Best American Express Credit Cards in Malaysia 2021

Combining luxury and practicality, AMEX offers the most attractive rates, exclusive privileges and premium benefits.

Indulge in the world exclusivity with an American Express credit card

Famously recognised as “Amex”, American Express is a renowned cashless payment network in the world that issues prepaid, charge and credit cards. Popular for its iconic gladiator logo and a host of travel benefits, Amex partners up with only one local bank to issue its cards in Malaysia.

Owning an Amex credit card is almost always seen as a status symbol because it is expensive to maintain its membership annually. The annual fee, which is above thousands of Ringgit per year, may not be favourable to most people, but do you know that it is actually paying the privileges you’re about to indulge in?

For example, the Amex International Airlines Program (for the Platinum cardholders) where you have access to special and lower flight rates with over 20 international airlines partners. This program allows you to pay your fare or upgrade your seat using Membership Rewards Points. 

Other than that is the dining and hotel privileges at 5-stars hotels where you can save up to 50% of the total bills. On top of that, you will also receive personalised concierge and butler services for all your lifestyle ins and outs.

Have we piqued your curiosity yet? Now we want to shift your attention to details of these prestige cards from the type of cards they offer to the benefits that you can get from each card, and the list of the local fusion of Amex credit cards that can give you almost similar benefits of the Centurion cards — at zero annual fee!

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Charge Card VS Credit Card

There are two types of American Express cards that you can apply: charge card and credit card. These two card types typically work the same way in the sense of providing credit for you to make purchases, but there are also elements that distinguish them from each other.

Charge cards have the looks and feels similar to credit cards where you can swipe or tap it to complete a purchase. The main distinction is that you must pay the amount you have swiped in full at the end of every billing month.

If you spend RM1,000 on your Amex charge card, be sure to repay the amount completely before the due date, otherwise your next transactions will be declined. 

Charge cards don’t have an interest (15%-18% p.a.) in comparison to credit cards, where you have the leniency to make a minimum payment on the outstanding balance and still be able to make purchases.

The other unique feature of a charge card is that it usually does not impose a credit limit. You have the freedom to spend as much, and are required to repay those amounts in full.

Besides that, both Amex charge and credit cards come with and without an annual fee. The ones with an annual fee often comes with plenty of perks and services which can include travel discounts, premium airport lounge access, hotel status acceleration and so forth.

Membership Rewards™

What better way to elevate your shopping experience than to collect reward points on every Ringgit you spent? 

Through American Express Membership Rewards™ programme, you can redeem all sorts of gifts and vouchers with the accumulated points, ranging from electronic devices, gadgets to kitchen appliances and shopping/retail vouchers.

Once you have collected enough reward points, you can redeem them with your choice of gifts or vouchers via American Express Membership Rewards™ e-catalogue. 

To redeem, you can download and fill up the Membership Rewards™ redemption form and email it or, give a call to Maybank-American Express Membership Rewards™ Hotline.

You can also use your Membership Reward Points to pay for your next flight ticket and upgrade under the International Airlines Program.

Dining and Hotel Privileges

Suiting its world class reputation, you can have a chance to experience and enjoy the finer things in life without draining your wallet with exclusive dining and five-star hotel privileges when you swipe any of your American Express cards.

For example, with The American Express Platinum Credit Card, you can enjoy up to 50% discount on dining at selected restaurants with American Express’s Live The World dining offers. 

Not only that, dining at Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and any Marriott Bonvoy participating hotels and resorts in Malaysia gets you up to 45% savings on dining too.

Additionally, a charge card such as American Express The Platinum Card gives you accelerated access to over 1,100 extraordinary properties across the globe via its Fine Hotels & Resorts Program. 

Other perks such as priority check-in/check-out, hotel credit and room upgrades are also granted exclusively just for Platinum cardholders.

Is American Express accepted in Malaysia?

American Express credit cards may be uncommon in our country, but there are a growing number of merchants that graciously accept Amex card payment. From restaurants, retailers to supermarkets, these are the places where you can swipe your centurion card in Malaysia:

F&B Retail Petrol E-Commerce Grocery & Department Stores Pharmacies
  • Secret Recipe
  • KFC
  • Pizza Hut
  • Dominos Pizza
  • Auntie Anne's
  • Carl's Jr
  • O'Briens
  • Manhattan Fish Market
  • Starbucks
  • Tony Roma's
  • TGI Friday's
  • Chili's
  • Boat Noodle
  • Morganfields
  • 4Fingers
  • Texas Chicken
  • McDonald's
  • H&M
  • Cotton On
  • Uniqlo
  • Aldo
  • ZARA
  • Bata
  • Muji
  • JD Sports
  • Charles & Keith
  • Pedro
  • Giordano
  • BHPetrol
  • Petron
  • Petronas
  • Shell
  • Caltex
  • Grab
  • Zalora
  • PrestoMall
  • IKEA
  • Lelong.com
  • Watson's
  • Fave
  • Mydin
  • E S H
  • Traveloka
  • AEON
  • AEON Big
  • Ben's Independent Grocer
  • Cold Storage
  • Giant
  • Mercato
  • Hero Supermarket
  • Jaya Grocer
  • Lulu Supermarket
  • Mydin
  • Tesco
  • Village Grocer
  • Guardian
  • Watson's
  • Big Pharmacy
  • Aeon Wellness
  • Caring Pharmacy
  • Alpro

But do note that different outlet locations and branches may or may not accept Amex. So just to be sure, do ask the cashier beforehand.

