This is my review of the American Express Platinum Cashback and American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday credit cards.
(EDIT: This review was updated in October 2016. All of the information was correct as at 10th September.)
Head for Points is primarily about earning airline miles or hotel loyalty points, and earning points via your credit card spend is an important part of that. It is important to take the occasional reality check, though. It is pointless collecting airline miles from a credit card if you could get a substantially better deal with a cashback credit card instead.
With that in mind, I thought it was time to take a look at the Amex cashback offering, which consists of two different Platinum Cashback credit cards.
Key facts: £25 annual fee on the Platinum Cashback credit card, no annual fee on the Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card
The Platinum Cashback credit card has a representative APR of 28.2% variable, including the £25 fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. The interest rate on purchases is 22.9% variable.
The Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card has a representative APR of 22.9% variable.
If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Equifax credit report and score. Your first 30 days are free then it’s £14.95 per month. You can cancel at anytime.
As with all rewards cards, this is not a suitable product for you if you do not clear your balance in full every month. You should focus on a credit card with a low interest rate such as the AA Low Rate Card. This has a very attractive representative APR of 6.4% variable on purchases and balance transfers.
As with all the credit cards I look at, you need to think separately about the sign-up bonus and the on-going bonus. There are actually two separate questions to consider:
“Is it worth getting this card just to benefit from the sign-up bonus?
“Is this a card I want to keep in my wallet for the long-term?”
What is the difference between the Amex Platinum Cashback and the Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday cards?
Basically, the annual fee and the cashback tiers. The Cashback card comes with a £25 annual fee. The Cashback Everyday card does not.
The Cashback card pays you cashback at the following rate:
- 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,500 of purchases
- 1% back if you spend under £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)
- 1.25% back on your spend over £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)
The Cashback Everyday card has a tiered system:
- 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,000 of purchases
After the first three months, you will earn:
- 0.5% on the first £5,000 of spend (but you get nothing if you spend under £3,000)
- 1% back on your spend over £5,000
Cashback is paid in a lump sum at the end of each card year.
Which is the best card to get?
Time for a quick bit of maths.
The break-even point for getting the £25 card is £10,000 of spending per year. For everyone except the highest spenders, you are better off with the free Platinum Cashback Everyday card.
spend £9,000 per year and you will receive £65 on the free Platinum Cashback Everyday and the same £65 on the Platinum Cashback card, adjusting for the fee
spend £11,000 per year and you will receive £85 on the free Platinum Cashback Everyday and £87.50 on the Platinum Cashback card, adjusting for the fee
What is the sign-up bonus?
Both cards have the usual generous American Express sign-up bonuses:
The Amex Platinum Cashback card pays you 5% back on your spending in the first three months, to a maximum spend of £2,500 (so capped at £125 back).
The Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday card pays you 5% back on your spending in the first three months, to a maximum spend of £2,000 (so capped at £100 back).
However, unless you are planning on spending over £10,000 between month 4 and month 12, I would not necessarily be tempted by the extra £25 as the free card is better in the long term.
What more should I know?
You do not receive your cashback month by month. Instead, it is paid onto your Amex statement at the end of each card year.
However, this does not mean that it is more difficult to cancel the Cashback card with the £25 fee. This is because Amex will refund your fee, pro-rata, when you cancel. If you feel like dumping the card at any point, wait until the start of your next card year for the cashback from the previous year to arrive. You can then cancel, and should get back at least £23 of your £25 fee as a pro-rata refund.
American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for its cards.
What alternative cards are worth a look?
The American Express Platinum Cashback cards are the highest paying cashback cards currently available in the UK.
However, American Express is not accepted everywhere, and you will need a Visa or MasterCard as a fall-back option. The best non-Amex cashback card is the ASDA credit card which pays back 0.5%. This has a representative APR of 18.9% variable.
Where do I apply?
The application form for the Platinum Cashback (£25 fee) card is here.
The application form for the Platinum Cashback Everyday (no fee) card is here.