Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Amex Platinum make it a lot easier to sign-up for the 50,000 Membership Rewards points bonus

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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 50,000This 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 All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available to existing American Express customers.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 All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available if you have held any other Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card in the past 6 months.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 AviosYour 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 card

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

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

Nectar American Express

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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.

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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 card

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

Comments (7)

  • Paul says:

    Funnily enough I was looking at getting this card yesterday and noticed the new rules. My question is, I assume that when you cancel you lose the Cathay and hotel memberships as well?

    • Raffles says:

      No, you do keep most of them it seems. Priority Pass may go as they link your Amex card to the pass so they can charge additional users, and it may get blocked when the Amex is cancelled. The hotel statuses are certainly OK until they natuarally expire. My gut feeling is that you are also OK with the Cathay card.

  • IE says:

    Hi Raffles. What a great, informative ‘blog’. I’m new to collecting Avios, but am a quick study and am fast becoming aquainted with the ways.
    A query. I’ve looked into applying for this Platinum AmEx. I’ve been on the AmEx website and there’s no mention of the MR 50 000 welcome bonus?

    • IE says:

      Thanks for the reply Raffles. I called AmEx today and they advised the 50 000 welcome bonus deal ran from May 4th – Aug 29th . . I applied for it on Aug 30th! They’ve intimated I may still be eligible, so we’ll see.

      • Raffles says:

        I would seriously consider ringing back, cancelling that application and applying again via a referral. You are guaranteed the points via the referral, as the offer still shows on that page. I would not risk 50,000 Avios unnecessarily.

        • IE says:

          Ok, I’ve just rang AmEx again and they’ve assured me I still qualify for the 50 000 welcome bonus. I have confirmatory reference numbers and everything!
          Thanks for your advice.

  • Paul says:

    Spoke to Amex Platinum Card Services. They spoke to New Card Services who said it was pulled last Friday. It sounds like you get a different story depending on who you talk to. He said there are regular offers and just to hold off until the next one.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.