Highest Points Earning American Express Credit Cards

Compare the highest-earning American Express credit cards on offer, including the direct-earn rate for Qantas and Velocity Cards.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 1 Jun 2024

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Comparing highest points earning American Express credit cards

American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card

Rewards program

Qantas Business Rewards

Points per $1 spent

1.25 points

Sign up bonus

170,000 points

Annual fee

$450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Obtain 170,000 bonus Qantas Points with the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card when applying by 25 June 2024, getting approved, and spending at least $6,000 within 3 months of approval. Exclusive to new American Express Card Members.
  • Earn 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on Qantas products and services, up to 1.25 points per $1 spent on everyday spend, and 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on government spend, utilities, and insurance.
  • Once a total of 500,000 Qantas Points is earned in a calendar year, the everyday business earn rate will change from 1.25 to 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent. *For Card Members who applied for the Card between July 1, 2023, and January 9, 2024, this change will take effect from July 10, 2024.

Pros

  • Earn 170,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Two complimentary passes for the Qantas Club lounge every year.
  • A flexible Payment Option is available to spread costs over time for a portion of your balance.
  • Power up your business – Spend with Dell Technologies and get up to $100 credit.

Cons

  • The $450 p.a. annual fee.
  • Balance must be repaid in full each month.
  • No concierge service.
  • Lounge passes are valid for Qantas Club and not the international business lounges.
American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

Rewards program

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Points per $1 spent

1.25 points

Sign up bonus

70,000 points

Annual fee

$450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points. Acquire 70,000 bonus Qantas Points by applying before 28 May 2024, getting approved, and spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, an additional 20,000 bonus Qantas Points in your second year upon fee renewal. T&Cs apply. Exclusive to New Card Members.
  • Receive 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations annually.
  • Access a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year (conditions apply).

Pros

  • Earn up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Excellent earn rates on everyday spending. Earns points on payments to the ATO.
  • Access to The Centurion® Lounge. after your first card spend on the card for Qantas products and services each anniversary year.
  • 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations each year.
  • Add cards for up to four family and friends at no cost.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $450.
  • There is no concierge service, even though it's a high end card.
  • Balance transfers are not possible.
  • Transactions in a foreign currency attract a fee.
American Express Platinum Card

Apply by 25 June 2024

American Express Platinum Card

Rewards program

Membership Rewards

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 Platinum Business Card

Rewards program

Membership Rewards

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.
The Qantas American Express Premium Card

Rewards program

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Points per $1 spent

1 point

Sign up bonus

20,000 points

Annual fee

$249.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Obtain 20,000 bonus Qantas Points upon online application approval and spending $3,000 within 3 months. Exclusive to New Amex Card Members.
  • Enjoy 2 complimentary Qantas Club invitations annually (conditions apply).
  • Benefit from complimentary domestic and international travel insurance coverage.

Pros

  • 20,000 bonus Qantas points for signing up and hitting the spending target.
  • Earn points on your everyday spend. Also earns points at a reduced rate on government spend.
  • Give up to 4 of your friends and family a card — at no extra cost — to earn more points.
  • $450 Qantas Travel Credit, which is fairly easy to trigger with your first Qantas purchase each year.
  • Comes with complimentary card purchase cover and travel insurance.

Cons

  • There is an annual fee of $249.
  • The purchase rate is quite high, but can be avoided with responsible use.
  • No balance transfer facility.
Qantas American Express Discovery Credit Card

Rewards program

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Points per $1 spent

0.75 points

Sign up bonus

N/A

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Acquire 1.75 Qantas Points on eligible Qantas products and services.
  • Earn 0.75 Qantas Point for every $1 spent on Card purchases, except for spending at government bodies in Australia, where you will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
  • Enjoy no annual card fee.
  • Obtain up to 4 Additional Cards for family members or friends with no extra fee.

Pros

  • Ongoing $0 annual fee, a rarity among rewards credit cards.
  • Earn 0.75 Qantas points per $1 spent and 0.5 Qantas points per $1 for government spend.
  • No cap on the number of points you can earn.
  • Add up to 4 additional cards for family members or friends with no extra fee.
  • Complimentary Card Purchase Cover and Card Refund Cover.

Cons

  • There is a 3% foreign transaction fee.
  • Lacks complimentary travel insurance.
  • There is no access to a concierge service.
American Express Velocity Platinum Credit Card

Rewards program

Velocity Frequent Flyer

Points per $1 spent

1.25 points

Sign up bonus

60,000 points

Annual fee

$375.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get 60,000 bonus Velocity Points upon applying by 26 June 2024, getting approved, and making $3,000 in eligible purchases with your new Card within the initial 3 months. Offer valid for new Amex Card Members exclusively.
  • Receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight between specified cities annually following your first Card spend each year.
  • Benefit from 2 complimentary Virgin Australia lounge passes each year at selected domestic airports.

