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Essential Credit Card


Pros and Cons

  • No Annual Fee


    Electronic Wallet Service

    Important Rates


    Balance Transfer

    Overseas spending



    Earn Rates

    RateCard TypeEarnsCondition
    1.25 points for $1 spentAMEXuncappedutilities and insurance from 15 April 2019
    1.25 points for $1 spentAMEXuncappedall other eligible purchases from 15 April 2019
    1 point for $1 spentAMEXuncappedgovernment bodies from 15 April 2019
    1 point for $1 spentAMEXuncappedall other eligible purchases
    0.5 points for $1 spentAMEXuncappedutilities, insurance, government bodies
    • Free Supplementary Cards Supplementary cardholder must be over 18 years of age
    • Purchase Protection Covers up to $10,000 per year
    • Extended Warranty Warranty is extended for the same duration as the original warranty up to 1 year.
    • Airport Lounge 2 complimentary Virgin Australia lounge passes each year at selected domestic airports


    The American Express Essential Credit Card offers cardholders $0 annual fee and rewards points. It also comes with a moderate amount of interest-free days and 12 months balance transfer at 0 per cent (with a 3 per cent establishment fee), all with a moderate interest rate.

    The American Express Essential Credit Card offers uncapped rewards, complimentary insurances and plenty of features without the hefty fees usually associated with rewards cards.

    Standout features include the ability to add up to four supplementary cardholders at no additional fee, as well as smartphone screen insurance covering $500 of screen repairs. You also get access to pre-sale tickets to events through American Express Invites and a range of complimentary insurances such as purchase protection, refund protection, buyer’s advantage and online fraud protection.

    The American Express Essential Card can also be used with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay.

    • No annual fee
    • Flexible rewards program
    • Four free cardholders
    • Establishment fee on balance transfers
    • High late payment fee
    • High overseas spending fees

    Who is it good for?

    The American Express Essential Credit Card offers value to customers looking to reap the rewards without paying any annual card fees. Those who regularly spend on their credit card and pay off their balance in full each month stand to gain the most from the American Express Essential Credit Card.

    Unlike other rewards cards on the market, there is no cap on the number of reward points you can earn in a statement period. Every $1 spent on eligible purchases will earn you 1 rewards point. This can either be transferred to a choice of eight airline partner programs, redeemed online for a retail gift card or used to pay for card charges on your statement. Participating airlines include Air New Zealand Airpoints, Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Malaysian Airlines Enrich, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, THAI Royal Orchid Plus and Velocity Frequent Flyer. 

    What RateCity says

    The American Express Essential Credit Card may suit frequent spenders looking to make the most of their everyday purchases. Regarding standout features, the lack of annual fee is a bonus, especially for a card that offers rewards, complimentary insurances and four free additional card holders. When it comes to redeeming rewards points, this card offers plenty of flexibility to choose between eight airlines, gift cards or using points to pay card fees.

    Unlike other rewards programs, Membership Rewards point don’t expire; however, they may be forfeited for payments later than 40 days.

    The 12-month 0 per cent balance transfer option is also appealing to those looking to consolidate debt and earn rewards – the caveat being the 3 per cent establishment fee.

    Overseas travellers should note that complimentary travel insurance is not offered with this card and foreign currency conversion fees apply.


    To be eligible for the American Express Essential Credit Card, you need to be over 18 and provide proof of identity. You’ll also need to have an annual gross income of over $40,000, be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and have a good credit history. At the time of application, you will need to provide proof of employment and details of any other assets or financial responsibilities like loans or debts. Applications can be made through the American Express website.

    About American Express

    American Express, also known as Amex, is an American multinational financial services corporation best known for its credit cards. American Express offers a wide range of credit cards including low-rate credit cards, frequent flyer credit cards, rewards credit cards and cards that offer no annual fee. Some American Express cards offer extra rewards like bonus points, introductory balance transfer rates, complimentary travel and purchase insurance, concierge service and access to a range of presale events and concerts.

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