ENDS SOON: Get 100,000 bonus points with the American Express Explorer Credit Card

By |2018-12-04T13:29:43+00:004 December 2018|

Customer notice: we’ll receive a commission from Amex if you apply for a card via a link in this article (read more in our Credit Cards Disclosure). This income helps keep the site running, and we thank you for your support.

American Express has increased the sign-up offer for its popular Explorer Credit Card to 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points, and also announced a great new hotel benefit for card members.

100,000 bonus points is the most we ever see offered with this card and it equates to a handy 75,000 frequent flyer points with leading airlines like Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines and Emirates (point redemption rates will change as of 15 April 2019 – more information is below and on Amex’s website).

This card comes with a range of useful benefits for travellers including the flexibility to transfer points to eight airline and two hotel partners, an annual $400 travel credit that fully offsets the card fee, complimentary insurance covers, and much more.

Here’s an overview of the card features, with more details and a mobile-friendly application form available here.

1. Enjoy a high points earn rate on spend

The card rewards program is called Membership Rewards Gateway (MRG).

You earn 2 MRG points per dollar spent everywhere except with government bodies, where the earn rate is 0.5 points per dollar spent (this will increase to 1 point per $1 spent from 15 April 2019).

2 MRG points converts to 1.5 frequent flyer points with almost all partner airlines right now. From 15 April 2019, this will drop to 1 frequent flyer point, but even then this will be one of the most rewarding cards on the market.

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 the card.

As a bonus, there’s no cap on the amount of points you can earn.

2. Take off with eight airline partners

The standout feature of MRG points is that they’re extremely flexible. You’re not locked into any single airline frequent flyer program (as occurs with earning Qantas or Velocity points), rather you accumulate MRG points until you’re ready to transfer them to a partner airline.

When the time comes to transfer points, you can choose from eight top-notch airline partners:

  • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Malaysian Airlines Enrich
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints.

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 on popular routes to Europe or North America.

Use your points to fly with Singapore Airlines and other leading carriers

As well as transferring points to airlines, there are many other ways to redeem them, such as transferring points to hotel partners, paying for bookings with the travel agencies Webjet, Helloworld Travel and Amex Travel, or obtaining credit on your card account to pay off other 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 through Amex 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 fully offsets the card’s $395 annual fee.

4. New benefit: The Hotels Collection

Access to Amex’s Hotels Collection used to be restricted to holders of the ultra-high-end Platinum and Centurion cards, but not anymore.

The 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 two consecutive nights stay or more at one of these properties with your Amex Explorer Credit Card, you’ll receive:

  • up to US$75 hotel credit on qualifying charges: typically this will be dining, spa, golf or other hotel facilities (but not the room rate, taxes or fees)
  • a complimentary room upgrade at check-in, which of course is subject to availability.

These complimentary extras can add a lot of value to your hotel stays.

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 MRG 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 more 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%)
  • a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 12 months with a one-off establishment fee of 1%
  • Amex Offers: save money with regular discount offers, like a $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 100,000 bonus points

Receive 100,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you apply online by 7 January 2019, are approved and spend $1,500 on your new card within the first 3 months.

Here are some great ways to use those bonus points:

  • convert them to 75,000 airline frequent flyer points: that’s enough to fly from Australia to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific in premium economy return (60,000 Asia Miles) or with some more points you could fly business class return (90,000 Asia Miles)
  • with a few more points you could also fly as far as India, Sri Lanka, Japan or Korea in economy return with Singapore Airlines (up to 84,000 KrisFlyer miles) or one way in stylish business class (up to 83,000 KrisFlyer miles)
  • redeem the points for $741 of spend with Webjet, Helloworld Travel or Amex Travel, or as $741 of credit on your card account.

Use your points to fly Cathay Pacific business class

Remember, point redemption rates will change as of 15 April 2019, so consider redeeming or transferring your points before then. Amex says that before the changes come into effect it will have a range of ways for card members to use their points if they choose, to ensure they receive maximum value.

To be eligible for this offer, you must not have held a credit card issued directly by Amex Australia in the last 18 months. However, you are eligible if:

  • you’ve held an Amex card issued by a bank (i.e. Westpac, ANZ, CBA or NAB), or
  • you’re an additional card member on someone else’s primary card account (including a corporate account).

The minimum income to qualify is $65,000 per annum.

