The secret key to unlock your 2019 Vivid experience

The secret key to unlock your 2019 Vivid experience

  • Vivid Sydney is fantastic, but Vivid + American Express is out of this world 
  • Get some great tips on how to maximise your Vivid 2019 experience
  • Find out how American Express cardholders can score Vivid perks and discounts


You only have to see one New Year’s Eve fireworks displays to know what a truly beautiful harbour city we have on our doorstep. 

And the world gazes with envious eyes as Sydney puts her most beautiful foot forward in the shape of Vivid Sydney, about to celebrate its 10th year in 2019.

Starting as a light festival back in 2009, the event has grown, as these things so often do, into a spectacular event celebrating light, music and ideas. The festival attracts not only the best of the world’s creative talents but also over seven million visitors.

Wait, what? Yep, I said seven million!

Even by Sydney event standards, seven million is a whole lot of bodies moving around the city. 

All of them travelling, looking for food, looking for a place to rest. It’s almost like an episode of The Walking Dead. But with no zombies. And much more fun! 

If you are coming to Sydney for Vivid, you’ll need to do some planning. This means knowing where to stay, how to get there, what you want to see, where you want to eat, where to take a break.

And you know, being a savvy credit card user, attending an event like this is the perfect time to work out which credit card is going to reward you the most.

What’s the best credit card to unlock the perks of a fantastic 2019 Vivid Sydney experience?

Sydney Opera House during Vivid light festival

I am glad you asked.

We’ve partnered with American Express to bring you an offer to get you on your way to Vivid Sydney.

Want some exclusive Vivid perks?


Check out our list of the perkiest of perks which will be unlocked by your shiny new American Express Explorer® Credit Card.

Although, these perks are available to ANY American Express card member, so if you already have a trusty American Express card, you're in luck! 

The American Express Lounge

American Express Lounge Vivid Sydney

Located in the Cruise Bar Rooftop, this exclusive lounge, open from 24 May to 15 June 2019, boasts to-die-for views of Sydney Harbour and our iconic Opera House. These views are the envy of the world at the best of times but during Vivid . . . I can’t even begin to explain! You can drop in for some drinks and nibbles prior to your Vivid walk, or halfway through, or perhaps you prefer to wind down at the end of your evening, before you head back home or to your hotel.


Fine dining during Vivid

Save $20 when you Sync, book and dine on TheFork and spend $50 or more at any of TheFork (previously Dimmi) restaurants and pay with your Amex Card by 16 June*. There are quite a lot of choices around the city, so it’s best to jump on the website to have a look at your options.  

You can sort by places where Amex is accepted, locations, cuisine, and what the restaurant is best for (such as groups, romance, views etc). Rather than wandering around aimlessly on the night, looking for a place to eat, it can help to book in advance. 

It's also a good idea to have a plan for which areas you want to see and at what time.


Turtle lights at Taronga Zoo for Vivid Sydney

To make the most of your time in Sydney we have offers for Taronga Zoo (spend $20 or more and get $5 back by 16 June), BridgeClimb (spend $300 or more and get $50 back by 16 June), Captain Cook Cruises (nothing compares to seeing Sydney Harbour from the water and if you spend $300 or more you get $60 back by 30 June), or you can grab some experience gifts from RedBalloon (spend $240 and get $40 back by 16 June)*.


We have arranged discounts with Europcar (spend $200 or more get $30 back, up to twice by 28 June), Public transport (get 30% back up to $15 on Sydney Trains, Ferries or Light Rail by 16 June) and the Rydo Taxi app (10% off every ride by 15 June)*.

Amex Opal payment

With your American Express Card you no longer need your Opal card to get around during Vivid or any other time. Yeah, you read that right. You can use your American Express® Card to pay for a standard (peak) Adult Opal fare on all Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity Opal services, Sydney Ferries and light rail services.

Bonus points

And for those of you who are applying for your very first Amex, the icing on the Vivid cake is a very cool

100,000 Bonus Points. You’ll receive your bonus points if you:

  • apply and be approved for your new American Express Explorer Card by 18 June 2019 through this exclusive link
  • spend $1,500 in the first three months on your new card once you are approved
  • T&Cs and eligibility criteria apply. Available to new card members only

Tell me more about the American Express Lounge

From May 24 to June 15, 2019, the Cruise Bar Rooftop will play host to the American Express Lounge. This is the place you want to be. It’s perfectly positioned on Level 3 at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay.

  • It will be open from Monday to Sunday 5.30pm – 10.30pm.
  • American Express cardholders will have exclusive use of the area.
  • Special 'Spend and Save' Lounge offer available to American Express cardholders. Save the offer at the 'Tap & Save' kiosk and spend $30 or more to get $5 back by 16 June. Exclusion apply. 
  • With space for up to 400 guests both indoors and outdoors, it will be an oasis away from the crowd.
  • You will have access to breathtaking, panoramic views of Sydney and the harbour. The sails of the majestic Opera House will seem tantalisingly within reach.
  • With a selection of refreshments on offer, there will be something for everyone. Don't worry, Amex payment will be available for you so you won't be left hungry. 

