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.

Marco Polo Gold

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.

(PS.  There is no mention of the Cathay Gold benefit on the official Amex Platinum application website.  This appears to be linked to Amex’s close relationship with British Airways.  Don’t worry, it definitely exists!)

Comments (89)

  • 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?