The first question is, not unreasonably:
This is a very fair point. The answer, I imagine, is that Amex is very protective of its relationship with British Airways and does not want to openly annoy them more than is necessary.
(After all, why bother spending money chasing Silver status with BA when you can get the same benefits by paying Amex £450 instead?)
There is one oblique reference to the Cathay Gold card on the Amex website. It says that Platinum gets you ‘unlimited access to over 1,000 airport lounges’. That number actually refers to the 600 Priority Pass lounges plus the 550 oneworld lounges around the world (knocking off a few like Galleries First at Heathrow and Gatwick and The Concorde Room at Heathrow which require a higher class of card).
I admit, though, it is a bit odd.
The second question is:
Is Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold just for one year?
Well, according to the private (log-in required) Amex Platinum website where you apply for the card, it is just one year. However, so far, I don’t think that anyone has NOT had it renewed.
And yesterday, my wife’s card arrived.
The covering letter said:
“Welcome to a new year of Gold membership
Cathay Pacific and American Express hope you have enjoyed your complimentary one-year Gold membership in The Marco Polo Club, and we are delighted to renew it for another year. This is an exclusive benefit offered to you as a Platinum Cardmember.”
Just to be clear, my wife has credited a total of ZERO flights to her card in the past year, and accumulated ZERO points.
Now, of course there is no guarantee that this will continue for a 3rd year. It is possible that Cathay thought that a one year period was too short, given that people tend to book long-haul flights well ahead. (Although, if that were the case, it would have been more helpful to tell people earlier it would get renewed.)
If you like the sound of getting a Gold card for BA lounge access, there is unfortunately no sign-up bonus at present on the Platinum card. You could still get the card (£450 fee), apply for the Cathay card, and then cancel Platinum – you would get a pro-rata refund on your membership fee, so probably wouldn’t be more than £100 out of pocket.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 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.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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 & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of 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 long list of travel benefits 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
50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – 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.