American Express Explorer Credit Card Review

American Express Explorer Credit Card Review

American Express Explorer Credit Card is another popular Amex credit card in the market. Not only can you enjoy as low as HK$1.68/mile on overseas spending, but also privileged access to the airport lounges 8 times a year. Using the card for local spending can also earn you HK$5/mile, making it one of the best cards to earn air miles quickly.

So what are the special offers on this travel credit card? Is it worth applying? Check out the following blog to find out more!

American Express Explorer Credit Card: Is it worth applying? MoneySmart credit card rating

American Express logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
No expiry date for Membership Rewards points
Min. Annual Salary
Complimentary Plaza Premium Lounge Access
8 times per Calendar Year
Miles Conversion (Eligible Foreign Currency Transaction)*
HK$1.68 = 1 Mile

American Express Explorer Card—Is it money smart?
Overall: ★★★★☆
Best for: Earning miles
Category Our rating Explanation
Earn rates: Air miles ★★★★☆ – HK$1.68/mile for overseas spending
– HK$1 = 3 points for local spending (HK$5/mile)
– HK$1 = 5 points for airlines, selected online, and traveling merchants (HK$3/mile)
Earn categories ★★★★★ – All spending is eligible for earning Membership Rewards Points at different rates
Annual fees and charges ★★★☆☆ – HK$2,200 annual fee
– First year waiver; Annual fees waived for $150k+ spend
Accessibility ★★★☆☆ – Annual income of HK$300,000 is required
Extras/periphery rewards ★★★★★ – 8 complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounge worldwide for both primary and additional Cardmembers
– No miles conversion fee
– 1 year extra warranty
– 10% savings on 4DX, 3D, 2D, and IMAX regular priced movie tickets at Broadway Circuit
Welcome offer ★★★★★ – Up to 71,000 air miles in perks and offers

Table of contents: American Express Explorer Credit Card review

AE Explorer Credit Card Ratings

The AE Explorer Credit Card offers various benefits and features, including:

  • Earn 5 American Express Membership Rewards Points (MR) for every HK$1 spent on an eligible airline, designated travel, or everyday spend (HK$3 = 1 air mile).
  • Earn 10.75 American Express MR for every HK$1 equivalent spent in foreign currency (HK$1.68/mile).
  • Complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges in Asia for main and supplementary cardholders up to 8 times per year.
  • 10% off regular-priced 4DX, 3D, 2D, and IMAX movie tickets at Broadway Circuit.
  • Complimentary travel insurance.

For more information and the latest promotions, visit MoneySmart.

Amex Explorer Credit Card: American Express Membership Rewards points

The American Express Explorer Credit Card uses a reward programme called “Membership Rewards Points,” which is applicable to other American Express credit cards. You have the option to convert these points into 10 different choices, such as air miles, cash vouchers, or gifts, through the online platform.

The American Express Explorer Credit Card members will earn 3 American Express points for every HK$1 spent locally. During the promotional period until 31 December 2024, cardmembers can enjoy up to 10.75 American Express points for every HK$1 (or equivalent) spent in foreign currency (online or otherwise). And when you shop with selected online merchants, you can also earn a rate of 5 American Express points per HK$1 spent.

HK$1 Spent Amex Membership points earn
Local Spending 3X
Overseas Spending 10.75X
Airline, Selected Online, Travelling Merchants 5X

Amex Explorer has fairly lenient criteria for earning Membership Rewards points. In fact, you can earn Amex Membership Reward (MR) points whenever you spend with the card, but at varying rates.

Tips: The points do not expire; you can convert them into your desired gift whenever you want.

In addition to mileage redemption, you can also use your points for other purposes, such as offsetting purchase transactions (300 MR/HK$1), booking travel services (150 MR/HK$1), or instantly redeeming points to offset online platform transactions (240 MR/HK$1). You can find more “Pay with Points” details here.

