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Comm Bank Award Point Earn Rate Changes in response to Interchange Fee reforms

1 May 2017

Comm Bank Award Point Earn Rate Changes in response to Interchange Fee reforms

Commonwealth Bank today confirmed that it will continue to issue American Express credit cards following the RBA’s reforms of credit card ‘interchange fees’, though will significantly reduce the number of Award points that can be earned per dollar spent from 1st July 2017. This continuation of the companion card strategy by Commonwealth Bank is very different to ANZ’s response to the reforms which saw them pull back from issuing companion cards from March 1st 2017, with the withdrawal of all American Express linked cards across their portfolio of ANZ Rewards credit cards.

Comm Bank Reward credit card holders will see the Award earn rates change on July with the higher earn rates on everyday spend being allocated to the Visa or Master Card. Credit Card spend at supermarkets, department stores, petrol stations or  overseas will continue to earn more points on American Express that Visa or MasterCard.

These earn rate changes take effect from the start date of each cardholder’s July credit card statement. The details of the specific changes for each Comm Bank Reward Credit Card are outlined below.

 

Comm Bank changes to Award Point earn rates

CBA Diamond Awards: Spend on the American Express will earn 3 CBA Awards points per dollar at Higher Points Merchants (equal to 1.5 Velocity points or 1.2 Qantas Points) and 0.5 Awards points per dollar everywhere else (=0.25 Velocity points or 0.2 Qantas Points).

CBA Platinum Awards: Use your American Express Card  at a Higher Points Merchant to earn 2.5 CBA Awards points per $1 (1.25 Velocity points or 1.0 Qantas Point), but just 0.5 Awards points (0.25 Velocity points or 0.2 Qantas Points) everywhere else.

CBA Gold Awards: Using your American Express earns 2 CBA Awards points per $1 at Higher Points Merchants (that’s 0.8 Qantas Points or 0.8 Velocity points, as Gold cardholders receive a less-generous Velocity conversion rate) and 0.5 Awards points everywhere else (0.2 Qantas/Velocity points).

Spending on the companion Visa or MasterCard instead delivers one Awards point per dollar spent, being 0.4 Qantas/Velocity points).

CBA Awards: Cardholders with the bank’s entry-level frequent flyer cards can pick up 1.5 CBA Awards points (0.6 Qantas/Velocity points) at Higher Points Merchants – again, that’s at supermarkets, department stores, petrol stations and on overseas spend - and 0.5 Awards points per $1 spent elsewhere (0.2 Qantas/Velocity points).

As with the Gold Awards Visa/MasterCard, the basic Awards Visa/MasterCard also delivers one Awards point per dollar spent, equal to 0.4 Qantas/Velocity points – so unless you’re overseas or making those other essential purchases, you’ll earn twice as many points by choosing to use your Visa/MasterCard over your American Express card

 

Business credit cards follow the same rewards structure as the bank’s personal cards, with bonus points awarded at those same Higher Points Merchants, fewer points everywhere else and the same frequent flyer conversion rates.

Platinum Business Awards: American Express spend will earn 3 CBA Awards points per dollar at Higher Points Merchants (1.5 Velocity points or 1.2 Qantas Points), but only 0.5 Awards points (0.25 Velocity points or 0.2 Qantas Points) everywhere else.

MasterCard spend continues to earn one CBA Awards point (0.5 Velocity points or 0.4 Qantas Points).

Gold Business Awards: Cardholders will earn 2 CBA Awards point per dollar with Higher Points Merchants (0.8 Qantas/Velocity points – again, as Gold cards and below have less-favourable conversion rates), and 0.5 Awards points (0.2 Qantas/Velocity points) on all other spend.

Use the MasterCard instead and you’ll receive one CBA Awards point per dollar, worth 0.4 Qantas/Velocity points.

Business Awards: Delivers 1.5 CBA Awards points per dollar at Higher Points Merchants (0.6 Qantas/Velocity points), yet only 0.5 Awards points per dollar everywhere else (0.2 Qantas/Velocity points).

Mirroring the Gold Business Awards account, the companion MasterCard provides one CBA Awards point per dollar spent, equal to 0.4 Qantas/Velocity points.

 

Commonwealth Awards fees, conversion rates

Credit card annual fees will remain the same across all personal and business Awards credit cards, although CommBank’s 3.5% international transaction fee will be waived for personal Platinum Awards and Diamond Awards cardholders spending abroad on their American Express card.

However, a 3% international transaction fee will continue to apply to overseas spend using any CBA Visa or MasterCard (including for personal Platinum and Diamond cardholders), with a 3.5% forex fee levied when using a Gold or basic Awards AMEX abroad, and for all business AMEX customers.

Conversion rates from the Commonwealth Awards program to Qantas Frequent Flyer (via automatic monthly transfer) and to Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer (manual transfer) remain unchanged, with 2.5 CBA Awards points fetching one Qantas or Velocity point.

The only exception is for Platinum and Diamond members where 2 CBA Awards points returns one Velocity point, although conversions to Qantas follow the same 2.5:1 rate as all other cards.

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