Changing Rewards Programs: We Take a Look at the Best Reward Credit Cards

Make the most of your credit cards by leveraging the rewards they provide.

Many banks have changed their credit card loyalty and rewards schemes in response to New Zealand’s move to regulate interchange fees. We look at the impact of these changes on popular rewards programs and why American Express, unaffected by these regulations, may now be the card of choice for those looking for generous rewards programs.

Why are credit card rewards programs changing?

New limits on interchange

Interchange is a fee that banks pay each other for processing card transactions. Under the Retail Payment System Act, the following limits to interchange fees came into force on 13 November 2022: 0.8% for credit card transactions and 0.6% for online debit card transactions.

How does this change impact some credit card reward programs?

This interchange fee cap directly impacts credit card reward schemes because these fees provide a considerable source of revenue for banks to fund their reward programs. With less money coming in, banks might have to modify or cut back on their reward schemes, resulting in reduced reward rates, higher spending requirements, or changes to other card benefits.

Changes to Airpoints rewards programs

Three out of the four banks offering Airpoints have raised their limits in response to the new limits on interchange. However, there’s one standout in this area—American Express Platinum Airpoints remains the fastest earning airpoints card around.

American Express

Airpoints Platinum Card Fastest way to earn Airpoints

This card offers quick Airpoints Dollar accumulation – for every $59 spent, you earn 1 Airpoints Dollar. It’s the fastest-earning Platinum Card for Airpoints Dollars in NZ. Additionally, it provides complimentary domestic and international travel insurance when your return trip is paid for with this card.


Air New Zealand Airpoints ™ Platinum Visa

The credit card offers one Airpoints Dollar for every $115 spent on eligible purchases, an increase from the previous $85 required spend for one Airpoints Dollar. As the primary cardholder with a current card, your Airpoints Dollars won’t expire. Additionally, it provides a leading earn rate of one Status Point for every $200 spent on eligible purchases.


Westpac Airpoints™ Platinum Mastercard®

With the Westpac Airpoints™ Platinum Mastercard®, for each $110 spent up to and including $7,000, you earn 1 Airpoints Dollar. Once your spending exceeds $7,000, the rate becomes 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $220 spent.

Prior to the regulation change, spending $85 earnt you 1 Airpoints Dollar up to a cap of $60,000.

ANZ New Zealand

ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum

The ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum card offers 1 Airpoints Dollar™ for every $110 spent on eligible purchases, with no cap on the total Airpoints Dollars you can accumulate. This has increased from the $85 previously required for 1 Airpoints Dollar. Importantly, your Airpoints Dollars will not expire as long as you maintain your ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum account and are the designated earner.

Additionally, the card provides a frequent flyer benefit, enabling cardholders to earn an extra 50% bonus Status Points on qualifying flights with Air New Zealand.

American Express: No change to rewards perks despite new regulations

American Express reward programs aren’t regulated by the same rules, which allows them to maintain their attractive offerings across their suite of cards. As a result, American Express rewards programs stand out for their generous earning rates, flexible redemption options, and enticing benefits. Explore American Express credit cards.

The Airpoints Platinum Card®

If you’re a frequent spender looking for a credit card with excellent rewards, the Airpoints Platinum Card is a great option to consider. You’ll enjoy unmatched benefits and rewards, making it the go-to card for frequent travellers. Here’s a snapshot of what makes it exceptional:

  • Fast Airpoints Dollar Accumulation: Earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $59 spent – the fastest-earning Platinum Card in NZ.
  • Get complimentary travel insurance for your return trip, whether domestic or international.
  • Access prestigious airport lounges worldwide, including American Express Centurion Lounges.
  • Enjoy exclusive perks at luxurious hotels and resorts, like room upgrades and late checkout.
  • Indulge in exquisite dining with special offers at top-notch restaurants.
  • Rely on 24/7 support from a dedicated Platinum Travel Service team.
  • Membership Rewards: Earn points for every dollar spent, redeemable for various rewards.
  • Benefit from round-the-clock customer support and fraud protection.

Although some changes have been made to credit card reward programs, banks still offer attractive rewards. By comparing different credit cards, you can find the best fit for your spending habits and maximise your rewards’ value.

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