A lot of people took this offer up, and now have to spend £2,000 within 90 days to trigger the bonus.
Some people struggle to achieve the £2,000 target spend within 90 days. Historically, I have suggested booking something refundable – like a fully flexible BA flight, cancellable for a £15 fee.
If Amex has set your account up properly, the 20,000 points would post instantly when the transaction that takes you over £2,000 of spending posts to your Amex statement. You could then cancel the BA flight and retain the bonus.
Amex now seems to be taking a harder line on this. A number of different reports, from different people, both from Head for Points readers and Flyertalk posters, makes it quite clear that Amex is now removing sign-up bonuses if a refund causes your net spend within the first 90 days to fall below £2,000. And fair enough, of course. Amex is already being hugely generous with their sign-up bonuses in the first place.
The best way to deal with this is, frankly, to spend £2,000 in 90 days cleanly! This may mean, for example, thinking about how much spending you can realistically do in the next 90 days. If you are going on holiday in March, for example, you may want to delay getting the card until January so that your hotel bill will fall into the 90 day period.
What are your other options?
Transfer your Membership Rewards bonus into Avios before your refund goes through. This will leave you with a large negative MR balance, which would almost force you to cancel the card since you would take years to clear it with normal spend alone. However, cancelling a card whilst leaving a negative MR balance is not going to endear you to Amex next time you want to apply for a card.
Do not refund your BA flight for a few months. I doubt that the bonus points would get taken away if you triggered your refund outside the 90 day period. This may mean, of course, that you have to settle your card bill for the flight now. When you refund it, you will end up with a big credit balance on your card which will take a couple of months to work through.
Try to bring forward as much spending as possible to reach the £2,000. If you spend £50 per week in Tesco, for example, why not buy £750 of Tesco giftcards? You will have worked through them in 4 months and it is not a major complication to your life. Perhaps you could top up your Oyster card with a few hundred pounds, or buy an annual rail season ticket instead of monthly ones?
Please post any other thoughts in the Comments below. Whatever you do, though, do not burn your bridges with Amex. Amex is THE major player in the UK loyalty credit card industry, and if you have a falling out with them then you will be the loser in the long run.
On a more positive note, I am pulling together an article on the quirks in the Amex Gold bonus points system (it is often possible to earn 3 or even 4 points per £1 instead of the usual 1) which will go up in a day or so.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.