CommBank drops AMEX companion cards - here’s what you need to know
Article by Ceyda Erem
AMEX lovers have suffered another blow today after CommBank became the final big bank to axe its AMEX companion credit cards.
The decision to axe American Express companion cards came in response to regulatory changes by the RBA which capped interchange fees for AMEX cards at the same rate as Visa and Mastercard. The changes meant many banks felt they could no longer offer the high points earn rates that usually come with American Express cards.
“The RBA’s regulatory changes introduced in July last year created widespread disruption of the payments landscape with banks choosing to either devalue their rewards programs or remove the American Express companion cards,” said Jennifer Berthold, American Express Vice President.
AMEX companion cards have been on the way out since March last year when major bank ANZ cut AMEX companion cards from its Rewards and Frequent Flyer credit card ranges.
The trend was then followed by NAB and Westpac and now from September 1, CommBank will no longer be offering their AMEX companion credit cards.
Important dates for CommBank cardholders to know
If you’re a CommBank customer wondering what’s next for your plastic, there are a few important dates to put in your calendar.
Aussie customers looking to apply for the bank’s rewards credit cards who are approved before August 31 will still receive an AMEX companion card along with their Mastercard, but will then have to say goodbye to their AMEX card come November 1. Customers applying for a CommBank rewards card after September 1 will receive a Mastercard only.
Any transactions made on business and personal Standard, Gold, Platinum and Diamond AMEX cards from November 1 will be declined, as from this date all existing CommBank AMEX cards will be closed. But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to earn rewards points on their CommBank Awards Mastercard or Visa card.
“While we have a very successful relationship with Commonwealth Bank, American Express companion cards will close on 1 November 2018. Until that time customers can continue to use their American Express card issued by Commonwealth Bank and enjoy the many benefits and experiences that come with the card,” said Berthold.
What the change means for rewards lovers
CommBank customers will still be recognised as a CommBank Awards member even after the AMEX card is closed and can continue to earn points using their regular Visa or Mastercard, with the points balance remaining unchanged with no expiry date.
Gold, Platinum or Diamond cardholders will also still be able to use their complimentary travel insurance, as long as the cover is activated in the CommBank app before travel.
However, AMEX lovers will have to say goodbye to perks, like AMEX Connect and Emergency Travel Assistance and Complimentary Lounge Passes on Diamond AMEX cards.
What you need to do
For CommBank customers affected by the change, there are a few steps that need to be taken.
Aussie cardholders will need to update their payment details before November 1 for regular payments, like electricity and insurance bills as well as any saved card details for other services, such as PayPal or iTunes.
The card should then be destroyed to protect your personal bank details and any additional cardholders should to do the same.
But this is not the end for AMEX card and rewards. For the Aussies still craving the luxury of carrying an AMEX credit card, Berthold has encouraged customers to head directly to the source itself.
“We’re seeing considerable growth in our proprietary cards business in Australia, as more and more consumers have chosen to come to us directly for an American Express card.
“There’s never been a better time for American Express - we’re investing in our products, our merchant network and the benefits, service and security that our brand is known for. In the last 12 months almost 100,000 new places in Australia started to accept American Express, and we expect that growth to continue as more businesses are seeing the value in accepting our card."
But if you’d like more variety when it comes to finding your next plastic match, then head over to our credit card comparison tool, which currently compares 214 credit cards from 58 banks.