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American Express removes the minimum income requirement from its cards

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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? – August 2021 update

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You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

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

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

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 offers.

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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

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Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (91)

  • Toby says:

    Very interesting. I’m a student now undertaking and have an income of roughly £12k (excluding student loans). I do have the BAPP from when I was able to say the household income was above £30k.

    Whilst enquiring about adding a supplementary card holder a few weeks back I was offered the Gold Card, but had to confirm my *personal* income as being above £20k. I said it wasn’t and was told I wasn’t eligible.

    I’ll try and get a referral link and apply online for it again now- and post back here!

    • Talay says:

      If you made a formal application then Amex and the credit reference companies will now have your income at XYZ a year and if you make another quick application then the income will be inconsistent and flag it up as a potentially higher risk than otherwise would be the case.

      Just the same if you put different employers down on your file each time, different expenses, different addresses etc. Instability and the potential for people inflating their incomes come into play in their assessment.

      • Rob says:

        The whole system is odd. I had a tricky period whilst on gardening leave from my City job where I was sitting on plenty of assets but with no employment income.

        Hint – homemaker will generally get you accepted in situations where putting unemployed would not!

        Still have no idea what to put on the forms now. Publishing / Media? Travel? Technology?

        • marly says:

          Yeah, boyfriend is film director, hence no monthly income, just rather sporadic but can live on it, so they asked for proof of income, I had to send along my payslip as we live together for him to get accepted…

        • John says:

          Professional blogger.

        • Rum says:

          Company director I would have thought should cover it, given that you work for yourself and no one ‘owns’ your company.

  • Fenny says:

    I haven’t had an income of £40k for many years, but had an Amex Plat more recently! Now I could legitimately re-apply if I wanted.

  • lee says:

    Platinum is 40 k , but its a joint 40k as they ask your combined family income

  • Warren says:

    I currently have a Preferred Rewards Gold card but due to my wife working part time she wouldn’t historically be eligible for her own card so she currently has a supplementary card on my account.

    Would she now be able to get a card through her own account and still get the 20,000 bonus points? Or would I have to cancel her card then let her apply? Or cancel her card then wait 6 months until she applies. Also, would I be able to have a supplementary card on here account to help hit the £2k target in the first 3 months?

    Btw, I want to hang onto my cold card to access some lounge clubs later on this summer.
    Sorry about the amount of questions, hopefully someone has a simple solution!

    • Polly says:

      Yes, but you must refer her, and get your own referral bonus also. Yes you can be named on her card too, to make the spend. Being on your card doesn’t affect her application at all. It’s worth renewing yours too if you hit the annual spend as they will give you a bonus of 15k avios on renewal. Transfer them out, then cancel yours. Then next year have your wife refer you.

    • Liz says:

      I got the gold card and SPG card in my name last year with no personal income but with husbands household income so she could have her own card with you as a suppl.

  • PointsMaker says:

    Little OT maybe, I think it’s a well know but not not often discussed “feature” that if one upgrades to Platinum from gold using the upgrade link for extra points, Amex forgets to charge the annual fee. How does this affect the insurance product, as technically you haven’t paid the membership fee, so perhaps this would invalidate the insurance?

    I wouldn’t like to be in the situation where I needed to claim but was unable to due to the fee not having been charged.

    • Nick M says:

      Presumably your best bet would be to contact Amex and let them know they haven’t charged you yet…? ;p

    • Liz says:

      Do you not charged at the time of cancellation if they omit to charge you at the start??

    • Tilly71 says:

      Ahh, That’s why I didn’t get charged anything for having my amex plat for a month when I got the 20k bonus for 1k spend. ☺

    • Rum says:

      I tried the link recently and it didn’t give me the bonus points. Waiting for the fee to hit me as my account hasn’t yet gone through a billing cycle since upgrading. Looks like that ‘offer’ is now dead in the water…

      • Andrew* says:

        How recently? I upgrade a few weeks ago, qualifying spend came through today and 20k bonus MR points just posted…

        (What I didn’t get with the upgrade was the ‘target bar’ on the app telling me how much was left to spend to hit the spend target…)

      • James67 says:

        Just used it successfully 30 minutes ago.

