80k sign up bonus on American Express Explorer credit card

American Express have launched a new sign up bonus on the Explorer card to replace the existing 110,000 sign up bonus promotion that ended on 31 January 2017.

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American Express have launched a new sign up bonus on the Explorer card to replace the existing 110,000 sign up bonus promotion that ended on 31 January 2017. The new referral bonus offers new American Express customers 80,000 points if they spend $1500 within the first 90 days of card approval on their Explorer card.

Sign up here through our referral link to get the bonus

American Express Explorer card features

  • 80,000 bonus points.
  • 2 Membership Reward Gateway points per dollar spent (except spend with government bodies).
  • Conversion to most airline programs at 4:3 and 2:1 to SPG Starpoints.
  • Travel and smartphone screen insurance.
  • $400 travel credit each year.
  • $395 annual fee.

I have this card personally and find it to offer great value. The effective earn rate is 1.5 points per dollar when transferring to airlines, among the best on the market for American Express cards. The $400 travel credit nicely offsets the annual fee, making this a great value card in my opinion.

Sign up here through our referral link to get the bonus

Always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and seek financial advice before signing up to a new credit card. Airline Points is not responsible for the accuracy of the information displayed on this page. Please contact American Express directly with any questions. Airline Points may receive points or commission from referrals.

Earn bonus airline points with Netflix, iCloud and iTunes

It’s fairly easy to pick up a few bonus points over and above the usual credit card points you’d receive on each dollar of entertainment spend by following a few simple tricks. As always, this involves optimising your spend with retailers who award bonus points for purchases

It’s fairly easy to pick up a few bonus points over and above the usual credit card points you’d receive on each dollar of entertainment spend by following a few simple tricks. As always, this involves optimising your spend with retailers who award bonus points for purchases.

iTunes Gift Cards

iTunes purchases such as TV Shows and Movies along with subscription products Apple Music, iCloud and Netflix can be paid for with iTunes Store credit. iTunes Store credit can be topped up with iTunes Gift Cards, which are available from many Australian retailers including Coles and Woolworths.

The benefit of buying iTunes Gift Cards instead of paying directly on your credit card is two fold: (1) the big supermarkets often run discounts of 10-25% off the purchase price, and (2) you can earn 3 points per dollar on supermarket spend with the American Express Platinum Edge credit card.

If you can score a 20% discount on a Gift Card, this will bring the monthly Netflix subscription plan down by the same amount, so a $12 subscription would drop to $9.60 and give you 28 Membership Rewards points in the process, convertible to your airline of choice.

Netflix

If you’ve already signed up to Netflix, unfortunately you’ll have to cancel your subscription before being able to switch your billing over to iTunes. Once the service is cancelled, simply login to your account on an iOS device or Apple TV, which should offer up the option to pay with iTunes.

Your iTunes account should use all of your iTunes Store credit before attempting to bill your registered credit card. As long as you keep topping up your account with Gift Cards, you’ll keep optimising your points and your discounts.

How to maximise points from supermarket shopping

One of the simplest ways to start earning frequent flyer points without spending any extra money is reviewing your grocery shopping habits and making sure you’re getting the most from your spending.

One of the simplest ways to start earning frequent flyer points without spending any extra money is reviewing your grocery shopping habits and making sure you’re getting the most from your spending.

Supermarket loyalty programs

In Australia, both major supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths offer their customers the opportunity to earn points from spending. IGA doesn’t have its own loyalty scheme, but bonus points can be earned through the right credit card. Unfortunately Aldi doesn’t have any loyalty scheme.

Flybuys

Flybuys is Coles’ supermarket loyalty program. Most regular purchases from Coles earn 1 flybuys point per $1 AUD spent. Flybuys is partnered with Velocity Frequent Flyer. Converting your flybuys points to Velocity Points at a rate of 2000 flybuys points to 870 Velocity Points equates to 0.435 Velocity Frequent Flyer points per dollar spent.

The earn rate is fairly low but is on par with Woolworths. The real strength of the flybuys program comes from fairly regular targeted promotions. Some promotions ‘challenge’ participants to spend $50 per week at their local Coles over 4 weeks to receive 10,000 bonus flybuys points. Participating in this offer brings the Velocity Frequent Flyer earn rate to 22 Velocity Points per dollar spent. A very good return.

The amount that flybuys challenges you to spend each week is generally just above your regular weekly expenditure, which could be much higher than $50. You may benefit from having multiple flybuys cards and switching between them to trick Coles into thinking that you spend less per week.

Flybuys points can also be converted into Etihad Guest Miles at a rate of 10,000 flybuys points for 4,000 Etihad Guest Miles. This gives shoppers an effective earn rate of 0.4 Etihad Guest Miles per dollar spent.

Woolworths Rewards

Woolworths allows customers to earn 1 Woolworths Reward point per dollar spent. A partnership with Qantas Frequent Flyer allows you to convert 2000 Woolworths Rewards points into 870 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points equating to an earn rate of 0.435 Qantas Points per dollar spent. This rate is the same as can be obtained from Coles.

Credit card bonus points

Perhaps the best way to earn airline points from your supermarket shopping is not through the supermarket at all, but through a credit card that offers bonus points for your spend. 

American Express Platinum Edge

The Platinum Edge Credit Card from American Express offers 3 Membership Rewards points per $1 AUD spent at all of the major supermarket chains in Australia; including Woolworths, Coles and IGA.

American Express Membership Rewards points are a very valuable currency that offer 1:1 conversion rates for many airline partners; such as Velocity, Etihad and Singapore Airlines. Unfortunately Qantas Frequent Flyer is not a transfer partner.

The Platinum Edge costs $195 per annum but includes a $200 travel credit to use on American Express Travel.

American Express Local Champion

An additional unique benefit to American Express issued American Express cards is Local Champion. Once a card holder has opted in, Local Champion can be accessed via the American Express mobile app. This feature is not exclusive to the Platinum Edge and works with most American Express cards. 

The app allows you to nominate up to 10 places where you use your American Express card to try to become the ‘Local Champion’ at that shop by making more transactions than other card holders. Unfortunately not all shops participate but you’ll find most major supermarkets and chains. The number of transactions it takes to become the ‘Local Champion’ depends on how many others are playing the game at that vendor, sometimes it’s 1 transaction, sometimes it takes 20 or more.

If successful at becoming the ‘Local Champion’ at your supermarket, it can be a great way to boost your points earn for groceries.

 

 

Coles branded credit card

Although not as generous as the American Express earn rates, Coles offers a branded MasterCard that gives card holders 2 flybuys points per $1 AUD spent anywhere, which equates to 0.87 Velocity Points per dollar. When using this card at Coles along with your flybuys card you’ll take in 3 flybuys points per dollar, equal to 1.3 Velocity Points per $1 AUD.

The earn rate is reasonable for a MasterCard and comes with no international transaction fees and an $89 annual fee. This card may appeal to people with an already healthy flybuys balance that they are looking to boost for transfers to Velocity or Etihad.

Summary

If you or your family spends a fair amount of money at your supermarket every week it’s worth taking a moment to check whether you’re getting the most value from your spend, depending on your travel or points goals. For me, the Platinum Edge with 3 points per dollar is the real winner, and then using my Woolworths Rewards or flybuys card depending on which store I’m at. 

What’s your strategy?