American Express has launched its pre-paid gift cards in the UK. Take a look at their website.
Basically, you can now (in theory) walk into a WH Smith, Sainsbury or Superdrug and a buy a £20, £30, £50 or £100 Amex gift card. The fee payable on top is £2.45, £2.95, £3.45 and £4.45 respectively.
This opens up an option if you are struggling to meet the minimum spend requirement on a new credit card to trigger the sign-up bonus.
One option I have mentioned in the past is buying supermarket gift vouchers, which have no fee attached. However, it will take you a while to work through (say) £500 of Waitrose vouchers.
Whilst these Amex gift cards carry a fee, you can obviously spend through them more quickly than you could with ‘store specific’ gift vouchers. The 4.45% fee on the £100 card is not cheap, but you may consider £22 a fair price to pay to get £500 of spend through your card.
These cards cannot be topped up. The biggest problem with them is getting the available balance down to exactly £0 to clear them out. What I recommend, when you are down to the last couple of quid, is to order yourself an Amazon gift voucher.
You can buy these for any amount (pounds and pence, so if you had £2.96 on your gift card it is OK to order a £2.96 evoucher) and you can pre-load your Amazon account with them immediately, even if you aren’t buying anything now. The money is there to spend next time you visit Amazon.
Note that you can get similar gift cards from MasterCard and Visa – even Tesco sells them. However, they tend to cap out at £50 which makes the fee disproportionately more expensive for buying large amounts.
(If are struggling to meet the minimum spend on a credit card to get the bonus, also look at this article from Friday. You can buy HMV or Waterstones gift vouchers at a 20% discount, which should be eBay’able for 90% of face value.)
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