Point Hacks Credit Card Guide

Partner exclusive: 100,000 points with the Amex Explorer + lounge access during Vivid Sydney

Point Hacks have partnered with American Express to bring you this Explorer offer to celebrate Vivid Sydney.

Get 100,000 Membership Rewards points plus access to the Amex Lounge during Vivid Sydney when you apply for the Amex Explorer through our exclusive link above until 18 June 2019. Minimum spend, eligibility criteria and T&Cs apply.

A minimum spend of $1,500 within the first 3 months of approval is required to receive the bonus. The card has a $395 annual fee, which is offset by a yearly $400 travel credit to be used with American Express Travel.

Vivid Sydney American Express lounge access

Aside from the increased bonus points, you will also get access to the American Express Lounge during Vivid Sydney.

Located at Circular Quay, the lounge gives you a panoramic view of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, and lets you experience the lights away from the crowd.

American Express lounge Vivid Sydney

Here are the details of the American Express lounge:

Location: Cruise Bar Rooftop, Level 3, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay
Opening hours: 5:30-10:30pm between 24 May and 15 June

Current bonus offer

Membership Rewards Gateway points now have the same transfer rates as Ascent and Ascent Premium points. This means they transfers at a ratio of 2:1 Membership Rewards points to frequent flyer points/miles into most frequent flyer programs as well as Hilton Honors, and 3:2 to Marriott Bonvoy.

The current 100,000-point offer is equivalent to 50,000 points when transferred to most frequent flyer programs such as Velocity Frequent Flyer, KrisFlyer, Asia Miles and Etihad Guest. We cover the transfer rates to different programs in more detail further down in the guide.

The sign-up bonus can also earn you 50,000 Hilton Honors points or 66,667 Marriott Bonvoy points.

How you could use the bonus points from this card

All redemption figures shown are examples only and exclude accompanying taxes and fees. Points redemption price data is provided by a third-party, so inaccuracies may be present. Please check with the airline directly for a complete and accurate total redemption cost.

Digging into the benefits of the American Express Explorer

The American Express Explorer earns a solid 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on ongoing spend and there is no cap on the points you can earn.

You’ll also receive access to the American Express Lounge in Sydney or Melbourne twice per year without charge, a nice perk for international travellers in Economy.

There is also a business version of the American Express Explorer card.

Card Details

CardAmerican Express Explorer
Loyalty ProgramAmerican Express Membership Rewards
Points earned from spend2 Membership Rewards points earned per $1 on all purchases except government bodies where you will earn 1 point per $1 spent
Minimum Income$65,000 p.a.
Included InsurancesSmartphone Screen Insurance, Medical Emergency Expenses Cover, Purchase Protection, Buyer’s Advantage and Refund Protection
Overseas transaction fee3% of the converted amount
Annual fee$395 p.a.

Effective Frequent Flyer Program Point Earn Rates

Frequent Flyer / Hotel ProgramPoints earned from spend
VelocityUp to 1 point / $
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerUp to 1 mile / $
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesUp to 1 mile / $

Earning points with the American Express Explorer

The card belongs to the American Express Membership Rewards program for points earn and redemption. We’ve covered Membership Rewards in depth, and frequently, on Point Hacks.

It’s worth noting that there used to be three main varieties of Amex points: Gateway (this card), Ascent and Ascent Premium points. Their transfer rates have recently been consolidated and all of them now transfer to most partner programs at a rate of 2:1.

The headline points earn rate on spend is 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar. That’s equal to 1 frequent flyer point (in Velocity, KrisFlyer, Asia Miles and most other frequent flyer programs) per dollar spent.

These are the key programs for those who want to learn how to get the most value from their frequent flyer points. There is great value to be had for different reasons from each of Velocity (domestic Australian redemptions with low surcharges), KrisFlyer (premium cabin travel on Singapore Airlines) and Asia Miles (great for long-haul premium cabin redemptions on oneworld airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Qantas).

American Express Membership Rewards PartnersTransfer Rates
Asia Miles
Emirates Skywards
Etihad Guest
Malaysian Airlines Enrich
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
THAI Royal Orchid Plus
Velocity Frequent Flyer
2 Membership Rewards points = 1 frequent flyer point
Marriott Bonvoy3 Membership Rewards points = 2 Marriott points
Hilton Honors2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Honors point
Air New Zealand Airpoints200 Membership Rewards points = 1 Airpoints
American Express Travel Online
David Jones Pay with points
20,000 Membership Rewards points = $100 travel reward

Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class

You could transfer your points to KrisFlyer to book an award flight in Singapore Airlines’ modern A350 and Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

You’ll also earn the full points on the Explorer card for utilities and bills, unlike some other cards American Express offers. This means you’ll get full points on telecommunications and utilities, but not on government charges, such as the ATO and Australia Post.

