What does ‘bank issued’ or ‘American Express issued’ mean when it comes to Amex’ cards?

One of the most common comments and questions about the offers from American Express that you’ll see on this site (and advertised in many other places too) is to question what ‘American Express issued’ or ‘American Express cardholder’ means.

Given this is a key term for American Express’ deals, it’s probably worth explaining in case you’re unsure.

On the American Express website card or offer pages, you’ll see terms that reference this as follows (emphasis mine):

  • ’Only available to new American Express Card Members’
  • ’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’

This means you’d be ineligible for some of American Express’ points bonus offers if:

  • You currently hold a card from American Express directly (i.e. you’d log into the Amex website, or call Amex to manage your account)
  • You have applied for a card from American Express directly within the last 18 months
  • You have cancelled a card you held from American Express less than 18 months ago

If you are in one of those groups, then you will be excluded from the points bonus when you apply for the offer.

American Express recently tweaked their offer terms to allow bonus point eligibility when applying for a different type of card (personal, charge or business) but still issued by American Express. More on this here.

Also worth knowing – American Express may still approve you for one of their cards even if you’re ineligible for the points bonus offer, and you won’t be warned about this at the time of application.

And you could, of course, be ineligible for the card and offer for other reasons. There are many other approval criteria and terms you will need to meet for American Express’ credit cards which you should read in detail on their application form before deciding to apply.

The confusion stems from other banks being able to issue American Express cards under their own brands – these are known as ‘bank-issued’ or sometimes ‘co-brand’ cards – and owning one won’t make you ineligible for the bonus points. Examples would be Westpac’s Altitude cards, or ANZ’s Rewards cards.

American Express have a list of ‘bank-issued’ Amex cards on their website here..

While those examples have an American Express card as part of their account, these cards are not ‘issued’ by American Express – they are issued by the bank, in those cases, Westpac or ANZ.

If you have any questions or concerns about your own specific eligibility, I would recommend contacting American Express before applying to double check your eligibility for bonus points.

For full disclosure, if you apply for American Express offers referred by the Point Hacks site, I earn commission, and the amount earned is disclosed under the ‘Find out More or Apply Now’ link next to each card offer. If you apply for your card directly with American Express, then I do not earn a commission.

And all this of course is meant as general, and not personal, financial advice.

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