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American Express Essential Credit Card
American Express Essential Credit Card

American Express Credit Cards

American Express Essential Credit Card

Updated 5 August 2022

Receive $100 back when you apply online for a new American Express Essential Credit Card, are approved, and spend $1,500 on your card in the first 3 months. Enjoy money-saving features and complimentary extras with no annual fee. Earn 1.25 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on purchases. Take advantage of Smartphone Screen Cover of up to $500 for screen repairs. New American Express Card Members only. T&Cs apply.

Points Earn Rate (per $1 spent)

1.25 points

Amex

Rewards Program

Amex Membership Rewards

Bonus Points

N/A

Pros and cons

  • Receive $100 back when you apply, are approved and spend $1,500 on your card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. New American Express Card Members only.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 1.25 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent, except for Government purchases where you will earn 1 point per $1 spent.
  • Smartphone Screen Cover of up to $500 for screen repairs to your Smartphone when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card
  • Enjoy a low interest rate of 14.99% p.a. on purchases
  • Transfer points to a choice of 8 Airline Partner Programs
  • Add up to 4 Additional Cards at no extra charge
  • Fast check-out with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay

  • No introductory balance transfer offer

Creditcard.com.au review

Editor Review

American Express Essential Credit Card

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

AMEX Membership Month is this August. If you have this card, check out your offers in the Amex App to save them to your card.

Again and again, when we review American Express cards, we see quality. Whether it’s an awesome rewards program, amazing features, or excellent extras, quite simply, American Express do credit cards right.

The American Express Essential Credit Card is no exception. Let’s start by saying this is a no annual fee credit card. Usually, no annual fee credit cards are pretty low on excitement. They tend to have minimal features, few offers and not much in the way of wow.

Not so with this card. American Express Essential Credit Card, how do I love it? Let me count the ways. You have a well-rounded rewards program. You have an extremely attractive purchase rate. You have some very lovely features. Plus, receive $100 back when you apply online now.

Want to find out more? So do we.

What we love…

The American Express Essential Credit Card currently offers a sign-up treat of $100 back when you apply online, be approved, and spend a minimum of $1,500 on your card in your first three months from card membership. After the spend criteria is met, the credit will be deposited to your account in 8-10 weeks. Credit earned may be reversed if your eligible purchase is refunded or cancelled.

Now, let’s get into the rewards program. When you’re approved for the American Express Essential Credit Card, you’ll receive complimentary enrollment into the Membership Rewards Gateway program. As for points-earning-potential, you can earn up to 1.25 points per $1 spent on the card.

When you’re ready to redeem your points, simply transfer them to your choice of eight airline rewards partner programs. These include Air New Zealand Airpoints, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Malaysian Airlines Enrich, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, THAI Royal Orchid Plus, Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Alternatively, you can redeem your points online for a gift card from selected top retailers.

Program name Conversion rate
Air New Zeland Airpoints (NZ) 200 MR = 1 Airpoint Dollar
Cathay – Asia Miles 2 MR = 1 Asia Mile
Emirates Skywards 2 MR = 1 Skyward Mile
Etihad Guest 2 MR = 1 Etihad Guest Mile
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 2 MR = 1 KrisFlyer Mile
Malaysian Airlines Enrich 2 MR = 1 Enrich Mile
THAI Royal Orchid Plus 2 MR = 1 Royal Orchid Plus Mile
Virgin Atlantic 2 MR = 1 Flying Club Mile
Hilton Honors 2 MR = 1 Hilton Honors Point
Marriot Bonvoy 3 MR = 2 Marriot Points

 

Alongside a stack of extras, this rewards card features a fantastic low 14.99% p.a. on purchases. But the feature we love most? It’s got to be its no annual fee!

What’s not so great…

We’ve counted the ways in which we love the American Express Essential Credit Card, now it’s time to look at its not-so-great features. To be fair, these really only relate to its lacking of a balance transfer offer.

Why should you choose this card?

