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Are Amex Platinum Cashback cards a good alternative to miles and points cards?

We tend not to focus on the two American Express Platinum Cashback cards much on Head for Points because they do not offer miles or points.

They are decent products, however, offering cashback on all of your spending.  You can find details of the Platinum Cashback card here and the Platinum Cashback Everyday card here.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a special promotion running on these cards.  If you apply for either of the American Express Platinum Cashback cards before 31st January, you will receive 3% additional cashback on all of your purchases at amazon.co.uk in your first three months of membership, up to a maximum of £15.

With this offer in mind, I thought it was worth taking a closer look at these cards.

Avios, miles and points earned from credit cards are not free.  You might think they are, because you have not explicitly handed over any money for them, but you have sacrificed something else – the money you would have received from using a cashback credit card instead.

American Express Platinum Cashback credit cards review

Cashback Visa and MasterCard products are not hugely generous following the recent cap on interchange fees.  The most generous is probably the AA FuelSave Credit Card.  This card is free in the first year and offers 0.5% cashback on all spending, 2%-4% cashback on fuel purchases and – in year one – free AA breakdown cover.  The representative APR is 22.4% variable.

American Express has two different Platinum Cashback cards – the American Express Platinum Cashback credit card and the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card.

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 (£25 fee) 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)

You will also earn an additional 3% cashback on all amazon.co.uk purchases in your first three months, up to £15, if you apply before 31st January.  This means that you could receive up to 8% cashback in total on your Amazon spending this Christmas!

The Cashback card comes with a £25 annual fee.  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.

Meanwhile …..

The Cashback Everyday card (free) has a tiered reward 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

You will also earn an additional 3% cashback on all amazon.co.uk purchases in your first three months, up to £15, if you apply before 31st January.

Cashback is paid in a lump sum at the end of each card year.

The Cashback Everyday card is free.  It has a representative APR of 22.9% variable.

Which is the best card to get?

Time for a quick bit of maths.  The sums exclude the special Amazon spending bonus which is available if you apply before 31st January.

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.

For example:

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.  This includes the additional Amazon bonus currently available.

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.

Conclusion

I am not suggesting that you should drop your existing reward credit cards and switch to cashback cards instead.  It depends what value you place on your miles and points as well as the other benefits offered by these cards, such as the 2-4-1 voucher on the British Airways American Express.  It is always good to be aware of the alternatives though.

If you do decide to go for one of these cards, I recommend the free Everyday card unless you plan to spend more than £10,000 per year.

The Amex site for the Platinum Cashback (£25 fee) card is here.  The site for the Platinum Cashback Everyday (no fee) card is here.  The offer for extra cashback from Amazon is valid for all applications until 31st January.

(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.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Comments

  1. O/T I just cancelled the gold rewards card can I apply for the Platinum rewards card or do I have to wait six months

    • You can apply. Separate reward currency. MR vs cash

      • My mistake. No you can’t. I thought you meant this Platinum cash back type card. If you had Amex Gold then cancel need to wait 6 months for another bonus on MR reward currency

  2. Good article. Just to clarify, all Amex cards now have no income requirement?

    If so a realm of referral options for my non working wife would appear to be on!

    • Correct but income is still required to be disclosed. I referred a colleague’s non-working wife recently for BAPP who only got a few grand limit despite his high salary

      • That’s the same as me – I have no personal income but include hubbys income – I have SPG and BAPP at the moment and have £1500 limit on each which is low but better than nothing. Just keep having to pay it off when it gets to the limit – last year after 4 months I think they doubled it.

    • There is no minimum income requirement, ie no arbitrary cut off. That is not the same as saying they will accept anyone. It is a reflection of the fact that someone earning a modest income living with their parents may have more spare cash than someone earning twice as much paying 60% of their income out on rent.

  3. good to know

  4. Thanks, that could be useful next year!

  5. I have just acquired one of the free cards to add to the pile for Shop Small. I notice that if you refer someone you get £10 each. I have persuaded the dealer where we are changing our car to let us pay on Amex (yes we could probably have squeezed the price), so I will probably put £2,000 on this cash back card.
    As Rob points out, everything has an opportunity cost. I have also got an SPG card and am quite impressed. Unusually you can move points between accounts at the same address. As well as booking at Starwood and Marriott you can book flights through spgflights.com using points but on any airline with full availability. This will not replace Avios obviously but allows me to book a flight from Seattle to Vancouver BC at the time I want whereas Avios can only book on certain flights with the same airline. So I will use some of this large expenditure for SPG spending rather than cash back.

  6. OT

    Is anyone having trouble receiving the £100 amex credit for Naked Wines purchases >£150 that was mentioned a few days ago? Amex are stating that the offer has been pulled & they won’t be crediting the amount, despite the fact I received an email stating I had redeemed the offer.

    Naked also being sneaky by billing the purchase through Amex in two instalments each of which is below the £150 trigger amount, despite the original order being for more than £150.

    • I had that happen on some flights I booked with iberia. I was paranoid that they were going to end up cancelled

    • Worked OK for me …

      Ordered Thurs 17th
      Delivered Fri 18th
      (payment “pending” over the w/e)
      Payment and £100 credit went through Amex a/c Mon 21st

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Still shows up on my saved offers page, seems strange they would say that but it still be showing on cards.

    • How can they pull it after you’ve already done the transaction? This should be honoured and I’m surprised at AMEX’s stance on this.

  7. But what about the other perks line travel insurance, excess car waiver and PP lounge access you get with plat charge back? I assume nothing with this

    • Those perks are only useful if used.
      I’ve toyed with the idea of paying for Platinum Charge Card before, but travel insurance already provided by bank (along with mobile phone insurance and breakdown cover, so I’ll be paying for it anyway) and I don’t travel enough to require lounge access.
      £450 is an awful lot of money for perks you don’t use, especially when the Avios earnings rate is 1/3 less than the BAPP card.
      Sorry, not OP but thought I’d chime in! Then again, I do have a friend who has Amex Platinum despite using basically done of the benefits (except occasionally the travel insurance, but less than once per year). He also takes the credit as Amazon vouchers, so it’s a bloody expensive credit card!

      • Agree, definitely very important to make sure it works for you. I’ve had a lot of benefit from FHR, Accor Plat (sorry to see it go) and unlimited PP this year so will be renewing, but definitely still keeping it under review each year. If they offered 2 MR per GBP it would be a much easier decision.

    • No, TBH the Platinum bit in the name of these cards probably confuses matters as they’re a totally different product – the only similarity is that they’re issued by Amex!

  8. Note that it’s 3% additional bonus on Amazon, not Ebay.

  9. Maybe my use of dramatic, comedic sarcasm has been lost.

  10. I have one of these with a 21 month interest free period.

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