Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Absolutely, positively your last chance to get free Cathay Gold (=BA Silver) via Amex Plat!

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I promise I won’t mention this again after today.  Honest!

However, if you were sitting on the fence about whether to apply for American Express Platinum before the free Cathay Pacific Gold card (= BA Silver = BA lounge access) is withdrawn, the crunch day is pretty much here.

Marco Polo Gold

You must apply for the free Cathay Gold card by 31st March.  You must have your Amex Platinum in your hand to do that.  Amex can take 10-12 days to get your card to you – although it is usually a bit quicker.  You would therefore need to apply for Platinum in the next 2-3 days to be sure.

I won’t repeat all of the reasons to get Cathay Gold, but you will find them in this post from a fortnight ago.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (130)

  • Matthew says:

    Hi Raffles, can you also receive Cathay Gold if you register for the Small Business Platinum card?

    • Rob says:

      No, unfortunately. The travel insurance on the Small Business Platinum is excellent (better than Personal Platinum) but you don’t get Cathay Gold. You do get some of the hotel cards though.

      If you thinking of this card, Amex runs a 60,000 point sign-up bonus a couple of times a year, so wait for that!

  • AM says:

    If you get your membership number, is it enough to get you access to the Lounge /use priotrity check-in or perhaps get an upgrade at check-in, or do you need the physical card to do all of this?

    I’m asking because I’m flying next Friday and I think I Will have my membership number and status set to Gold, but wont have the physical card with me.

    Anyone been in this situation before?

    • Polly says:

      Hi AM, I am in the very same position for mon week, so any answers would be much appreciated. I am flying QR though and hope my MP number will get me an invite into their business lounge., now they are OW. Anyone out there can help please?

    • Alan says:

      If you have it on the booking you’ll be fine. The main need for a physical card is if you a leave your BA number on your booking and need the CX card to show to lounge staff. If the CX number is on the booking already then they’ll just let you in (in an analogous situation, although I carry my BA Gold card I’m never asked to show it)

      • Polly says:

        Thank you both, will be using the remind email and password trick to get my number from CX next week , hoping it will be processed by then. And hope Qatar are up to scratch in recognising the sapphire status though!

    • Rob says:

      If your number is in the booking your boarding pass will show Gold and you will get in OK.

      If you keep your blue BA number in the booking you will struggle to access the lounge with your Cathay number on a scrap of paper and will have no chance of using fast track security.

      • Polly says:

        Absolutely, will keep my MP no on the BP. Just hope I get the number in time from them. Thanks again everyone.

    • CV says:

      As long as the Cathay number and no other frequent flyer number is on the booking you will be ok, it will print Sapphire on the boarding pass.

      If there is more than one frequent flyer number on the booking, in my experience, it will apply the airlines frequent flyer number and status (i.e. the Qatar status) and not reflect your Sapphire status through Marco Polo. If you have the card then not an issue, if you dont have the card then id suggest using the check in desk and telling them you want to use your Cathay number in the booking, then you will get a boarding pass stating Sapphire on it – I’ve done this without issue. That way you will get Fast Track security (at LHR at least) and lounge access. You can try and change it to another scheme later on to credit the points earned.

  • Mark says:

    Have now been told by Colin Walsh’s office that my MP membership number will not be available until 7th April.

    So if anyone has applied recently be prepared for a bit of a wait.

    Interestingly they maintain that is normal, though I rather suspect there have been several people taking out the card purely for the MP membership and then cancelling, and that has resulted in a tightening up.

    It’s a bit annoying since I’d like to use it for seat selection on a couple of upcoming flights, but I had actually planned to keep it long term…. will just need to make a bit more use of the Priority Passes in the short term instead of BA lounge access.

    Apparently they are reading this as well 🙂

    • Brendan says:

      Thats a ridiculously long wait! Luckily the flights I want it for aren’t until the beginning of May. But given that timescale I will probably need to ring up to confirm the enrollment will be processed in case they turn around and say after 31st March that it wasn’t processed and its now too late to enroll.

      • Mark says:

        I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The reports of people having to register for the MP membership 2 or 3 times before it has worked, combined with misinformation given out by customer services when you ask for confirmation that it is being processed makes it difficult to know whether it has worked or not, especially when up against the deadline.

        It doesn’t reasonably take over 5 weeks to raise an electronic request for the accounts to be created, and for that to be processed. It clearly hasn’t in the past and I’m sure anyone paying $50 to join the scheme in the normal way does not have to wait that long. Assuming that all applications are now being delayed, I fully understand why Amex are tighting up on people being able to receive the cards before their membership fee has been collected, but let’s be honest about it….

        As a card member of nearly 12 years my dealings with customer services and the executive team over the past three days have left something of a sour taste simply due to level of misinformation and changed stories. That could so easily have been avoided.

        At least I have confirmation that it will be processed, which was the whole point of my call to them on Tuesday 🙂

        • Rob says:

          As Amex refunds the fee if you cancel, it makes no difference if it is collected or not ….

          • Mark says:

            True, but with a delay you are much more likely to have to pay the £450 and then wait to get the remainder back, and you’ll end up paying something for it….

            Clearly there is a reason for it going from about a week to set the accounts up (which I know not just from what you and others have said) to five.

