Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Confirmed: Last sign-up date for free BA Silver (ie Cathay Gold) via Amex Platinum is 31 March

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It now seems official.  American Express has confirmed on the American Express Platinum members website (which I can’t link to) that the Cathay Pacific Gold card deal will end on 31st March.

If you are not familiar with this offer, this is how it works.

When you take out an American Express Platinum charge card, you can apply for a Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold card, valid for one year.

Cathay A350-900

Cathay Pacific, like British Airways, is a member of the oneworld alliance.  This means that your Cathay Pacific Gold card gives you the same benefits as a British Airways Silver card when you fly with BA.

In particular:

You can use BA lounges, even when flying economy – and bring a guest

You can use the lounges of any other oneworld airline when flying with them (Qantas, Qatar, Cathay, Finnair, Royal Jordanian etc)

You can select seats on BA flights for free

You can get an additional baggage allowance

You can check-in at business class desks

The full list of benefits from a oneworld Sapphire card (which is what both BA Silver and Cathay Gold offer) can be found here.

To receive your Cathay Pacific Gold card, you must therefore apply for your Amex Platinum card, receive it AND order the Cathay Gold card online by 31st March.  Realistically, this means that you would need to apply for Amex Platinum by mid March.

But doesn’t Amex Platinum have a £450 fee …..?

Yes, it does.  However, the fee is refunded pro-rata when you cancel.

When you cancel, you keep the Cathay Gold card for the remainder of the 12 months for which it is valid.  You also keep the three hotel status cards for the rest of the year – Starwood Gold, Accor Platinum and Carlson (Radisson) Gold.

There is also a very lucrative sign-up bonus with Amex Platinum, although you can only get this if you have not had an Amex Gold or Amex Platinum in the last six months.  You will receive 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards points, which can be converted into 30,000 Avios or 30,000 Virgin Flying Club miles amongst other things.

This is how it could pan out:

Apply for American Express Platinum now

Order your Cathay Gold, Starwood Gold, Accor Platinum and Club Carlson Gold cards

Spend the £2,000 in 3 months required to trigger the 30,000 Membership Rewards points

Transfer your 30,000 points – plus the extra points from your spending – into 30,000 Avios, Virgin Flying Club miles or whatever other programme you choose

Cancel the card after three months for a pro-rata fee refund

For a net cost of just £112 (3/12th of £450):

you will have earned 30,000 Avios, and

you get the equivalent of a British Airways Silver card for a year and

you get Gold status at Starwood hotels for a year and

you get Platinum status at Accor hotels for a year and

you get Gold status at Carlson (Radisson, Park Inn) hotels for a year.

Which sounds OK to me ….

My full review of the American Express Platinum card is here.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – March 2024 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

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 famous annual 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

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points 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:

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

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

2% cashback on all your business spend for 3 months (1% thereafter) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (89)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Gumshoe says:

    Stupid question alert: I already have the basic BA Amex card. As far as I’m aware I’m not enrolled in Membership Rewards as the card earns me Avios instead, so would I still qualify for the Platinum sign-up bonus?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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