American Express Credit Cards

American Express is an international provider of credit cards and insurance.

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If you’re considering using a credit card from American Express, check out what products the company has to offer by utilising Canstar’s credit card star ratings.

Types of American Express credit cards

American Express has three different credit cards available for you to choose from:

  1. American Express Airpoints
  2. American Express Airpoints Platinum
  3. American Express Platinum
  4. American Express Platinum Edge
  5. American Express Low Rate Credit Card

All American Express credit cards come with the following benefits:

  • 24/7 Service: Amex offers always-available customer service anywhere in the world and can usually have your card replaced within 24 hours even when you’re travelling overseas.
  • Membership Rewards: Earning rewards points on purchases lets you redeem them for flights, travel insurance, concert tickets, electronic products and more.
  • Security: American Express’s fraud protection guarantee means they will deposit credit in your account if there is unauthorised spending, and its intelligent security systems aim to keep your card safe 24/7.
  • Online management: Access and manage your card online via American Express’s web portal or mobile app.

American Express Airpoints

The Airpoints card is American Express’s affordable card aimed at frequent flyers, with no account fee and a facility for earning Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars with your purchases – these can redeemed for flights and upgrades with Air New Zealand. You also get 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months, reverting to 19.95% p.a. after the introductory period.

Features

  • Interest rate on purchases: 19.95% p.a.
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 21.95% p.a.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Online: 24/7 online banking
  • Rewards:
    • Earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $100 you spend
    • Get a bonus 50 Airpoints Dollars to start when you spend $750 in the first 3 months

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American Express Airpoints Platinum

The Airpoints Platinum card is an upgraded version of American Express’s frequent flyer card, with a yearly account fee but a greater earning rate for Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollars and other rewards.

Features

  • Interest rate on purchases: 19.95% p.a.
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 21.95% p.a.
  • Annual fee: $195 p.a.
  • Online: 24/7 online banking
  • Rewards:
    • Earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $59 you spend
    • Get 200 bonus Airpoints Dollars when you spend $1,500 on your new card in the first 3 months
    • Earn 1 Status Point for every $250 spend, which can be used to upgrade your lounge privileges
    • Save $255 on your Koru membership joining fee and $145 p.a. thereafter
    • 2 Priority Pass entries per year to the American Express Lounge in Sydney or Melbourne airports
  • Insurance: Personal liability, overseas medical, travel and cancellation insurance

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American Express Platinum Card

The Platinum is the quintessential American Express card, with a raft of rewards, insurance, and other Platinum privileges.

Features

  • Annual fee: $1,250
  • Interest rate on purchases: Nil (0% p.a.)
  • Membership Rewards Points:
    • Receive 80,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $1,500 in the first 3 months
    • Earn 2 membership points for every dollar spent
    • Points redeemable for 7 airline rewards and 2 hotel programmes
  • Travel:
    • $200 Platinum Travel Credit each year, redeemable for transport or accommodation
    • Complimentary Priority Pass membership, giving access to more than 900 VIP airport lounges
    • Complimentary Accor Plus membership, providing 1 night’s stay each year, as well as several other hotel VIP programs
  • Insurance: Travel, baggage, medical emergency and personal liability cover
  • Platinum Concierge: 24/7 phone service to help with bookings, travel planning, gift buying and more
  • Online Fraud Protection Guarantee

American Express Platinum Edge Card

The Platinum Edge is an alternative version of the Platinum card, with a wider variety of rewards points opportunities and lower fees. The card comes with an introductory rate of 2.99% p.a. for the first 6 months, reverting to 19.95% p.a. after the introductory period.

Features

  • Annual fee: $149 p.a.
  • Interest rate on purchases: 19.95% p.a.
  • Membership Rewards Points:
    • Earn up to 3 membership points for every dollar spent
    • Points redeemable for 7 airline rewards and 2 hotel programmes
  • Travel: Complimentary direct domestic return flight every year
  • Insurance: Travel, baggage, medical emergency and personal liability cover
  • Platinum Priority Service: 24/7 phone service to help with card issues anywhere in the world
  • Online Fraud Protection Guarantee

American Express Low Rate Credit Card

The Low Rate Credit Card is an affordable everyday card from American Express, with a low annual fee and rate, as well as a low introductory rate and generous interest-free periods.

Features

  • Annual fee: $59 p.a.
  • Interest rate on purchases: 12.69% p.a. (2.99% p.a. for the first 6 months)
  • Interest-free period: Up to 55 days when you pay your bill on time
  • Online Fraud Protection Guarantee
  • Add up to 4 supplementary cards with no annual fee

Eligibility to apply for American Express credit cards

To apply for any of American Express’s credit cards, you must be able to satisfy the following criteria:

  • You must be a New Zealand permanent resident or citizen
  • You must be over 18 years of age
  • You must have an annual income above a certain threshold (depending on the card, between $30,000 and $50,000 p.a.)
  • You must have no history of bad debt or payment default

How to apply for an American Express credit card

First, you’ll need to check the above eligibility criteria to see if you qualify to apply for an American Express credit card.

If you do, then you can apply online by clicking on the American Express card of your choice in Canstar’s comparison tables:

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If you need help to apply, you can call American Express on 0800 656 660 during business hours (open Mon-Fri).

When applying, you will be asked for the following information:

  • The usual personal information, such as your address and previous addresses
  • A copy of your current driver’s license
  • A current email address and a mobile or landline contact telephone number
  • Details of any existing credit cards and loans you hold
  • Employment details
  • Financial information, including annual household income and monthly living expenses

Having all of this on hand will significantly speed up the process. The average application takes about 10 minutes according to American Express, and you can expect a response within 60 seconds if you are having difficulties.

For more information on how to apply for a credit card, consult our checklist for the credit card application process here.

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Express credit card FAQs

You’ll need to activate your new credit card before you can start using it. After receiving your card, you can activate it online by logging in to either online banking or the American Express mobile app, and following the prompts.

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You can manage your American Express credit card through the company’s online portal. By using American Express’s online banking service, you can pay your bill, access statements and transaction details, view all of your accounts to see how much you owe, and redeem/transfer rewards points.

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When interest is charged

Interest is charged on purchases when you carry a balance on your American Express credit card, and is charged on cash advances from the date of withdrawal. Interest is calculated daily on your outstanding balance, and charged to you monthly on your regular statement.

When interest is not charged

Depending on which card you go for, up to 55 interest-free days apply to American Express credit card purchases, as long as you have paid the balance in full for the previous month’s statement and for the current month’s statement.

For more information about interest-free days, check out our article on how they work.

Your credit limit for your American Express Visa credit card will be determined based on the information you provide in your application, keeping in mind the minimum credit limits available for each card, which are detailed above. If your credit history is good, you’ll likely be approved for a higher credit limit, and vice versa. Find out more about how credit limits are determined here.

When applying for an American Express credit card, it will ask you to set a preferred maximum credit limit. You should make sure that this limit matches your current financial circumstances. Your credit limit is at the discretion of American Express and there is no guarantee that you will be granted your preferred credit limit.

You can close your American Express credit card account at any time by sending a written request to your American Express branch. Your card balance will need to be repaid in full even after the card is closed, and you will continue to receive monthly statements until your card balance is fully repaid.

If you’re cancelling your credit card with American Express because you’re struggling financially, contact its financial hardship team to find a potential solution.

If you’re cancelling your credit card because you aren’t happy with it, then consider checking out what else is on the market by clicking the button below to compare credit cards using the Canstar website:

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American Express NZ - Airpoints Card

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Airpoints Cards

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Written by: Sam Bloom | Last updated: May 10, 2018