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FAQs: Changes to Awards points earned on CommBank American Express cards

We’re making changes to the number of CommBank Awards points that can be earned on CommBank Awards American Express cards, so we’re communicating to you to inform you of these changes.

Q2. What is changing?

Awards points earned per $1 spent when using your American Express card

From the start date of your July statement period, you'll earn points at the higher rate per $1 spent when you use your American Express card for eligible transactions overseas (in store and online) and at supermarkets, petrol stations, and department stores in Australia*, as follows:

  • Awards: 1.5 points per $1 spent
  • Gold Awards: 2 points per $1 spent
  • Platinum Awards: 2.5 points per $1 spent
  • Diamond Awards: 3 points per $1 spent
  • Business Awards: 1.5 points per $1 spent
  • Business Gold Awards: 2 points per $1 spent
  • Business Platinum Awards: 3 points per $1 spent

The number of points you’ll earn using your American Express card everywhere else in Australia will change to 0.5 points per $1 spent.

There is no change to the number of points earned per dollar spent when you use your Awards Mastercard or Visa card or to the number of bonus points that can be earned.

Annual points cap

If you’re an Awards customer who has opted in to Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct, or if you’re a Gold or Platinum Awards customer, the maximum number of Awards points you can earn per year using your American Express card is also changing (starting from calendar year 2017) as shown below:

  • Awards (opted in to Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct): Changing from 50,000 to 30,000 points per year
  • Gold Awards: Changing from 125,000 to 75,000 points per year
  • Gold Awards (opted in to Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct): Changing from 100,000 to 60,000 points per year
  • Platinum Awards: Changing from 250,000 to 150,000 points per year
  • Platinum Awards (opted in to Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct): Changing from 200,000 to 120,000 points per year

The change to the maximum number of points you can earn per year will not affect Awards points you’ve already earned or those you earn up to your June 2017 statement. However, from your July statement, once you reach your new annual points cap you will stop earning Awards points.

For more information refer to the CommBank Awards Program Terms and Conditions.

International transaction fee will be waived for Platinum and Diamond Awards Cards

From 1 July 2017, Platinum (including Business Platinum) and Diamond Awards customers will pay no international transaction fees on overseas purchases made using their American Express card – in store and online (a cash advance fee may apply).

Q3. Why is CommBank making these changes?

These changes are our response to new regulations that apply to credit card issuers and will affect the number of CommBank Awards points you can earn on CommBank American Express cards.

Q4. Where can I earn the highest points earn rate on my American Express card in Australia?

You’ll earn points at the higher rate per $1 spent at supermarkets, department stores or petrol stations in Australia*. For example, you will earn points at the higher rate when you shop at Coles or Woolworths or other supermarkets, fill up your car at your local petrol station, or make purchases from Myer and David Jones.  See more examples at commbank.com.au/awardschanges or commbank.com.au/businessawardschanges.

To check if the business you’re shopping at is classified as a supermarket, petrol station or department store for the purpose of American Express transactions, simply log on to NetBank, then go to the account details screen of your credit card, and click on the transaction to view more detail. When the transaction listing is expanded you’ll be able to see if the business is listed as a supermarket, petrol station or department store.

CommBank Awards relies on the way a business is classified for American Express transactions to pay Awards points at the higher rate. These classifications are not controlled or set by CommBank Awards and we are not responsible if a business is classified incorrectly or changes its classification.

Q5. Where won’t I earn the highest points earn rate when using my American Express card?

If a business isn’t classified as a 'supermarket', 'department store' or 'service (petrol) station' in Australia for the purposes of American Express transactions, you won’t earn points at the highest points earn rate when making a purchase with them using your American Express card.

For example, the following businesses are not classified as a 'supermarket', 'department store' or 'service (petrol) station':

  • JB Hi-Fi is classified  under ‘Electronic stores’ or ‘Music stores’
  • Liquorland is classified  under ‘Bottleshops’
  • Bunnings is classified  under ‘Hardware ’
  • Rebel Sport is classified  under ‘Sporting good stores’
  • Witchery is classified  under ‘Women’s ready-to-wear’
  • Freedom Furniture is classified under ‘Home furnishings, furniture & appliances’
  • Bing Lee and The Good Guys are classified  under ‘Electronic stores’

You won’t earn points at the highest points earn rate when making a purchase with your American Express card at these businesses. However, you will still earn 0.5 points per $1 spent using your American Express card. Exceptions may apply if an individual merchant does not accept American Express as a form of payment.

Any transaction made with a business or organisation paid using an intermediary payment platform, for example, PayPal, is also excluded from earning points at the higher rate per $1 spent. However, you will still earn 0.5 points per $1 spent using your American Express card.

Q6. Where can I earn the highest points earn rate on my American Express card overseas?

You’ll also earn points at the higher rate per $1 spent when you make an overseas purchase using your American Express card (in store or online) including transactions in Australian dollars but with an overseas connection.

When you’re making an overseas purchase in Australian dollars, the business you’re buying from should also give you the option to pay in the foreign currency. If you are given this choice it will generally indicate that merchant is processing your transaction overseas.

Q7. What are the international transaction fees on my CommBank American Express card?

For Platinum (including Business Platinum) and Diamond Awards, no international transaction fee will be charged from 1 July 2017 for purchases made using your American Express card. A cash advance fee may apply.

For Awards and Gold Awards (including Business Awards and Business Gold Awards), the international transaction fee charged for transactions converted by American Express will change to 3.50% (previously 2.00% plus a 1.50% currency conversion factor charged by American Express included in the converted transaction amount). A cash advance fee may also apply.

Q8. What are the international transaction fees on my CommBank Mastercard or Visa card?

There is no change to the international transaction fee charged on purchases made using your Mastercard or Visa card. The international transaction fee is 3.00% for any overseas purchase, including transactions made in Australian dollars but with an overseas connection. A cash advance fee may also apply.

Q9. What is not changing?

There will be no change to other features, benefits, interest rates or fees on your Awards credit card except the changes listed above. There is no change to the number of points earned per dollar spent when you use your Awards Mastercard or Visa card or to the number of bonus points that can be earned.

And if you’ve opted in to Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct, the CommBank Awards points you earn each month will continue to be converted to Qantas Points at a conversion rate of 2.5 Awards points to 1 Qantas Point.

Q10. Will I be surcharged using my CommBank American Express card?

Major supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths, department stores such as Kmart, Myer, David Jones and major petrol stations such as Coles Express or Woolworths Petrol do not apply a surcharge for American Express cards.

Other merchants such as restaurants and boutiques may apply a surcharge but in Australia by law they must have clear signage to indicate the amount of the percentage of the transaction they surcharge.

If you do choose to use the American Express card at a surcharging merchant, you will earn points on the total amount including the surcharge fee.

Q11. Where can I find terms and conditions in relation to these changes?

For full terms and conditions, please refer to the CommBank Awards Program Terms and Conditions.

Q12. Who can I contact if I have questions about these changes?

If you have any questions or would like more information, contact CommBank Awards on 13 1661.

* To earn points at the higher rate, the business must be a Higher Points Merchant, which means a business or organisation in Australia classified as a 'supermarket', 'department store' or 'service (petrol) station' for the purposes of American Express transactions, excluding any business or organisation paid using an intermediary payment platform, for example, PayPal. CommBank Awards relies on the way a business is classified for American Express transactions to pay Awards points at the higher rate. These classifications are not controlled or set by CommBank Awards and we are not responsible if a business is classified incorrectly or changes its classification. Exceptions may apply if an individual merchant does not accept American Express as a form of payment.