Westpac Altitude Rewards is cutting airline redemption rates, here’s what to do
The changes affect Velocity, Krisflyer, Asia Miles and Enrich.
Westpac has confirmed that it will soon be increasing the number of Altitude Points needed if you choose to convert those reward points into frequent flyer points. The change impacts Virgin Australia's Velocity, Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles and Malaysia Airlines' Enrich.
Here's what's changing if you make a redemption via a one-off transfer after 9 November 2018:
|Scheme||Current rate||New rate (from 9 Nov 2018)|
|Velocity||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|
The key redemption option that isn't changing is auto-conversion of your Altitude Points into Velocity Points each month. If you've opted for that, the current redemption rate (2 Altitude Points for 1 Velocity Point) will continue. That's a more generous deal than the 3 Altitude Points for 1 Velocity Point that applies to casual redemptions.
In line with that switch, Westpac is also increasing the minimum number of Altitude Points you can convert to Velocity Points from 2 to 6. In practice, that's such a low barrier it won't make any real difference.
If you're using Altitude Rewards for Air New Zealand Airpoints, there's also no change. You'll continue to get 1 Airpoint for 180 Altitude Points.
So what should I do?
If you've been banking Altitude Points and planning to convert them into points on any of the affected airlines, it makes sense to do that before the new rate kicks in.
The one exception is Velocity. If you're saving points to use with a Velocity reward, then switching to auto-redemption means you'll continue to enjoy the lower rate of 2 Altitude Points for 1 Velocity Point. However, if you do that you won't have the option of choosing between airlines. Whether that's an issue depends on your status with those airlines.
THE POINTS FINDER TAKEThe flexibility of Altitude Rewards makes it an appealing choice if you want to be able to redeem points with multiple airlines. That remains true even after the rates have changed. However, if you're concentrating your points with a single airline scheme, you might do better with a card dedicated to that scheme.