$400 annual travel credit with Amex Travel

We’ve written about Amex Travel previously—it’s the travel booking service that Amex offers to most of its Card Members for either preferential rates or bonus points.

As a Card Member, the $400 credit appears in your account on the Amex Travel website and can be redeemed for flights (excluding low-cost carriers), hotels, some car rentals and ‘Experiences’ available through Amex Travel.

The great thing about the travel credit, by comparison to a free flight or hotel benefit that some other cards offer, is that it is flexible. Prefer to pay for Business or First Class? You can use the credit to offset these costs.

British Airways A380 at Hong Kong Airport

You can use your travel credit to book any of the cabins–Economy, Premium Economy, Business or First–on this British Airways Airbus A380

One thing about the credit you should be aware of—it’s not generally refundable if you decide to cancel your booking, which is not ideal, but make sure you factor that into your decision as to when and where to use it.

The credit is renewed yearly after your annual fee is charged, i.e. around the time you pay your annual fee in future years, the new $400 credit will show in your Amex Travel account once again.

If you make even just one trip a year where you can use the credit, the $400 travel credit is nearly as good as cash and massively helps to offset the $395 annual fee of the card—just remember the restrictions around having to book through Amex Travel, and that it’s non-refundable.

Get a room upgrade and US$100 hotel credit at high-end hotels

Explorer Card Members can now enjoy special benefits at properties part of The Hotel Collection. Every time you book two consecutive nights stay or more at one of these properties with your American Express Explorer Credit Card, you will receive:

  1. Up to US$100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa and resort activities
  2. Complimentary room upgrade at check-in, when available

The Ritz Carlton Tokyo

Your US$75 credit can be used to eat at restaurants within the hotel

Included travel insurances

As usual with the included insurances with credit cards, it’s not really possible to make a solid recommendation—each insurance is usually good for different reasons and different people.

The Explorer comes with the following headline insurance policies:

  • Smartphone Screen Insurance: up to $500 of screen repairs if you accidentally break your smartphone screen, with a 10% claim excess
  • Medical Emergency Expenses Cover: up to $2,500,000 towards medical treatment
  • Travel Cancellation Cover: up to $30,000 in the event that your travel is cancelled for specific reasons
  • Baggage, Money and Documentation Cover: up to $10,000 to cover loss or damage to baggage, money or documents
  • Travel Inconvenience Insurance: up to $500 if your flight departure is delayed for four hours or more

One example of the coverage included—the travel insurance has similar car rental ‘loss damage waiver’ cover as its big brother, the $1,450 p.a. Platinum Charge card—just with a slightly lower total vehicle value cover of $100,000.

Worth noting–the smartphone screen insurance coverage is activated when you are paying for your smartphone contract, or paid for your phone outright, on your Explorer Card.

Similar conditions, just like most other credit card insurances, apply to the travel insurances—you’ll need to have paid for the travel expenses on your card, with Amex Travel Credit, or with your Membership Rewards points to be covered.

You can read the PDS for the insurance benefits of the Explorer Card here.

This guide references some of the benefits of insurance policies provided with this card.

You should read the PDS and obtain independent professional advice before obtaining this product.

American Express Apple Pay & Android Pay support

American Express cards support both Apple Pay & Android Pay, meaning you can use this Card on your smartphone for easier payments. Find out more in our guides for each of the compatible services.

Partner exclusive: 100,000 points with the Amex Explorer + lounge access during Vivid Sydney was last modified: May 17th, 2019 by Daniel Sciberras

Considering this card for Business-related transactions?

American Express offer a range of both business and consumer charge and credit cards. They do permit business transactions to be made on personal cards, unlike some other banks, but you might find some of the other business-focused benefits of the business cards to be appealing or more appropriate.

So – if you’re a sole trader or a business looking to earn points with your business spend – this card would still work for that purpose.

There’s a full list of business and personal consumer American Express cards which might be suitable for earning points from business-related transactions here.

