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Confirmed: Westpac reduces the Altitude Rewards points transfer rates to most airlines

Westpac is reducing the points transfer rates from its popular Altitude Rewards credit card loyalty program to most partner airlines.

Effective Friday, 9 November 2018, more Altitude Points will be required to redeem frequent flyer points with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Malaysia Airlines Enrich.

The transfer rate for Air New Zealand Airpoints will remain the same, whereas for Velocity Frequent Flyer, the rate will be worse for customers making one-off redemptions, but customers have the option to keep the current Velocity transfer rate by opting to have their Altitude Points automatically redeemed to Velocity Points each month.

In that situation, you would lose the option to transfer points to the other partner airlines – you’d be stuck with Velocity Points.

The current transfer rates are:

  • 2 Altitude points = 1 Virgin Australia Velocity point
  • 2 Altitude points = 1 Malaysia Airlines Enrich mile
  • 2.5 Altitude points = 1 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer mile
  • 2.5 Altitude points = 1 Cathay Pacific Asia Mile
  • 180 Altitude points = 1 Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollar.

From 9 November the rates will be:

  • 2 Altitude points = 1 Virgin Australia Velocity point – auto-redemption only
  • 3 Altitude points = 1 Virgin Australia Velocity point – one-off redemptions
  • 3 Altitude points = 1 Malaysia Airlines Enrich mile
  • 3 Altitude points = 1 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer mile
  • 3 Altitude points = 1 Cathay Pacific Asia Mile
  • 180 Altitude points = 1 Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollar.

(Altitude points can’t be manually converted to Qantas points, rather customers earning Qantas Points have opted into the separate Altitude Qantas program. No changes have been announced there.)

A Westpac spokesperson says: “We are contacting our customers to communicate the changes and provide assistance. Customers can also contact our designated Altitude Rewards line on 1300 887 820, Monday to Friday, between 8am to 8pm (AEST).”

Westpac’s transfer rates were already underwhelming, even compared to those offered by other Westpac-owned brands (like the St George cards I’ve written about previously. I wouldn’t be surprised to see reductions there too in due course).

We’ve seen so many changes in the credit card space recently, mostly in response to RBA regulations that have made cards less profitable for the banks. But since Westpac has already shaken up its card range in response to those regulations, these latest changes are likely for commercial reasons.

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