How to maximise points earnings using CBA Diamond and Platinum Edge?

Hi everyone,

I am a bit new to this so please bear with me.

I have a Diamond CBA card (AMEX and Master) as part of CBA home mortgage and my other half has a AMEX Platinum Edge card.

We are planning to maximise our point earning for flight upgrades. Is it wise to focus all spending on the Platinum Edge card regardless of multiplier (e.g. supermarket 3x, petrol station 2x or other places 1x) or to use the Diamond AMEX in purchases, which would other wise be 1x on Platinum Edge. Seeing as Diamond AMEX has an earning multiplier of 3x on CBA reward. I do understand that CBA rewards can only be transferred to Virgin Velocity and Air New Zealand programs.

I would appreciate your advice or comments on this.



Hi - welcome to the Point Hacks community!

Good question.

So, according to this, your CBA Diamond card transfers out to the Velocity Frequent Flyer program at 2 CBA Awards points = 1 VFF point. It earns at 3 CBA Awards points per $1.

Therefore, your effective earn rate on the CBA Diamond card is 3/2 = 1.5 VFF points per dollar.

Because Amex MR transfers to velocity at 1:1, for non-supermarket and non-petrol spend (so everything 1:1 and government/ATO/utilities bills at 0.5:1) the CBA Diamond card is better on paper.

However… as with everything here, there’s a bit more to it.

As far as I can tell, CBA Awards only transfers out to Velocity. So you’re effectively locked into using Velocity points. Amex MR has many more partners and transfers to the majority at 1:1 (including Velocity of course). This extra flexibility can be a lifesaver: there are lots of sweet spots using points in Asia Miles or Etihad Guest Miles for instance.

Therefore, the answer is “it depends”. Do you want just Velocity points? Or would you like to diversify a bit with a more flexible points currency up your sleeve?

Also, upgrades aren’t a bad use of points, but it’s better value to try and redeem flights in premium cabins outright with them (at least that’s the general consensus on PH now).

Hope that helps!

EDIT: Just found one of Keith’s guides that values various points currencies, which lets us put some dollar values on the above. He values Velocity points 1.5cpp, Amex MR at 2.0cpp, and CBA Diamond points at 0.75cpp. Therefore, when spending $1 on Amex at 1:1, you “earn” 2c. When spending on CBA card, you “earn” 2.25c. So again, CBA wins on paper, but you can see from Keith’s valuation, that the flexibility adds a lot of extra value per point.