• long running

American Express Essential Card - $0 Annual Fee


Key Benefits

  • 1.25 points per $ on purchases (except Government spend).

  • 1 point per $ on Government spend.

  • Up to 4 free additional cards for your family or friends.

  • No points cap regardless of your monthly spend.

  • Flexibility to pay charges with points (1000 points = $5) on statement.

  • Transfer points to 9 airlines programs

    • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
    • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
    • Cathay Pacific Asia MilesTM
    • Emirates Skywards
    • Etihad Guest
    • THAI Royal Orchid Plus
    • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
    • Air New Zealand AirpointsTM
    • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

  • Flexibility to redeem purchases at David Jones online, Ticketmaster, gift cards or travel services at Amex Travel and partners.

  • Eligible for Amex Cashback offers and Shop Small promotions.

  • American Express Invites – to sought-after events, including music, theatre and film, often before tickets go on sale to the general public

  • Smartphone Screen Insurance for screen repairs if you accidentally break your Smartphone screen. We will reimburse you for the cost of the screen repair up to $500 with a 10% excess per claim.

  • Purchase Protection - if an item is stolen or breaks within 90 days of purchase, it can be repaired or refunded up to $2,500 per claim, up to $10,000 per year and with a $50 excess per claim.

  • Buyer’s Advantage – extends the manufacturer’s warranty by up to 12 months for up to $7,000 per claim and $7,000 per year, with no excess.

  • Refund Protection - if you have a change of heart and are refused a refund on an unused item within 90 days of purchase, you will be reimbursed for up to $500 per claim and $2,000 per year, with no excess.

  • Balance transfers 0% p.a. for the first 12 months - A one-off establishment fee of 3% applies.

  • Eligible for use with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.

  • Eligibility criteria: annual income of $40,000 or more.

  • Reward percentages - when paying with points or redeeming supermarket gift cards:

    • Amex Essential : 0.625% (generally 1.25pts/$, 1000pt=$5 credit)

    • cf. Qantas Discovery - via Qantas AutoRewards : 0.5% ($20 for 3000 Qantas points), redeem supermarket egift card : 0.395%

Referral Links

Business Explorer Card: random (2)

Referrer: 40,000 Reward Points
Referee: 110,000 Rewards Points with $3,000 spend in 3 months

David Jones Card: random (25)

Referrer: 15,000 Reward Points
Referee: 25,000 Reward Points with 3 purchases outside DJ in 1 month

Related Stores

American Express
American Express

closed Comments

  • +1

    "I have a personal gross (pre-tax) annual income of $40,000 or more" - please put that in the description, may be very important to some.

    • There is a pretty strict 'word-count' limit imposed on the Titles/Descriptions of deals Cwong. Basically no way for the OP to incorporate that info' into the title, methinks. Good of you to point it out though :)

      • +2

        Yes indeed :-). I have now included the info in the post itself.

      • +3

        Well he did say description though, not title.

    • +1

      And citizens or Permanent Residents only

    • Common sense has to apply here too.

      There are very few credit cards that have an annual income test of below $40k.

      Should all deals for motor cars state that you need to register the car before you can legally drive it?

      • Common sense has to apply here too.

        It is pretty much the only eligibility criteria to be able to participate in this deal

        There are very few credit cards that have an annual income test of below $40k.

        I didn't know, the word "Essential" led me to believe this was a budget American Express CC.
        Most credit card "deals" don't even state their required annual income in their T&Cs.
        Stating it could potentially save an OzBargain visitor a rejected credit card application, if they're near that income threshold.

        Should all deals for motor cars state that you need to register the car before you can legally drive it?

        No, but if it's a car that has any known issues specific to that model.
        Thanks for your constructive feedback

        • +1

          It does say Essential, so I can see where you are coming from. I pretty much included the info as soon as I saw your original comment anyway. My aim is for the post to be as easy as possible for the reader, so thanks for the feedback.

        • +2


          I pretty much included the info as soon as I saw your original comment anyway. My aim is for the post to be as easy as possible for the reader, so thanks for the feedback.