Partner exclusive: 100,000 points with the Amex Explorer + lounge access during Vivid Sydney was last modified: May 17th, 2019 by Daniel Sciberras

Eligibility criteria for bonus points for existing American Express Card Members

American Express are quite specific about whether existing Card Members will be eligible for bonus points if they apply for a card, are approved, and meet the minimum spend criteria.

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

American Express don’t allow existing Card Members, even for different types of American Express cards (e.g. Charge, Credit or Business) to be eligible for bonus points offers for cards in a different family.

Partner exclusive: 100,000 points with the Amex Explorer + lounge access during Vivid Sydney was last modified: May 17th, 2019 by Daniel Sciberras

Our take on the American Express Explorer

This is a very compelling card proposition from Amex.

Each year, the $395 annual fee is more than rebated by the $400 travel credit, with the main consideration being that you’ll need to use it by booking through Amex Travel.

When it comes to earning points, this card could work well for people whose spend is not focused on the bonus categories found with other Amex-issued cards, such as supermarkets and fuel with the Platinum Edge, or David Jones cards.

The lack of bonus categories, but with a high effective frequent flyer point earn rate, means that it’s simple to consider just how many points you might be earning and whether the card will work for you.

All up, this is a card tailored to those looking for simplicity: high points earn from your spending, a wide range of points transfer partners, a large travel credit, insurance coverage, and Amex lounge visits at Sydney and Melbourne Airports.

Partner exclusive: 100,000 points with the Amex Explorer + lounge access during Vivid Sydney was last modified: May 17th, 2019 by Daniel Sciberras

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Point Hacks Credit Card Information

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We have not taken into consideration your personal circumstances or financial situation when providing the information on this website. It is important you read the relevant PDS from the product issuer and seek the independent advice of an appropriately qualified professional before making a decision on a product.

While we invest a great deal of time and energy into ensuring we provide with you with the most up to date and accurate information, we do not warrant the accuracy of statements or information contained on the Website relating to third party goods and services, including credit card information, loyalty schemes and rewards. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability arising from any person acting on those statements or information to the fullest extent permitted by law. Where conditions or warranties are implied by law and cannot be excluded, our liability will be limited to the re-supply of information. You should confirm the accuracy of information provided on this Website with the third party product provider before acting on it.


  1. Michael

    Do we know if AMEX are postponing the devaluation for new card members – i.e. if I take 6 weeks to spend the $1,500 required for the bonus points will they then be worth less?

  2. hei1987

    Resubmit my review

    I applied the card on 24th FEB, got approved the next day on 25th FEB.
    The card arrived on 27th FEB and I spent 1.5K over the next few days.
    I got the 100K points yesterday on the 4th MAR, so it’s only seven days.

    Thank you very much!

  3. PETER

    Thank you so much for the offer, application got approved last Monday, card arrived on Wed, spent $1500 for the next few days and got the 100000 points on Monday today, only seven days! Very nice experience!


  4. Mattyw

    Just a quick question, I am an additional card holder for my dads amex Platinum Charge he setup a while ago for the Amex lounge access, not sure what details he used to set this up as I wasn’t really involved. Am I still eligible to receive this offer as I am not the primary card holder?


    • Daniel Sciberras Author

      Hi Mattyw

      As you are an additional card holder and not the primary pone, you should be eligible for this offer. However, I recommend getting in touch with American Express and getting their confirmation, and also request them to put in into notes on your account.

  5. Bianca

    I am comparing this AMEX explorer card to the ANZ Travel Adventures card. I notice this card earns double the amount of points per $ spent. However, the ANZ card has a higher sign on velocity bonus, lower annual fee and no overseas transaction fee. Overall, which one do you think is better for earning more points please? I am soo stuck and would anyones help please.

  6. Steve

    Thanks Daniel for the reply. I did checked again and called up AMEX to clarify, so spouse and dependent children ARE covered regardless of having a supplementary card themselves or not, they are covered if the trip is booked on the account.

    If you give a supplementary card to others who are not spouse or dependent children, then only selected covers can apply, according to those specified in the T&C.

    If in doubt, always confirm with AMEX as the source of truth as terms can change/update over time.

  7. STEVE

    If I read it correctly the T&Cs (https://web.aexp-static.com/content/dam/amex/au/staticassets/pdf/explorer-insurance-tncs.pdf) of the travel insurance offered by this AMEX Explorer card does NOT cover any immediate family member travelling with you as opposed to many other credit cards that do cover those persons.

