great control over your budget.
I’m happy with the way things work for me with this card. The Interest rate is good with days to pay, so I don’t have to pay the full amount each month.
The bank is good with communications and updates and statements on a regular basis.
The card is accepted at most places that I shop.
My hubby worked for Westpac, so we’re not paying fees. I love the rewards they offer, including vouchers and so much else to choose from.
Whenever I need help I ring the help desk and always get a prompt solution from a representative.
Cards are always replaced quickly if lost. Whenever we had fraudulent transactions they always rang to make sure everything was OK.
I had very good customer service when my card was scammed. I was reimbursed very quickly, and new cards were issued within a couple of days. Westpac knew I was scammed before I knew! Very diligent!
I would certainly recommend this card from Westpac bank, and I couldn’t live without it as I use it for nearly all my transactions so that I can keep an account of my spending.
The card is good, with a low interest rate and good perks like Altitude points and travel insurance. It’s good for travel insurance when you use the card for booking tickets to go overseas. Plus you get Altitude points to buy other stuff also, like toasters, iPads, computers, kitchenware, TVs and hi-fi equipment.
|Cash advances||1.73%||20.74% p.a.|
Valuation based on the assumption of making a $250 claim once every 5 years. There is no retail market for all-encompassing extended warranty insurance covering more than one item, so no premium saving.
Guaranteed pricing / price protection insurance
Valuation based on the assumption of making a $100 claim once every 10 years. Extensive conditions apply. There is no retail market for this type of insurance, so no premium saving.
Valuation based on the assumption of making a $200 claim once every 5 years. There is no retail market for this type of insurance, so no premium saving.
Interstate flight inconvenience insurance
Valuation based on similar domestic travel insurance policies available online that include interstate flight inconvenience.
Overseas travel insurance
Valuation based on similar annual travel insurance policies available online for trips of up to 60 days.
Rental vehicle excess cover (separate from travel insurance)
Valuation based on similar rental vehicle excess insurance policies available online.
Transit accident insurance
Valuation based on similar global transit accident insurance policies available online.
Waived Qantas Frequent Flyer joining fee
Valuation based on $89.50 Qantas Frequent Flyer joining fee spread over 5 years. Note that this benefit does not apply if cardholder chooses Altitude Rewards rather than Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
|Total estimated value||$1,391|
|Net customer value||$1,141|