The Platinum Awards Credit Card offers customers the flexibility of two cards: Amex AMEX and MasterCard. We suggest you stick with the American Express option whenever you shop overseas and via international e-tailers (to skip the foreign exchange fees), at supermarkets, department stores and petrol stations however, as you'll receive a generous 2.5 Awards points for get double the points for every dollar you spend. However, if you use your American Express card at any other merchant, the earn rate per $1 spent drops down to the 0.5 point mark. Something else to keep in mind, is the fact that some merchants do charge higher service fees for processing AMEX card payments, so weigh this up and if it's not in your interest, use the MasterCard that comes with the account which offers a flat earn rate of 1 Award point per dollar spent. While points don’t expire, there is a yearly cap to consider of 150,000 Awards points, or 120,000 if you’ve opted to directly earn points into the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program.
You can choose to redeem your Award points through a range of airline programs or redeem points at Flight Centre, in-store at Myer, for gift cards, cash back or many other items from the Awards website, which according to Roy Morgan is the most extensive rewards program of any bank in Australia.
The Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards credit card has a standard purchase rate of 20.24% so watch overspending as it’s not a card you want to have an ongoing balance on for a long time. If you have pre-existing debt on another card, the CommBank Platinum Awards Credit Card offers a balance transfer rate of 5.99% for five months. But if you haven't paid off the debt by the end of that period, your balance will roll over to the much less reasonable cash advance revert rate of 21.24%.
There is a sizable annual fee of $249, but don't forget the card comes with a 24/7 concierge service, complimentary international travel insurance (just be sure to activate it prior to leaving Australia), and, if you're a globetrotter MasterCards' exclusive Priceless Cities program which gives you access to a range of restaurants and entertainment options, as well as the American Express Entre Program and AmexConnect which you can register for. Suddenly, the annual fee isn't looking too bad at all!
And don't forget the other complimentary insurances that could come in handy like purchase security protection, which if an item is lost, damaged or stolen within 90 days will get repaired or replaced by CommBank, and extended warranty insurance where you will get an extra 12 months warranty in addition to the standard Australian manufacturers warranty for the goods.
The Platinum Awards card comes with extra security via the lock, block and limit feature which enables you to change features of the card to suit your spending patterns. For instance you can block overseas transactions if you are not travelling, you can also give yourself a per transaction spending limit and block any ATM cash withdrawals. The feature is part of NetBank or the CommBank app, so if you change your mind you can easily unlock or clear it whenever you need.
NOTE: From 1 September 2018 CommBank will no longer be offering American Express companion cards and from 1 November 2018, AMEX companion cards will be closed.