Offsetting HK$1 transactions Points Required
Cover it with Points: Offset purchase transactions 300 MR/HK$1
Travel with Points: Booking travel services 150 MR/HK$1
Shop with Points: Offset online platform transactions with selected merchants 240 MR/HK$1

Cover with Points

With “Cover it with Points,” you can use your American Express points to offset eligible transactions at a rate of 300 points for every HK$1 spent. It’s just one of the many ways you can maximise your everyday experiences with Amex!

Shop with Points

As an AE Cardholder, you have the option to redeem your American Express points for air miles, gifts, cash vouchers, and even designated purchases through the “Shop with Points” programme.

The general conversion rate is 300 points for every HK$1, but some merchants offer an even better conversion rate of 240 points for every HK$1.

Travel with Points

American Express Travel Online is an exclusive travel agency for Amex cardmembers. You can use your Membership Rewards® points to book hotels and car rentals at a rate of 150 points for every HK$1.

Check out the partners where you can redeem your Membership Rewards points:

Flights Hotels Car Hire
You can book with any major airline provider, including Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Emirates, without worrying about blackout dates. Choose from over 120,000 hotels worldwide. Enjoy car rental services from Avis and Hertz.

AE Explorer Credit Card: Miles earning rate

AE Explorer credit card offers a low rate of miles with Amex Membership Rewards points. Note that you would need to exchange Amex Membership points for miles.  As of the latest conversion rate in December 2023, 18,000 Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for 1,000 miles, which means 18 Membership Rewards points/mile.

Here is the mileage conversion table for HK$1 spent on different categories:

HK$1 Spent Amex Membership points earns Miles earned
Local Spending 3X HK$5/mile
Overseas Spending 10.75X HK$1.68/mile
Airline, Selected Online, Travelling Merchants 5X HK$3/mile

Enjoy as low as HK$1.68/mile on overseas spending

From now until 31 December 2024, if you successfully register for the 2 Overseas Spend Offers with your AE Explorer card, you can earn up to 10.75 American Express Membership Rewards Points (MR) for every HK$1 spent on foreign currency transactions, which is equivalent to HK$1.68/mile. However, this offer only applies to the first HK$10,000 you spend. After that, it’s 3.75 MR points per dollar, which translates to HK$4/mile.

Earn 1 mile for every HK$3 spent on airlines or selected online merchants

When you make eligible transactions with designated online merchants and airlines, you can earn 5X MR Points for every HK$1 spent, which is equivalent to HK$3.6 = 1 mile. (18 Amex Membership points/mile.)

But do note that you would need to enrol in the 5X offer for the year 2024. And you may enrol here.

To earn the 5X Amex Membership points, you can spend on these designated online merchants, which include popular platforms such as

  • Amazon,
  • Apple,
  • Deliveroo,
  • Foodpanda,
  • Netflix,
  • Watson’s Wine,

While on travel websites, you can also get 5x Amex Membership points from the following merchants:

When it comes to airlines, they include the following, but are not limited to them:.

  • airasia
  • ANA
  • American Airlines
  • Emirates
  • KLM
  • malaysia airlines

Note that spending on in-flight purchases, travel package bookings, tour groups, or cruise vacations that include airfare, hotel reservations, car rentals, or cruise charges is not eligible for the 5X Membership points scheme.

Earn 1 mile for every HK$5 spent locally 

With the American Express Explorer Credit Card, you’ll be able to earn 3 American Express Membership Rewards Points (MR) for every HK$1 spent on eligible local transactions, which is like getting HK$6/mile.

Redeem Miles with no handling fee for 10 participating airlines

Unlike the Standard Chartered Cathay Pacific Credit Card, which only allows you to earn Asia Miles, the American Express Explorer Credit Card allows you to redeem your earned points for air miles in the frequent flyer programmes of 10 participating airlines.

The minimum redemption amount is 18,000 points, and there are no handling fees. The conversion time can range from as quick as 48 hours to up to 10 days.

