Your business could be earning up to 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent with eight airlines including Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines thanks to the new American Express Business Explorer credit card, which also comes without points capping or tiering to get in your way.
What's more, eligible new cardholders can also pick up 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Gateway points for signing-up and 50,000 further bonus points every year thereafter after meeting certain spend requirements.
Just don't confuse this with the personal AMEX Explorer credit card – there's no yearly $400 travel credit on the business version – but with up to 99 additional cardholders at no extra cost (such as for your employees to use for their work-related spend), the points your business earns could be worth much more.
American Express Business Explorer credit card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Black
- Card type: American Express
- Loyalty program: Membership Rewards Gateway (MRG)
- MRG points earned per dollar (government providers including the ATO): 0.5
- MRG points earned per dollar (everywhere else): 2
- 2 MRG points (everyday spend) = 1.5 frequent flyer points with: Virgin Australia Velocity, Air New Zealand Airpoints ($0.015 in Airpoints Dollars), Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- 0.5 MRG points (government spend) = 0.375 frequent flyer points with the same programs ($0.00375 in Airpoints value)
- Points capping: Uncapped
- Supported tech: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay
- Supported business transaction feeds: MYOB
Fees, charges and interest: 4/5
- Annual fee: $395
- Supplementary cardholder fee: $0 (up to 99)
- Interest rate on purchases: 16.99% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
- Interest rate on cash advances: N/A
- International transaction fee: 3.0%
- Minimum personal income requirement: $24,000 p.a.
- Minimum business age (trading duration) to qualify: 24 months
- Minimum credit limit: None defined
Earning points for free flights: 4.5/5
Get things off to a good start with a bonus 100,000 Membership Rewards Gateway points when you apply by October 2 2017 and spend at least $3,000 in the first three months – those points being equal to 75,000 airline frequent flyer points in the various programs or $750 in AirNZ Airpoints value.
If you spend at least $100,000 per year on purchases, including across all supplementary cards, you'll also earn a bonus 50,000 Gateway points every year as a 'Business Loyalty Bonus', on-par with 37,500 frequent flyer points.
Every dollar spent on the card also provides the equivalent of 1.5 airline frequent flyer points – including on insurance and utility charges which attract fewer points on other AMEX cards – although all government spend (such as payments to the ATO, Australia Post and other local, state and federal government bodies) delivers 0.375 frequent flyer points instead.
For most purchases, that's the highest ongoing 'everyday' earning rate of any current American Express-issued business card, although on government spend, you'll get less points than most other AMEX business cards which award at least 0.5 actual frequent flyer points on the same.
Airport lounge access: 2/5
The primary business cardholder can visit the American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport twice each year at no cost when flying overseas with any airline, with further visits available for purchase – but no freebies are included for any additional cardholders.
That's different to the AMEX Business Platinum Charge Card which grants unlimited access to the same lounge for all cardholders (up to 100 per account) at no charge.
As with any American Express card issued worldwide, all Business Explorer cardholders (whether primary or supplementary) can also use their card to purchase access to the American Express Centurion Lounges in the United States at a cost of US$50 per visit, such as in Dallas/Fort Worth, New York (LaGuardia) and San Francisco.
Complimentary insurance coverage: 3/5
Included with the Business Explorer card are a range of insurance protections including Transport Accident Cover; Card Account Balance Waiver Cover; Business Trip Completion Cover; Travel Inconvenience Cover; Medical Emergency Expenses Cover; Baggage, Money and Documents Cover; Travel Cancellation Cover and Personal Liability Cover.
That covers the usual things like lost luggage, travel delays and cancellations, but also means the card account can be repaid in full (up to $20,000) if the business owner dies or sustains a very significant injury.
Business Trip Completion Cover also takes the financial strain off the business if a cardholder dies or becomes seriously injured or unwell (or the same happens to their close relative) and is unable to complete a scheduled business trip, with the insurer paying out for a new return ticket, accommodation arrangements and additional expenses for a replacement employee to make the same trip.
For most of these covers, you'll need to have paid for a trip using the Business Explorer card or have used Membership Rewards points towards the same, with cover offered to the primary cardholder plus their partner and dependent children under the age of 22, along with any employees who are supplementary cardholders on the business account.
That's different to the AMEX Business Platinum Charge Card which automatically covers all cardholders on journeys taken regardless of how the trip was booked: so keep in mind that if a client directly pays for your travel arrangements, you or your employees may not be protected by this travel insurance.
Smartphone screen insurance (as offered on the personal Explorer card) also isn't included here, nor will you find extended warranty cover, purchase protection, refund protection or hire car excess waiver insurance.
American Express Business Explorer credit card: the verdict
In terms of earning frequent flyer points, the new AMEX Business Explorer credit card stacks up nicely for big-spending businesses with the highest ongoing 'everyday' earning rate of any AMEX-issued business card, and a sizeable sign-up bonus plus a reasonable retention bonus for those eligible.
However, smaller businesses could find themselves earning more points per dollar spent by using the AMEX Business Accelerator credit card instead: unlocking two frequent flyer points per dollar on most everyday spend, up to 100,000 points per year.
That puts the break-even mark at a yearly spend of $99,999 – on which you would earn 149,999 frequent flyer points using either card – with the balance shifting into Business Explorer's favour once that spend hits six figures, owing to a higher ongoing earn rate, and of course, the Business Loyalty Bonus.
Business Explorer also offers its significant boost of 100,000 Gateway points (75,000 frequent flyer points) for eligible new applicants and other perks like airport lounge access and travel insurance, yet both cards have a minimum yearly income requirement of only $24,000, making them accessible to businesses large and small.
Smaller businesses may choose the Business Explorer card for a solid sign-up bonus, everyday earn rate and travel features, or could save money by opting for the Business Accelerator card instead to earn even more points on spends below $50,000/year, but without all the added extras.