Premium credit card comes at a cost

Last updated 13:40 08/04/2014

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Westpac has launched a "super premium" credit card aimed at well-heeled jetsetters, but the luxury comes at a price.

The World MasterCard is marketed as a step above existing platinum cards, and the first of its kind in New Zealand.

It promises a range of benefits, including access to airport lounges on any ticket, and hotel and car upgrades. It also generates three of Westpac's reward points for every dollar spent, compared to two "hotpoints" with its platinum card and one with its regular card.

Those wanting the card will have to pay $390 a year to join the elite club, although that's refunded if spending tops $50,000 or more over six months.

Customers also have to be able to service the $18,000 credit limit, and standard credit card conditions apply.

Other card features include a concierge service, free travel insurance, extended warranty insurance on goods purchased and purchase protection insurance for up to 90 days.

Westpac chief product officer Shane Howell said there was demand from the bank's customers, with existing cards not meeting the needs and expectations of high net-worth Kiwi travellers.

"Offerings are too generic and outdated and they're after more than just a credit card," he said.

In particular, customers were seeking more card features and faster, safer and easier ways to make payments.

He said he couldn't talk about specifics, but there was a long list of new payment features planned for release later this year.

"This is the first step along a long pathway for us," he said.

Meanwhile, ASB has replaced the last of its MasterCard products with a new low-rate Visa credit card.

New customers who sign up before the end of May will get zero account fees, no interest on purchases for five months, and a 13.5 per cent interest rate thereafter.

ASB said it would continue to service any of its customers' existing MasterCards and would not force them to switch to Visa.

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- Fairfax Media

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