    This card will also NOT provide travel cover to additional card holders (while you being the primary card holder).

    This sucks and i hope Amex changes it.

    • Daniel Sciberras Author

      Hi STEVE

      On page 3 of the T&C,s it does state that the cover applies to the Primary Card Member, including spouses and dependent children who may also be Supplementary Card Members.

      It may be worth reconfirming this with American Express also.

  8. les

    Regarding eligibility, is a westpac altitude amex card now considered bank issued or amex issued?
    Please update the details accordingly.

  9. David

    Considering this card often has 120,000 points on offer, I think it is important that you convey this to the reader that this offer does not present the optimal offer that comes from this card.

    • The maximum we’ve seen on this card is 100,000 points (the Platinum Charge is the one that sometimes reaches 120,000) and there are no indications of the 100,000-point offer on the Explorer coming back.

  10. Brian

    Any updates from Point Hacks on whether Amex will sweeten the deal from 75K bonus points to 100K bonus points either before or after the 26th September 2018?

  11. Dana Brewer

    If you purchase something on your card, and you receive your points, and ultimately end up returning the item, do the points then get deducted from your balance?

  12. DoctorZ

    I’ve been watching this card for a month. It’s really a shame that I didn’t get the 100k offer earlier this year and last year. Maybe I should wait or look for other cards. Anyone knows other high-reward cards?

      • Rachael

        I’m sooo confused!
        I know you cant tell me what to do but can you help with my options?
        I want to fly BNE-London (any airport, cheapest best, going straight to Bedford). Then Rome-BNE for the return flight.
        I have Velocity (111,000) and Amex (133,000) points plus $400 Amex travel credit.
        I know I can do Velocity for 75k each way plus approx $250 per flight.
        What other options do I have that would be beneficial?
        Is it worth using Amex points directly or always transfer them to an airline? I have KrisFlyer but no points on it.
        Can you please help me with my choices at all? 🙂
        Thank you!

  13. yun

    Does anyone know american express announce no more 100k offer since the previous offer end at APR?

    is this 75k offer is a new promotion havent been introduced before?? now 75K instead of 100k?

  14. Evan

    Hi Keith

    Do you think we will see 100,000 bonus points be offered again like when the card was launched?

    If this is the best deal we are likely to see, what can we boost this to if we get referred by someone who currently holds the card/another Amex card?

    Can you confirm what the current referral bonus is for both parties in this case?


    • We don’t have any indications that the 100,000 bonus points will return for now. At the moment, I personally am seeing a 30,000-point bonus for referring friends and family using my link and 75,000 points for them.

  15. James Sharpe

    hi keith/ points hack team

    just after some clarification please, i have my annual fee due any day now, see that i can pay it and then within 30 days cancel the card with the annual fee refunded,

    anything in place using this annual fee (travel credit) for some flights, and then cancel before the 30 days is up??

    thanks in advance

  16. andrew

    i’m currently holding an AMEX platinum, but thinking i should ‘downgrade’ to this given all i’m interested in is SQ and SPG earn!

    any downsides i’m missing if the above is my sole aim? (and the bonus categories on platinum aren’t relevant)

  17. Joanne

    I’m about to book travel with the $450 travel credit gained with the Qantas American Express card on a flight. I’d then like to cancel the card before the actual travel dates.

    I’m presuming the flight is unaffected. the Does anyone have any experience of this?

  18. Eric

    Is it correct that in order to transfer the Gateway Reward Points to an airline (e.g., Emirates), I have to join the Ascent club and pay an $80 joining fee?

  19. as90

    Hi There,

    I was wondering a few questions that I can’t seem to locate online.
    I am currently a Velocity AMEX Card Holder and took advantage of the 100k points deal they had this time last year.

    My plan is:
    – Refer my Dad to AMEX (to take advantage of the referral points 30K)
    – Dad (assuming spends the 3k etc) will then receive the 100,000 AMEX Points.

    My question is, what is the best way possible for me personally to take advantage of those points? Would becoming a secondary card holder on “his account” make this possible? Or can he transfer to me somehow?

    Looking forward to see what others have done in this scenario


  20. Jazz

    Im actually looking for a card to earn Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus points at a good rate. I’ve got a business in Bangkok and fly around every two months. Also I have noticed THAI ROP point redemtion rate are alot better compared to SQ and QF. For Eg. Flying MEL to BKK on Business requires 98000 points. While SQ requires minimum 116000 points. TG is also cheaper if you fly to Europe or US compared to other airline. Any helps and tips would be appreciated.

