What credit score do I need for the American Express Explorer Credit Card?

By   |   Verified by Yvonne Taylor   |   Updated 23rd December 2021

What credit score do I need for the American Express Explorer Credit Card?
  • You need good credit to qualify for this card.
  • You'll need an annual income of $65,000 or more to get approval for their rewards points and travel benefits.
  • The American Express Explorer Credit Card comes with a high annual fee but also offers perks and benefits, including points, an annual travel credit, airport lounge passes and insurance cover.

The American Express Explorer card comes with the usual high credit card interest rate on purchase balances not completely cleared by the payment due date, as well as a high annual fee.

But it has many perks and benefits, including reward points, bonus points, an annual travel credit, airport lounge passes, and wide-ranging complimentary insurance cover.

American Express Explorer Credit Card

On American Express' website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

20.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$395.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 100,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $4,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Card Members only.
  • Receive a $400 Travel Credit each year towards any flights, hotels and car hire when you book online with this card.
  • Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on purchases except government bodies in Australia where you will earn 1 point per $1 spent (uncapped).

Pros

  • The 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when approved and reach spend requirement within the first 3 months.
  • $400 travel credit every year.
  • Get 2 complimentary airport lounge passes per year.

Cons

  • The $395 p.a. annual fee.

Who is the American Express Explorer card for?

The American Express Explorer card is for users with an annual income of $65,000 or more who wish to optimise their rewards points and travel benefits.

What credit score is needed for the American Express Explorer card?

American Express says you need "Good Credit and have not applied for multiple credit cards recently" to qualify for the card. Any credit score that is anywhere from ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’ may make you eligible for the American Express Explorer credit card.

In Australia, credit scores are allocated by the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and illion. Both Experian and Equifax regard a score of around 625 or more as ‘Good’, while for illion it’s 500+. Over 725 is definitely ‘Very good’ at all three bureaus.

You can check your credit score using Finty’s free credit score service.

How hard is it to get the American Express Explorer card?

To be eligible for the card, you need to:

  • Be 18 years or older;
  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a long-term visa holder (not student visa);
  • Have an income of $65,000 or more;
  • Have been in business at least 12 months if self-employed;
  • Have a good credit score with no history of bad debt or payment defaults;
  • Have not applied for multiple cards recently.

Key features and perks

  • Reward points. You get 2 Membership Rewards Points per dollar for most everyday purchases and 1 point for every dollar paid to the ATO and other government organisations.
  • Bonus points. New cardholders may be able to benefit from the large number of bonus points regularly on offer.
  • Travel benefits include an annual travel credit that more than offsets the annual fee, as well as two airport lounge passes each year and a useful hotel credit.
  • Insurance benefits include overseas and domestic travel insurance cover, smartphone screen Insurance, extended warranty, purchase protection and refund cover.

Fees

  • High interest rate on any purchases balances carried over to the following month instead of being fully repaid by the payment due date.
  • High annual fee (offset by annual travel credit).
  • High late payment fee.
  • Foreign currency conversion fee.
  • Up to four additional card holders for free.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Rewards points in American Express Membership Rewards program, with no points cap or expiry.
  • Large bonus of Membership Rewards Points for meeting a fairly low spending target in the first three months.
  • Travel credit each year offsets the annual fee completely.
  • Full suite ofcomplimentary insurance policies, including travel insurance.
  • Two airport lounge passes each year, to American Express Lounge at Sydney or Melbourne International Airports.
  • Free supplementary cardholders (up to four).
  • 55 day payment period, better than the 44 offered by some other cards.
  • Minimum credit limit of $3,000.

Cons

  • High annual fee, especially if you are unable to use all the travel credits.
  • Travel credits limited to spending with American Express Travel.
  • High purchase interest rate, typical for this kind of premium card.
  • No introductory balance transfer offer.
  • Existing and recent American Express card holders are ineligible for the bonus point offers.
  • No cash advances on Amex cards.

How do I apply?

You can apply online. It takes just a few minutes if you have the necessary documents and information ready.

These include:

  • Full name and contact details;
  • Driver’s licence number (if applicable);
  • Annual income and monthly living expenses;
  • Employment details;
  • Details of other credit cards you hold, and any loans you have.

You will receive a 60-second response and a final decision within a few working days.

