Are you looking for a rewards credit card that offers a versatile points scheme, a range of insurances and a number of card benefits, with no annual fee? Enter the American Express Essential Card.

This popular rewards credit card delivers smartphone screen insurance, a 12 month 0% p.a. balance transfer offer (T&Cs and fees apply) plus a range of other benefits – with $0 annual fee for the life of the card.

The AMEX Essential also provides a generous earn rate into the American Express Membership Rewards ‘Gateway’ program, providing the flexibility to transfer points to eight airline partners.

Go to the AMEX website to apply now (secure, mobile-friendly application form here).

Or, compare other credit cards here.

The American Express Essential Card: Our Review

The American Express Essential is a popular choice for those seeking the ability to earn rewards on everyday spend, whilst enjoying no annual card keeping fees and a low interest rate. Read on to find out more.

Enjoy $0 annual fee – for the lifetime of the card

With the AMEX Essential Credit Card, you won’t pay an annual fee – ever. Unlike some other rewards credit cards offering fee waivers, the $0 annual fee is offered on an ongoing basis, not just for the first year.

Earn 1 AMEX Membership Reward point per $1 on everyday spend

The American Express Essential Card delivers a solid earn rate on day to day spend. For every $1 you spend on purchases, you’ll earn 1 Membership Rewards ‘Gateway’ point. The only exceptions to this are utilities, insurance, telecommunications and government bodies in Australia where you earn 0.5 points per $1 spent

And best of all, there’s never a cap on how many points you can earn with the American Express Essential Card – regardless of how much you spend each month or year.

Enjoy flexibility with the American Express Membership Rewards program

Rather than being locked into one frequent flyer scheme, the versatile AMEX Rewards Gateway program allows you to earn points now and decide what to do with them at a later date. Your points transfer at a 4:3 rate to the following airlines:

  • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Malaysian Airlines Enrich
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus

Tip: while you can’t send your points to Qantas, by transferring them to OneWorld partner airline, Cathay Pacific, you can book Qantas operated flights at competitive points redemption rates. We’ve previously written about redeeming Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for Qantas flights here.

american express essential card

Unlock reward flights in Singapore Airlines business class when you earn with your AMEX Essential card

Card members can also transfer points to Hilton Honors at a 1:1 rate and Marriott Rewards at a 3:2 rate. Plus, AMEX Membership Rewards points can also be redeemed online with Webjet, Helloworld Travel and AMEX Travel.

Unlike many loyalty schemes, as long as your account is in good standing, your Membership Rewards points will never expire.

Not into flights or nights? Use your AMEX Membership Rewards points in other ways

Not everyone wants to travel. Above and beyond travel related redemptions, you can use your AMEX Membership Rewards points for gift vouchers at popular retailers like David Jones or Bunnings.

You can also use your points to pay off the balance on your card, or credit your points to individual transactions on your online statement. For these redemption options, 13,500 AMEX Membership Rewards Gateway points is equivalent to $100.

Access handy Smartphone Screen Insurance

Protect your Smartphone Screen from a life shattering crack. Simply pay your phone bill or monthly contract on your AMEX Essential and you’re protected when it comes to a busted phone.

With Smartphone Screen Insurance, American Express will reimburse you for the cost of the screen repair up to $500 with a 10% excess per claim. For more information, refer to the Product Disclosure Statement for the AMEX Essential Credit Card Insurances here.

Enjoy wide acceptance of your AMEX Essential Credit Card

You can happily swipe your card at hundreds of thousands of Australian merchants that accept AMEX. You’ll be surprised at just how widely your card is welcomed. This includes airlines, supermarkets, petrol stations, restaurants, small retailers and more.

 Access Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay

Tap and go with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay. It’s simple to set up on your smartphone and will allow you to pay with ease when you’re out and about.

Get a range of other card features

The American Express Essential Card delivers a range of other valuable AMEX card member benefits. These include:

  • A low, 14.99 p.a. interest rate on purchases (T&Cs apply)
  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for the first 12 months (A one-off credit plan establishment fee of up to 3% applies. Refer full terms and conditions on the AMEX website)
  • Pay no annual card fee for up to 4 additional card members, and
  • Enjoy Purchase and Refund Protection, Online Fraud Protection Guarantee and Emergency Card Replacement.

The AMEX Essential also unlocks features like the rewarding Local Champion game, where card members can earn additional bonus point per $ spent at retailers they shop frequently at.

You can access the Key Fact Sheet for the AMEX Essential Credit Card here.

American Express Essential Card eligibility

To apply for the American Express Essential Card, you’ll need to report a minimum gross (pre-tax) income of $40,000. You’ll also need to be 18 years or over and an Australian citizen or permanent resident or a holder of a Business Long Stay Visa (subclass 457).

The low personal income threshold for this card makes it attractive for those who may not qualify for a premium card with a higher income requirement.

The secure, mobile friendly application form should take you less than 10 minutes to complete and AMEX may be able to give you a response in 60 seconds.

Go to AMEX website to apply now

Or, compare other credit cards here.


The Champagne Mile receives a commission when you click on one of the outbound links on this page to apply for the American Express Essential Credit Card on the AMEX website. We thank you for your support.