The other banks will be watching the reaction to ANZ changes. In any case, there is no joining fee (like Diners) for Altitude card, just the annual fee. So, even if westpac changes the annual fees after you have joined, you are already a winner by saving the difference between ANZ and Westpac at least for an year. Looking at the past, ANZ has always charged higher fees. But those days, the bonus points were extreely generous especially with Telstra.
Only inconvenience is changing direct debits to your credit card. But, considering the savings, it is really minor.
Let ANZ know that you don't like their fee increase by CANCELLING their card.
I agree strongly that cancelling cards when they become poor value is an important step to take, despite the small hassle of changing any automatic debits etc.
In the case of the ANZ card, where it has been the clear "most popular" card, the other banks are closely watching what is happening.
If ANZ loses *lots* of valuable business as a result of the changes, we can expect the other banks to be much more careful with any "improvements" they introduce.
Conversely, if ANZ retains most of its customers (through cardholder complacency) then I would not be surprised to see most or all of the other banks bring in some kind of restrictions on their FF/rewards programs by next year.
Meanwhile, the new 1.5 pts/$ with no limit AMEX Rewards Maximiser looks interesting from what I have heard of it so far...
The fees for my ANZ card are not due till March 2004. There is no proportionate refund of fees if I cancel now, so I will wait until March. I suspect many others will do the same so I don't think the ANZ will really know what impact this will have until all cardholders reach their anniversary. I did refuse their first year fee free offer of the Diners card, but I wonder how many will accept and then not renew when the time comes to pay fees.
The ANZ website has a "complaints" section, so I wrote them a short note telling them I thought it was wrong to increase fees to such an extent and then slash rewards without allowing some refund of fees for those who wish to cancel. Today I received a reply basically just defending this as resulting from new regulations introduced by the Reserve Bank.
Maybe the ANZ thinks those who would cancel as a knee jerk reaction will cool down by the anniversary date and just stay with the Diner's card. I hope everyone takes time to write or phone the ANZ so it is clear they are going to lose plenty of business.
I too have not yet cancelled my ANZ card for the same reason re the annual fee. But, my fee is due to be billed within the next 1-2 weeks so I'll be arranging that shortly.
It is probably true that some people will get complacent if their annual fee is not due for another several months. Also, unfortunately the other banks may have followed suit by then too and screwed up their reward programs similarly. Let's hope not.
BTW a bit more info on AMEX Rewards Maximiser which I received today. Hard to spot the annual fee on it, since it isn't listed as such, but $12 per month ($144 p.a.) seems to give you 1.5 points per dollar spent, no limits at all. Plus no points expiry, transfer to 6 different air programs as usual with AMEX, up to 55 days interest free. All in all sounds pretty good for those who spend a fair bit and do it at places that welcome AMEX.