I had advance notice on Tuesday that American Express was about to make changes to the minimum income requirements to apply for its cards.
To be honest, I assumed that they were going to go up.
Instead, Amex has removed minimum income requirements altogether.
These were the previous HOUSEHOLD minimum income figures for the travel cards:
Preferred Rewards Gold (charge) – £20,000
Platinum (charge) – £40,000
British Airways (credit) – £20,000
British Airways Premium Plus (credit) – £20,000
Starwood Preferred Guest (credit) – £30,000
If we’re honest, these figures were probably too low.
Let’s take the British Airways Premium Plus card. This comes with a £195 annual fee. Someone on a salary of £20,000 will take home £1,397 per month. That is not necessarily a good income base for shelling out a £195 annual card fee.
Similarly, a £40,000 salary gives you take home pay of £2,530 per month. A £450 fee for Amex Platinum is a disproportionately high percentage of that. I’m not sure that this works in favour of Amex when it comes to recruiting cardholders who will stick with it for the long term.
This is why I expected the minimum income numbers to increase. Instead, they have gone.
I can see the logic here. After all, a single person living at home on a £20,000 salary has a totally different disposable income profile to someone who is married with two kids and a mortgage taking home £20,000. Taking a strict cut-off level is a blunt instrument.
It remains to be seen if American Express will, instead, make their application forms more complex and start digging deeper into your personal and financial situation before accepting you.
Do let me know if you decide to apply for one of the cards above, where you would previously have failed to pass the household income test, and are now successful.
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