American Express trialling ‘bonus MR points’ offers …. and a good Harrods cashback deal

If you have an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold or American Express Platinum card, you may have a new style of personalised offer showing on your online card statement.

On my account, I will receive 2,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when I spend £500 at Apple before 22nd May.

This is the first time that I have seen Amex run a bonus points offer for a retailer as opposed to a straight cash statement credit.

What is worrying is how pathetic this offer is!  The majority of Membership Rewards remptions value your points at 0.5p or less.  This means that you would be getting £10 of value back for a £500 spend, which is rubbish.  Even if you convert your points to Avios and value them at 1p each, you are still only getting £20 of value back.  Most cashback deals are more generous.

Let’s hope this doesn’t herald the start of a new trend.

If you want something more generous, this deal is better:


On my British Airways Premium Plus card, I have an offer for £50 cashback on a £300 purchase at Harrods before 5th June.

This is a great deal.  You can buy gift cards at any Harrods till point and that will trigger the £50 credit.  You can then spend the £300 whenever you want.

If you are thinking of spending £500 on an Apple product, you should buy it in Harrods instead!  If you have two participating Amex cards, you could buy 2 x £300 Harrods gift cards and get £100 back which you can then spend in the large Apple concession in the Technology department (next to Toy Kingdom, where I spend worrying amounts of time).

At the time of writing, this deal is not on the website so you can only sign up if it shows for you online.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

So, Marriott has bought Starwood .... what should your points strategy be?
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  1. If this offer stacks wth the 6 avios/£1 you get for shopping with Apple through then that’s 10 avios/£1 if you spend over £500.

    • good idea :). if only you could split payments onto 2 cards online :( (as looking to buy and imac)

    • does anyone know if I buy 4x £500 gift card via 4 different gold cards (me,wife,mum,dad) will we all get the 200 MR bonus and then I can just use the vouchers all together? Hence total of 8000MR and 12000Avios.

      • Harrods tills can take up to four gift cards per transaction so you’re fine. If you want to spend more than that, Customer Services can merge lots of small gift cards into one large one.

      • I’ve used multiple gift cards at the HE store before but unfortunately the gift cards themselves and purchases through the HE site don’t track through the shopping portals.

    • Can anyone confirm if this works, as this is exactly what I want to do (want to buy an iPad). Annoyingly this costs £479 so will need to buy a case too!

      • So you’re going to pay an extra 21 pounds to get 2000 MR points?? Unless you actually need the case, I’d save the 21 pounds (if you can’t use a gift voucher).

        • Or as someone said the other day, if possible buy from Dixons Travel at LHR using Currys vouchers bought from tesco (7.2 avios / £) with HR points (1 avios / £) and could then hit a HR bonus?

          • this is a good option if you want an off the shelf mac but I want to increase the ram

          • It is possible to purchase goods at Dixons travel, bag the Heathrow rewards points and then return the goods to a Curry’s PC World. Leaves you with the points. Ethically questionable.

        • well that ruins my plan anyway, thanks for the heads up.

        • I see your point but I do need a case (and a few Mac accessories anyway) so extra spending is not JUST to get the 2000MR points.

  2. Unfortunately the Harrods offer is not showing on my BAPP

  3. 10% off at Harrods with their Rewards card weekend of 23/24 April. Not applicable at Apple and some other concessions such as Louis Vuitton.

  4. I’m never convinced by this type of offer.

    Even discounts of 10-20% don’t seem significant compared to eg sales or buying carefully.

    Perhaps I need educating.

  5. One question which may make a difference: do Harrods do competitor or online price match?

  6. I might be going mad, but 2000 reward points are worth £100 and not £10, correct?

  7. Slightly off topic but I wonder what might be the best way to buy Samsung Galaxy S7 pocketing as many points as possible? I have BA Amex and AMEX Gold but the Harrods offer is not showing up. Any other deals/offers anyone is aware of?

    • The Urbanite says:

      I bought mine from Argos. I had £325 of £25 Argos vouchers. Tesco give 150 Clubcard points per £50 of gift cards purchased. Mine were left over from Christmas, where this stacked with the 100 points per £20 GC offer.

      Do you have access to a workplace discount scheme? Perhaps discounted reloadable Argos and Tesco cards could help bring the cost down.

      If you’ve a week or so to spare and sufficient spend to put through, there’s also the Nectar Amex – £100 of Nectar points for £2k spend within 3 months. These can be spent in store at Argos.

    • Frenske says:

      If you get money off vouchers from Tesco use them to buy £50 Argos vouchers paying with Amex (last month I had a couple of £8 off when spend £80). So this gives you 11x150x2.6=4290 Avios through Tesco Clubcard and 550 Avios with Amex plus some considerable money saved using Tesco vouchers.

      • Genghis says:

        Good method – but generally x 2.4 cc>avios (not at bonus time), unless on grandfathered rate

        • Frenske says:

          I stand corrected.

          I have not use the Tesco clubcard points for Avios recently. I have been using them to pay for ferries/eurotunnel which gives better value than Avios.

  8. OTP: I took up the upgrade Amex Gold to Plat for 20K offer and now wanted to refer my wife for Amex Gold and close down my Plat once the 20K points post but when I go online to Refer Friends, apparently I can only refer to Amex Plat !!! Not able to see any referral option for Amex Gold. Is this a new change? any workarounds? This will put a big hole in our Amex MR collection !!

    • The link is for Platinum. However, at the bottom of the application page is a picture of a Gold card and the message ‘Want a differenr card?’. Click, sorted.

