The Big Review: Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card
Designed to appeal to big spenders who want to earn big rewards, the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card earns points on CommBank’s Awards program, up to a cap of 150,000 Awards points per year. Cardholders can enjoy access to one of the most popular rewards programs in Australia, or opt in to Qantas Frequent Flyer. Extras focus on insurance covers, with complimentary overseas travel insurance, extended warranty and purchase security insurance included.
- Earn 1 Awards point per $1
- Earn up to 150,000 Awards per year
- Opt in to Qantas Frequent Flyer to earn 0.4 Qantas Points per $1 (up to 120,000 Qantas Points per year)
- 100,000 Bonus Awards Points when you apply by 31 October 2019 and spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card by 31 January 2020
- Flexibility of CommBank’s Awards program, providing access to 12 frequent flyer program partners, and instant points redemption at Myer and Flight Centre
- Complimentary overseas travel insurance
- Complimentary extended warranty insurance, price guarantee and purchase security insurance
- Access to Priceless Cities offers and experiences
- Annual Fee: $249
- Additional Cardholder Fee: $10 per year
- Purchase Rate: 20.24% p.a. (variable)
- Cash Advance Interest Rate: 21.24% p.a. (variable)
- Minimum Credit Limit: $6,000
- Interest Free Period on Purchases: Up to 55 days
This Card: The Lowdown
Having scrapped its Gold Awards card, CommBank now offers three rewards options within its range of cards designed for personal use. With the entry-level Commonwealth Bank Awards Credit Card on one side and the Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards Credit Card on the other, the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card sits pretty in the middle.
Why choose the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card over CommBank’s two other rewards cards? Now that the American Express companion card is no longer offered on this range, the Awards Card and Platinum Card offer the same earn rate. What sets them apart is their annual points cap (50,000 vs. 150,000 Awards points), and the Platinum Card’s range of insurance covers.
Comparing the two cards, you will see there is also a huge difference in annual fees. So, if you want to make the most of the Platinum Card, you better be ready to spend on it. To balance out its much higher annual fee, you will need to spend on the card to earn as many points as possible – while also making good use of the insurance covers on offer.
The Diamond Card has a higher annual fee still, but caps annual points earn at 1 million, while offering a slightly higher earn rate. Is it worthwhile? The Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card would work well for big spenders who want the flexibility offered on CommBank’s Awards program. There is the option to opt in to Qantas, but the earn rate is not all that appealing.
With the basics covered, it’s time to dig a little deeper into what’s on offer with the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card, so you can decide whether this card is right for you.
This Card: As a Rewards Card
Unfortunately, there is no bonus points offer on the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card. Unlike many other platinum rewards cards, which provide enticing introductory offers to tempt new cardholders, this card currently has no offers of this kind. This is a bit of a shame, as bonus points could help to balance out that annual fee, if only for the first year.
The Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card has one earn rate, providing cardholders with 1 Awards point per $1 on eligible credit card spending. Purchases excluded from this earn rate include BPAY transactions, cash advances, balance transfers and payments to the Australian Taxation Office. Points are capped at 150,000 points per year. There is no expiry on points earned.
If you were to compare that to the other rewards cards offered by CommBank, you would see the CommBank Awards Credit Card has the same earn rate of 1 Awards point per $1, with an annual cap of 50,000 Awards points. Unlike the Platinum Card, which has an annual fee of $249, the entry-level Awards Card has an annual fee of $59.
Meanwhile, the CommBank Diamond Awards Credit Card allows cardholders to earn 1.25 Awards points per $1 spent, capped at 1 million points per year. The Diamond Card has an annual fee of $349, with the same range of features as the Platinum Card. So, it’s up to you to work out what kind of value you could get from these options, to work out which one is right for you.
It’s worth pointing out that cardholders have the opportunity to boost their points-earn when using their card at any of the Awards program’s bonus partners. Correct as of May 2019, this is how that bonus point earn stacks up.
Onsport - 10 bonus points per $1 spent
WineDirect.com - 10 bonus points per $1 spent
Magshop - 1 bonus point per $1 spent
Napoleon Perdis - 1 bonus point per $1 spent
Prouds the Jewellers - 1 bonus point per $1 spent
Kaligo.com - 15 bonus points per $1 spent
Crown Metropol - 1 bonus point per $1 spent
Crown Promenade Hotel - 1 bonus point per $1 spent
Crown Towers - 1 bonus point per $1 spent
RedBalloon - 1 bonus point per $1 spent
Village Cinemas Australia (online only) - 1 bonus point per $1 spent
CommBank made the decision to pull the American Express companion card on its rewards card range, leaving just the Mastercard in place. That means one lower earn rate across all card spending. Whether this card still offers value to you will depend on the type of spending you do most – and how much you spend throughout the year.
Opting In To Qantas
Cardholders can choose to opt in to Qantas Frequent Flyer by paying an additional $30 per year. Offering an ‘all or nothing’ option, opting in to Qantas means all points earned on the card are automatically converted to Qantas Points and transferred to the cardholder’s Qantas account at the end of each statement period.
Points are converted at a rate of 2.5 CommBank Award points to 1 Qantas Point. So, by opting in to Qantas, you will earn 0.4 Qantas Points per $1 spent. Similar to the Awards program, there is a maximum number of Qantas Points you can earn in a year on this card, with points capped at 120,000 per year.
To earn Qantas Points, you have to be a Qantas Frequent Flyer member. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll need to join, which may involve a joining fee of $99.50. If you opt in to Qantas more than three months after card application, your accrued Awards points can’t be converted to Qantas Points. Less than three months though, and it’s possible to make the conversion.
