News in brief:
“AmEx Seeks to Weed Out Credit-Card Churners Chasing Rewards”
Bloomberg ran this headline last week. The good news is that it focuses on the US market and not the UK market although presumably the sentiment is a global one.
The odd thing, though, is that American Express in the US has ALREADY done this and I’m not sure what else they can do. In the US, sign-up bonuses on American Express cards are now strictly enforced as one bonus per card per lifetime. And they stick to it.
Which means that phrases like this:
An increase in incentive bonuses has boosted so-called gaming by credit-card applicants looking for a quick reward,, president of global consumer services, said Wednesday at the firm’s investor day in New York. AmEx is using analytics to identify and “suppress” gamers, while creating offers that incentivize long-term loyalty, the company said.
… don’t really make sense. The only thing Amex can do to encourage “the right sort of customer” is to cut sign-up bonuses, and it can’t do this because it is being trounced by the Chase Sapphire Reserve product in the market for premium customers.
“The right sort of customer”, of course, is someone who doesn’t care or realise that they aren’t getting decent value for the membership fee they are paying. Increasing the membership fee for Amex Platinum in the US to $550 from $450 – and offsetting this with some Uber credit – is apparently the way to go.
This is the reality for American Express, of course:
American Express was battered last year after parting ways with its biggest co-brand partner, Costco Wholesale Corp., which accounted for 10 percent of AmEx cards in circulation. The lender also broke ties with Fidelity Investments. The firm trades for less than its 2014 closing price and slipped 0.7 percent to $79.04 Wednesday in New York.
There is still no word on whether Marriott will break the long-standing deal between Amex and Starwood following its takeover . Back when I started in this hobby, the US version of the Starwood Amex was THE best card to hold and there must be a lot of high spending legacy customers at risk.
Is the Marriott Rewards Mastercard returning soon?
The Marriott Rewards Mastercard, issued by Creation, has been unavailable to new applicants for over a year.
This is believed to be because Marriott does not have an FCA credit broking licence. You can check this on the FCA website. Ironically, I have a licence – Marriott didn’t need to withdraw the card, they could have let me be the exclusive promoter in the UK instead.
A reader pointed out that the website saying that you can’t apply has been changed. The card which you can’t get now has a new design, see above.
As it would be a bit odd to redesign a card which is unavailable – although obviously they are replacing existing cards as they reach expiry – this offers a glimmer of hope that the card may reappear at some point. Note that there isn’t a ‘contactless’ logo there, which is my main problem with the current Marriott card and the main reason I have it linked to my contactless Curve Card.
It isn’t the most generous card in the world at 1 Marriott Rewards point per £1 but it is free to apply, it gets you Marriott Rewards Silver status and you get an ANNUAL loyalty bonus of 2,000 points just for keeping it.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 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
10,500 points bonus – 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.