      • First of all thanks for your prompt reply. So if I understand correctly I should send the referral link for Platinum and the person being referred can change from Plat to Gold during application and still receive the extra 2K bonus and I would receive the Gold referral bonus?

      • If churning though, Amex plat might work out better:

        1) Refer to Amex plat: 18k + 35k = 53k MR points (on £2k spend)
        2) Refer to Amex gold: 9k + 22k = 33k MR points (on £2k spend)
        3) Refer to Amex gold then upgrade: 9k + 22k + 20k = 51k MR points (on £3k spend).

        It depends how highly you value your extra £1k spend on option 3 and how quickly you can spend the target on Platinum to minimise the fee.

        • I have an Amex gold my wife is a supplementary card holder. Can I refer her for her own gold card on the Amex site so I can cancel mine?

          • Yes, no problem.

            • go for option 1 for sure…

              good tactic here is what I do I think – lets say you do your shopping at Tesco and Sainsbury….

              get platinum card, immediately buy a 1000 pound Sainsbury voucher and 1000 pounds Tesco voucher, close the card the next week. you will get about 440 of the 450 pound fee back…just make sure you get all your hotel status confirmed immediately, may take some calling around, but worth the effort…

        • roberto says:

          Re amex earning options.. Can a gold card holder refer someone to a platinum card and pocket the 18k referral bonus?

          My wife and I are serial referers but her single salary won’t get her platinum.. Normally she refers gold to gold and I upgrade to plat as the year ends referring her & trousering the bonuses before cancelling. Rinse and repeat..

          Referring me to plat would earn her more bonus but I would spend and cancel asap as I don’t want to wear the fee.. Can I go to gold for free leaving me to refer her later once her 6 months has passed..

          What’s the better option if there is one?

          • Genghis says:


            I thought the income assessment is truly done on household income so it sounds like you should be OK for your wife to get plat.

            If you downgrade from Plat to Gold, you pay the £140 Gold fee (i.e. not free).

            It sounds like you should do what we do. You take out plat, refer wife, she takes out plat. Cancel as soon as the points post. Wait 6 months and then repeat.

        • Where is the link for upgrading from gold to platinum ? I can’t find it .

        • Genghis, in our case Option 2 & 3 are worth extra 9K/18K as my wife can refer me back for Gold/Plat after 6 months. Of course this can also be done with Option1 but there is no way we would be keeping a £450 fee card for 6 months given our current travel patterns

          • If my hubby upgrades from gold to platinum can he refer me as soon as he is accepted and got his card. Are there any time restrictions on referring from a new card? Doing my sums here and working on dates!

            • He can refer immediately as far as I know.
              I have def done so in the past.

            • Genghis says:

              No time limit. I’ve referred my wife for a card almost as soon as I got the card myself

  9. I had assumed that it is the retailer that takes the hit on these promos. However if it was, you’d think the last thing the retailer would be suggesting is ways to take further advantage of the offer.

    You would have walked out with them getting £56 (£81-£25), but their suggestion resulted in you walking out with a bottle of wine and them still only getting £56.

    I wonder is Amex contributing to these offers ?

    • It may be that Amex are funding these promotions. When the Shop Small promotion was on the few of the retailers I asked weren’t aware of the promotion.

      • Genghis says:

        I got that as well. All retailers didn’t mind me using multiple Amex cards. Harry was all over this too from memory.

  10. Unrelated to the points game but if you use, you can get up to 15% off at currys and PC world AND use the avios estore when you buy for additional points.

    I got 15% of an iphone last year and 2400 Avios. It’s a bit cumbersome as you have to order a gift card from crazynotto, then pay with a credit card online for collection in store, then ask them to refund the cc and bill the gift card when you collect.

    Perhaps not worth it for small purchases, but when you’re saving £100 then 10 minutes at the till seems a worthwhile time spend.

    It does work though, rather well.

  11. Slightly off topic but about Amex MR.
    There seems to be some ‘arbitrage’ between UK MR and IC MR programs.
    For instance, it looks like I will get more airline points when converting from IC MR to Singapore, Alitalia, Cathay, and Finnair (taking the FX conversion into account, of course).

    Any sweet spots in redeeming miles in either of those 4 programs for a business class ticket from Lon to NYC?

    Many thanks

  12. I know it’s not the greatest offer but as I’m planning to buy a new macbook soon anyway then using my gold Amex getting the 2000 bonus points plus 1500 points for £1500 spend on computer plus if I buy from Apple via the avois estore then currently they are doing 6 points for every £1 spent so would be a total of 12500 points?

    Is there a better option at present?

    • Good one Ghengis but those Curry’s gift cards can’t be used online in that quantity – they allow a boring maximum of 5 (I did think of the way you suggest when getting my wife’s iPad.)

      • Genghis says:

        Thanks Guy. Wouldn’t wanna give wrong advice. Still a good way of doing it. As alternative could buy in person at Dixons Travel at LHR for HR points (and hit potential HR sign up bonus)

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Can reserve and collect and pay with gift cards instore

        done that myself a few times

        • Can you use several hundred pounds of gift cards in Curry’s stores. Is there a limit?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Personally used 10x at once but have read another comment which said they purchased an iPad with gift cards so looks like theres no limit

            Is a shame Tesco stores don’t seem to stock the £50 cards though

            Anyone know if Tesco could just top up a used gift card by £50 and get the club card points as the amount were all buying seems like such a waste of plastic/card

  13. Harrods offer doesn’t show for either of my BA PP cards sadly, and had checked them a few times in last couple of weeks – maybe was a more limited ‘supply’ than usual and all the x,000 available have already been taken up?