Pros

  • Receive 60,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight between selected cities each year after your first Card spend each anniversary year.
  • Enjoy 2 complimentary Virgin Australia lounge passes each anniversary year at selected domestic airports.
  • Receive 100 Velocity Frequent Flyer Status Credits, when you spend a minimum of $50,000 within your card membership year.
  • Complimentary domestic and international travel insurance.
  • Get the Amex Experiences App to access information on Platinum benefits, travel offers, events and recommended merchants.
  • Add up to 4 additional cardholders for free.

Cons

  • The interest rates applied to balances carried over is on the high end.
  • There is no balance transfer offer on this card.
American Express Velocity Business Charge Card

Rewards program

Velocity Frequent Flyer

Points per $1 spent

1 point

Sign up bonus

100,000 points

Annual fee

$249.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get 100,000 Bonus Velocity Points upon applying by 27 August 2024, getting approval, and fulfilling the minimum spending requirement of $3,000 within 2 months of approval. Offer valid for New American Express Card Members exclusively.
  • Accumulate 2 points for every $1 spent on Virgin Australia services and up to 1 point per $1 spent on other transactions. Earn 0.5 points per $1 on ATO and government expenditures.
  • Benefit from 2 complimentary single-entry passes to the Virgin Australia Lounge at chosen domestic airports annually.

Pros

  • Receive 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the criteria.
  • Earn up to 2 Velocity Points per $1 spent.
  • No pre-set spending limit and up to 51 days to pay for purchases.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $249 p.a.
  • Each employee card costs $99.
American Express Velocity Escape Card

Rewards program

Velocity Frequent Flyer

Points per $1 spent

0.75 points

Sign up bonus

N/A

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Acquire Velocity Points while benefiting from a $0 annual card fee.
  • Points accrued on your card seamlessly transfer to your Velocity account monthly and are redeemable for various rewards such as flights, lodging, car rentals, gift cards, and beyond.
  • Earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent, except for transactions with Australian government entities, where you'll earn 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent.

Pros

  • No annual fee, but still earn points.
  • Earn 1.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent on purchases with Virgin Australia.
  • Get 0.5 points per $1 when paying tax to the ATO using the card.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases when the previous balance has been cleared in full.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with complimentary travel insurance.
  • No complimentary lounge access.
  • No access to the concierge service.
  • There is no balance transfer offer for this card.
American Express Explorer Credit Card

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 Business Explorer Credit Card

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 Gold Business Card

Rewards program

Membership Rewards

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.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card

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 is a major card issuer in Australia and a popular choice for those looking to maximise points. Many choose Amex for its high sign-up bonuses, ongoing offers, high points earn rates, and premium customer service. The downside is Amex charges higher fees to merchants, so its acceptance isn’t as widespread as Visa and Mastercard. However, acceptance has improved significantly in recent years.

Most major retailers and many smaller independent shops now accept American Express cards. Many users also hold an Amex card alongside a points-earning Visa or Mastercard to ensure they can purchase anywhere.

In Australia, American Express cardholders can earn points in three programs depending on the card type: American Express Membership Rewards, Qantas Frequent Flyer, and Velocity Frequent Flyer.

How to use our highest earning comparison table

For all the cards and offers listed on this page, we focus on two key aspects:

  • Direct earn rates are for cards that earn Qantas or Velocity Points on eligible spend.
  • Effective earn rates are for cards that earn points in the Membership Rewards flexible rewards program, which can later be transferred to other frequent flyer programs at varying rates.

The ‘effective earn rate’ standardises the number of points you could earn with a Membership Rewards card. For instance, the Amex Platinum Card earns 2.25 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent. When converting these into Qantas Points at a 2:1 rate, the effective earn rate becomes 1.125 Qantas Points per $1 spent.

What to consider in an American Express credit card

Beyond the card’s usual earn rates, consider the following:

  • Unique benefits: Look for shopping perks, complimentary insurance, travel credits or free return domestic flights.
  • Sign-up bonuses: New customers often benefit from sign-up bonuses. Existing users usually need to go 18 months without holding an American Express product to be eligible for a new sign-up bonus.
  • Merchant acceptance: Check whether the places you usually shop accept American Express and if any surcharges apply.
  • Annual fees and T&Cs: Review the card's annual fees and overall terms and conditions.
  • Mobile payment capabilities: Ensure the card supports Google and Apple Pay, which are increasingly useful.

A large sign-up bonus might offset a lower earn rate or a higher annual fee, so factor this into your decision.

The information on this page should be up to date at publication. However, offers may change over time.

Membership Rewards partners

American Express Membership Rewards is a flexible points program with frequent flyer and hotel partners. Generally, the transfer rate is two Membership Rewards points for one frequent flyer point or mile, except where specified differently below. Airline transfer programs include:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer (from limited cards only)
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints (200:1 transfer rate)
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Emirates Skywards (3:1 conversion rate)
  • Etihad Guest
  • Hawaiian Airlines’ HawaiianMiles
  • Hilton Honors
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Marriott Bonvoy (3:2 transfer rate)
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (3:1 conversion rate)
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Transfers from Amex Membership Rewards to Qantas Frequent Flyer are only possible for members at the Ascent Premium tier of Membership Rewards, usually available with Amex’s most premium products like the Platinum Card, Platinum Business Card, and Centurion Card.