          I know you did buddy! :)

          Common sense has to apply here too. -GreatWhiteHunter

          This JV-junior didn't.

  • There was $50 credit of $500 spend within 3 months

    • +1

      In the past, whether you were using referrer or applying directly, the spend criteria was the same, i.e. spend $500 within first 2 months, even though the bonus amount differs.

      - using referral - spend $500 within first 2 months
      - applying directly - spend $750 within first 3 months.

  • +1

    Would this card be valid for the AMEX reward bonus stuff? I assume it makes no points like the Velocity?
    EDIT: Clearly yes, sorry, should have read

    Does this mean AMEX now offer 3 AMEXs direct from them with 0$ fees now?
    (I got the red one, I been meaning to apply for the other one)

    • +1

      Yes, I also have the Qantas Discovery. But since my preference is redeeming cash rewards, the Essential card works out better. (Analysis here). Plus the smartphone insurance.

      If into redeeming flights, the other two would be better value, I suppose.

      • smart phone insurance - did you have to purchase the phone on the card?

        • +1

          It make sense to claim when you purchased with that card, otherwise it will be super deal.

        • +1

          Oh, sorry I said smartphone insurance, meant to say smartphone screen insurance.

          Yes, the phone has to be bought with the Essential Card, and whilst the card is active.
          Fortunately, unlike cards with only 1st-year $0 fee (which some intend to cancel), I can keep it ongoing, for screen insurance, cashback offers and small-shop promotions.

      • I think I got the velocity one? You can redeem the points for items.
        List of items here.

        I'll try and grab one of these cards, worth a try.

  • Is this an on-going offer or does it have an end date? I'm not in a hurry to get a new card, especially if Amex could possibly offer a higher credit amount in the future?

    • The application bonus amount has been like this for a while. There is no expiry date advertised on the card page. But of course the conditions of the offer can change anytime.

      Recently, they changed the spend amount for direct application. I thought they might change the referral conditions soon as well to match up, so I advised those who use referral to get screenshots of the conditions (see post).

      This is still a relevant suggestion - for anyone applying via referral.

  • +1

    Here, have an up vote for at least putting effort into your post ;)

    • Thank you :-)

    • +1

      Voted for the effort too!

      • Thank you! Hope you derive good benefit from the last Small Shop :-) I found the map too hard … so just went to a couple nearby places.

  • May be suitable as a substitute card once the ING 2% cashback ceases - but depends on your circumstances, obviously.

    Some extra info on this. In a recent thread, responding to OP asking what to use after ING 2% cashback ceases, I shared my deliberation here - of why I choose Amex Essential (0.741% return), over Coles Rewards Mastercard (1% return) given my circumstances. Thought I'll share it here as well, in case some of you are in a similar boat, and may find this info useful.

  • Oh yeah, does anyone know if the Amex small shop cashback trick works with multiple AMEX ISSUED amex cards? Do I need sep accounts (I obviously need sep cards)
    One dude here has 9 cards, I guess like CBA, ANZ, WBC, Amex issued etc?

    I wanna know if I get all 3, feeless AMEX cards if they can all get $10 small shop cash back when the promotion is on.

    • +2

      Yes, I have 2 cards - Qantas Discovery, and this Essential Amex. I need to register them both for Small Shops, to be able to use both.

    • +1

      To your other question, I have 2 cards on the same login, if that is what you mean. Of course they will have separate statements, limits etc. They gave me a limit, and told me I could request the limit to be spread differently on the cards, if I wish.

  • Isn't Amex Davidjones better deal than this ?


    Understand this has $99 annual fee but with 30k points when you sign up and 3 points for 1$ spent in supermarkets will cover it. Agree or am I missing anything here ?

    • +3

      Hi, thanks for the question. Any card on offer is a good card for some, based on the circumstance and purpose. Looking at DavidJones cards' highlights, it is great for those who shop at David Jones, or spend at supermarkets.