On American Express' website

Alternatives

If you’re in the market for a credit card with reward points and travel benefits, consider these other options as well.

Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card (Altitude)

On Westpac's website

New offerApply by 24 February 2022

Westpac Altitude Platinum Credit Card (Altitude)

Highlights

  • Receive 130,000 Altitude bonus points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval. Terms and conditions apply.
  • 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers (1 % balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • $49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($150 p.a. annual fee thereafter).

Pros

  • 130,000 bonus Altitude Points when you spend $3,000 in 90 days.
  • 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
  • Additional savings with the $49 first year annual fee ($150 p.a. thereafter).
  • Comes with complimentary travel insurance.

Cons

  • There is a 1% balance transfer fee.
  • Only up to 45 days interest-free on purchases.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card

On NAB's website

Highlights

  • Earn up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points. Receive 90,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days from account approval date and 20,000 bonus points when you keep your card open for over 12 months. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Enjoy 0% on balance transfers for 6 months with 2% Balance Transfer Fee.
  • Reduced annual fee of $295 p.a. instead of $395 p.a. (saving you $100).

Pros

  • Complimentary Qantas Frequent Flyer membership fee valued at $99.50.
  • Six complimentary insurances when you make an eligible purchase.
  • Earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on everyday purchases up to $5,000 per statement period then 0.05 pts per $1 spent thereafter (capped at $20,000).

Cons

  • Annual fee of $395 p.a. is quite high.
American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

On American Express' website

American Express Qantas Ultimate Credit Card

Highlights

  • Receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. Available to new Card Members only
  • Earn 1.25 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on card purchases, except spend at government bodies in Australia where you will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
  • Save the offer to your eligible Card and get 3 extra Qantas Points per $1 spent, in-store or online at participating Shop Small businesses by 31/03/2022, up to a maximum of 40,000 extra Points. Exclusions apply.

Pros

  • The 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria.
  • 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations each year.
  • $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year (conditions apply).

Cons

  • The annual fee of $450.
St.George Amplify Signature Credit Card (Qantas)

On St.George's website

Apply by 24 February 2022

St.George Amplify Signature Credit Card (Qantas)

Highlights

  • Earn up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days from card approval. Exclusions apply.
  • 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with 1% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months


From 1 January 2022, earn 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 up to a maximum of $250,000 spent on eligible purchases annually. Bonus Qantas Points not included in the cap.


Pros

  • The 90,000 bonus Qantas Points.
  • 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
  • Includes complimentary overseas travel insurance for up to 6 months

Cons

  • There is a 1% balance transfer fee.
  • The ongoing annual fee is high at $279 p.a.

FAQs

How does American Express report to credit bureaus?

American Express is known for reporting to credit bureaus once a month. They typically update Experian, Equifax and illion within five days of the end of your card's billing cycle. When you get a new American Express credit card, it may take a couple of billing cycles before your new card appears on your credit report.

What is a 'Good' credit score in Australia?

Different credit reporting agencies use different scoring systems. Some, such as Experian, use a scoring system with the highest score as 1000 and others, like Equifax use a top score of 1200.

Here's how different companies calculate good, very good and excellent scores:

BureauGoodVery goodExcellent
Equifax622-725726-832833-1200
Experian625-699700-799800-1000
illion500-699700-799800-1000

My application for a card was declined. Will this affect my credit score and report?

When creditors review your credit report to evaluate your current application, your previous application will have resulted in a ‘hard inquiry’ by the card issuer you applied to. A hard inquiry appearing in your credit history could hurt your credit score.

Hard inquiries will remain on your credit report for two years, but will only create an impact on the credit score for one year. It is important to remember that as you apply to different cards, these applications can add up to a bigger impact, so don’t apply for lots of cards within a short time frame.

Can I get approved for this credit card if I’m not an Australian citizen?

You may qualify for the American Express Explorer credit card if you are a permanent resident or citizen of Australia or hold a long term visa valid for 12 months or more. Those on student visas are not eligible. Other options for temporary residents are available here.

Verdict

The American Express Explorer Credit Card offers value for money for those who are able to use their rewards points and can make use of the annual travel credit and other annual travel perks.

Whichever card you choose, you need to do your own research and due diligence and compare card features and benefits against the fees before making your decision.