The cash advance rate of 21.49% is only applicable to Mastercard®.
Purchase rate of 20.24% p.a. on American Express.
Receive both rewards cards in one single application.
Westpac Mastercard® issued and serviced by Westpac. AMEX Westpac Altitude Card issued & serviced by American Express.
You’re likely to be rolling in Velocity points and Velocity status credits if you own the American Express Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card Bundle (Velocity). First of all you’ll need to look beyond the high annual fee (knowing that you’ll reap benefits every year, benefits whose value is far greater than the fee) to appreciate the mammoth bonus points, the available status credits, the potential for a high ongoing points earning rate, and all the other perks that come with a prestige card.
This is a pair of cards – a Mastercard issued by Westpac and an Amex card issued by American Express – bundled together in one card account.
Up to 120,000 first-purchase bonus points
There’s the potential to earn a huge 120,000 bonus Velocity points in the first three months.
Spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with the Mastercard, within the first 90 days after account opening, and you’ll receive 80,000 points.
Spend a further $3,000 on eligible purchases with the Amex card, within the same first 90 days after account opening, and you’ll receive an additional 40,000 points.
That’s $7,000 worth of eligible purchases in three months. ‘Eligible purchases’ basically covers all spending except cash equivalents like cash advances, balance transfers, card interest charges and fees, purchases of foreign currency and traveller’s cheques, and (in the case of the Mastercard) government purchases (ATO, Australia Post, car registration, council rates, &c) and BPAY payments.
If you’re considering a prestige card like this, with an annual income requirement of at least $75,000, spending $7,000 in three months is probably not such a big deal. Make sure you spread your spending across both cards in order to meet the targets and maximise points earning. But if you think there’s a chance you won’t quite reach $7,000, aim for the $4,000 spending on Mastercard first (locking in the 80,000 bonus points) before turning your attention to the remaining $3,000 of purchases with the Amex card.
Unfortunately, you won’t qualify for the bonus points programs if you have held a Westpac Earth or Altitude card in the last 12 months, or American Express Westpac Altitude card in the last 18 months.
What can you do with 120,000 Velocity points?
With such a large number of points in your account, long-haul award flights with Virgin or its partner airlines become a possibility.
For 119,000 Velocity points, you could make a return Virgin Australia flight from Sydney or Melbourne to Hong Kong, in the comfort of Business Class.
Or you could fly to Singapore on Singapore Airlines, Business Class one way and Premium Economy on your return journey, a total of 117,500 points.
But there’s more – 75 valuable Velocity status credits can be yours as well
Frequent flyers will understand the value of airline status credits, which earn special privileges for travellers lucky enough to have them.
Let’s say you’ve already spent $4,000 in the first 90 days to earn your 80,000 bonus points for using the Mastercard. Spending a further $6,000 during the remainder of the year, bringing your Mastercard purchases to a total of $10,000 in the first 12 months, will earn you 50 Velocity status credits. If you’ve also already achieved your 40,000 bonus points spending target on the American Express card ($3,000 in the first three months) you’ll get a further 25 status credits, bringing your total to 75.
What will 75 Velocity status credits do for you?
Velocity Frequent Flyer membership is tiered, based on the status credits you earn by flying with Virgin Australia and/or linking your flybuys and Velocity memberships. Your status can be Red (entry level), Silver (earn 250 status credits in a year to upgrade from Red), Gold (earn 500 status credits in a year to upgrade from Silver) or Platinum (earn 1,000 status credits in a year to upgrade from Gold).
Those 75 status credits could be just the extra boost you need to promote you to the next level for the following 12 months. A higher membership tier could see you qualifying for benefits like higher points for flying, entry to airport lounges, priority boarding, advance seat selection, extra baggage allowance and exclusive upgrade offers.
