A series of sulfated alumina catalysts were synthesised by wet impregnation with sulfate-containing solutions. The degree of surface sulfation and corresponding surface acidity could be readily tuned by varying the molarity of impregnating solution. Strong acid treatments (>0.1 M) induced aluminium-sulfate crystallisation with a concomitant decrease in porosity and surface acidity. Platinum-doped sulfated aluminas showed enhanced activity towards methane, ethane and propane combustion. Activity scaled with the degree of accessible surface sulfate and platinum loading, however C-H bond scission appeared rate-limiting over both pure and presulfated aluminas. The magnitude of sulfate-promoted propane oxidation was greatest under heavily oxidising conditions (C3H6∶O2 > 1:20) but independent of Pt loading, confirming that support-mediated alkane activation is the dominant factor in the promotional mechanism.