American Express Membership Rewards

Compare American Express credit cards that earn points with the American Express Membership Rewards program.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 28 May 2024

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Comparing American Express Membership Rewards cards

American Express Business Explorer Credit Card

On website

Rewards program

Membership Rewards

Points per $1 spent

2 points

Sign up bonus

N/A

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Experience $0 Annual Card Fee (usually $149) in the first year when applying by July 23, 2024, and getting approved for the American Express® Business Explorer Credit Card. T&C’s apply. Exclusive to New American Express Card Members.
  • Benefit from two American Express Lounge passes per year at Sydney and Melbourne airports.
  • Receive Complimentary Travel Insurance when paying for your return trip with your Card.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee on the first year.
  • Earn up to 2 points per $1 spent.
  • No fee for up to 99 employee cards.
  • Up to 55 interest-free days.

Cons

  • Annual fee reverts to $149 after the initial year.
  • There is no balance transfer offer for this card.
  • Cash advances are blocked, which might be inconvenient for some.
American Express Explorer Credit Card

On website

Rewards program

Membership Rewards

Points per $1 spent

2 points

Sign up bonus

50,000 points

Annual fee

$395.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Obtain 50,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points upon application approval and spending $4,000 on your new Card within the initial 3 months. T&Cs apply. Exclusive to New Amex Card Members.
  • Enjoy a $400 Travel Credit annually for flights, hotels, and car rentals when booked online using this card.
  • Benefit from complimentary domestic and international travel insurance coverage.

Pros

  • The 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when approved and reach spend requirement within the first 3 months.
  • Receive a $400 travel credit every year.
  • Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on purchases except for government bodies in Australia where you will earn 1 point per $1 spent (uncapped).
  • Get two complimentary entries per year to The Centurion® Lounge.

Cons

  • The $395 p.a. annual fee.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card

On website

Rewards program

Membership Rewards

Points per $1 spent

1 point

Sign up bonus

N/A

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • No annual fee in the initial year, saving you $195.
  • Accrue 3 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent at major supermarkets and petrol stations.
  • Access $200 allocated for annual travel expenses, applicable towards eligible flights, hotels, or car rentals when booked through American Express Travel.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee in the first year, saving you $195.
  • Receive $200 to spend on eligible domestic and international flights, hotels, or car hire with American Express Travel.
  • Smartphone Screen Cover for smartphone screen repairs up to $500.

Cons

  • The ongoing purchase rate of 23.99%.
American Express Platinum Business Card

On website

Rewards program

Membership Rewards Ascent

Points per $1 spent

2.25 points

Sign up bonus

350,000 points

Annual fee

$1,750.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Obtain 350,000 bonus Membership Rewards points by applying before 25 June 2024, getting approved, and spending $12,000 on your card within the initial 3 months. Exclusive to New American Express Card Members.
  • Earn up to 2.25 pts per $1 spent.
  • Enjoy exclusive Platinum travel, experience, and dining privileges.

Pros

  • The offer of 350,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you meet the criteria.
  • Earn up to 2.25 pts per $1 spent and 1 point per $1 spent at the ATO.
  • Access to more than 1,400 lounges globally, including The Centurion® Lounge.
  • Gold status match at Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and Premium status at Radisson Hotel Group.
  • Get the Amex Experiences App to access information on Platinum benefits, travel offers, events and recommended merchants.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $1,750 p.a.
  • Since this is a charge card, the balance must be cleared every statement.
  • No balance transfer facility.
American Express Platinum Card

On website

Apply by 25 June 2024

American Express Platinum Card

Rewards program

Membership Rewards Ascent Premium

Points per $1 spent

2.25 points

Sign up bonus

150,000 points

Annual fee

$1,450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Acquire 150,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points by applying before 25 June 2024, getting approved, and spending $5,000 on your new Card within the initial 3 months. T&Cs apply. Exclusive to New Amex Card Members.
  • Utilize a $450 Platinum Travel Credit annually for flight, hotel, or car rental bookings.
  • Indulge in up to $400 per calendar year when dining at a curated selection of over 1,400 hand-picked restaurants, both domestically and internationally. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Receive 150,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Receive a $450 Platinum Travel Credit each year.
  • Enjoy up to $400 Global Dining Credit per calendar year.
  • Access to more than 1,400 lounges globally, including The Centurion® Lounge.
  • Get the Amex Experiences App to access information on Platinum benefits, travel offers, events and recommended merchants.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $1,450.
American Express Gold Business Card

On website

Rewards program

Membership Rewards Ascent

Points per $1 spent

1.5 points

Sign up bonus

75,000 points

Annual fee

$169.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Acquire 75,000 bonus Membership Reward points upon application approval and spending $1,000 on your card within the initial 2 months. Exclusive to New American Express Card Members.
  • Earn up to 1.5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent.
  • Experience enhanced flexibility with no pre-set spending limit.
  • Benefit from Travel Insurance covering up to $2.5 million in medical emergency expenses.