The participating airlines include:

  • Asia Miles,
  • British Airways Executive Club,
  • Emirates Skywards,
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich,
  • Finnair Plus,
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands,
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer,
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

AE Explorer Credit Card: Annual fees and charges

AE Explorer Card has an annual fee for the first year. After that, you are required to pay HK$2,200 for the annual fee. You can also enjoy the annual fee waiver when you spend HK$150,000 with the credit card annually.

Annual Principal Fee HK$1800 (first-year annual fee waiver)
Supplementary Annual Fee N/A
Annual Interest Rate Retail Purchase APR: 35.96%
Late Payment Fees 5% of the outstanding minimum payment due (The maximum late payment fee is HK$350, and the minimum late payment fee is HK$300.)
Minimum Monthly Repayment The highest of the following three amounts: (i) 1.5% of the outstanding principal plus 100% of finance charges, interest, fees (including the annual membership fee), and all other applicable charges; (ii) 4% of your outstanding balance; or (iii) HK$300, plus any overdue minimum payments and any amount exceeding your credit limit.
Foreign Currency Transaction Fee 2%
Foreign Check Fee 2%
Cash Advance Transaction Fee 3.5% of the cash amount, or minimum HK$100
Overlimit Fee HK$180

Note that there is a 2% foreign currency transaction fee whenever you pay in foreign currency.

AE Explorer Credit Card: Accessibility

The AE Explorer credit card requires applicants to have an annual income of HK$300,000. However, there have been reports of some applicants who do not meet the annual income requirement but are still able to obtain the card. It might be worth a trial.

AE Explorer Credit Card: Perks

The AE Explorer card doesn’t fall behind when it comes to credit card perks. It offers 8 complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounge worldwide for both primary and additional Cardmembers, a zero-mile conversion fee, a 1-year extra warranty for shopping, and 10% savings on 4DX, 3D, 2D, and IMAX regular-priced movie tickets at Broadway Circuit.

Travel-related benefits

While the American Express Explorer Credit Card offers several travel-related perks,.

8 complimentary Plaza Premium Lounge visits per year

Cardholders and supplementary cardholders can enjoy up to 8 complimentary visits per year to Plaza Premium Lounges in Asia, which can be shared by the main card holders and the subsidiary card holders.

Free travel insurance coverage up to HK$3,500,000

Additionally, when you fully pay for your overseas travel expenses with the American Express Explorer Credit Card, you can receive travel accident coverage of up to HK$3,500,000 and travel delay coverage of up to HK$10,000 per year.

Shopping protection

You can confidently use your American Express Explorer Credit Card knowing that the card has you covered. Amex Explorer provides protection against fraud and faulty goods and even offers coverage if you change your mind.

Online Fraud Protection Guarantee: Shop online with your card and you won’t be held responsible for any fraudulent charge.

No Worries Guarantee Programme

  • Return Guarantee Protection Plan
  • 45-Day Cover
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Price Protection Plan

Using the AE Explorer Card’s purchase of Apple products (including the iPhone, iPad, etc.) will effectively extend the warranty for an additional year. Why is it called “effectively”? It’s because Apple does not provide an additional year of warranty.

Instead, if there are any issues in the second year, you can claim the repair fee from Chubb (the insurance provider that AE helps cardholders purchase).

Broadway cinemas offer

You can enjoy regular-priced tickets for Hong Kong Broadway cinemas in 3D, 2D, and IMAX formats, and the best part is that you’ll get a fantastic 10% discount. How awesome is that? Enjoy your movie night with the Amex Explorer Credit Card.

AE Explorer Credit Card: Welcome offer

AE Explorer welcomes you with a generous return of up to 71,000 miles! As long as you don’t hold an AE Explorer card within 12 months, you can enjoy this offer.

During the welcome period, you can earn 9X points for foreign currency transactions, which is equivalent to HK$2/mile. With this welcome offer, you can earn up to 71,000 miles, making it ideal for individuals with significant expenses!

