Breaking news. American Express has changed the sign-up bonuses and the T&C’s for receiving them on its charge cards. The net result is to make the bonuses harder for existing customers to receive, which will reduce our opportunities for card churning.
From today, the bonus on the American Express Platinum charge card is increased to 50,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 50,000 Avios points) for a direct application.
The fee is now £450 per year but if you cancel the card you receive a pro-rata refund, so if you cancel after three months you are only £100 out. You now need to spend £2,000 (was £1,500) in three months to trigger the bonus.
Note this strict new rule though – existing American Express customers do NOT qualify for the 50,000 points:
The 50,000 Membership Rewards bonus points will be awarded onto your account once you have been approved and you have spent and charged £2000 within the first 3 months of Cardmembership. All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available to existing American Express customers. Please note that it can take up to one month for bonus points to be awarded to your account.
This means that if you have a British Airways, SPG, Nectar or Amex charge card, there is no point applying. This is a real tightening up of the rules and is not welcome. They are also suggesting that a £40,000 income will be required to be accepted, up from £30,000.
The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card also has new rules, although the terms are the same:
The annual fee is £125. With this offer you will receive the first year of Cardmembership with £0 annual fee. From year two of your membership, a £125 annual fee will automatically be charged to your account on or after the anniversary of your account opening date. The first year fee waiver is only available to new American Express Charge Cardmembers.
The 20,000 Membership Rewards bonus points will be awarded onto your account once you have been approved and you have spent and charged £1,000 within the first 3 months of Cardmembership.All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available to existing American Express customers. Please note that it can take up to 60 days after the three month introductory period for bonus points to be awarded to your account.
To qualify for the fee-free first year, you need to be a new charge card customer. If you have a BA, SPG or Nectar card you are still OK, but not a Centurion, Platinum or Green. However, as with the Platinum, you will not receive the 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points if you have ANY Amex-issued card. Again, this is not good and will really reduce the card-churning opportunities. Target income requirement remains £20,000.
Given these new rules, I think future card churning will involve getting our wifes, partners etc to apply for cards rather than getting multiple American Express cards ourselves for multiple sign-up bonuses.
(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)