  21. Scott W

    Can I pay extra with Amex and upgrade myself to the Ascent or Ascent Premium (which I am assuming is for the Platinum and Centurion Card) Membership Rewards program which will give myself a better Redemption Rate ??

  22. Gordon

    Can you use the $400 credit to book domestic virgin Australia flights? If so, in general are the prices comparable to what booking direct with the Virgin Australia web site would be or do they slap on a layer of fees?

    In the past i have had credit cards with ‘free flights’ and noticed they don’t give you any status credits or points on the free flight. Would the same apply on a flight booked with he $400 credit on the Amex web site?

    • Yes, you can use your travel credit to book any flight (except those on low-cost carriers, which doesn’t apply to Virgin Australia).

      The prices should be the same on the VA and Amex websites but it’s always good to cross-check.

      And I can’t see anything in the terms and conditions saying that you are excluded from earning points or Status Credits on this booking.

  23. Catherine

    Hi, I currently hold Amex Explorer card and now that they come up with this 100k bonus points, I was thinking that my husband can apply for it using my referral in the app. But the app only offers him 60k bonus (with me getting 30k for referral). I thought he should be able to get 100k even through referral, shouldn’t he?

    • I thought the same! I’ve been waiting for the 100k offer to come back to refer my parents to the higher bonus and pick up 30k myself but can only see 60k on offer for them through the referral link. I’d suggest waiting a few days to see if the referral bonus changes.

      • Catherine

        Thanks Matt! Terrible miscommunication between ourselves such that my husband has applied himself online – doh! Please let me know if they offer 100k through the app referral so I can go and say to him, I told you so!

  24. Katsura

    Thanks for the guide, I applied for a Amex Velocity Platinum card and was approved (but not yet activated).

    Looking at the Explorer card it seems more suitable for my travel needs. What are my options of change the card type (note that I haven’t activated the Velocity card).


  25. Rachael

    I’m confused with the points ratio. How many velocity points does $1 spend equate too? I’m trying to compare cards and on some of your pages you quote per $1 and others it is per 1 point. I have an Amex Explorer card and a ANZ Plainum card but possibly looking at changing the visa to something better but I just can’t work out how to compare to points per $1 spent on each card I’m looking at.

    • It can be very confusing!

      For the Explorer, per $1 spent, you’ll earn 2 Membership Rewards points. Due to the 4:3 transfer ratio, $1 ends up being equal to 1.5 Velocity points.

      As for the ANZ Rewards Platinum, per $1 spent, you’ll earn 1.5 Rewards points. Due to the 2:1 transfer ratio, $1 ends up being equal to only 0.75 Velocity points.

      So the Explorer earns you double the amount of Velocity points and doesn’t have a points cap, with the ANZ card does.

  26. E

    Hi, I have paid for my hotel booking (through Amex travel) using travel credit and the remaining on my Explorer credit card and I received 2 base + 1 bonus point per $1. I also paid for flight tickets using Explorer through Amex travel but only get 2 base points per $1 spent. Is that normal?

  27. Colin

    Hi there,

    Just wondering if wehen transferring points from my Explorer card, does it equate to status points or $ Points when transferred.

    For example, I am Gold Elite with Star Alliance through Air New Zealand, I need 600 more Airpoints to retain it this year, Which i am not going to get – If I trasnferred my Amex Points, I would make this, But I want to ensure my Amex points count towards Airpoints, rather than Airpoint Dollars.

    I’m also a member of Singapore Airlines, but with no status – I would move my Amex points to this if it meant the points would count towards status.

    Thanks in advance.


  28. Kevin

    Hi Keith,

    If I am currently holding a secondary card (my partner is the primary card holder), will I still be eligible for the bonus sign up?

    • Steven [mod]

      Hi Kevin,

      Being a supplementary cardholder shouldn’t make you ineligible for the signup bonus. Since only the main cardholder of the account is what’s usually assessed in credit card applications.
      Technically, you’re a new customer to Amex.

  29. Raihan

    Hey Keith,

    Do you have any idea how tight they are on the minimum annual income? My fiance is on a 60k pkg annually and would love to get a hold of this card.


    • I think their system looks at the numbers you input into the application pretty closely. However I also think the current requirement is for household income, but double check that as you go.