      Amex Essential, in comparison, might be more suitable if you:
      - do not like forking out $99, in case it is not better off, due to various reasons, e.g. overseas travel etc
      - hardly shop at David Jones
      - do not spend much in supermarkets (singles/small families)
      - already have another card (which may also have fees)
      - want card mainly for (additional) Amex cash-back offers, Small Shop offers
      - want smartscreen phone insurance
      - want purchase protection
      - want extra 12 month manufacturer warranty

      I always acknowledge a card suitability depends on circumstance/purpose. Hence why, I often mention, for example, that if the main purpose is redeeming flights (but still want a fee-free card), one of the other two (e.g. Qantas Discovery may be more suitable.

      • +1

        Typing too fast :-), should read:

        -want smartphone screen insurance
        -want up to 12 month extra manufacturer warranty

        (For warranty, if original warranty is 1 year or less, they extend it by the same length).

        • Thanks for your very informative post.

          Never thought of applying for a CC, but due to many Amex Statement credit deals recently, I'm thinking of applying one now.

          Do you know Smartphone screen insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty apply to a new phone (paid monthly by Amex) of 24-month phone plan?

          How easy to claim those protections/insurance? By post or online form?

          How the Amex statement credit works? will the cashback be processed straightaway or appear in the new statement cycle? (monthly or quarterly?)

          So as long as I pay back the amount of purchase within 55 days of that purchase, there will be no interest or any associated fees?

          I beleive 28 degrees card also offers very similar protections (without extended warranty) but with Price Protection? How easy to claim those protections, especially Price Protection? Does it apply to Overseas purchase like Amazon, online marketplace like eBay or Grey Import like Kogan?

          Lastly, 28 degrees card comes with Travel insurance. How good is it and how does this work? Do I have to pay my airfare by 28 degree card only? or do I have to submit any other separare applications out meet certain travel requirements to qualify for this Insurance?

          Thanks so much in advance.

        • +1

          @willx: No worries, glad if I can help.

          • Quoting their terms: ''Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 for screen repairs to your Smartphone when you pay for your phone or contract with your Essential Credit Card''. So, contracts are specifically covered. It is reasonable to assume purchase protection and warranty, which applies to anything else you buy, will also apply to the phone in this case.

          • Claiming protections/insurances - I have yet to claim, so I don’t have any personal experience to share, as to how easy it is. The booklet says if you are unclear about anything in this document, call ACE Insurance on 1800 236 023 and they will assist with any enquiries.

          • Amex statement credit – if you are talking about cashback offers (see below for reward points), basically whenever they have an offer, you can enrol your card for the offer. Once you spend the qualifying amount, usually within 5 days, the cashback appears in your account.

          • Earning reward points – points from normal purchases will just accumulate in your account. It is up to you when or how you spend these points, e.g. transfer to 8 airline programs, redeem merchandise/accomodation etc, or as cashback. As cashback, you must have at least 1000 points, and can select option called ‘use points for charges’. Usually, 1000pts=$7.41 cashback. When they have bonus offers, e.g. recently with ‘shop small’ purchases, there is an additional bonus, making 1000pts=$9.63 cashback.

          • Yes to your statement:

            So as long as I pay back the amount of purchase within 55 days of that purchase, there will be no interest or any associated fees?

          • Comparison with 28D card - I have this as well. Both cards have pros/cons and useful for different purposes:

            • 28D is good for overseas purchases, because there is no foreign fees.
            • But it does not provide reward points.
            • Its price protection costs 0.5% of your monthly closing balance, up to a maximum of $50 a month. OZBers know of a hack to avoid paying this, by quickly paying off the purchase somehow. I have never bothered with this, so do not know the intricacies. Best if you look it up and see how they do it.
            • 28D travel insurance does not come free with card. This page, under 'Insurance Options', allows you to get a quote when you want to travel. This page also gives more details about the card.
            • Middle of this year, 28D slaps a 95c fee to BPAY your statement, which annoys a lot of people. There are ways around it, and for me, it is not a big issue. I only use it for foreign purchases anyway. You can find the discussions here.

          Hope this answers your questions.

        • @bluesky:

          Thanks for your reply.

          One question you didn't answer me was that do those protections apply to Amazon (overseas), EBay (marketplace) and Kogan (Grey import)?