If you want a rewards card but don’t want to pay through the nose for it, this card is definitely worth a closer look. As a no annual fee card it is packed with features. Not only does it have a rewards program and an intro offer, it also has an incredible selection of extras.

If you use the card to cover your phone contract or buy a phone, you can enjoy complimentary Smartphone Screen Cover for that phone. This provides up to $500 for screen repairs to your smartphone, with a 10% excess per claim.

As an American Express cardholder, you can also enjoy money-saving offers from top brands using the exclusive Amex Offers program. Meanwhile, American Express Experiences provides you access to a wide range of sought-after events, including film, music, and theatre, often before tickets go on sale to the public.

On top of that, you can benefit from Card Purchase Cover, Buyer’s Advantage Cover, Card Refund Cover, Online Fraud Protection, Emergency Card replacement, and the new Plan It™ Instalments feature - you can shop at your favorite establishments, then pay off your balance in monthly instalments at 0% p.a. and a fixed monthly charge. You also get up to 4 additional cardholders at no extra fee, and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Overall Rating

This is a no annual fee rewards card that really delivers. It offers rewards, features, extras and a low purchase rate. Plus, a treat of $100 back when you apply today. Wins all round, we say.

User reviews

American Express Essential Credit Card ( based on 8 Creditcard.com.au user reviews )

75% rating based on 8 reviews

Rates
Fees
Rewards
Customer Service
Value
0%

Roshni

5 March 2022

Have had this card for several years now…would recommend 100% only one issue i face is some vendors don’t accept Amex

Recommends this card
71%

Shoaib

10 June 2020

Great card. Love the no annual fee.

Recommends this card
95%

Creditcard.com.au Visitor

31 May 2016

Good offer from Amex

Recommends this card

Rates and fees

Interest rates



Purchase rate 14.99% p.a.

Cash advance rate N/A

Interest free period on purchases up to 55 days

Credit limits

Minimum credit limit $2,000

Maximum credit limit N/A

Fees & repayments

Annual fee $0 p.a.

Additional cardholder fee Up to 4 at no extra cost

Foreign transaction fee 3%

Minimum repayment 2.5% or $30, whichever is greater

Cash advance fee N/A

Late payment fee $30

Rewards and points

Rewards program

Rewards Program Amex Membership Rewards Amex Membership Rewards

Bonus points N/A

Annual points cap uncapped

Bonus points spend criteria N/A

Earning points with this card

Amex Rewards points 1.25 points per $1 spent

Points cap per month N/A

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 No

Rental Vehicle Excess In Australia Insurance No

Extras

Eligible with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay

Overview

American Express Essential Credit Card

Receive $100 back when you apply online for a new American Express Essential Credit Card, are approved, and spend $1,500 on your card in the first 3 months. The American Express Essential Credit Card lets you earn up to 1.25 points per $1 spent and features a $0 annual fee. Enjoy a low 14.99% p.a. on purchases. You can transfer your points to a choice of 8 airline rewards partner programs or redeem online for a gift card. The American Express Essential Credit Card also comes with a Smartphone Screen Cover for up to $500 for screen repairs to your Smartphone when you pay for your phone or contract with your Card.

Key features

  • Receive $100 back when you apply, are approved and spend $1,500 on your card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. New American Express Card Members only.
  • No annual fee
  • Low interest rate of 14.99% p.a. on purchases
  • Earn 1.25 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent, except for Government purchases where you will earn 1 point per $1 spent.
  • Smartphone Screen Cover of up to $500 for screen repairs to your Smartphone when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card
  • Transfer your points to a choice of 8 airline rewards partner programs or redeem online for a gift card from selected top retailers.

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 visa (at least 12 months; does not include student visas).

  • Minimum income of $40,000 p.a.

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

Pauline

Pauline is a personal finance expert at CreditCard.com.au, 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

Recently Asked Questions

Something you need to know about this card? Ask a our credit card expert a question.