To read more and apply on Amex’s website, click here (mobile-friendly).

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’ll 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.

American express explorer card

About the Author:

Kris is the founder of The High Life and a complete travel addict. Originally from Perth, he's now based in Melbourne - but he's happiest in the air travelling to somewhere new. In 2018, Kris will be exploring Thailand, southern Europe, the USA and Mexico.


  1. Rob 22 November 2018 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Can a holder of a Velocity AMEX cancel his existing card and reapply for this NEW Amex card

    • Kris Brankovic 22 November 2018 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Rob, if you want to switch cards, the best thing to do is apply for this one and then when approved cancel your old card. While you aren’t eligible for the 100k points, you can enjoy all the other card benefits.

  2. james wood 13 March 2018 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Hi ,

    Is it difficult to add a supplementary card holder and can they enjoy the benefits also?

    • Kris Brankovic 14 March 2018 at 10:13 am - Reply

      Hi James, it’s very easy to get a supplementary card – you just log into your account online or call Amex and request one. Only the primary cardholders gets the main perks – the supplementary card basically helps you earn more points.

  3. Harly 8 March 2018 at 12:36 am - Reply

    Hi Kris,

    I’m a supplementary cardholder, do I tick the box for this question – “Please check this box if you have another American Express Issued Card”


    • Kris Brankovic 8 March 2018 at 9:30 am - Reply

      Hi Harly, no don’t check that box 🙂

      • Harly 8 March 2018 at 11:42 am

        Great thanks! 🙂

  4. John 31 January 2018 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Hi Kris, thanks for the information. I just (yesterday) received my Explorer card based on the 50,000 bonus points offer – do you think there would be any scope to claim the 100,000 bonus points offer instead keeping in mind the minimum spend in the first 3 months is also double? I would like to get some thoughts before raising this with AMEX. Thanks

    • Kris Brankovic 31 January 2018 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      Hi John, I’m not sure how Amex would respond to that request, but there is no harm in asking! 🙂

      • John 31 January 2018 at 5:06 pm

        Very true! Will let you know if I have any luck!

      • John 12 February 2018 at 7:08 pm

        Looks like it was worth the effort – I sent an email to the public affairs team who passed it on to the customer care team. I then had to call the customer care team to get their agreement. There was 5 days between the application date and when the increased bonus points offer was introduced so perhaps they have a 7 day grace period, not sure. Anyway, just have to meet the increased minimum spend and call them then to get the extra points added manually

      • Kris Brankovic 25 February 2018 at 4:40 pm

        That’s a fantastic outcome – nice work!

    • Gloria 9 April 2018 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Hi John, do you mind telling me the date you applied and the date the 100,000 bonus points offer introduced. I applied around the same time and they were not able to tell me when the 100,000 offer was introduced.

      • Kris Brankovic 9 April 2018 at 9:59 pm

        Hi Gloria, the 100k Explorer offer was launched at 2pm Sydney time on 30 January.

  5. Nicky 8 November 2017 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Hi I have 2 questions – if I have a velocity card does that count as Amex or bank issued and can I get this offer?
    I am a sole trader, the business explorer card is currently offering 100000 points so potentially better but I can’t see if that one also includes the screen protection insurance. Do you know?
    I mostly use Virgin if that helps

    • Flyboy Kris 8 November 2017 at 8:53 am - Reply

      Hi Nicky, what is the specific Velocity card you hold? It’s it’s Amex Velocity Platinum, Gold or Escape then you aren’t eligible for bonus points.

      There’s no screen insurance with Business Explorer, but it’s a great card. Note it also doesn’t have the $400 travel credit that the consumer Explorer card has. But if you can spend $100k year, you get 50k bonus points with Business Explorer, which is awesome 🙂

  6. Peter 22 September 2017 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    What is everyone valuing a Gateway point in AUD $ these days out of interest?

  7. Bryan 22 September 2017 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Hi Kris, your article is great thanks – another question though, you say in the text “To be eligible for the bonus, you must not have held a credit card issued directly by AMEX Australia ” – does that include holding a charge card as well, or can you qualify for the bonus points if you hold an AMEX charge card?

    • Flyboy Kris 22 September 2017 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Hi Bryan, unfortunately it does include charge cards, so if you have one, you’re not eligible for the bonus. Sucks, I know!

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