You could possibly fill a whole site 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 All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available to existing American Express customers.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 All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available if you have held any other Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card in the past 6 months.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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
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.
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