AMEX launches new American Express Explorer credit card

By Chris Chamberlin , September 2 2016
AMEX launches new American Express Explorer credit card
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Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

EXCLUSIVE | The new American Express Explorer credit card takes on the Black-tier cards of the Big Four Banks in offering up to 1.5 airline frequent flyer points per dollar spent across your choice of eight airlines including Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines.

There’s a $395 annual fee to pay but which is instantly offset by a $400 travel credit every year to spend on things like flights and hotels.

Also thrown in: travel insurance, refund and purchase protection, smartphone screen insurance when you buy your phone using the card or use it to pay your monthly contract, and two yearly visits to the American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport.

Flash your card for a pre-flight visit to the AMEX Lounge at Sydney Airport...
Flash your card for a pre-flight visit to the AMEX Lounge at Sydney Airport...

Topping that, 50,000 Membership Rewards Gateway points for new AMEX cardholders who apply, are approved and spend at least $1,500 on the card within the first three months.

AMEX Explorer card: earning frequent flyer points

Note that Membership Rewards ‘Gateway’ differs from the ‘Ascent’ and ‘Ascent Premium’ programs found on cards like the AMEX Platinum Edge and the Platinum Card, in that the credit card points you earn are converted into airline frequent flyer points at a 4:3 rate, rather than 1:1.

For instance, that 50,000 MR Gateway bonus is equal to 37,500 frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, or $375 in Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars.

Similarly, you’ll earn two MR Gateway points per dollar spent on most purchases – equivalent to 1.5 airline frequent flyer points – although on government charges (including at Australia Post and the ATO), earn drops to 0.5 MR Gateway points per $1, equal to 0.375 frequent flyer points.

Points transfers to Qantas Frequent Flyer aren't possible on this card, nor are transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, as offered on some other AMEX products.

To qualify, you’ll need to earn at least $65,000 a year before tax, achieve a minimum credit limit of $3,000 and agree to have your statements delivered electronically rather than via mail. Applications can be made via the American Express website.

Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 348

If I already have the Velocity Amex, can i apply for this still and get the sign on bonus points?

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 243

Someone can correct me, but I believe Amex Aus allows you to own a maximum of 2 Credit Cards and 2 Charge cards at any one time (or is that a year?) - so you should be fine.  

No to the bonus points: as with all of AMEX deals it's for new AMEX customers only. Having an ANZ, CBA, NAB or Westpac AMEX card wouldn't disqualify you, but if you're already an American Express Australia cardholder you can't get the 'new customer' bonus.

("This introductory offer is available to new American Express Card Members only")

You could still apply for the card and get all of the other benefits, however.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 348

Thanks Chris.

06 Sep 2015

Total posts 26

the conditions say "Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Consumer Credit Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer"

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 243

Is that strictly true? I got a Platinum Charge, then less than 2 weeks later got the Platinum Edge, got points for both. Bonus and everything.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 246

This seems like a wierd product. It's pegging a lot on the 'travel credit' selling point AMEX has, which I didn't think would be the biggest. I wonder how many card holders use that and I imagine it is '$400 to spend at AMEX Travel', where they appear to sell it as simply $400.

By comparison, their Platinum Edge product serves up a much better points earn ratio and free flights. All for roughly half the annual fee.

IMHO there are better benefits in the American Express Universe such as free return flights, solid points to spend earning ratios and alike to be focused on.

KK
KK

Air China - Phoenix Miles

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 106

Sell that "$400 travel credit" to your friends/relatives for say $350, then the annual fee dropped to $45.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

Get your employer to reimburse your annual fee...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 246

Sexy card...

They still haven't remove the foreign transaction fee from any of their cards when purchasing in foreign currency.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 246

The Velocity Platinum card seems to beat this one with 2 VA lounge access passes, 2 Sydney Airport Lounge accesses, 1 return domestic flight which offsets the annual fee that is cheaper than this card. Hmmm....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Aug 2016

Total posts 2

Really depends how you value a return domestic flight as I'd value the airport lounge access at $0 which is to say If it wasn't included, I would never buy it. The $400 voucher is at least worth the cost of the annual fee if you know you'll use it. This card also earns FF points at 1.5pts/$1 on all purchases. Good for those not spending large amounts at restaurants / Virgin flights.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Dec 2015

Total posts 41

Very clever on the part of American Express.

The extremely questionable interchange regulations being applied by the RBA to companion American Express cards will give ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac little choice but to reduce the earn rate on the American Express cards they issue.

American Express-issued cards are immune from this ridiculousness, and providing a card that is effectively "free" that provides the same effective earn rate as bank-issued companion cards for high-end products with very similar income and annual fee requirements is a no-brainer.

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 92

This makes the Platinum Card at $1200 pa outrageously over priced based on the current benefits comparison.

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 5

Correct me if I'm wrong but this card does not suffer from the same earn limitations as the usual Amex cards where it reduces the points earn for utilities and insurance, the earn rate is however still reduced for the government charges.

from the Amex website

Earn 2 Membership Rewards points3 per $1 spent on all purchases except government bodies in Australia where you will earn 0.5 points per $1 spent

Great pick-up there radio8tiv – we're so used to seeing the 0.5/$1 line on the AMEX website ("except x, y and z where you'll earn 0.5...") that we didn't notice this card differed from the rest. Article updated with thanks.

Reg
Reg

American Airlines - AAdvantage

20 Jun 2012

Total posts 25

Does the "existing member" restriction apply if a member has a Platinum Edge card in a personal name and the application is made under a Pty Ltd company name? Or is it not possible to apply under a company name?


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