With no annual fee, no points cap and double points on Virgin Australia flight bookings, the American Express Velocity Escape Card is one that shouldn't be overlooked.
There's even refund and purchase protection insurance thrown in to cover items you buy with the card, while access to American Express' Centurion Lounges in the USA is also available for a modest fee.
American Express Velocity Escape Card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Entry-level
- Card type: American Express
- Loyalty program: Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Velocity points earned per $1 (Virgin Australia spend): 2
- Velocity points earned per $1 (government spend): 0.5
- Velocity points earned per $1 (everywhere else): 1
- Points capping: Uncapped
Fees, charges and interest: 4.5/5
- Annual fee: $0
- Additional cardholder fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchases: 20.74% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
- Interest rate on cash advances: Not offered
- International transaction fee: 3%
- Minimum household income requirement: $40,000/year
- Minimum credit limit: $2,000
Earning points for free flights: 4/5
With a one-way Sydney-Melbourne hop costing just 7,800 Velocity points (plus a small amount in taxes and fees), you could be in the air after spending $3,900 with Virgin Australia, $15,600 with government bodies or $7,800 everywhere else.
There's also no points cap to get in your way, and unlike some AMEX cards, you'll still earn one point per dollar with utilities, insurance companies and Internet streaming services.
However, we should highlight that there's no backup Visa or MasterCard here to use where AMEX isn't accepted – such as at H&M, Aldi, Ikea, Chemist Warehouse (in-store), Supré and Fetch TV – in those cases, consider using your Velocity Global Wallet card instead, also with no annual fee.
Inclusive insurance options: 2/5
With no annual fee there's no surprise that favourites like travel insurance and extended warranty cover are absent on this card, but that doesn't mean you're left out in the cold.
AMEX still offers 'refund protection' to Velocity Escape cardholders – helping you out if you're refused a refund on an unused eligible item within 90 days of purchase.
There's also 'purchase protection' whereby if an eligible item is stolen or accidentally broken within 90 days of purchase, you may be eligible for a repair or a refund.
Terms, conditions, exclusions and excess amounts may apply.
Airport lounge access: 0/5
Access to airport lounges isn't a perk offered by this card.
American Express Velocity Escape Card: the verdict
With no annual fee to pay, the American Express Velocity Escape Card is the perfect complement to your existing Virgin Australia Global Wallet Visa, which again has no annual fee and forms part of your regular Velocity Frequent Flyer card.
That way, you could use the Velocity Escape Card wherever American Express is accepted to earn extra points at no extra cost, and the Global Wallet Visa everywhere else to still earn some points without paying an annual fee.
Higher spenders and frequent travellers should also consider the merits of paying an annual fee for a higher-tier credit card in exchange for other benefits like travel insurance, airport lounge access and even a free flight each year.
For $375/year, the American Express Velocity Platinum Card delivers just that, along with up to 2.5 Velocity points per dollar spent – so if you'd otherwise pay for an annual travel insurance policy, visits to airport lounges and a flight with Virgin Australia, you could actually save money overall by paying that annual fee.
But if not, or you want to discover where American Express is and isn't accepted without paying an up-front fee, the Velocity Escape Card is a great place to start.