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Commonwealth Bank axes American Express credit cards

The Commonwealth Bank has announced that it will stop issuing new American Express cards and will cancel all existing CBA Amex cards later this year.

We’ve been expecting this news for some time and today it was confirmed via a statement on the bank’s website. CBA says it will formally notify customers next week.

Here’s what we know so far.

The cut-off date for getting a new Amex card as part of an Amex/Mastercard bundle is 31 August. After that, only Mastercards will be issued.

All customers will find their existing Amex cards disabled on 1 November. Companion Mastercards will continue to function as normal.

This applies to both personal and business Amex cards.

CBA will not be reducing the annual fees it charges. Given CBA credit cards were already among the worst in the country, with points earn rates that are a fraction of what competitors offer, this is a poor way to treat customers.

The bank’s decision to shut down its Amex cards is a response to new Reserve Bank regulations that have made Amex cards much less profitable for the banks. We’ve already seen Westpac, ANZ and NAB cancel their Amex cards, and CBA now joins them.

With these changes, only Amex cards issued directly by American Express Australia will remain in the market.

Since those cards are exempt from the new Reserve Bank regulations, they will continue to offer very compelling value.

CBA customers who want to get more from their everyday spend should seriously consider switching.

The top three Amex cards loved by savvy points collectors all offer a very high 1.5 frequent flyers points per dollar spent on everyday purchases, plus they come with a free flight or travel credit each year that offsets the annual fee.

For Qantas Points lovers, our top pick is the Qantas Amex Ultimate Card: you receive 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent on everyday purchases, plus the card comes with valuable perks like airport lounge passes, travel insurance and a $450 annual travel credit that fully offsets the card fee. You can read our card review and pick up 55,000 bonus Qantas Points here.

Virgin Australia fans should take a look at the Amex Velocity Platinum Card. It offers 1.5 Velocity Points per dollar spent on everyday purchases, and also comes with airport lounge passes, travel insurance and other perks. A free domestic return flight every year offsets the card fee. You can read our card review and pick up 50,000 bonus Velocity Points here.

If you prefer a flexible points currency, we love the Amex Explorer Credit Card. It earns 2 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on everyday purchases, which converts to 1.5 frequent flyer points when transferred to Velocity Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer or a number of other airline partners. Cardholders also enjoy airport lounge passes and travel insurance, plus a $400 travel credit each year fully offsets the card fee. You can read more and pick up 50,000 bonus points here.

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