    • James67 says:

      Well, I for one didnot kniw that, thanks 🙂

      Presumably MR points earned from PRG remain in account after upgrade ir do we need to transfer them out before upgrading?

      • Stuart says:

        The points just carry over. Have done this twice & have never been charged when cancelled.

        • James67 says:

          Thanks Stuart, just upgraded successfully.

          • Rob says:

            Be aware, you won’t get the 20k bonus points based on a reader report this week. It has either been withdrawn or Amex is matching names against those who were emailed and only giving it if you were.

          • James67 says:

            Thanks Rob, i did not use the link directly from here I just went directly from a page on amex own website which may or may not be the same link. But page is freely available there and, unless I missed it, it did not say anything about it being targeted. Do you think I should call and ask if I’m eligible for bonus or just wait and see what happens when I hit spend target?

          • Rob says:

            No idea … no harm ringing although whether the agent can see if the computer would give you a bonus is debatable!

            There may of course have been other specific reasons why this reader didn’t get it although he didn’t know of any.

          • James67 says:

            Goodmorning Rob, I went back to read the t&c on the offer page this morning and it appears to be gone. Therefore, I’m happy I applied last night. I will call Monday to check what they say on 20k bonus and report back.

          • Liz says:

            ROb/James – I just phoned Amex to ask about the upgrade and was told the 20k bonus offer is on until 11 Jan 2017

    • Sideysid says:

      Thanks for bring this to my attention. I have upgraded and although it was not ‘approved’ right off the bat my Apple Pay has updated me shortly afterwards to say my Amex card details have been changed on my behalf which gives the game away somewhat.

  • Catman99 says:

    Off topic… I am on one of the cheap business class flights on air Qatar from Oslo. My outward flight from Gatwick is now 6 hours delayed so I will miss my connecting flight. What should I do? I think that’s all the flights for today so I suppose I could rebook if I go and stay overnight in a hotel. Does anyone have any recommendations – I have no status?

    • Alan says:

      Eek so if I read this right your positioning flight is delayed and thus you’re going to miss the first flight of your Qatar ticket? This is a major issue if so as subsequent sectors will be cancelled. I’d urgently get on the phone to Qatar and see what they can sort out for you!

    • Polly says:

      Any chance you could get a ticket on line from Lhr or LCY ? Am sure you tried. That’s really bad luck…you could still make it am sure if you changed airports, by taxi if ness! Do you have avios to quickly book on BA? Call QR in MAN. Will charge you a change fee usually nicer to biz pax than Y ones. Good luck!

    • xcalx says:

      OP probably on board now looks like he had the Norwegian D82802 flight due to go out at 0920 has a new departure time of 1530.

      Good luck.

      • Catman99 says:

        I didn’t go in the end. I knew I had missed my connection and there were no more flights that day, so I would have been stuck overnight in Oslo. My insurance covers up to £1K but last minute business class flights one way were already well over that, then there would have been hotel etc. There just didn’t seem to be any right answer.

        Even getting back out of the airport is a real pain. You have to be guided out by staff and go through immigration. You can’t use the e-gates as you haven’t left the UK and go through the Red Lane in Customs even though I hadn’t bought any Duty Frees. The worse thing was I had to wait an hour and a half for a member of staff to pick me up in Departures.

        • harry says:

          Good lesson for others

          Commiserations to Catman99


          Think about using partner airlines etc

        • Alan says:

          Sorry to hear that – how frustrating (esp that bit at the end waiting to get out) – did Qatar come up with any alternative for you?

        • Rob says:

          Very sorry to hear that. I would have tried to get Qatar to reissue your ticket on the basis that it was a fellow oneworld alliance member who screwed you up, and possibly even put you on a flight out of London. If you turned up at the Heathrow ticket desk in person they may have been willing. Alternatively, get yourself to Oslo and see what you can negotiate when there.

          At the end of the day, it doesn’t cost the airline anything – as long as there are seats unsold which will remain unsold – to help you out.

  • Bruce says:

    OT re MBNA credit cards and Lloyds:

  • Bruce says:

    OT re MBNA credit cards and Lloyds:

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