Membership Rewards credit cards

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

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 30 May 2024

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Comparing Membership Rewards credit cards

American Express Platinum Card

FeaturedApply by 25 June 2024

American Express Platinum Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$1,450.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 150,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply by 25 June 2024, are approved, and spend $5,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Amex Card Members only.
  • Receive a $450 Platinum Travel Credit each year, which can be redeemed for flights, hotels, or car hire.
  • Enjoy up to $400 per calendar year when you dine from a curated collection of over 1,400 hand-selected restaurants both locally and abroad. 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 Edge Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

23.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee in the first year, saving you $195.
  • Earn 3 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at major supermarkets and petrol stations.
  • Enjoy $200 to spend on travel each year that can be used on eligible flights, hotels, or car hire 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 Explorer Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

23.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$395.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 50,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points when you apply, are approved, and spend $4,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. New Amex Card Members only.
  • Receive a $400 Travel Credit each year towards any flights, hotels, and car hire when you book online with this card.
  • Includes complimentary domestic & international travel insurance.

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 Business Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

N/A

Annual fee

$1,750.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive 350,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you apply by 25 June 2024, are approved, and spend $12,000 on your card within the first 3 months. New American Express Card Members only.
  • Earn up to 2.25 pts per $1 spent.
  • Get 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 Business Explorer Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

23.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy $0 Annual Card Fee (usually $149) in the first year when you apply by 23 July 2024 and are approved for the American Express® Business Explorer Credit Card. T&C’s apply. New American Express Card Members only.
  • Enjoy two American Express Lounge passes per year at Sydney and Melbourne airports.
  • Includes Complimentary Travel Insurance when you pay 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.

Membership Rewards is a credit card loyalty program operated by American Express for the benefit of its cardholders. AmEx has the largest range of credit cards and charge cards on the Australian market, and every one of them earns loyalty points. While several cards earn either Qantas or Velocity Frequent Flyer Points exclusively, most earn Membership Rewards points only, or offer a choice between Membership Rewards and Qantas Frequent Flyer Points.

How Membership Rewards credit cards work

Membership Rewards credit cards are issued by — and exclusively available in Australia from — American Express.

Not every credit card from American Express earns Membership Rewards points since some of them are linked with Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer.

Like most rewards programs in Australia, there is no fee to enrol into Membership Rewards, although Membership Rewards credit cards typically have an annual fee (so they aren't free).

Although earning Membership Rewards points is beneficial, perhaps their most useful — and often overlooked benefit — is the ability to transfer points to other airline rewards programs. This is like having an ace up your sleeve, given how difficult it can be to find good reward seat availability without booking months in advance.

How to compare Membership Rewards credit cards

When comparing Membership Rewards credit cards, it's important not to focus solely on the number of points that can be earned. Consider the value of complimentary benefits offered as well. These benefits, such as travel insurance, airport lounge access, and purchase protection, can be worth hundreds of dollars if utilized. Keep in mind that not all cards offer the same benefits, so it's important to compare the details of each card to determine which features have the most value for you.

Membership Rewards earn rate

When it comes to earning Membership Rewards points, the earning rate varies from card to card. The earn rate is typically expressed as a ratio, such as one point per dollar spent on eligible purchases. Generally, premium cards with higher annual fees tend to have a higher earning rate. Additionally, some cards may earn points at a higher or lower rate depending on the type of purchase or if there is a promotion running, like American Express Shop Small.

Sign up bonus points

From time to time, AmEx will offer large numbers of bonus Membership Rewards points to new customers applying for specific cards. There will usually be a target spending level to be reached in the first three months in order to qualify for the bonus points, e.g. 80,000 bonus points for spending $1,500 in the first three months.

Membersip Rewards earning caps

This is yet another point of difference with AmEx’s competitors.

Many cards have a set earning limit each month. Once that limit is reached (e.g. $3,000 spending in a single billing cycle) no further points can be earned until the beginning of the next monthly billing period.

Other cards may not have an absolute points cap, but set a monthly spending threshold, after which the points earning rate declines sharply (e.g. a drop from 2.0 points to 0.5 points per dollar once a monthly threshold of $2,000 spending is reached).

But AmEx cards have neither a points cap nor a points threshold. The advertised points earning rate remains the same throughout the month, no matter how much you spend. AmEx cardholders can make major purchases, such as technology, household appliances and travel, secure in the knowledge that every dollar they spend will earn points at the initial rate.

Membership Rewards tiered earn rates for specific spending types

The Membership Rewards points earning rate varies from card to card, with cards having a higher annual fee usually earning points at a faster rate. Most cards then apply this individual rate to all eligible purchases (with the exception of government purchases described above).

However, some AmEx cards have a tiered earning rate, depending on where you do your spending. E.g. 3.0 points per dollar for supermarket spending, 2.0 points at petrol stations, 0.5 points for government and telco spending, 1.0 points for everything else.

Earn points for government purchases

Once again, many rewards cards do not award loyalty points for government spending (e.g. ATO payments, local government rates, Australia Post). But AmEx does give you points for government purchases, albeit at a rate lower than that granted for other purchases – usually 0.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar.

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 is more difficult.

Do Membership Rewards points expire?

Unlike many of its competitors, AmEx does not set a date by which points must be used before they expire, e.g. 36 months from the end of the year in which they were earned. You can keep your Membership Rewards points intact until you are ready to spend them, or until you have acquired enough of them for your chosen redemption.

Do balance transfers earn Membership Rewards points?

No. Balance transfers — which American Express seldom offer — do not earn Membership Rewards.

Do cash advances earn Membership Rewards points?

No. Cash advances, or any transaction classified as a cash advance, such as buying foreign currency, do not earn Membership Rewards points.