Potential for a really high ongoing points earning rate
This card’s standard Velocity points earning rate on the Amex card part of the bundle is not exceeded by any of its competitors. But if you do quite a bit of your spending overseas (online, or in person while travelling), you’ll be looking at an earning rate which is exceptionally rewarding. The details are:
And there’s no points threshold or cap, so you can earn as many points as you like each month. Bring out the Amex card, for a better earning rate, wherever it is accepted without a surcharge.
Redeeming Velocity points
We’ve already discussed redeeming Velocity points for flights. Along with seat upgrades, flights are the best value use for your points. But you can also use them at the Velocity Rewards Store for retail, Virgin Australia and movie gift cards, a wide range of merchandise, and airport lounge passes. There’s no shortage of choice.
Economy X seat upgrade vouchers
Want a bit of extra pampering, without going all out and purchasing a Business Class fare? You can score two Economy X upgrades each year, just by using your Mastercard to make a direct purchase from Virgin Australia. You’ll then receive two upgrade vouchers which can be redeemed against standard Economy seats booked directly with Virgin Australia. Economy X gives you extra legroom, priority security screening, priority boarding and dedicated space in the overhead lockers.
Not two, but four lounge passes
Lots of premium credit cards offer two single-entry lounge passes to their cardholders, each year. This card bundle goes one better by offering four – two per card.
You’ll receive two passes to American Express international airport lounges, and two to Virgin Australia domestic lounges – all bases covered.
Complimentary insurance cover
The list of benefits goes on and on. Not only will you get a very comprehensive annual multi-trip overseas travel policy, with elevated claim limits and trip lengths, you’ll also get interstate flight inconvenience cover for domestic travel, transit accident cover for public transport accidents, purchase protection cover (four months protection against theft, loss and accidental damage, rather than just three months), extended warranty (up to two years extra warranty instead of just one), price guarantee cover (shop with confidence, knowing you’ll get the difference refunded if the price drops locally within a short time frame) and rental vehicle insurance excess waiver in Australia (not just when travelling overseas).
Westpac and American Express appear to have pulled out all the stops to make the complimentary insurance cover not just average, but exceptional.
24/7 personal concierge
Love it, or couldn’t care less? Either way, it wouldn’t be a prestige card without a concierge service to cater to your travel and entertainment needs. Your concierge can also help you choose a gift, plan an event, and book concert tickets at short notice.
Some boring numbers
The interest rates may not be particularly meaningful if, like most prestige card users, you intend to pay off your account balance in full every month. But, for the record, they are 20.49% p.a. for Mastercard purchases, 20.24% p.a. for Amex purchases, and 21.49% p..a for cash advances (only available on the Mastercard).
You’ll enjoy the benefit of up to 45 interest-free days on purchases each month, on both cards.
Some more significant numbers
So how much does it all cost? There’s a long list of benefits, so you won’t be too surprised to find that the answer is ‘Quite a lot’.
The annual fees are $250 for the Mastercard and $199 for the American Express card. Add to that the $50 Velocity rewards program fee, and the result is a fairly hefty $499 per year.
But the value of the overseas travel cover for a family easily exceeds the fee total in any year that you can use it. Include the other insurance policies (worth about $560 per year), and the lounge passes ($240 per year), and it’s clear that you’ll be well in the black without needing to factor in the seat upgrades, the status credits, and the heaps of Velocity points you’ll earn every year.
Take a look at the competition before you decide
If earning Velocity points is your main concern, compare this card bundle with other Velocity points cards on the Velocity page in our Features section.
But if you don’t care what kind of points you earn, as long as it’s a prestige card, you’ll want to check out the Citi Prestige Card, the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card, and perhaps even the seriously pricey American Express Platinum Card.
A card for big spenders who prefer flying Virgin Australia
Not all big-spending travellers are rusted-on fans of Qantas. If you prefer to fly with Virgin, but appreciate the finer things in life that can be purchased with a high income, this may be your ideal card.
|Cash advances||1.79%||21.49% p.a.|