  30. P***** Off Expat Amex Customer

    I’m relatively new to Australia and arrived with a 457 visa back in Oct. I hold the Amex SPG card in the UK, and needed an Australian credit card so I wasn’t constantly hit with charges and fees etc for using it overseas. I applied for the Amex Explorer back in April/May time (can’t remember if it was the 100k signup or 50k signup bonus), but it was only approved last week despite me earning over 100k per year and having history with them in the UK (paid off the SPG in full every single month). For it to be approved they needed me to send them a signed copy of my passport, which had been signed by a Justice of the Peace to make sure I wasn’t a terrorist or laundering money (I work in media)…because like hell was I gonna pay a lawyer or accountant as Amex kindly suggested just to get approved for a bloody credit card. It took me months to find a Justice of the Peace near me, and even when I did I had to take the afternoon off work to go and get it done as they don’t do it outside of work hours. Absolutely ridiculous! They also needed copies of my visa, and 3 months of bank statements (screenshots wasn’t good enough, I had to download it and send them the full download).

    Now I’m not even sure how many points I’ll get, and if I’ll get any as it’s taken so long to be approved? Will they still give me the sign up bonus even if the card was approved 3+ months after I applied for it?

    • In answer to your question, you should receive the bonus points as the offer you receive should be based on your application date, not the approval date.

  31. Annoyed

    So after applying as a stable high income earner that cut up a amex black card many years ago. They approved my card with the maximum 10k limit. Are they joking? what a waste of time, will take the free points and cut the card up, Thanks for the points amex but you can keep the card.

  32. Steve

    Hi Keith, I currently hold the Platinum Edge so I’m ineligible for the bonus points but I can have my partner apply instead. My concern is though that AMEX only let you transfer membership reward points into the same FF account name as the card holder. This won’t work for me as I need the points to reach my FF account. I’m wondering if AMEX will allow transfers into a supplementary card holders FF account which would allow me to be a supplementary holder and transfer the points into my FF account, would this be possible?

    • Hey Steve – most partner programs only let you transfer points into an account with the same name as your Membership Rewards account, and as a supplementary cardholder, AFAIK you don’t have access to do anything with the points balance of the account.
      Workarounds – transfer points to a program which allows points pooling / sharing. Primarily these would be Starwood or Velocity.
      Amex also let you do transfers between accounts for a fee but it’s usually cost prohibitive and there is a 50k limit.
      Personally, I transfer to Starwood and merge over there and use for hotel redemptions.

  33. Philip

    Missed the original offer of 100,000 points – now it is down to 50,000. Was wondering how often Amex renew offers like that and whether it is worth waiting to see if a better offer come along…
    Anyone kept track on the regularity of these offers from Amex??

  34. Hey Megan – Amex has two key Membership Rewards flavours – Gateway and Ascent. The transfer rate for Gateway (which Explorer is linked to) is definitely 1:0.75.

  35. Stephen

    Quick question from a rookie, can you utilise the AMEX points for say a Emirates rewards flight in conjunction with Qantas points (via one world)? I understand they cannot be transferred to Qantas points, but can they be used through one of the 8 supported airlines and qantas points used via oneworld to purchase the one reward seat/s?

    • You can use Amex Membership Rewards points for Emirates flights in a couple of ways – firstly, by transferring them directly to Emirates Skywards themselves, or transferring to Starwood and then onto another airline partner that also works with Emirates – either Japan Airlines Mileage Bank or Alaska Airlines MileagePlan would be the biggest options. That’s not simple but is still doable.

  36. Peter

    Dang, just did my head in again reading the Insurance documentation for the Amex Explorer ( https://web.aexp-static.com/au/content/pdf/explorer-insurance-tncs.pdf ).

    It appears the Vehicle cover for the explorer card is virtually identical aside from the 125K->100K value of the vehicle. Great!.

    I read Todd’s awesome guide here: http://www.ridehacks.com.au/ultimate-guide-to-rental-car-insurance/#credit-cards that is referenced across the PointHacks website.

    The section here has confused me though when he states:

    To this effect, Avis and Hertz may be well-matched rental providers for Amex Platinum cardholders because the ‘un excessed-ed’ items are not considered a breach of agreement.

    I don’t understand why the Amex Explorer card would be a better fit for Avis and Hertz and not say Thrifty …what am i missing here?

