The Commonwealth Bank is the latest Australian bank to slash the number of points earned on its Awards credit cards. The rate at which Qantas Frequent Flyer points are earned on the bank’s high-end Diamond and Platinum credit cards will be cut from May.
Diamond cardholders will see points earned on their Amex cards fall from 1.5 to 1.2 points per dollar, while MasterCard earn drops from 0.625 to 0.5 points per dollar. Amex earn will also be reduced for Platinum cardholders, while the Platinum MasterCard will earn just 0.4 Qantas points per dollar, down from half a point for every dollar spent.
Commonwealth Bank’s Awards credit cards come with the option to earn points in just two frequent flyer programs – Qantas and Virgin Australia’s Velocity program. Customers wishing to earn Qantas points must opt-in to “Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct” – the cost of which recently tripled to $30 per year.
In addition to the reduction in points earn, the annual cap on Qantas points is also decreasing. Transfer rates to Velocity Frequent Flyer remain unchanged.
Our members are unanimously disappointed with the changes. With higher earning rates and a greater variety of transfer partners available through credit cards from other banks, many Commonwealth Bank customers are considering cancelling their cards. One member points out that with the new earn rates, Commonwealth Bank MasterCard cards now earn points at either the same rate – or an even lower rate – than the fee-free Qantas Cash card!
Commonwealth Bank now offers some of the least competitive rewards cards in the Australian market. But this is not the only bank to have recently announced reductions in point earning or transfer rates. Citibank, ANZ and Virgin Money are among the list of other banks to recently slash credit card earn rates. Some members believe that the recent interchange fee regulations introduced by the RBA are partly to blame.
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