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? – 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.