    We will pay any amounts You are responsible for under the Rental
    Agreement, including the Deductible if loss is incurred during a
    Covered Rental Trip, as a result of accidental damage, fire, vandalism,
    theft or loss of use of the Rental Vehicle.

    • Hi Peter, I’m glad you liked my guide!

      I’ll clarify my point about the ‘breach of agreement’. The forewarning is that this is a technicality within the insurance PDS which may or may not be used by Ace (the Amex insurance provider) against you. Alas, it’s worth considering anyway.

      All rental excess policies have a specific clause along the lines of: ‘If you break the rental agreement, our excess protection policy is void’. Now this is obvious if you are drink driving, using it as an Uber X car, or some other obvious ‘breach of agreement’.

      The lesser known ‘breach’ that I found in the Europcar T’s and C’s (note: haven’t checked to see if they have changed…they often do) is that when you suffer certain damage where there is no coverage by Europcar, e.g. tyres and windscreen, where you have to pay for the full amount to fix the damage. However the wording is that this is a ‘severe breach of the rental agreement’.

      This kind of sucks because it would imply that Amex (and all other ‘rental excess insurers’) should technically leave you out in the cold. If it was a ding in the door, they will cover you because you didn’t breach the agreement. But if it’s underbody damage, they could worm out of it. Be careful.

      I’m not sure with thrifty, I haven’t checked their policy but considering they now have a Tesla I probably should add it into the article.

      Let me know how else I can help!

    • Dennis

      Why would you want your points transferred to QFF points?

      Business Class return ticket from Sydney to Los Angeles on Asia Miles is 120,000 points while on QFF it’s 192,000 points. It means you have to spend $48,000 more to redeem the same flight!

    • John

      I agree, sometimes you only use one frequent flyer program, so when you can’t transfer points across it can be disappointing.

      I too am a little miffed about the lack of QFF support. SPG transfers won’t work either.

      Anyone know of any other way of transferring point to QFF.

      Also, has anyone received their bonus 100,000 points. Was there anything else you had to do other than spend your minimum $$$?

  37. AC

    I had a few very funny things happen about this card, good and bad. So i used my points and transferred to Emirates skyward, at the time of transfer was 4:3 as per usual. However in the process of setting up, i’ve logged in and out of the system a few times, and when i re-logged in, the transfer rate changed to 1:1 for a few of other airlines rewards (eg asia miles and velocity) and not the 4:3 conversion rate.

    I logged in today and its reverted back but yeh that was one of the quirks.

    I have been travelling for the past 3-4 weeks, and have travelled to China and Thailand. I found that certain merchants in those countries netted me 2points per dollar whilst some didn’t. Which was really weird. Hey I’m not complaining but was wondering if anyone else had similar discrepancies.


  38. woodyren

    The T&C’s refer to not holding an Amex “consumer card” for the last 18 months. What exactly does that mean?

    Is the Amex Velocity for example a “consumer” card?

  39. Mark

    Is it possible to apply for the Explore card and recieve the bonus points even though I currently hold a Amex Velocity Card? I’m hearing that some people are still getting the bonuses.

  40. Reg

    on the amex pages it says only new customers? If i have a NAB Velocity AMEX card im not going to be able to get these points, am i correct?

  41. Blair Hallion

    Is there any possible way to transfer these points to Qantas FF points? I understand that they are not a Gateway rewards partner, however is there any way round this?

  42. Tom

    Hi Keith,

    I am comparing the Explorer and the Amex Velocity Platinum. In terms of the points earned, is there a black and white answer to which is the better earner or does it depend on personal spending habits…the Platinum got a little confusing with the 3 different levels of points to be earned at restaurants, travel etc.


  43. raw

    Hi Keith,
    My wife currently has a supplementary card for my Platinum Edge card. Does 18 month restriction apply to her in this case?

    • Supplementary cardholders aren’t considered as account holders when it comes to making new applications, so holding a supplementary card wouldn’t be a reason to exclude someone from picking up the bonus points.

    • No, it doesn’t – needs to be met by making on purchases. My usual suggestion is to bring forward spending you’d be making otherwise – buy supermarket or fuel gift cards, early renew home or car insurance… that kind of thing.

  44. glen

    Hi Keith
    I have an altitude black amex card issued through Westpac so will I have to wait the 18 month qualifying period or is it for amex cards issued through amex Australia directly.
    I will get 1 of these if I can get the sign on bonus

  45. Kris

    Anyone have any idea if Refer a Friend should become available to the Amex Explorer?