And the absolute best thing of all?

You will have the most stunning Instagram Vivid feed. But I guess you need to decide what works best for your shot. The most gorgeous sunset or the glistening moonlight on the water? Why not do both! And you can use the #nofilter hashtag and know that it’s absolutely 100% correct. Then you can resize that image and make it your Facebook cover. And Snapchat it to your bestie. Hashtag #sorrynotsorry. 

I already have an American Express card; do I get the Vivid goodies too?

Vivid Sydney


Kidding! Of course, you do.

You get all the perks, including the exclusive lounge access, with the exception of the 100,000 bonus points.

But . . . as always, if you successfully refer a friend, you can earn up to 200,000 points a year. YAY!

If you want to bring your bestie to Vivid so you can both hang out at the American Express Lounge, have a few drinks, be super cool and also take gorgeous Instagram feeds, then just log into your account and use your unique referral link to get the process started.

What else does the American Express Explorer® Credit Card get me?

Get 50,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points

Spend conditions apply.
American Express Explorer® Credit Card
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Get 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Receive a $400 Travel Credit each year towards any flights, hotels and car hire when you book online with this card.

Smartphone Screen Insurance for up to $500 for screen repairs when you pay for your phone or contract with this card.

Earn 2 pts per $1 spent on eligible purchases, excluding Government spend where you earn $1 pt per $1 spent.

T&Cs and eligibility criteria apply. Available to new card members only.
Entry into The American Express Lounge is governed by the full Terms and Conditions available at

This credit card offer is subject to change and may not be directly related to the content of this article.

It bears repeating that you can earn 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points just like that! *snaps fingers*

All you have to do is apply for your new card by 18 June 2019 and once approved, spend just $1,500 in the first three months and you will receive your 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points.

Remember, only a handful of American Express partners are promoting this offer. So, make sure you use this exclusive link.

Start thinking about where your 100,000 points will take you.

But wait, there’s more!

Not only will you get your hands on all those fantastic bonus points, but you will also receive:

  • A $400 Travel Credit every year
  • Two complimentary entries per year to the American Express Lounge, located at Sydney International Airport or Melbourne International Airport
  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for the first 12 months — a one-off credit plan establishment fee of 1% applies

The Membership Rewards program

Now I have 100,000 points heading my way, tell me more about the Membership Rewards program

Make that card work for you.

Once you have your new American Express Explorer® Credit Card, you’ll be enrolled in the Membership Rewards program. Some of the main features are:

  • No points cap. And the points you earn per $1 spent stays the same, irrespective of your monthly spend.
  • Earn 2.0 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on purchases, except government bodies in Australia where you will earn 1.0 points per $1 spent.
  • No cap on earn rate. You can earn up to 2.0 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent, no matter what your monthly spend, i.e. there is no points threshold.
  • Transfer your points to a choice of eight Airline Partner Programs, including Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines.
  • Use your points to pay charges on your statement with Select + Pay with points.
  • Earn points faster with up to four additional cards for family members or friends, for no extra fee.

What are some great spots to see the Vivid Light show?

Vivid Sydney

Once you decide you want to escape the blissful bubble that is the exclusive American Express Lounge and brave the masses (and let’s face it, you have to do it at some stage because that’s kind of why you went to Vivid) there are a few places you simply must check out. Some favourites include:

  • The Opera House
  • The Harbour Bridge
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens
  • The Rocks
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Darling Harbour
  • Circular Quay

Check out the Vivid Sydney 2019 site for more details on the installations at the various venues. There is a Vivid Light Walk Map and Program Guide to help you plan your night.

Any insider tips for getting the best from Vivid Sydney?

Crocodile light at Vivid Sydney

  • Get in early because the first few days are generally quieter
  • Avoid the weekends if you can. Crowds, people and more crowds.
  • If you can’t avoid the weekends, go later in the night and opt for Saturday or Sunday. On Friday you see a lot of workers popping down to peek before they head home for their weekend.
  • Plan to go after 9pm because all the families will be on their way home with the kiddies.
  • Grab yourself a map and plan to see areas outside of the main quay area. As this festival has grown, so have the areas and the number of installations
  • Book a cruise and see it from the water. No crowds, no dramas. Bliss.
  • Don’t even think about driving in, unless you are in love with a Sydney traffic jam. Remember, you can use your American Express card in place of your Opal card.
  • Use the hashtag #vividsydney.
  • Just enjoy the beauty that is the Vivid Sydney festival.

And remember to take advantage of the bonus 100,000 points offer by 18 June 2019, make sure you use this exclusive link!

*Cardholders need to register for 'Spend and Save' cashback offers. For further information, exclusions and T&C's, head to the American Express Vivid Sydney page here. 

**Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by American Express. Full T&C's apply. See here.