The American Express Explorer Credit Card

The American Express Explorer Credit Card

Last Updated: 21 March 2018

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral. This referral gives me a 30,000 Membership Rewards Gateway bonus if you apply and are approved. This does not negatively affect the features of your AMEX Explorer or your eligibility for bonus points in any way.


21 March 2018: I last posted about this in May 2017 and last updated this in August 2017. I think it's about time to revisit this given the bonus points is up at an extremely attractive 100k AMEX Membership Rewards Gateway Points again. I have only made small amendments to the content below. One notable addition to the content below is the mention of the new American Express Lounge in Melbourne, slated to open on 27 March 2018, as well as some additional information around how the lounge access works.


The American Express Explorer Card is, in my opninion, probably the best domestic Credit Card in the Australian market.

American Express Explorer Credit Card

Key Facts:

  • Sign-up bonus: 100k Membership Rewards Gateway Bonus Points offer and spend $3000 within 3 months for applications made by 11 April 2018
    • If you do not wish to use my referral above, the deadline for application is two days earlier: 9 April 2018
    • In pure "cash" terms, this equates to $700 in Coles/Woolworths Gift Cards.
    • The terms exclude those who either currently hold, or have previously held an American Express Credit Card in the last 18 months from obtaining this sign-up bonus.
  • Min Household Salary Requirement: $65k p.a.
    • Note that this is per household, which theoretically means you could factor in a partner's salary
  • Earn 2 Membership Rewards Gateway Points/$ on ongoing spend
    • 0.5 Membership Rewards Gateway Points at Government bodies (including Australia Post)
    • Equivalent to 1.5 points in the majority of airline transfer partners:
      • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
      • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
      • Virgin Australia Velocity
      • Etihad Guest Miles
      • Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles
  • $395 Annual Fee
  • $400 Travel Credit, usable on car hire, flights, hotels, "experiences" through AMEX Travel
    • Note that not all airlines are bookable via AMEX Travel. Notable absentees include low-cost carriers Scoot, AirAsia, Tiger, Jetstar
    • The Travel Credit can be booked in anyone's name, but any unused amount will be forfeited and cannot be put towards a future booking.
    • Credit is non-refundable
  • Access to the Sydney or Melbourne International Airport American Express Lounge twice per calendar year
    • Entry is granted upon having your AMEX Explorer Card swiped along with showing your boarding pass.
    • There is no separate quota for Sydney and Melbourne lounges - i.e. using it once at the Sydney lounge and once at the Melbourne lounge in one calendar year will use up your quota
    • You can use your two calendar year entries up in one visit by bringing in a guest
    • Alternatively, a supplementary cardholder who carries their card can similarly use one entry, and can similarly bring in a guest travelling on the same day
    • Children of the cardholder between 2-17 may enter free of charge
  • Free Travel Insurance
  • Free Smartphone Screen Insurance
    • This is included as long as you pay for your phone, or phone plan on the Credit Card
  • Free Extended Manufacturer's Warranty
  • Up to 4 free Supplementary Cards
  • Access to American Express Statement Credits
    • These types of offers are virtually never offered on Visa/Mastercard
    • Each supplementary card has a unique card number, and thus can be used to register for these statement credits individually per card. This means if you have an AMEX Explorer Card with 4 supplementary cards, you can hypothetically register 5 cards (including the supplementaries) for these Statement Credit promotions.

The ongoing points you earn are extremely valuable - objectively speaking, better than earning Qantas Frequent Flyer Points and Virgin Velocity Points.

Concerns around American Express Acceptance and Surcharges

No one accepts American Express
— You
People always surcharge American Express
— You

Although arguably true, I believe there are more than enough retailers that accept American Express to justify holding an American Express Card like the Explorer.

In addition, if the retailer does not accept AMEX or only accepts it at a ridiculous surcharge, that's fine. Just pay by cash, Debit Card, or with an alternative Mastercard/Visa.

I'll elaborate on American Express vs Mastercard/Visa in another post.

What can 100k Membership Rewards Points get me?

Is this card right for you?

If you..

  • Travel at least once a year (even domestically), you will probably be able to use up the Travel Credit; or
  • Know someone who will travel at least once a year (who you could sell/give this credit to)

.. then this card is a no brainer. By travelling at least once a year and using up the Travel Credit, this makes this effectively a fee-free card. For an (effectively) fee-free card, it offers amazing value.

Don't forget this Travel Credit can also be used on Car Hire, Hotels and "Experiences", so it is actually quite versatile and even if you don't have "big" travel plans, there is still a good chance you might be able to use it. Think of something like a weekend getaway or an anniversary!

Ready to apply?

Apply here

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