Types of Welcome Offers Bonus Requirement
First Transaction Bonus 1,000 Miles Make the 1st transaction after issuance
Welcome Bonus 6,000 Miles Spend HK$7,000 within 3 months
Foreign Currencies Spending Bonus 40,000 Miles Enjoy 9X MR points within 3 months (HK$2/mile)
Local Spending Bonus 24,000 Miles Enjoy 4X MR points within 3 months (HK$4.5/mile)
Total Welcome Offer 71,000 Miles/ HK$4,260 rewards Spend on a specific category to earn the welcome miles offer within 3 months.

American Express Explorer Card: Eligibility

To apply for the Amex Explorer Card, there is an annual income requirement of HK$300,000. As long as you meet the following criteria, you are eligible to apply for the card:

  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • You are a resident or citizen of Hong Kong or Macau.
  • You have an annual income of HK$300,000.

When applying for the Amex Platinum Card, you will receive 1 primary card and 2 complementary supplementary cards.

Final verdict: AE Explorer Credit Card: Is it good? AE Explorer Credit Card Features

The AE Explorer Credit Card is suitable for travel enthusiasts who frequently make transactions with designated online merchants and want to earn miles for flight redemption.

Advantages of AE Explorer Credit Card

  • With the AE Explorer Credit Card, you can earn 5 American Express Membership Rewards points for every HK$1 spent on designated airlines, travel, e-commerce platforms, food delivery, and leisure and entertainment platforms. This is equivalent to HK$3/mile.
  • The accumulated points can be redeemed for flight miles, cash vouchers, or gifts from 10 partner airlines without any handling fee. The options are diverse, and there is no expiration date.
  • Among mileage credit cards, the AE Explorer Credit Card offers the highest basic spending rebate, and even bill payments are eligible for rebates.
  • In addition, cardholders can enjoy free access to global Plaza Premium Lounges 8 times a year and a 10% discount on regular-priced tickets for 4DX, 3D, 2D, and IMAX movies at Hong Kong Broadway Cinemas throughout the year.

Disadvantages of the AE Explorer Credit Card

  • The number of merchants accepting AE cards in the market is limited, and its popularity is not as high as that of Visa and Mastercard.
  • Furthermore, for regular spending at non-designated merchants, the rebate rate is only HK$6/mile, which is relatively low. For foreign currency spending, a 2% handling fee is charged for each transaction, which is slightly higher than other credit cards (usually 1.95%).

Is it worth applying? Absolutely. With its card perks and miles redemption, the Amex Explorer card has established itself as a strong contender among other travel credit cards.

For more information and the latest promotions, visit MoneySmart.

Frequently asked questions: AE Explorer Credit Card

Does the AE Explorer Credit Card have an annual fee?

The AE Explorer Card offers a waived annual fee for the first year. Subsequently, the annual fee is HK$2,200, but you can call to inquire about waiver options when renewing the card.

What is the minimum income requirement for the AE Explorer Credit Card?

The minimum income requirement is HK$300,000, but the approval criteria are lenient. You can still try even if you don’t meet the income requirement. Many people have been approved despite not meeting it.

Why might an application for an AE Explorer Card be rejected?

Generally, if you earn HK$300,000, your card application should be approved. However, American Express only allows a maximum of 3 credit cards (excluding the AE Platinum Charge Card). So, if you already have 4 of the following cards, your application for the AE Explorer Card may be rejected.

Are there any restrictions on the number of visits to lounges with the AE Explorer Card?

AE Explorer cardholders get 8 lounge visits per year.

What can I do with AE Explorer Card points?

AE Explorer points can be used to redeem cash, convert to different mileage programmemes or hotel programme points, and purchase travel products.

Can AE Explorer Card points be used for Travel with Points?

AE Explorer credit card points can be used for Travel with Points to pay for hotel bookings, flights, and car rentals.

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