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 All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available to existing American Express customers.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and charged £1,000 within the first 3 months of Cardmembership.All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available to existing American Express customers.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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – May 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our May 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
If you have your own business, don’t miss our EXCLUSIVE offer on the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa card, worth 29,900 Avios. See below.
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.
Until 20th May 2021, you can receive a sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios with the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. This offer is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to learn more.
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
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.