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80,000 Earn 20k points for each 30 day period when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases for the first 120 days
American Express Essential Rewards
American Express Essential Rewards

American Express Credit Cards

American Express Essential Rewards

Updated 25 June 2024

Want to earn more just by doing what makes you happy every day? The Amex Essential Rewards Card accelerates your points with just a small monthly fee, making it ideal if you’re after fabulous perks and more savings.

You'll earn up to 5 points across a huge range of retailers, food outlets and services, and earn points faster by adding up to 4 complimentary cardholders. Amex Membership Rewards can be used for travel, gift cards or paying off your account (which is like money in your pocket).
Terms and conditions apply.

Points Earn Rate (per $1 spent)

5 points

After 10,000 points/month, earn rate is 1 point per $1

Rewards Program

Amex Membership Rewards

Bonus Points

80,000 pts

Earn 20k points for each 30 day period when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases for the first 120 days

Pros and cons

  • Low annual fee: $9 per month fee ($108 per year).
  • Bonus points: Earn up to 80,000 Membership Rewards points when you apply by 23 July 2024 as a new cardholder and are approved. You can get 20k points for each 30 day period in which you spend $1000 on eligible purchases on your card, for the first 120 days (terms and conditions apply).
  • Bonus points: per $1, earn 5 points at selected restaurants and fast food outlets, 3 points for eligible streaming services, 2 points at selected major retailers, and 1 point for all other eligible purchases.
  • Insurances: Smartphone Screen Cover of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with your Amex Essential Rewards card plus other card insurances.
  • Discounts: Get exclusive deals plus up to 15% credit back through MyAmexShop and credit back on your statement through Amex Offers.
  • Extras: For a limited time, pay no interest and a $0 monthly fee on 'Plan It' 3-month instalment plans between 22 April and 31 October 2024. Add up to 4 additional cards at no extra charge.
  • Flexibility: Redeem points at the Membership Rewards online store or transfer to 11 partner airlines.
  • Compatibility: Syncs with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.

  • After earning 10,000 points in a month, the earn rate changes to a flat 1 point per $1. review

Editor Review

American Express Essential Rewards

Pauline Hatch
Pauline is a personal finance expert at, with 8 years in money, budgeting and property reporting under her belt. about this card.

Overall Rating

The new Amex Essential Rewards card has neat new ideas for earning rewards points faster, like the “Eats and Drinks” promotion which earns 5 times the points for eating at popular Aussie restaurants.

The monthly fee is low at $9 (adding up to $108 per year), and while the card emphasises rewards points, it still includes rare extras like smartphone insurance. This is a great card if your focus is earning points for a small outlay.

Editor’s Review: What I love about the Amex Essential Rewards Card

I like that the Amex Essential Rewards card brings something new to the table with its ‘accelerated earning’ program. It has some fun ways to earn big bonus points that make it easier to justify eating fast food and having a weekend binge-watch.

Let’s first look at how the points system works, and then the rest of the card’s features.

Earn 5 bonus points per $1 for Eats and Drinks. The ‘Eats and Drinks’ category includes restaurants, fast food outlets, cafes, bars and some food delivery services in Australia, such as Uber Eats and Menulog.
What this category doesn’t include: supermarkets, grocery stores or catering services. Restaurants and bars inside entertainment venues or hotels may not be eligible, or food purchased through third-party apps.

Earn 3 bonus points per $1 for streaming subscriptions. Eligible streaming services include Netflix, Stan, Disney, Prime, Kayo Sports, Binge and Spotify.
What this category doesn’t include: streaming services bundled with other services like internet or phone plans. You must pay for the service directly to the provider, not through a third party.

Earn 2 points per $1 at selected Australian retailers. The list of partnering stores includes Amazon, Kmart, Bunnings, Myer, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, The Iconic, and Uniqlo. You can earn points online or in-store.
What this category doesn’t include: purchases made through a third-party app or website rather than directly through the retailer.

Earn 1 point per $1 on all other eligible spending. Eligible spend outside the accelerated earn rate categories will earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent including government spend.

It has to be mentioned that there is a points threshold. Once you’ve earned 10,000 points in a month, you’ll earn 1 point per $1 on all eligible purchases for the rest of the month.

Other extras and perks

This card is also packed with great discounts on regular spending and unique experiences.

Australian Entertainment Venues Benefit. Until 13 September 2024, you can get 10% off participating food and beverage outlets in the Qudos Bank Arena, Rod Laver Arena, ICC Sydney Theatre, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane Powerhouse and Allianz Stadium when you pay with your Amex Essential Rewards card.

Credit back from partner retailers. You can earn up to 15% back through MyAmexShop plus credit back or bonus points on entertainment, dining, and travel through Amex Offers.

