Amex rewards credit card changes start today - will your plastic be affected?

Ceyda Erem

15 Apr 2019

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It’s official - American Express have today cut their points earn rate across a number of its rewards credit cards.

Announcing the changes in November last year, the card issuer revealed that it would be decreasing its points earn rate by a quarter of a point on cards linked to the Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer program, which for Aussie rewards lovers, will mean spending more to redeem points and score freebies.

For instance, the number of points required to redeem a $100 gift card has increased by 48% across the Essentials, Platinum Edge and Explorer Card.

Points needed for a free Sydney to Melbourne flight increased by 50% on both the Explorer and Essentials Card and 100% on the Platinum Edge Card.

“American Express are a household name when it comes to rewards programs and these new changes are set to rub many cardholders the wrong way,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont.

“But one thing to remember is that despite the changes, our analysis proves that Amex still performs better than the big four in terms of value.”

Average net value across rewards credit cards 

*Rewards net value is derived by calculating the number of points earned for an annual domestic spend of $20,000, then calculating how many Syd-Mel one-way flights can be redeemed using these points. The ongoing annual fee was deducted from the value of these flights to arrive at a net rewards value

Other changes American Express have made include simplifying their points tier system, as well as increasing its points earn rate on government spends, which will now see card holders earn $1 point per dollar spent (previously 0.5 points per $1).

But the biggest change Amex customers will benefit from is an improved card acceptance rate.

In the past, paying with an American Express credit card often meant higher surcharges and fewer places where cards were accepted. So to bridge the merchant fee price gap between the card issuer and its competitors, Amex reduced its merchant fees and increased the number of retailers that accepted its cards by 120,000.

“It’s great to see that American Express customers will now have more places than ever to flash their plastic, but it does mean having to say goodbye to previous points earn rates,” said Lamont.

Cards linked to Amex’s rewards point program, like the American Express Explorer Card, Platinum Edge and Essentials Card will keep their points per dollar earn rate.

If you’d like to find more about the changes, check out our detailed guide before heading over to our rewards credit card comparison tool to see how these new rewards changes stack up to others in the market.


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