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AMEX Explorer credit card vs. ANZ Rewards Travel Adventurers Card

7 October 2016

These 2 new premium reward credit cards from ANZ and AMEX are competing for cardholders who are looking for a high point earning reward card with no points cap and a competitive annual card fee.


So how do the 2 cards stack up?

The first feature we reviewed was the cards Point earn rates by accessing how much you would need to spend on each card to earn enough Velocity Points to fly from Sydney to Brisbane, which requires 7,800 Velocity Points (plus $20.79 taxes)

American Express Explorer - With a point earn rate of 2 points per $1 of spend and point transfer rate to Virgin of 4 Rewards Points for 3 Velocity Points a spend of $5,200 is required.

ANZ Travel Adventures Card (Visa) - With a point earn rate of 1 point per $1 of spend and point transfer rate to Virgin of 2 ANZ Rewards Points for 1 Velocity Points a spend of $15,600 is required.

The spend level required on the AMEX card is significantly lower at $7,800, but does not compete with the AMEX Explorer.

ANZ Travel Adventures Card (AMEX) - With a point earn rate of 2 points per $1 of spend and point transfer rate to Virgin of 2 ANZ Rewards Points for 1 Velocity Points a spend of $7,800 is required.


Secondly we looked at the cards annual fees.

The ANZ Rewards Travel Adventurer card redeems itself in this area with a fee of $225 compared to $395 for the AMEX Explorer. Though if you are planning on adding supplementary cards to your account the Explorer fights back with $0 fee for additional cardholders compared to a $65 fee charged by ANZ for each additional cardholder.

On the introductory offer front the AMEX Explorer trumps the ANZ Adventurer card with its offer of 100,000 Bonus Reward Points, attained subject to a spend of $1,500 of card ownership plus 0% p.a. on Balance Transfers for up to 12 months. To attain this offer on the AMEX Explorer Card you will need to apply by 30th November 2016 - Update: This offer has been extended by American Express for applications made by 30th January 2017. The ANZ Adventurer card does not currently feature an introductory offer instead its focus appears to be on delivering an ongoing travel related benefits to new card holders.


Which card offers the best ongoing benefits?

1. Travel Benefits

The ANZ Rewards Adventurer card includes free domestic return flight with Virgin Australia, every year that you attain once you have spent $500 on your new card within the first 3 months.

The AMEX Explorer counters this free flight offer with a $400 travel voucher that you attain each year once you have paid the annual card fee. The voucher is issued by AMEX as a $400 of credit which can be spent with American Express Travel online, which offers flights, car hire and accommodation, and as an added bonus it can be used for yourself or a colleague.

Both cards include two free Airport lounge passes each year, the passes from ANZ can be used at any of Virgin Australia domestic lounges whilst the passes from AMEX Explorer are less flexible as they can only be used at the AMEX Lounge at Sydney Airport. The value of these complimentary passes is pretty much the same, so the decision here is really about which offer will be useful to you.

As you’d expect from Platinum level Rewards cards they both include a comprehensive set of complimentary insurances including the usual Domestic travel insurance, Annual multi-trip overseas travel insurance, Transport accident cover and Purchase protection insurance. In terms of points of difference, the ANZ Adventurer card offers rental vehicle excess cover in Australia, which removes the need to insure against the collision excess for cars rented in Australia. It’s a stand-alone policy, and not part of a travel insurance policy, so you could rent the car while remaining at home.

In contrast the AMEX Explorer card offers Smartphone screen cover which reimburses up to $500 of the repair cost each time the primary cardholder’s phone screen is accidentally damaged. This cover is activated when you pay for the phone with your Explorer card or points.

2. Overseas transaction fees

The ANZ Adventurer card wins hands down in this are with zero foreign transaction fees and $0 cash advance fees at overseas ATM’s, so if you need to access cash whilst travelling this card makes it a breeze.

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