I had advance notice on Tuesday that American Express was about to make changes to the minimum income requirements to apply for its cards.
To be honest, I assumed that they were going to go up.
Instead, Amex has removed minimum income requirements altogether.
These were the previous HOUSEHOLD minimum income figures for the travel cards:
Preferred Rewards Gold (charge) – £20,000
Platinum (charge) – £40,000
British Airways (credit) – £20,000
British Airways Premium Plus (credit) – £20,000
Starwood Preferred Guest (credit) – £30,000
If we’re honest, these figures were probably too low.
Let’s take the British Airways Premium Plus card. This comes with a £195 annual fee. Someone on a salary of £20,000 will take home £1,397 per month. That is not necessarily a good income base for shelling out a £195 annual card fee.
Similarly, a £40,000 salary gives you take home pay of £2,530 per month. A £450 fee for Amex Platinum is a disproportionately high percentage of that. I’m not sure that this works in favour of Amex when it comes to recruiting cardholders who will stick with it for the long term.
This is why I expected the minimum income numbers to increase. Instead, they have gone.
I can see the logic here. After all, a single person living at home on a £20,000 salary has a totally different disposable income profile to someone who is married with two kids and a mortgage taking home £20,000. Taking a strict cut-off level is a blunt instrument.
It remains to be seen if American Express will, instead, make their application forms more complex and start digging deeper into your personal and financial situation before accepting you.
Do let me know if you decide to apply for one of the cards above, where you would previously have failed to pass the household income test, and are now successful.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – February 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our February 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
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:
American Express Business Gold
50,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
100,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and a long list of travel ….. 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
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.