If you have been holding out for a high points earning card, now is a great time to get started. At the moment, we are seeing some of the highest welcome bonus on a number of American Express Cards in a long time.
Let’s take a look at them one by one:
American Express Platinum Card – Up to 200K points
The top of the line American Express Platinum Card ($1,450 annual fee) is currently offering a welcome bonus of up to 200,000 Membership Rewards points. The bonus will be awarded in 2 stages and this is how it works:
- You will earn 150,000 Membership Rewards points when you apply online by 27th January 2021, are approved and spend a minimum of $3,000 on this card within 3 months of your membership.
- You will earn additional 50,000 Membership Rewards at the 1st anniversary of your card membership upon fee renewal.
What is the welcome bonus worth?
Membership Rewards points don’t have a fixed value, unless, if you want to redeem them through Amex Travel, in which case you are looking at a value of 0.005c per point (half cent per point). Going by that, the welcome bonus of 200,000 Membership Rewards points is worth $1,000. I would argue though that redeeming your points this way, you are not really maximising it’s value.
You can get a much higher bang for buck by transferring your points to any one of it’s 10 airline partners. The transfer ratio is 2:1 (2 Membership Rewards points = 1 airline point or mile), which gives you 100,000 points in the program of your choice except Air New Zealand Airpoint which has a vastly inferior transfer ratio. For that reason, and the fact that Air New New Zealand are extremely stingy with releasing award seats, it rarely makes sense to transfer points to them.
With other airline partners, the actual value you derive is only limited by your imagination. For instance, you can transfer those points to Singapore Airlines’ Krislfyer Program and fly one way from Sydney – Singapore in First Class for 85,000 miles. Cash prices on this route are typically north of $3,500 giving you a value of more than 4c per point. On that measure, the welcome bonus is worth more than $4,000.
American Express Explorer Card – Up to 150K points
The American Express Explorer Credit Card ($395 annual fee) is currently offering welcome bonus of up to 150,000 Membership Rewards points. Similar to the more illustrious Platinum Card, this will be awarded in 2 stages.
- You will earn 120,000 Membership Rewards points when you apply online by 27th January 2021, are approved and spend a minimum of $3,000 on this card within 3 months of your membership.
- You will earn additional 30,000 Membership Rewards at the 1st anniversary of your card membership upon fee renewal.
I consider this to be one of the most well-rounded cards offered by American Express (read full review). The $395 annual fee is fully offset by the annual travel credit of $400 making the card virtually free. When you throw-in perks like complimentary access to American Express Lounge (2 single entries per year), free travel insurance and US$100 Hotel Collection Credit into the mix, the card practically sells itself.
American Express Lounge, Sydney Int’l Airport
The American Express Velocity Platinum Card – 100K Velocity points
If Velocity points are the main points currency you earn, you should put The American Express Velocity Platinum Card ($375 annual fee) on top of your to-do list. And right now:
- You will earn a welcome bonus of 100,000 Velocity points if you apply online by 13th January 2021, are approved and spend a minimum of $3,000 on this card within 3 months of your membership.
- You will get a refund of $100 on your annual fee, dropping it down to just $275.
- You will also be awarded 75 bonus status credits, which can be very handy if you hold, or are chasing status with Virgin Australia.
While the fee refund and bonus status credits are one-off perks, there are a number of extremely valuable ongoing benefits that make the card a long-term keeper (read full review).
For example, you get a complimentary round-trip domestic flight with Virgin Australia between selected city pairs, each year. Used properly, this benefit alone can recoup the entire cost of annual fee. You also get complimentary access to Virgin Australia Lounge (2 single entries per year) and American Express Lounge (2 single entries per year) which are easily worth more than $150 in value.
Virgin Australia Lounge, Gold Coast Airport
If you are considering getting the card, apply here to be taken directly to the American Express website.
The American Express Platinum Edge Card – 50K points
The American Express Platinum Edge Card ($195 annual fee) is probably the best card for spends at major supermarkets and petrol station. And right now:
You will earn a welcome bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points when you apply online by 27th January 2021, are approved and spend a minimum of $1,500 on this card within 3 months of your membership.
With this card:
- You earn 3X points at all major supermarkets and petrol stations Australia wide. Put another way, when you go shopping at Coles or Woolies next time and pay with this card, every dollar you spend will get you 1.5 airline points in any of it’s 9 airline partners (except Air NZ).
- The $195 annual fee is fully covered by the annual travel credit of $200, meaning the card is virtually free.
I consider this card excellent value even if you travel just once every year and utilise the $200 travel credit. You can use this to pay for flights, hotels or car-hire through American Express Travel (read full review).
Eligibility for Welcome Bonus
American Express applies its own rule in determining who is eligible to receive welcome bonus. In short, anybody who currently has an American Express issued card, or have had one in the last 18 months is ineligible for the bonus.
However, if your card was issued by a bank, or if it’s a co-branded David Jones card, you will receive the welcome bonus on meeting other relevant terms of the offer.
So there you have it, 4 excellent cards offering welcome bonus ranging between 50,000 – 200,000 points.
If you are new to points and miles and are looking for a card to get started, I consider The American Express Explorer Credit Card to be a great beginner card. That said, the best card is always the one that works for your own personal circumstances.
Disclosure : If you apply for a card using links in this post and are approved, pointsHq or it’s related entity may receive some referral points.