Smartphone Screen Cover. When you purchase your phone outright or pay your monthly phone bill with your eligible American Express card, you can be reimbursed for the cost of the screen repair up to $500 for two events a year. A 10% excess applies to the claimed amount and waiting periods may apply.

More cardholders for free. It won’t cost anything to add up to 4 additional cardholders (but it does help boost your points faster). Extra cardholders must be over 16.

Plan It Instalments. Plan It Instalments lets you nominate a transaction or a portion of your card balance over $150 to pay off in equal monthly instalments interest-free. Normally a fixed monthly fee is charged, but the fee is waived for 3-month plans initiated between 22 April 2024 and 31 October 2024.

Card insurance. You’ll get Card Purchase Cover, which covers stolen or damaged eligible items within 90 days of purchase, and Card Refund Cover if you’re having trouble getting a refund on an item. Buyer’s Advantage Cover gives you an extended manufacturer’s warranty of up to 12 months on eligible purchases.

Redeeming rewards points

The Amex Membership Rewards program gives you plenty of flexibility in spending your points. For example, you can redeem points for:

  • Gift cards: choose from a range of retailers such as Uber, Hoyts, Westfield, David Jones, Rebel Sport, Amazon, Event Cinema, Sephora, SuperCheap, Harvey Norman, Xbox and more.
  • Shop with Points: redeem points at Myer online if you’re the primary cardholder.
  • Points + Pay: if you’re short on points you can pay the difference with cash.
  • Cover Charges with Points: nominate a purchase on your credit card to be paid with points and the transaction amount is credited back to your account.

You can also convert your Membership Rewards into frequent flyer points with one of Amex’s partner airlines. You’ll need to join the program before you can transfer points.

Partner airline programs include Air New Zealand, Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Hawaiian Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, Singapore KrisFlyer, Thai Royal Orchid Plus, Velocity and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

What’s not so great

The main drawback is the points threshold, where your earning is dropped to 1 point per $1 after you’ve earned 10,000 points in a month. However, 10,000 points is still a lot and the accelerated points potential means you can earn big even if you’re not a high-volume spender.

It comes with 55 days interest-free, but that period is waived if you don’t pay off your card in full each month or you have a balance transfer. Both of these terms are standard for credit cards, so nothing new there.

It doesn’t come with travel insurance or lounge passes, but that’s to be expected for a card with a small annual fee. My tip (as someone who broke a phone screen twice in 3 months) would be to read the smartphone screen insurance terms and conditions. You’ll still pay a 10% excess on the claimed amount.

Who suits the Amex Essential Rewards Card?

The American Express Essential Rewards card is a good fit if you’re looking for a low-cost way to earn big rewards points. You won’t be tied to a frequent flyer program, making it a good all-rounder for redeeming points, with the option to transfer to partner airlines.

User reviews

American Express Essential Rewards ( based on 0 user reviews )

0% rating based on 0 reviews

Customer Service

Rates and fees

Interest rates

Purchase rate 23.99% p.a.

Cash advance rate N/A

Interest free period on purchases up to 55 days

Credit limits

Minimum credit limit $3000

Maximum credit limit N/A

Fees & repayments

Annual fee $9/month p.a.

Additional cardholder fee Up to 4 at no extra cost

Foreign transaction fee 3%

Minimum repayment $30 or 2.5%, whichever is greater (personal & business); N/A (charge cards)

Cash advance fee N/A

Late payment fee $30

Rewards and points

Rewards program

Rewards Program Amex Membership Rewards Amex Membership Rewards

Bonus points 80,000 points

Annual points cap uncapped

Bonus points spend criteria Earn 20k points for each 30 day period when you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases for the first 120 days

Earning points with this card

Amex Rewards points 5 points per $1 spent

Points cap per month After 10,000 points/month, earn rate is 1 point per $1

Overseas earn rate same as standard earn rate

Additional features

Complimentary insurance

International Travel Insurance No

Flight Inconvenience Insurance No

Transit Accident Insurance No

Smartphone Screen Insurance Yes

Purchase Protection Insurance Yes

Extended Warranty Insurance Yes

Rental Vehicle Excess In Australia Insurance No


American Express Essential Rewards

Key features

Minimum criteria to apply for this card

  • Be over 18 years old

  • Good Credit and have not applied for multiple credit cards recently

  • Australian citizen or permanent resident or hold a long term vis (at least 12 months; does not include student visas).

  • You have your personal details ready to complete the online application


Pauline is a personal finance expert at, with 8 years in money, budgeting and property reporting under her belt. Pauline is passionate about seeing Aussies win by making their money – and their credit cards – work smarter, harder and bigger

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