Westpac has announced that it will be reducing the points transfer rates from their Altitude Rewards program to most partner airlines.
As of Friday, November 9, 2018, you will need more Altitude Points when transferring to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Malaysia Airlines Enrich.
For Velocity transfers, people making one off transfers will require 50% more points. They will also need to transfer at least 6 Altitude Points (up from 2!). On the other hand, auto redemptions will remain the same.
Transfers to Airpoints are unaffected by the changes. In addition, these changes do not affect those that have set up their transfers from Altitude Rewards to Qantas.
Changes in Detail
Westpac have published the following table outlining the changes
|Current Altitude Points transfer rate||New Altitude Points transfer rate from 9 November 2018|
|Velocity Frequent Flyer* (Monthly Auto-Redemption)||2 Altitude Points = 1 Velocity Point||2 Altitude Points = 1 Velocity Point (No Change)|
|Velocity Frequent Flyer (one-off transfer)||2 Altitude Points = 1 Velocity Point||3 Altitude Points = 1 Velocity Point|
|KrisFlyer Miles||2.5 Altitude Points = 1 KrisFlyer Mile||3 Altitude Points = 1 KrisFlyer Mile|
|Enrich Miles||2 Altitude Points = 1 Enrich Mile||3 Altitude Points = 1 Enrich Mile|
|Asia Miles||2.5 Altitude Points = 1 Asia Mile||3 Altitude Points = 1 Asia Mile|
|Airpoints||180 Altitude Points = 1 Airpoint||180 Altitude Points = 1 Airpoint (No Change)|
The changes are severe for those that wish to transfer to Enrich, or make a one off transfer to Velocity. Moving from 2 Altitude Points to 3 Altitude Points represents a 50% devaluation of value.
The changes for KrisFlyer and Asia Miles aren’t so bad, although that is a relative statement. The change from 2.5 Altitude Points to 3 Altitude Points represents a 20% devaluation.
Effective Earn Rates
With these changes, the new effective earn rates for transfers to the various programs are shown below.
|Effective Earn Rate
||Effective Earn Rate
|Altitude Black Mastercard||1.25||0.5 per dollar||0.67 per dollar|
|Altitude Black Amex – Overseas||5||1.67 per dollar||2.5 per dollar|
|Altitude Black Amex – In Australia||3||1 per dollar||1.5 per dollar|
|Altitude Black Amex – Government||1||0.33 per dollar||0.5 per dollar|
|Altitude Platinum Visa||1||0.33 per dollar||0.5 per dollar|
|Altitude Platinum Amex – Overseas||3||1 per dollar||1.5 per dollar|
|Altitude Platinum Amex – In Australia||2||0.67 per dollar||1 per dollar|
|Altitude Platinum Amex – Government||1||0.33 per dollar||0.5 per dollar|
If your main use of points is to transfer to Velocity, you can consider moving to the auto-redemption option. This will allow you to maintain the transfer rate, at the expense of flexibility.
If Krisflyer points is what you are after, it may also be worth considering an auto-redemption to Velocity, and then transfer to Krisflyer from there.
To understand this, we need to work through some maths. Consider a transfer of 100,000 Altitude Points. Converting directly to Krisflyer would get you 33,333 Krisflyer Points. On the other hand, if you auto-transfer to Velocity you will get 50,000 Velocity Points. You can then transfer this to KrisFlyer, giving you a little over 37,000 KrisFlyer points.
It is two years since Westpac made its last round of changes to their Altitude transfer rates. At that time, they moved Asia Miles and KrisFlyer to their current 2.5 Altitude Points transfer rate. This latest round brings most of the transfer partners back into line with each other. As an aside, the ANZ Airpoints transfer rate was changed during the last round of changes.
These changes continue the overall devaluation of credit card programs that has been occuring over the last few years.