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Do you have a credit card which may be cheap and convenient, but doesn’t give you any rewards points? Perhaps you think that extras like rewards points cost more than they are worth, in fees and hassle?
If you’re already spending $8,000 or more per year (an average of just $667 per month) using your credit card, you can switch to the Westpac Altitude Credit Card and come out ahead financially without making any changes at all to your spending pattern. Read on to find out how.
A choice of rewards and cards to maximise your return
Westpac Altitude cards are all about choice, and although this card is the most basic (and cheapest) in the range, it still has the same degree of choice as the most expensive. You still get two cards – American Express and Visa – so that you can earn more points on the AmEx card and reserve the Visa card for when AmEx is either declined or attracts a surcharge. And you still get a choice between Westpac’s own loyalty scheme – Altitude Rewards – and Qantas Frequent Flyer points, with the added advantage of being able to switch between the two programs as often as you like.
A respectable points earning rate
The rate at which you earn points on this card is the same as the rate on the more expensive Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card:
Cardholders who have opted to earn QFF points can earn an extra point for every dollar spent in purchasing Qantas flights or seat upgrades. What’s more, these bonus points don’t count towards the monthly points cap.
There is a points cap of 5,000 Altitude points or 2,500 Qantas points per month. This could prove slightly restrictive in any month where you expect to make a major purchase, particularly if you are going to use the AmEx card. However, if you think this could happen regularly, consider upgrading to the Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card (which has a higher cap) or even the Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card (which has no cap on points).
Ways to redeem your points
There are plenty of ways to redeem both Qantas and Altitude points, although with Qantas points the value declines sharply as soon as you choose to redeem them for anything other than flights or upgrades.
Qantas redemption options
Altitude redemption options
Unattractive interest rates
Look elsewhere if low interest rates are on your wishlist. You will find the 20.24% p.a. purchase interest rate and 20.74% p.a. cash advance interest rate seriously off-putting.
Fortunately, most people looking for a rewards card are not also seeking low interest rates, since it makes no financial sense to have a rewards card unless you intend to repay your purchase balance in full every month.
American Express Connect
Although this is not a platinum credit card, this card’s link to American Express Connect gives you the next best thing. You’ll have access to pre-sales tickets and reserved seating for entertainment events, and special offers and discounts from retailers and restaurants.
Convenience and security
You can, of course, use online banking and PIN-free Tap & Go (for transactions under $100) with this card, but that’s old news. Why not download the Westpac mobile banking app to your Apple or Samsung smartphone or tablet, transforming your device into a digital wallet? You can log in with your fingerprint, get a quick balance of your card or points account, tap and pay with your phone, and put a temporary lock on your card if you misplace it.
Your online and mobile transactions are just as secure as your conventional card transactions, with Westpac’s Fraud Money Back Guarantee, and the Verified by Visa and American Express Safekey one-time password systems.
Make forgetting repayments a thing of the past, by setting up Card Autopay. And if you do find yourself struggling with repayments, you could score a lower interest rate with Westpac SmartPlan, by committing to a fixed monthly repayment schedule.
Up to 45 days on purchases
Unfortunately, you’ll get only Up to 45 days on purchases with this card, where many other cards offer 55, and Coles credit cards extend 62 interest-free days. However, 'only’ is a relative term here, since it still means that you can pay your account balance 15 days after the end of the monthly statement cycle and continue to avoid interest.
Easily recover the annual fee
How easy is it to recover the cost of the annual fee in rewards value each year?
Take a look.
Choose Qantas points and spend only $8,000 on the AmEx card, or around $10,700 split evenly between Amex and Visa, to earn the 8,000 points required for a Sydney to Melbourne flight worth at least $125 before airport taxes.
Select the Altitude program and spend $10,500 using the AmEx card, or about $14,000 shared between Amex and Visa, in order to swap 21,000 points for a $100 David Jones eGift card.
These relatively low spending targets cover the annual fee, and any further points earned in the same year are essentially a free gift.
Why choose the Westpac Altitude Credit Card?
This card is ideally suited to someone who is more likely to travel domestically than overseas, and just wants a convenient and secure credit card for everyday spending. At the same time, they would like to be rewarded for that spending, rewarded more than enough to cover the annual fee, without having to pay for insurance policies they would be unlikely to use.
I’d appreciate more opportunities to earn points, but the system is clear and easy to understand, and redeeming points online is simple and straightforward.
The phone-based customer support is always top notch, in my experience, and I’ve found the staff to be helpful. I think having the support of good staff makes up for the slightly less competitive rates and fees.
I mainly use the card as an emergency backup, and so trust in the system is my biggest priority.
I found I am better off buying vouchers with my points than I am purchasing items in the online rewards store. You can get vouchers then negotiate better prices in stores. Do not cash in your points, as the money is way less than if you get value in vouchers.
Just another credit card that charges you interest and is another fund raiser for the bank. You will get charged loads of interest every time you buy something and then get charged extra every year just to have the card. Get one if you want everything you buy to cost you three times more than the asking price.
It’s a handy little card to have. Fees are a little lower compared to other credit cards offered by the other top four banks. Rewards include frequent flyer points which you can use for trips to various destinations.
Customer service with Westpac has always been a pleasant experience. Any issues I contact them with they respond to positively and are very helpful. It is great to feel listened to, appreciated and valued as a customer by such a big bank as Westpac.
I’m a very happy customer, and I highly recommend going through them for a credit card.
They say you have to spend money to make money, and that is exactly how this Westpac Altitude Card works. Every few months I gather enough points to earn myself a reward of my choosing. Its nice when you get something back! You can also convert your points to frequent flyer points for a range of airlines.
Love this card. I’ve had it for many years. The rewards are awesome and no annual fees mean you can spend money on things that matter. Westpac is a bank that is standing up to its name. I have nothing but great things to say about them and what they represent.
Rates and fees on this card are too high and there are probably better around. Think twice before applying. Customer service is poor—you are treated like a number, not a person. Reward points don’t accumulate quickly enough and rewards cost far too many points. No real value at all. Look elsewhere.
I initially got this card as Westpac was the provider of the Defence Home Loan. I keep my limit at $1,000 as I believe this is more than ample for day-to-day spending and paying off bills automatically. The interest rates on both purchases and cash advances are horrendous as the cash rate at this time is under 5%. I do not know how a rate of 21% on this card can be justified, but at the end of the day it serves its purpose.
Great rewards program and it’s easy to collect enough points to redeem for something in a short time. Rates and fees are reasonable. Westpac online is easy for checking your usage and tracking where your hard earned cash is going. I love the ability to lock your card online anytime you wish and unlock as many times as you wish.
This card came with my mortgage and I have stayed with it because it is free as I pay off the outstanding balance in full every month. However, the rewards are 'expensive’ and they could do with revamping them. I like being able to pay off the card balance every month via internet banking.
|Interest rate||Period||Fee||Limit||Revert rate|
|Balance transfers||N/A||N/A||N/A||95% of credit limit||N/A|
|Purchases||0% p.a.||6 months||N/A||N/A||20.24% p.a.|
|Cash advances||1.73%||20.74% p.a.|
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||$18|
|Net customer value||$-82|