How do I get an American Express card in Malaysia?

There is only one bank in Malaysia that issues American Express credit cards: Maybank, Malaysia’s largest bank by assets, deposits, loans, market capitalization, number of employees and branches.

You will not find other banks bearing Amex logos on their plastic or metal credit cards besides Maybank, which is signaling an exclusivity here. 

To apply for an Amex card, you will be redirected to Maybank’s website and need to fill up the bank’s credit card application form. If you’re already a Maybank customer with a good financial standing, chances of getting your Amex credit card application approved will be higher.

The best part about this exclusive partnership is that you can get an Amex card with a twist of local flavour (e.g. TreatsPoints, EzyPay, EzyCash, etc) and have 2 card issuers in a single statement and credit limit such as the Maybank 2 Cards, where your American Express is paired with a Visa or Mastercard.

Whether you want to collect reward points and air miles, or save money via cashback, the Maybank-American Express credit cards can cater to your unique needs and lifestyles. 

Have a look at the tables below to see the highlights of Amex credit cards, from entry to high level, that you can sign up for:

American Express for beginners - RM2,500/month income earning


Maybank 2 Gold Cards Maybank American Express Cash Back Gold
Highest cashback rate 5% weekend cashback 1.5% overseas retail spend
Highest cashback amount RM50 per month Uncapped
Max. spending amount Any amount Any amount
Maybank Treats Points
  • Up to 5x Treats Points for all retail (weekdays only)
  • 1x Treats Point for utitilities, education, insurance & EzyPay Installment
  • 5x Treats Points on petrol
None
Annual fee No annual fee RM70, free for first year

American Express for intermediate - RM5,000/month income earning


Maybank 2 Platinum Cards Maybank American Express Platinum Maybank Islamic Ikhwan American Express Platinum Card-i
Highest cashback rate 5% weekend cashback None None
Highest cashback amount RM50 per month None None
Max. spending amount Any amount None None
Maybank Treats Points
  • 5x Treats Points for all retail (weekdays only)
  • 1x Treats Points on utilities, education, insurance & EzyPay Instalment
  • 1x Treats Points on local/oversea spend for Mastercard or Visa
  • 5x Treats Points on petrol (Amex), 1x TreatsPoints (MC/Visa)
  • 5x Treats Points on groceries, selected cinemas, participating bookstores & telecommunication charges
  • 2x Treats Points on all local & overseas retail
  • 1x Treats Points on petrol, utilities, education, insurance & EzyPay Instalment
  • 2x Treats Points on all retail
  • 1x Treats Points on EzyPay, EzyPay PLUS, utilities, petrol, education & insurance
  • 1x Treats Points on petrol spend
Annual fee No annual fee RM800, free for first year Free for life
Additional feature Free travel insurance of up to RM700,000
  • Low finance charge of 9% p.a.
  • Free travel insurance up to RM700,000
Automatic Touch ‘n Go Zing Card reload facility

American Express for high income - RM8,400/month income earning


Maybank 2 Cards Premier
Highest cashback rate No cashback
Maybank Treats Points
  • 5x Treats Points on all local & overseas spending
  • 1x Treats Points on utilities, education, insurance & EzyPay Instalment

Air Miles Conversion Rate
  • 5,000 Treats Points = 1,000 Enrich Miles/KrisFlyer Miles/Asia Miles
Annual fee RM800, free for first year. Waived when you spend RM80,000 for the subsequent years.
Additional feature
  • Travel insurance up to RM1 million
  • Premier Lifestyle Program privileges

American Express in partnership with Singapore Airlines


Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer American Express Gold
Highest cashback rate No cashback
KrisFlyer Miles
  • 2x points on Singapore Airlines online ticket purchases
  • 1x point on all retail (except for government bodies & utilities)
Annual fee RM250, free for first year
Additional feature
  • 5x free airport lounge access privileges in Malaysia
  • Free travel insurance of up to RM750,000
  • American Express Global Assist

Although American Express is not widely accepted within the Malaysian market, you can definitely benefit from these exclusive cards if you are a frequent traveller. If Amex sounds right for you, simply compare which American Express cards suit you best and apply. Should you want to take a look at other credit cards, RinggitPlus got you covered too!