American Express

The American Express Explorer card – 50,000 bonus points

American Express are offering 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards Gateway points when taking out a new American Express 'Explorer' card.

This is the equivalent of 37,500 Velocity, KrisFlyer or AsiaMiles points

While the card comes with a $395 annual fee, this is offset by an annual $400 travel credit that can be redeemed at American Express travel.


To be eligible for the 50,000 points, you will need to apply for the Explorer Credit Card online, be approved and spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of card membership

On top of that, if you have held a directly issued American Express card in the previous 18 months, then you are not eligible for the bonus.

This does not affect you, if you have only held a bank-issued American Express companion card. These include cards such as those from ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB or Westpac.

The minimum income criteria for the card has been set at $65,000 per year.

For more information and to apply for a new card, please visit American Express


The American Express Explorer Card

Earning Points

The card offers a simple points earning structure. For most eligible purchases, you will earn 2 Membership Rewards Points per dollar spend. Government charges see a lower earn rate of 0.5 Points per dollar.

Unlike many other cards there are no caps on the number of points that you can earn.

Transfer Partners

One of the key features of the Membership Rewards Gateway program is its range of transfer partners. These include Velocity, KrisFlyer, Asia Miles, Enrich, Orchard Plus, Skyward, Etihad Guest and Air New Zealand.

For all Airline programs, except Air New Zealand, the transfer rate is 4 Membership Rewards Points to 3 Airline Points. As a result, the 50,000 bonus points transfer to an airline program as 37,500 airline miles.

On an ongoing basis, the effective earn rate for these programs is 1.5 points per dollar. For example, for Velocity, you would get 1.5 Velocity Points for each dollar you spend.

The one Airline exception is Air New Zealand, which operates Airpoints. In this case 100 Membership Rewards points transfers as 0.75 Airpoints.

Card Perks

The American Express Explorer Credit card comes with a range of useful perks. Many of these perks are aimed at the traveller, and they are features that could easily cover the cards annual fee.

Annual $400 Travel Credit

As mentioned, the card provides for an annual travel credit of $400. This needs to be redeemed through American Express Travel and can be done online.

When you log into the American Express travel site, it will appear as a credit on your account. You can then used this as payment (or part payment) for flights, accommodation and so on.

There are a couple of limitations to be aware of. You can only apply it to one transaction, so make sure you use it all in one go. It also has an expiry date (one year after issue), so be careful not to let it expire.

Airport lounge access

If you are flying out of Sydney or Melbourne International Airports, the card provides access to the American Express lounge in the International terminal. You get two passes per year, and they can be useful if you do not otherwise have access to a lounge.

Phone Screen Insurance

The screen of modern smartphones is easily broken – just drop your phone the wrong way. It can also be expensive to fix. Phone Screen Insurance can take the pain out of repairing the screen. If you break the screen on your phone, then this will take care of fixing it (up to a value of $500, and there is a small 10% excess)

To be eligible for the Phone Screen Insurance, you will need to pay for the phone with the Explorer card, if you purchase it outright. On the other hand, if you are on a phone plan, then you need to make your monthly payments with your Explorer card.

Travel Insurance

As a premium card, the Explorer comes with a comprehensive Travel Insurance policy. This includes

  • Medical Emergency Expenses Cover
  • Travel Cancellation Cover
  • Baggage, Money and Documentation Cover
  • Travel Inconvenience Insurance

Amex Explorer Buyer’s Advantage

This feature allows you to extend the manufacturers warranty period by up to 12 months on eligible products

Purchase Protection

A feature to protect you if your new items are stolen or damaged. Refund Protection is also available should a store refuse to accept the return of a recent, unused purchase

Card feature Summary

Card Features
Basic Details
Card Name American Express Explorer® Credit Card
Annual fee $395
Interest Rate 20.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases
Interest Free Period Up to 55 days
Point Earning
Loyalty program Membership Rewards Gateway program
Points Earning
  • Earn 2 Membership Reward Points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, except at Government Bodies
  • Earn 0.5 Membership Reward Points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at Government Bodies
Bonus Points
Points earn rate(Cap/Tier) Uncapped
Other Benefits
Travel benefits
  • $400 Travel Credit every year
  • Transfer your points to a choice of 8 airline partner programs
  • Up to two entries per year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney or Melbourne International Airports
Included Protections
  • Smartphone Screen Insurance
  • Medical Emergency Expenses Cover
  • Travel Cancellation Cover
  • Baggage, Money and Documentation Cover
  • Travel Inconvenience Insurance
  • Buyer’s Advantage
  • Purchase Protection
  • Refund Protection
Other Fees/Charges
Foreign Transaction Fee  3%
Supplementary Card Fee $0

Final Words

This is a premium card, that comes with a range of features that can easily cover the annual fee. It is a good all round card, that offers a simple points earning structure.

For more information and to apply for a new card, please visit American Express


About the author


Mark is the founder of FlyStayPoints, and caught the travel bug early in life. He discovered the benefits of travel loyalty programs in 2001, and is always learning how they can make travel better.

While work takes him between Perth and Melbourne, he is always plotting his next adventure.