Four months notice given to credit card customers of changes in Awards program

21 June 2004

The Bank wishes to correct a false impression contained in media reports that changes to the credit card Awards program scheduled for 1 July have been made without sufficient notice to customers.

In fact, the changes were announced in March and credit card customers were provided by mail with four months advance notice.

In addition, customers most impacted by the impending changes were provided with alternative solutions in a separate mailing. In May, all credit card customers were reminded of the changes with messages in their May credit card statements.

The changes include alterations to the Qantas Frequent Flyer transfer rate, the introduction of points capping for Commonwealth Awards members and the launch of one of the most affordable Platinum credit cards in Australia.

The Award program now aligns membership in Commonwealth Awards to the credit card type.

Specifically, Commonwealth Awards members seeking to transfer to the Qantas frequent flyer program will need two Commonwealth Awards points for each QFF point; Gold members will need to transfer 1.5 points to receive one QFF point; and Platinum card holders will maintain a transfer rate of one Awards point for one QFF point. All other redemption alternatives are not impacted by the change.

The changed QFF transfer rate will affect only a small proportion of the card holder base: only 13% of current card holders have ever transferred their points to the QFF program.

The Awards program also provides several travel alternatives with Flight Centre, Travel Associates, Student Travel and Escape Holidays offering card holders a wider choice of holiday and travel redemption offerings. Customers who make a purchase through these travel partners will receive two Commonwealth Award points for every $1 spent.

These changes are in direct response to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s recently introduced credit card reforms and still meet with customer demand for a flexible credit card package and substantial awards scheme.