Essential Credit Card card image
Mini meca 2021

American Express Essential Credit Card

Advertiser disclosure
Purchase rate
14.99% p.a.
Balance transfer rate
No current offer
Annual fees
Interest free days on purchases
Go to site

Mozo editorial review American Express Essential Credit Card - last updated: 7 December 2021

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What's hot
  • 2021 Credit Card Provider of the Year
  • Double 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Award winner
  • $0 annual fee
What's not
  • $30 late payment fee
Mozo snapshot

There's a lot to love about the American Express Essential Credit Card. You'll earn up to 1.25 points per $1 spend and there's no annual fee. And if you apply, are approved and spend $1,500 on eligible purchases within the first three months of becoming a member, you'll receive $200 back (terms and conditions apply, new members only). With so much great value on offer, it's no surprise that this card won a 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Award for Best Rewards Credit Card and Best No Annual Fee Credit Card. Plus, American Express was awarded the mantle of 2021 Credit Card Provider of the Year.

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Key features

One of the biggest draws of the Essential Credit Card is that it's a rewards card with no annual fee. The purchase rate is fairly low too at just 14.99% and you'll have a leisurely 55 interest free days.

With the Essential Credit Card you'll earn 1.25 points for every $1 spent on AMEX, and since the points are uncapped and never expire you can keep piling them up until you have a nice stash of rewards points. The only exception is government spends, where you'll only earn 1 point per $1. The points are redeemable through eight different airlines, which include Virgin, Emirates, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines. Plus there's an unlimited amount of additional card members, so you can get your family on board to supercharge your rewards points pile faster.

You can also get $200 back in your pocket when you apply, are approved and use your card to spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first three months (terms and conditions apply, new members only).

The competitive features don't stop there, as the rewards card also comes with complimentary insurances including an extended warranty, purchase protection and refund protection. There's also smart phone screen insurance for those who pay for their phone or phone contract on their credit card. This means if your screen cracks, you'll be able to claim up to $500 in repairs two times a year but you'll have to pay 10% excess per claim.

Who is it good for

This can suit rewards lovers that want the perks of a rewards credit card without the slap of a high annual fee. 

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Any catches

As this is an AMEX card, be mindful that some merchants may charge extra for accepting American Express transactions. 

Rewards program details

Rates and fees information correct as at 23 January 2022. Mozo has robust processes to ensure our site is updated to reflect the latest information from providers. There may be the odd occasion where updates are delayed, so please confirm information before purchasing.
What your points get you

Fly Sydney to London return

212,000 points

Fly Sydney to Melbourne one-way

15,600 points

$100 Giftcard

20,000 points

$100 Cash


Points earning

1.25 points per dollar on Amex, uncapped

Rewards scheme

Transfer points to a range of airline programs or redeem your points for travel, gift cards, retail rewards and shopping gift cards.

Flights available with Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Air New Zealand, Emirates, Virgin, Malaysia Airlines and other partners.

Earn 1 point per $1 spend at government bodies.

Value of rewards points

Spend $16,000 (AmEx)

Spend $12,480 (AmEx)

Spend $169,600 (AmEx)



How do we calculate these points?
How do we calculate the rewards?

To work out the "Rewards value minus fees" in our Rewards Revealer we:

  • calculate how many points you'd get each year,

  • figure out how many flights or gift cards or cashback credits you could get for those points,

  • work out what that's actually worth to you,

  • take off the annual fee you'd pay.

More details:

  • Our calculations are designed to help you compare the value of different rewards schemes. To do this, we've looked at earning a one-way Sydney-Melbourne flight excluding taxes and charges, a return Sydney-London flight excluding taxes and charges, a $100 shopping Gift Card and $100 cashback. Most cards will also offer other rewards, which may be worth more or less than the ones we've shown.

  • We have made no allowance for bonus points for using your card at specific merchants, introductory offers or special offers. We have not assigned any value to instant discounts, insurances, ticketing and concierge services or other such benefits.

  • Rewards value calculations do not take credit card interest into account. If you do not pay off your card each month you may be better off looking for a card based on interest rates than on the value of rewards.

  • In products that have more than one card, a different mix of spend between American Express / Visa / Mastercard will give different results. Mozo's Rewards Revealer lets you choose the mix based on the way you would use such a product, and gives you tailored results.

  • We assume flights purchased with airline points are 'classic' or 'reward' economy seats with restricted seat availability. 'Any seat' rewards will probably cost more.

  • To compare the value of flight rewards, we sample online retail flight prices once a quarter based on the average price on a Wednesday 3 months in advance but outside NSW school holidays. For domestic flights we take the lowest available fare from each flight on that day from Qantas Red e-deal, Virgin Australia Saver including baggage and Jetstar Starter including baggage. We calculate the average price excluding taxes and surcharges for each airline, and also the average across all airlines (which we use when rewards are travel agent vouchers). For international flights, we take the lowest available fares on that same Wednesday from each of Qantas, Emirates, Malaysian, Etihad, Singapore, Cathay Pacific and Thai, assuming a return flight 2 weeks later, calculate the average price before taxes and surcharges and use this as our assumed cost of a flight on any airline.

  • Shopping rewards are based on $100 gift cards from a major national department store.

  • We make every effort to ensure our calculations are correct and up to date but make no guarantees.


Rate and fee details


14.99% p.a.


No current offer


















up to 4


Payment options

Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay

Rewards privileges

Extended Warranty,
Purchase Protection,
Account alerts by SMS

Other benefits

Get $200 when you apply, are approved and spend $1,500 in the first 3 months. Cover for smartphone screen repairs up to $500 each year when you pay for your phone outright or monthly bill with American Express Essential Credit Card, conditions apply.

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