American Express’ new Business Explorer credit card allows entrepreneurs to earn frequent flyer points on their business purchases at generous and uncapped rates, with an annual fee of $395 that won’t break the bank.
Attached to the Membership Rewards Gateway (MRG) program, cardholders can earn two MRG points per dollar spent on most charges (including with insurers and utilities), plus 100,000 bonus MRG points when applying as a new AMEX customer and spending at least $3,000 on the card within the first three months.
These points can be converted at a 4:3 rate to Virgin Australia Velocity, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus and Air New Zealand Airpoints (4 = $0.03), giving a solid everyday earning rate of 1.5 frequent flyer points (or Airpoints cents) per dollar spent.
Businesses can add up to 99 supplementary cardholders onto the account to maximise their points at no extra cost, such as for employees to use for their business-related purchases, with all points earned going straight to the primary cardholder – typically the business owner.
As an ongoing offer, businesses that charge $100,000 or more to the account each year (including across all supplementary cards) will also receive 50,000 bonus MRG points, although all government spend (such as ATO payments) attracts a reduced 0.5 MRG points per dollar spent throughout the year.
Given the Gateway program’s 4:3 airline conversion rate, that means you’ll be earning just 0.375 actual airline frequent flyer points for every dollar of government spend – lower than the 0.5/$1 earn rate of most other AMEX-issued business credit cards.
Assuming you do spend $100,000 in the first year of which 10% is at the lower ‘government’ earn rate, you’d fetch a total of 335,000 Gateway points (including the one-off sign-up and yearly spending bonuses), on-par with 251,250 frequent flyer points.
Spend just $1,167 more on the card and convert your pile of Gateway points into KrisFlyer miles and you’d have exactly enough miles to fly return from Sydney or Melbourne to London with Singapore Airlines, travelling in business class in one direction and at the very front in first class the other way.
Also included are two yearly visits to the AMEX Sydney Airport lounge (for the primary cardholder only), travel insurance for all cardholders (including supplementaries) when the card or points are used to pay for the business trip, and access to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay for all cardholders.
To apply, the business owner must have a personal annual taxable income of $24,000 or more and have been in business for at least two years, with the card having no defined minimum credit limit to qualify for.
Cardholders receive up to 55 interest-free days on purchases when paying the closing balance in full each month or will pay interest rate of 16.99% p.a. when carrying a balance from month to month, being a ‘credit card’ rather than a ‘charge card’.
Unlike the personal AMEX Explorer card, the Business Explorer card doesn’t include a $400/year ‘travel credit’ or smartphone screen insurance: instead with more business-themed ‘card account balance waiver cover’, ‘business trip completion cover’ and ‘personal liability cover’ when travelling.
A 3% international transaction fee applies to all spend in foreign currencies.