108 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

Julia

Julia

8 August 2022
Can student visa apply for amex?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    9 August 2022
    Hi Julia, good question! I checked American Express Essential T&C’s, however it states that student visas are not accepted. You can explore some of the credit cards for students that we have access to for your options. You can compare the cards side by side, read our review and select the one that suits your needs.
Adarsh Singh

Adarsh Singh

7 August 2022
Can I used this card to pay rent ? Transfer the amount to different account? if yes, then what's the fee for that ?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    9 August 2022
    Hi Adarsh, this will all depend on how your landlord and managing agent have set up your account. Take a look at our guide to paying rent with your credit card and have a chat to your real estate. Good luck!
Pierce

Pierce

21 July 2022
I am on student dependent visa with full work right and working full time, am I eligible for this credit card.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    21 July 2022
    Hi Pierce, I checked American Express Essential card’s terms and see that this card is not open for anyone with a student visa. However, there’s a range of credit cards for students that you can compare side by side and select the best card for you. We’ve also listed out each provider's requirements for visa holders and credit cards in this post. Hope this has helped!
Sam

Sam

12 March 2022
Hi If I have held an Amex recently but it's closed now, do I qualify for the $200 cashback?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    14 March 2022
    Hi Sam, thanks for the information! I checked the American Express Essential credit card’s terms and it states that the offer is only available to new card members only. There is a grace period of 18 months, but sounds like you might have missed that. If you’re looking to get cash back, you can use our cashback credit card comparison tool to see other cards with the similar options.Happy card hunting!
Chetan

Chetan

2 March 2022
Hi, Am I eligible to apply for American Express Essential Credit Card from Bridging A visa (I will soon be getting my 485 visa). Or do I need to wait till I get my 485 visa. Thanks.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    2 March 2022
    Hi Chetan, the required eligibility criteria for Amex requires that you have a long term visa with at least 12 months left on it. They also state that this does not include student visas. It might be best to talk to an accountant around this matter.
Marcia

Marcia

12 February 2022
Does the American Express Essential Credit Card points have an expiry date? Can the card be used for paying bills,Bpay payments on bills and other? With the $200 cash back offer spend of $1,500 over three months, does this include a certain amount spent each month and up to which day in the third month is it safe to complete this offer? Considering earning 'up to' 1.25 points per $1 spend on card, what is the lowest earning point per $1? Is the 1.25points only for "Shop Small"?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    14 February 2022
    Hi Marcia, good question! The points are both uncapped and do not expire which is nice as you can use your card for any transactions to collect points until you have enough to redeem for an awesome reward. For the $200 cashback eligibility, there’s no certain amount you need to spend each month but the transaction should be a total of at least $1500 in the first 3 months. Day 1 is when your card is approved. For example, you’re approved on the 1st of March, you have until the 30th of May to reach the total eligibility amount. Once the minimum spend is met, you can expect the $200 to be credited to your account in 8-10 weeks. Some credit transactions go though as “pending” on your statement, so leaving a few days buffer is generally a smart approach. To earn points on your BPAY spend we put together a guide on how to link BPAY with your credit card to earn points. For points, you earn 3 extra points with Shop Small when you save the American Express Shop Small offer to your card and spend at participating businesses. You also earn 1.25 points on purchases and 1 point(the lowest earning point) on purchases at government bodies in AU. Hope this has helped you out!
Ben

Ben

13 December 2021
Does Essential Credit Card have currency conversion fee?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    14 December 2021
    Hi Ben, I checked this for you and yes there’s a foreign transaction fee of 3% charged on purchases made using a foreign currency - either overseas, or within Australia at an overseas merchant. If you’re looking for a no currency conversion fee carde, you can check a list of no foreign fees credit cards we have curated. Let us know which card you go with!
Ayan

Ayan

23 June 2021
Is there am minimum monthly spend amount to get the card ??
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    23 June 2021
    Hi Ayan, thank you for your question. Looking closer at the American Express Essential credit card, there’s no required monthly spend to keep the card.

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