Pros

  • Receive 75,000 bonus Membership Reward points when you meet the criteria.
  • Earn up to 1.5 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent.
  • No cap on how many points you can earn.
  • No pre-set spending limit means more flexibility.
  • Spend with Dell Technologies to receive up to $75 credit until 31 December 2024.
  • Membership Rewards points can be transferred to a number of airlines, giving you options when booking travel.

Cons

  • The $119 fee for every additional card added.
  • Doesn't offer airport lounge access.
  • No access to concierge services.

Membership Rewards is a credit card loyalty program operated by American Express for its cardholders. AmEx has the largest range of credit and charge cards in Australia, with all cards earning loyalty points.

If Membership Rewards doesn't suit your needs, you can easily compare more frequent flyer credit cards with other reward programs.

Why choose American Express Membership Rewards?

  • American Express offers many cards, some with higher earning rates for certain categories, such as travel or supermarkets.
  • Regular offers for statement credits or spending bonus points exist for certain retailers.
  • Points remain active as long as your Membership Rewards account with American Express is active.
  • Accrue points in a flexible program and transfer them to different airline or hotel partners as needed.

Hans Mast of Golden Rule Travel

Hans Mast, a travel expert from Golden Rule Travel and a savvy point collector who once earned 1 million Delta miles in a single deal, praises American Express Membership Rewards as the ultimate in credit card loyalty programs.

According to Mast, "American Express Membership Rewards are the pinnacle of credit card points worldwide. Their breadth of transfer partners is unmatched, covering all major alliances with multiple choices. They excel both in how many points you earn per dollar and the value of their transfer bonuses. In short, you cannot consider yourself a true travel credit card guru unless Amex MR forms the cornerstone of your points strategy."

Where can I transfer Membership Rewards Points to?

Membership Rewards has many direct transfer partners, including Velocity Frequent Flyer, KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and Etihad Guest. Certain premium cards also provide Qantas Frequent Flyer as a transfer partner.

For most transfer partners, two Membership Rewards points convert to one frequent flyer point (or mile). American Express lists most transfer partners and their current conversion rates.

You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to a range of other international frequent flyer programs, enhancing the Membership Rewards scheme's versatility.

How Membership Rewards credit cards work

Membership Rewards credit cards are issued by American Express and are only available in Australia. Not every AmEx card earns Membership Rewards points; some are linked with Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer programs.

Enrolling in Membership Rewards is free, but these credit cards typically have an annual fee. One significant benefit of earning Membership Rewards points is the ability to transfer them to other airline rewards programs, providing flexibility and enhancing the value of your points.

How to compare Membership Rewards credit cards

When comparing Membership Rewards credit cards, consider more than just the points you can earn. Evaluate the value of complimentary benefits like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and purchase protection, which can be worth hundreds of dollars. Not all cards offer the same benefits, so comparing the details of each card is essential to find the best fit for your needs.

Membership Rewards earn rate

The rate at which Membership Rewards points are earned varies by card. This rate is usually expressed as a ratio of one point per dollar spent on eligible purchases. Premium cards with higher annual fees typically have higher earning rates. Some cards, like the American Express Shop Small, may offer higher or lower rates depending on the purchase type or promotional offers.

Sign-up bonus points

Occasionally, AmEx offers large sign-up bonuses for new customers who apply for specific cards. These bonuses usually require meeting a spending target within the first three months, such as 80,000 bonus points for spending $1,500 in the first three months.

Membership Rewards earning caps

Unlike many competitors, AmEx cards do not have monthly earning caps or thresholds. The advertised points earning rate remains consistent throughout the month, regardless of spending levels. This allows cardholders to make significant purchases, such as technology or travel, knowing they will earn points at the initial rate.

Membership Rewards tiered earn rates for specific spending types

The points earning rate can vary by card and spending type. Cards with higher annual fees typically earn points faster. Some AmEx cards offer tiered earning rates based on where you spend, such as 3.0 points per dollar at supermarkets, 2.0 points at petrol stations, 0.5 points for government and telco spending, and 1.0 point for other purchases.

Earn points for government purchases

AmEx cards award points for government spending, unlike many rewards cards. However, the rate for government purchases, such as ATO payments or local government rates, is typically lower, usually 0.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar.

Help choosing an American Express Membership Rewards credit card

Discover the perfect American Express Membership Rewards credit card tailored to your lifestyle and rewards preferences.

  • FAQs

Are Membership Rewards credit cards hard to get?

Given the limited range of credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points and their relatively high minimum criteria, getting approved for a Membership Rewards credit card can be more difficult.

Do Membership Rewards points expire?

Unlike many competitors, AmEx does not set an expiration date for Membership Rewards points. You can keep your points until you are ready to use them or have accumulated enough for your chosen redemption.

Do balance transfers earn Membership Rewards points?

No, balance transfers, which American Express seldom offers, do not earn Membership Rewards points.

Do cash advances earn Membership Rewards points?

No, cash advances or any transactions classified as cash advances, such as buying foreign currency, do not earn Membership Rewards points.