          Just let you know that I applied for an AmEx card with your referral link.

          I didn't get approval on-the-spot like what you mentioned. It said will be processing within 5-10 business days.

          I applied for $3000 credit limit. Can I increase or decrease to certain limit easily online myself as I might need to purchase more valuable electronics in the future?

        • @willx:

          • Regarding your original question:

            I beleive 28 degrees card also offers very similar protections (without extended warranty) but with Price Protection? How easy to claim those protections, especially Price Protection? Does it apply to Overseas purchase like Amazon, online marketplace like eBay or Grey Import like Kogan?

            To be honest, I know very little about the 28D Price Protection, since I never sign up to it. I mention this in my response above. Maybe the 28D discussion forum has more info about this. As for the Essential card, it does not offer Price Protection at all, just the other features mentioned. And their T&C can be found here

          • Unfortunately, you cannot easily increase/decrease the limit online. You have to contact Amex to do it.

          • Thanks, appreciate you using my referral link. And Happy New Year! :-)

  • Does anyone know long it takes to arrive once you upload the documentation that they require? (License, proof of address)? :)

    • +1

      They say 5-7 days, and in the past, that seems to be the case. But reading the other thread (Amex Explorer) as well as from others recently, seems like it can take longer. A recent case I know of (for a supplementary card), it took 9 days from application to approval. But not sure if supp cards are given lower priority or not.

      Once approved, if you need it urgently (e.g. you are going on a trip), you can ask for expedited delivery (courier post or express post). Hope this helps.

  • Is this still available?

    • Yes, it is still available. But now, the only benefit when applying via referral is the higher bonus ($75 instead of $50.) No longer the more favourable spend conditions as before.

      Only recently, when using referral, the spend was $500 in the first 2 months. I sort of guessed at some point they will change it to match direct applications, and asked people to keep screenshots of the conditions if they apply via referral. Looks like finally, they have made direct and referral applications both have the same spend conditions.

      • +1

        Considering the latest shop smart deal is back to 10 shops again, I'm getting in on this, I'll be home next week so cheers, I need 2 cards, it's 400 myki credit for like 220$ (some surcharge,…). So worth it

        • which local store do you go to get myki credit?

        • @huntress_love: sadly very very few options for us myki people in Melbourne, Sydney however, lucky with opal

  • Considering this for the balance transfer feature (as well as having an amex for the regular offers)

    can you take advantage of the balance transfer rate And the spend credit or indeed other offers while carrying transfer balance if the purchase debts are repaid before statement dates

    • Perhaps it is worth giving Amex a call, or write to them, to get a definitive answer.

    • +1

      Hi, I just saw someone asking the same question as you, and the response by an OzB member who has BT and use the cashback offers - comment here. Have a read, and see if it answers your question. Cheers :-)

      • +1

        Thanks for that
        Pretty much answers my query

        • Great. And I learn something new too! :-)

  • +1

    Here is a comparison between the Citibank Signature and the Essential card from a cash or cash-equivalent rewards perspective. Which may be relevant if you have both, and wish to maximise the cash rewards.

    • Essential card, using points to pay for charges, or supermarket giftcards.
      Return rate: 0.741%
      (Have assumed the usual earn rate of 1pt/$. Although telecomms, utilities etc are supposed to earn 0.5pt/$, in practice, still possible to earn 1pt/$ for many of these, by using Paypal/Austpost BPay).

    • Citibank's new Select and Credit feature - used to pay for charges (not to be confused with their cashback reward, which provides a worse return) - is 250pts per $1.
      Return rate: 0.6%

    • Signature points redeemed as Coles gift cards
      Coles $50 giftcard => Return rate: 0.806%
      Coles $100 giftcard => Return rate: 0.838%

    So, if points are used to offset charges, the Essential card (0.741%) is better than the Signature card (0.6%).

    But if redeemed as, say a Coles giftcard, then the Signature card (0.838%) is better. In which case, the Essential card can be kept for those cashback offers, and perhaps to pay for the smartphone costs/plan, to get the smartphone screen insurance.

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