Westpac says goodbye Visa and customers upgraded to Mastercard | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Westpac says goodbye Visa and customers upgraded to Mastercard

albatross710

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Received an email from Westpac:

We’re writing to let you know that your card (ending in xxxx) is being upgraded from a Westpac Altitude Visa card to a Westpac Altitude Platinum Mastercard. This change will incur no extra cost to you. It’s part of a transition from Visa to Mastercard that is happening for Westpac credit card customers.

Part of my plan this year has been to simplify my arrangements so I was happily keeping a Altitude Visa with $5k limit for monthly spending on various household expenditure, probably a monthly spend of $3k on credit and the rest moved to either cash or debit card. Such a sweet life.

Now Westpac is forcing me to go and change all of my arrangements that I've had in place. Sure there is no financial cost, but it just takes time to be exhaustive to get back to where I am anyway.

In this case Westpac are just being arrogant expecting customers to do the work without sharing any love. (Their email did say The purchase interest rate will reduce to 20.49% p.a., so I guess Westpac call that love.)

Maybe I'm being harsh, but they were happy to clock me for the annual fee last month...for a card that they wont honour.

I had setup a fee free ME card with a $20k limit for our recent travels. Sadly for Westpac their email will be the trigger to abandon the Westpac ship and move to ME Bank & ING.

Alby
 

chelzmalee

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Feel like I missed this email. Annoying, but I'm stuck as my home loan is with them so may as well get something from my package fee...
 

albatross710

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Feel like I missed this email. Annoying, but I'm stuck as my home loan is with them so may as well get something from my package fee...
The email will come at a time when it suits Westpac to tell you. Do you have a Visa card? I was using an Altitude Visa card.

Actually I cancelled my package fee last year. When I compared the home loan rate reduction they offered me relative to what I could get elsewhere I achieved a greater saving by going to the open market. This then prompted me to look at the value of all products I had with Westpac and I've been closing WPC accounts ever since.

Inside Westpac I'm sure my account has been flagged as "no need to retain". I've not had any concession since moving the loans.

Alby
 

33kft

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Classic marketing there with the "upgraded" spin. Might benefit some people but at the end of the day, for 99% of people, it's just a different logo on the card. The only place I recently recall there being a point to holding a Mastercard was in Singapore where the taxis have an exclusive deal to accept Mastercard only, but then again using a card in SG for taxis is usually not worth the eye rolling or pantomime pretending the terminal is out of order that you'd get from the driver
 

oz_mark

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Classic marketing there with the "upgraded" spin. Might benefit some people but at the end of the day, for 99% of people, it's just a different logo on the card. The only place I recently recall there being a point to holding a Mastercard was in Singapore where the taxis have an exclusive deal to accept Mastercard only, but then again using a card in SG for taxis is usually not worth the eye rolling or pantomime pretending the terminal is out of order that you'd get from the driver
I guess you missed a bit:
Westpac Altitude Visa card to a Westpac Altitude Platinum Mastercard.

Must be taking them a while, my card was changed to a Mastercard a couple months back
 

33kft

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I guess you missed a bit:
That's certainly not necessarily an upgrade, the Platinum MC has a higher annual fee and there's an Altitude MC replacement available. So are they moving Platinum Visa to Platinum MC and then Altitude Visa to Altitude Platinum MC? And not charging the previous Altitude cardholders the higher fee, but charging existing Platinum cardholders the higher fee? Their less premium product gets an upgrade whilst the premium doesn't? Why wouldn't they just move cardholders to the parallel Mastercard product? Which would still not be an upgrade.
 

oz_mark

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That's certainly not necessarily an upgrade, the Platinum MC has a higher annual fee and there's an Altitude MC replacement available. So are they moving Platinum Visa to Platinum MC and then Altitude Visa to Altitude Platinum MC? And not charging the previous Altitude cardholders the higher fee, but charging existing Platinum cardholders the higher fee? Their less premium product gets an upgrade whilst the premium doesn't? Why wouldn't they just move cardholders to the parallel Mastercard product? Which would still not be an upgrade.
Ask the marketing team at Westpac. Whatever you are trying to argue, the fact remains that changing someone from the entry-level card to a platinum card is an upgrade. It may not make much difference, but it is still an upgrade.
 

33kft

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Ask the marketing team at Westpac.
I think you've got me wrong here.

My initial point was that it was not an upgrade, just a change of payment network. You rightly pointed out that the message was about an upgrade from the standard Altitude Visa to the Altitude Platinum MC, and I had not noticed that was the case.

After pointing that out, I am legitimately asking what the strategy is here. You might not know the answer, so be it, but the questions I'm asking are entirely legitimate. I am not arguing with you, I am wondering what the deal is here - are they only upgrading the lower product cardholders and will they charge them a lower price (as they claim there will not be an increase in cost to cardholders) and leave the platinum cardholders paying the full fee? I will ask WBC.

Whatever you are trying to argue, the fact remains that changing someone from the entry-level card to a platinum card is an upgrade. It may not make much difference, but it is still an upgrade.
Only if it is at the lower annual fee rate. Otherwise, it's an upsell to a more expensive product. If an airline bills you for a J seat when you booked Y, it's an upgraded product but you're paying for it, it's not "an upgrade" in any way that the average person would interpret it.
 
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JinbaIttai

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are they only upgrading the lower product cardholders and will they charge them a lower price (as they claim there will not be an increase in cost to cardholders) and leave the platinum cardholders paying the full fee?
That's how I read it, and it's not unusual for banks to do that.
CBA did the same for me many years ago, which means I get their premium (Diamond) card for the annual fee I was paying for a Gold card. ($119 instead of $349)

Maybe I'm being harsh, but they were happy to clock me for the annual fee last month...for a card that they wont honour.
They should have no problem refunding the annual fee if you decide to move away - because the product is no longer what you paid for.

I had just paid my annual fee when Westpac announced they were removing the Amex card from my KrisFlyer Visa/Amex combo, and I was offered either a full refund if I closed the account immediately or a 25% refund in 6 months time when the changes were to be implemented (their view being they were removing half the cards after half a year)
 

albatross710

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When I wrote my earlier post I deleted a piece by piece rant on the actual value to me of the "platinum" product.

Concierge service - I can actually do my own google searches. This is what I have found it was reduced to over the past few years. If it's not in google they couldn't help.

Complimentary Travel Insurance. Has a high required card spend to trigger the insurance plus a $250 excess. Was even higher when THEY decided to change to QBE. So that's not a product that I'm in charge of. I'm happy with my annual Columbus policy & $100 excess & superior benefits and redemption tix coverage

The reduction of the purchases card rate was laughable.

Uncapped points. Has so many exclusions that I wont be threatening the cap any time soon. But most bitterness came from when they devalued SQ redemptions by 33%.

The problem for banks is it just money.

As I have personally seen with the Krisflyer card, the Earth card and the Altitude Black that they consistently devalue the benefits. So don't expect that these benefits will be available for very long anyway.

</end of rant>
 
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