    • Polly says:

      Ok amex if you are reading this, there are whole loads of us just waiting for our cards, who have been with you for years! If we call you up, please be open with us! Some of us are flying in the next week or so and need our numbers, not necessarily our cards! So we really do need to know if we have been enrolled or not! So please work with us on this one! Most of us put £1000’s of £’s through our accounts so it’s obvious we are big spenders on amex. And we love our CX gold, we really do use it! Thank you

  • Mikw says:

    Thanks Raffles, I got my card through the mail today! Just a quick question: I currently collect miles for OneWorld flights to my BA avios account. Just wondering whether, with the Gold membership, there are any bonuses and I should start collecting miles from OneWorld flights on my MarcoPolo account (which is brand new and currently has zero points). Any tips would be appreciated!

    • Rob says:

      Best to keep them together in Avios. No Amex 241, no Tesco earning and no Reward Flight Saver when you collect Asia Miles.

  • Maximus says:

    I applied for my AmEx Platinum on 15 Feb, give or take a day either side, and received my card today. Les than 4 weeks wait.

  • Mark says:

    Mine posted as bonus points with the transaction that passed the £1000 threshold (as is usually the case when they are posted automatically), so that sounds like something different – mistake otherwise.

  • Scott says:

    Should of seen this earlier since I’ve recently got the Amex Gold. Only spent about £500 so far. Considering upgrading to Plat, is the 15k upgrade bonus still there, and do you think it;s worth losing out of the 22k gold bonus? Does the £500 I’ve already spent go towards the £1k spend? Hmm decisions, decisions, as I would need to do this today to be in with a chance.

    • Mark says:

      15K upgrade bonus still there so far as I’m aware.

      I don’t think the £500 would count if you upgraded now. It really depends on how much the Cathay status is worth to you.

    • avidsaver says:

      Don’t forget that during the first year the Gold card is free with double points for supermarket and petrol spend. The Platinum is £450 per year with a pro rata refund if cancelled – there are no double points promo on this card. As Mark says it really depends if the perks with the Plat card are of more use to you. If you upgrade and then downgrade to gold again you will have lost the first fee free year and double points promos.

      • avidsaver says:

        In other words you will be trading the double points for a year and 7k points (22k gold – 15k plat) for the Platinum perks 😉

  • Susan says:

    Do you receive an email from CX to confirm the MP account is activated, or a pack via regular post?
    I received my Platinum card approx 10 days ago and signed up for MP, Carlson, Accor straight away. Have a few trips planned starting next week but looks unlikely I’ll receive the MP card in time.
    At least I can use the Priority pass at airports other than T5 Heathrow.

    • CV says:

      It takes about 2 weeks for the MP account to be set up – if you do the lost password method on MArco Polo website (use your amex email address) it should get you your password and account details, which you could then add to BA flight through Manage My Booking.

      • CV says:

        in fact it takes slightly less than 2 weeks, Raffles details in his previous posts. So check online, you dont need to wait for the pack to come in the post.

        • AM says:

          I got the confirmation email from Amex that I enrolled on the 6th of March. When I spoke to Amex two days ago, they said it was only processed the day before.

          the Marco Polo website gives me an error when I put my details so I’m assuming it’s not been done yet. Hopefully, it ll be processed by early next week for my flight next Friday!

          • Mark says:

            It sounds like there is some sort of Amex approval process that takes around a week as they told me mine was approved on 7th March, having applied and received the email confirmation on the 1st. What is unclear is how long it takes to then get the request to Cathay and acted upon. As I said they were very clear with me yesterday mine won’t be set up with membership number available until the 7th April, having previously told me it would be this week.

            Not clear though whether they are actually sitting on them, or whether that was simply an ‘it will happen when it happens’ answer.

      • Susan says:

        Thanks for the info. Tried this and got probably same error response mentioned by AM below.
        Will check again next week if still no card received.

        • AM says:

          If I get my membership number any time next week, I Will let you guys know, and if so it will probably verify what Raffles said about the 10 working days it takes to do this.

          • avidsaver says:

            Good luck – fingers crossed! Would be good to know how you fare. I’m also still waiting having applied on the 6th and also getting the Cathay error message. Not rung Amex yet but will call them early next week if nothing changes.

          • AM says:

            I sent a nice fat email to american express and they replied – and said that I will get my membership number in the next few days and that he will personally email me to let me know the number. He hasn’t made it clear though whether it will before the 21st of March which is when I’m flying.

            He also made it clear that I won’t be able to use the Cathay Pacific lounges without the card.

            But who wants to access the CP lounge when they want to access the BA lounge?:-)

          • Polly says:

            I too am getting the error message and have emailed Colin as above to see if I get a response next week, at least with my MP number

          • AM says:

            Just to let you all know that the forgot my membership number worked!

            I have my membership number now and it’s set to Tier Gold!

            I will enjoy all the perks in T5 on Friday 😀

          • Polly says:

            Great news, I got mine this morning directly from their club email, so all good for Monday too. Looking forward to the sky team lounge in t 4 now, ESP the beauty treatments. They said they had to verify my details with amex before releasing the number, again 10 days exactly.

          • thesaver79 says:

            Sky lounge? Is there any OW airline that allows you to use the SkyLounge?