As a CommBank Platinum cardholder, you will be enrolled in CommBank’s Awards program – unless of course, you opt in to Qantas. According to CommBank, its Awards program is the largest credit card rewards program of any bank in Australia. So, what does it have to offer?
In terms of travel, you can convert your Awards points to the program’s range of partner airlines, or alternatively, use your points to pay for your next adventure when booking at Flight Centre. You could also redeem your Awards points instantly instore at Myer, or you could redeem your points for cash, crediting them to your card account to cover whatever you like.
Of course, the Awards program also has its own online store, much like the Qantas Store and Velocity Store. This allows you to redeem your Awards points for more than 1,000 items, including gift cards, sports gear, home appliances, tech and fashion. Check out the Awards Guide for current deals on the Awards site, and for bonus points offers available at partners such as Flight Centre.
Back in July 2018, the Awards program announced the addition of 10 further frequent flyer partners, up from just two. Unlike Qantas, which requires cardholders to opt in to earn Qantas Points, these frequent flyer partners allow for points transfer as and when the cardholder chooses. There is no additional annual fee when transferring points to programs outside Qantas.
- Virgin Australia Velocity: 2 Awards points = 1 Velocity Point
- Qantas Frequent Flyer: 2.5 Awards points = 1 Qantas Point
- Air Asia BIG: 2.5 Awards points = 1 BIG Point
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue: 3 Awards points = 1 mile
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands: 3 Awards points = 1 mile
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich: 3.5 Awards points = 1 mile
- Lufthansa Miles & More: 4 Awards points = 1 mile
- China Eastern Eastern Miles: 3 Awards points = 1 point
- Etihad Guest: 3.5 Awards points = 1 mile
- JAL Mileage Bank: 4 Awards points = 1 mile
- United MileagePlus: 4 Awards points = 1 mile
- IHG Rewards Club: 2.5 Awards points = 1 point
While the additional partners certainly offer diversity and choice, the value you gain from these additions will depend on how often you fly with these airlines. It’s worth checking out each airline’s partners to find further value.
- Qantas Points can be used for travel on Qantas, Emirates and oneworld partner airlines.
- Velocity Points can be used for travel on Virgin Australia and partners such as Singapore Airlines and Etihad.
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles can be used for travel on SkyTeam airlines such as China Airlines, Delta and Korean Air.
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands & United MileagePlus miles can be used for travel on Star Alliance airlines such as United, ANA and THAI.
It’s likely Velocity and Qantas will remain the most popular options, but with an earn rate of 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 or 0.4 Qantas Points per $1, better value may be found elsewhere.
When shopping at Myer, you can pay with Awards points in-store. This can cover purchases of any item – all you need to do is present your Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card at the register and ask to pay with your points. If you're a MYER one member, you’ll earn MYER one Shopping Credits for the total transaction
Alternatively, you could redeem your Awards points for gift cards. Gift card options include Myer, BP, Caltex, Kmart, Coles, Dymocks, Target, Adairs, Napoleon Perdis, Prouds the Jewellers, Red Balloon, Good Food and more. All gift cards have the same redemption value.
- $25 Gift Card: 5,700 Awards points
- $50 Gift Card: 11,300 Awards points
- $100 Gift Card: 21,000 Awards points
- $250 Gift Card: 52,500 Awards points
- $500 Gift Card: 105,000 Awards points
- $1,000 Gift Card: 210,000 Awards points
To give you an idea of what your Awards points could buy you at the Awards Store, here is what you would have to hand over for the following:
- Weber baby Q (RRP $319): 84,700 Awards points
- ghd Original Styler (RRP $190): 52,500 Awards points
- Dyson V7 Handstick (RRP $599): 148,700 Awards points
[Points correct as of September 2018 Awards Guide]
This Card: Extras on Offer
To make the most of any credit card – especially one with a higher annual fee – it’s a good idea to check out the extras on offer. When it comes to platinum perks, the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card focuses on included insurances.
Overseas Travel Insurance
As a cardholder, you will benefit from base overseas travel insurance as standard. This includes personal liability cover, and unlimited overseas emergency medical assistance and hospital expenses only. However, if you ‘activate’ your cover, you will have access to a much wider range of insurance types.
Travel insurance included on your credit card provides cover for you, your spouse and your accompanied children for return trips from Australia, up to six months for each journey. Activated insurance offers additional cover that includes baggage and personal goods up to $15,000 for the individual cardholder (up to $30,000 for a family), and rental vehicle excess of $2,250.
Retail Insurance Cover
Alongside its travel cover, the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card also provides cover on retail purchases made on the card. This includes price guarantee, purchase security insurance and extended warranty.
Control & Tracking
One of the nice things about the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card is the added control offered to cardholders. You can instantly lock, block or limit your credit card, you can add a Spending Cap to help control your spending, and you can work on your budgeting skills using the card’s Spending Tracker & Insights.
This Card: The Essentials
Working out whether this card is right for you will involve thinking about how you will use it – and how much value it can offer your style of card spending. It’s worth bearing in mind that there is no introductory bonus points offer on this card, which may have helped to balance out its annual fee, in the first year at least.
There is no reduced annual fee on the first year, as can often be found on cards with higher annual fees. There is also not a great range of features on offer. This means, for the card to provide value to you, it needs to offer more back on its rewards program, and on the features it does offer.
If you’re a frequent traveller, the card’s overseas travel insurance could save you serious money on standalone insurance. And, if you tend to spend big on your credit card, the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card could provide a way to earn big points on your everyday spending, with access to a flexible rewards program.
Earning rewards on CommBank’s flexible Awards program, the Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card provides access to a variety of frequent flyer programs, including Qantas and Velocity. The card keeps it pretty simple on extras, focussing on insurance covering overseas travel and retail purchases.