    I haven’t yet received my first statement -might it become available after this or will it become available at all?

    I’m hoping to refer my partner before the deal expires at the end of November.

  46. Hey Amanda! Yes, generally the transfers happen quite quickly – in around 24 hours or so. Some programs can take a little longer, 48-72 hours, and it can depend on whether the transfer was made on a business day or not. But in short, transfers are usually fairly fast, but there is always a small risk that if you’ve found points seats in a frequent flyer program, then make a points transfer and wait, the seats could be gone by the time you come to book.

  47. Robert

    Whilst the $400 travel credit does offset the $395 annual fee, do note that there is a lag between when the annual fee gets charged and when the $400 travel credit gets credited.
    The annual fee gets charged on day 1 whilst the travel credit only gets credited on the 1st anniversary (i.e. 1 year later).

    • This is incorrect – the travel credit is available on your card as soon as the account is used for the first time. As a supplementary cardholder, I have checked and can see the travel credit as being active on our Amex account and ready to use.

  48. KB

    Hi Keith
    You might be interested to know that my new Explorer card is pooling points into my Ascent Premium rewards account. I have AMEX Plat charge with the Plat Reserve Credit …and now the new Explorer. Was expecting Explorer to link to a some sort of new Gateway rewards account but its not. After the Explorer first use the points were pooled into the general points account for my Plat charge card.

    This effectively means the Explorer is earning 2 points per $ with no cap and can be transferred at 1:1 into SQ, Virgin, Qantas etc…

  49. Kris

    I just applied for the card using the link, thanks for the info.

    Does anyone know if the points bonus is limited to one person per household?

    I added my partner as a supplementary card holder, but in retrospect she should probably apply for the card and get the bonus too. After a year we might supplement the cards and get cumulative points that way.

    Anyone more experienced with this kind of thing see any issues with this?

    • Applications are generally considered on an individual basis – so as long as you both meet the approval criteria, there’s no restriction at the household level on whether you both apply for the card.

  50. Steve

    Bit of a generic question here but can one transfer their points to a FF program that is in a different name? I’m not eligible because I have an edge but if my partner signed up for this card could we both transfer points to the same FF program?

  51. KB

    Thanks Keith. Great new card and looks like this is now the best option for a ‘second’ card after Amex Platinum reaches the 300,000 cap for 2 points per $1.

    Now that Westpac is downgrading its points transfer to Singapore/Virgin to be only 1.2points per $ this card is now the winner (after Amex plat cap) at 1.5 points per $ and no cap. No sign up bonus is a shame and agree with Dan on this.

  52. Haggis

    Excellent review of the card Keith. I think this card is now better than the Westpac black altitude with redemption rates changing for SQ/CX points.

  53. Skyline

    If I already have the Platinum card, will the points accumulated on Explorer card go into the same pool, and I’ll be able to use the Ascent Platinum rate to transfer points? Thanks.

    • AFAIK there’s no possibility of pooling points between Membership Rewards Gateway and Ascent – at least not yet. But given this card is new it’s all a bit untested. As I find out more I’ll report back.

      • Skyline

        Thanks for the reply. It’s just that I have both Platinum and Platinum Edge, and they seem to be able to pool points together. Although they are both from the Ascent tier. Looking forward to your confirmation on this.

      • Darkfield

        The Platinum Charge and the Platinum Edge are on different programs though; the former allows transfers to QFF whereas the latter does not. Hoping this suggests that Amex pools your points in the more favourable program!

      • Skyline

        Yes it does. On my Edge account homepage, it says “Please view the point under your Platinum account”, and I can correctly see all the Edge points under my Platinum card’s Ascent Platinum point pool.

      • I also have my Edge and Charge set up to pool points, but this is a ‘non-standard’ arrangement. If you have it working too, good on you.
        The reason I have it working was because Charge online services were not working for me as a cardholder of both. It seems like this can happen if you are a cardholder of Edge first and then take the Charge; the fact that the Edge is your primary and oldest card seems to mess your online account up.
        It then seems like the only way to solve this is to find someone on the phone in Amex Card Services who really knows what they are doing, and have them pool the points accounts. And then you get the nice outcome of earning points on Edge into Ascent Premium, not just Ascent, and having points pooled too.

        Back to Explorer. Due to Ascent vs Gateway, I don’t see points pooling working at all with two cards in different programs. Very happy to be proven wrong, of course.

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