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The American Express Explorer Credit Card is one of the most useful cards for people love to travel. It comes with benefits like a strong points earn rate on spend, the flexibility to transfer points to nine airlines, a $400 annual Travel Credit, airport lounge entries and more.
The Explorer card was my go-to card until I upgraded to the $1,450-per-year American Express Platinum Card. Both cards earn Amex’s Membership Rewards points, which can be transferred to multiple airlines including Emirates, Singapore Airlines and others. This opens up so many more opportunities to fly using points.
Right now, new American Express Card Members can also get 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points with the Explorer card, which converts to 25,000 frequent flyer points with most partner airlines or $250 of credit on your card account.
Here’s an overview of the card features you can enjoy, with more details and a mobile-friendly application form available here.
1. Receive a high points earn rate on spend
The card rewards program is called Membership Rewards (MR).
You earn 2 MR points per $1 spent everywhere except with government bodies, where the earn rate is 1 point per $1 spent.
2 MR points converts to 1 frequent flyer point with almost all partner airlines, which is a strong earn rate.
Hundreds of thousands of merchants accept Amex in Australia and that number is growing, so there’s no shortage of places where you can earn points with this card.
There’s also no cap on the amount of points you can earn.
2. Take off with eight airline partners
The standout feature of MR points is that they’re extremely flexible. You’re not locked into any single airline frequent flyer program, rather you accumulate MR points until you’re ready to transfer them to a partner airline.
When the time comes to transfer points, you can choose from eight quality airline frequent flyer programs:
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Malaysian Airlines Enrich
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Air New Zealand Airpoints.
Use your points to fly with top airlines like Singapore Airlines
Having so many airlines to choose from means it can be much easier to find award seats when the time comes to book, especially if you want to fly in a sought-after business or first class cabin.
There are many other ways to redeem points, including transferring them to hotel partners, paying for bookings with the travel agencies Webjet, Helloworld Travel and American Express Travel, or as credit on your card account to pay off purchases.
3. Enjoy a $400 Travel Credit each year
At the start of each card membership year, you’ll receive a $400 Travel Credit that you can redeem for flights, hotels, experiences or car hire online through American Express Travel.
It’s very easy to redeem the travel credit online and you can use it to book something for yourself or anyone you choose.
Since you receive the travel credit every year, it effectively offsets the card’s $395 annual fee.
4. Get up to US$100 in hotel credits and room upgrades
Amex’s Hotel Collection includes more than 600 hotels and resorts in over 30 countries worldwide, including from trusted brands like Hyatt and Hilton.
Every time you book at least two consecutive nights’ stay at one of these properties with your Explorer card, you’ll receive:
- a hotel credit of up to US$100 for qualifying charges – typically dining, spa, golf or other hotel facility-related charges (but not the room rate, taxes or fees)
- a complimentary room upgrade at check-in, subject to availability.
Enjoy benefits at hotels like Hyatt
These complimentary extras can substantially enhance your hotel stays in the future.
5. Save money with a range of valuable insurance covers
You’ll receive complimentary travel insurance cover for you, your partner and dependent children when you pay for travel with your card or use MR points to book.
The cover is comprehensive and includes medical, trip cancellation, travel delay and baggage-related costs, as well as many other expenses.
You’ll also receive smartphone screen insurance when you pay for your phone or monthly contract with your card, with $500 available for repairs up to 2 times every 12 months (with a 10% excess).
And for good measure, you’ll also get refund and purchase protection and extended warranties for eligible purchases made using your card.
The T&Cs for these insurance policies are available here.
6. Earn more points, save money and enjoy other lifestyle benefits
There are so many other perks to enjoy with this card, including:
- two entries each year to the exclusive American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport international or Melbourne Airport international
- up to 4 free additional cards for family members over 18 years of age – an easy way for your household to earn points faster
- up to 55 days interest-free on purchases (the interest rate thereafter is 20.74%)
- Amex Offers: save money with regular discount offers, like a recent $50 saving on Qantas flights and up to $50 back on spend with small merchants
- Amex Invites: access sought-after events like music, theatre and film, including via pre-sale tickets, and enjoy exclusive lounges at selected events.
Plus 50,000 bonus points
Receive 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 on your new card in the first 3 months from the card approval date.
This offer is only available to new American Express Card Members. That means you must not have held a card issued directly by American Express Australia in the last 18 months. However, you are still eligible for this offer if you’ve held an Amex card issued by a bank (i.e. Westpac, ANZ, CBA or NAB) or if you’re an additional card member on someone else’s account.
The minimum income to qualify is $65,000 per annum.
Important: This article is not intended to suggest that you should apply for a credit card. You should seek independent, professional advice and consider your personal circumstances before deciding to apply for a credit card.
If you apply for a card via a link in this article, we may receive a commission from Amex. This income helps keep our site running, and we thank you for your support.
Read more in our Credit Cards Disclosure.