You could possibly fill a whole blog just with changes to American Express’s sign-up and bonus policies. I don’t blame anyone who has now lost track entirely of what they can and cannot qualify for.
Back on 5th July, I posted that Amex had increased the sign-up bonus on the American Express Platinum charge card from 40,000 Membership Rewards points to 50,000. This is worth 50,000 Avios points or Virgin miles, amongst other things. However, at the same time Amex brought in this rather nasty rule about who could qualify:
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 All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available to existing American Express customers.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 was very harsh. Not only did it block holders of a Gold or Green charge card, it also blocked anyone who had a BA, Nectar, SPG or Costco Amex, amongst others. (MBNA or Lloyds TSB-issued Amex cards were always OK, as these are not actually issued by Amex, they only carry the Amex logo.)
A day or so ago, Amex changed its mind! The new rules say this:
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 All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available if you have held any other Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card in the past 6 months. Please note that it can take up to one month for bonus points to be awarded to your account.
This is real change, and a real improvement. This means:
- Existing holders of BA, Nectar, SPG and Costo Amex cards can apply and can receive the 50,000 point bonus
- Anyone who previously held a Platinum, Gold or Green American Express charge card (all of which earn Membership Rewards) but cancelled it more than 6 months ago can apply and can receive the 50,000 point bonus
For anyone who is not familiar with Amex, here is a quick summary of the key things you need to know for this offer:
Membership Rewards points can be converted 1:1 into Avios. Your 50,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus is therefore worth 50,000 Avios. You can also convert them into various hotel programmes (including Starwood, Hilton and Carlson), other airline programmes (including Virgin Atlantic) or for various non-travel gift.
The annual fee is £450. This sounds steep (and is steep) but you can cancel the card at any point and receive a pro-rata refund. This is written into the terms and conditions. If you can apply, spend the £2,000 required to get the bonus, and transfer your 50,000 bonus points to Avios within (for example) four months, you could then cancel and receive £300 back.
It is charge card and not a credit card. You must clear your entire balance at the end of each month.
There is a £40,000 household (not personal) income requirement.
There is an impressive range of travel benefits included with the card. This includes full travel insurance (for under 70’s, and you need to pay for your travel on an Amex), full car hire insurance, Starwood Gold, Hilton Gold, Le Club Accorhotels Platinum and Club Carlson Gold. You also get Gold status with Hertz and Avis.
Perhaps most interestingly, you get Cathay Pacific Gold status for a year. This gives you the same benefits as a BA Silver card, and allows you to access British Airways lounges, use business class check-in and benefit from an extra baggage allowance.
Full details of the card are here on the American Express website.
(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.)