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Bits: change coming to Amex sign-up bonuses?, change already here at Tesco Clubcard

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News in brief:

Changes may be coming to Amex’s sign-up bonus criteria

Two readers have contacted me in recent days to say that they have been told by the American Express call centre that imminent changes are coming to the way sign-up bonuses are earned.

The two stories are contradictory.  It doesn’t really matter which is correct, however, as the end result in both scenarios is worse than the current requirement to leave a six month gap between cancellation and re-application.

All I would suggest is:

If you are planning to cancel a card this month with a view to reapplying later, you may want to hold off.  There may be no point in cancelling if you do actually want to keep the card long term.

If you are planning to re-apply for an Amex card which you have had in recent past, you may wish to re-apply sooner rather than later.  You may not be eligible to receive another bonus if the rules change.

Let me stress that this is all speculation and that nothing has been officially announced.

My review of the key Amex travel cards are here:  American Express Preferred Rewards GoldAmerican Express PlatinumAmerican Express RewardsBritish Airways American Express (BA Amex)British Airways Premium Plus American Express (BAPP Amex)Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG Amex)

Application links are here:   American Express Preferred Rewards GoldAmerican Express PlatinumAmerican Express Rewards (representative APR 22.9% variable), British Airways American Express (BA Amex) (representative APR 22.9% variable), British Airways Premium Plus American Express (BAPP Amex) (representative APR 76.0% variable), Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG Amex) (representative APR 39.7% variable)

Separately, a third reader was warned by the Amex call centre that the free British Airways Premium Plus card currently given to long-standing American Express Platinum cardholders is being withdrawn.  This feature was stopped for new Platinum cardholders a few years ago but many readers – including myself – still benefit from it to the tune of a £195 annual saving.  I should note that I only have one data point on this and Amex call centre gossip can often get confused as it passes down the line.

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.

…. and changes have already come to Tesco Clubcard

Tesco announced a pile of changes to the Clubcard scheme yesterdayWe have covered these in detail on Shopper Points today – click here.  We covered them for The Guardian as well – see here.

In general, the changes are bad.  Some little-used ‘two times’ deals will now give 3x face value, but a lot more deals which used to give 4x face value are dropping to 3x.  This mainly impacts restaurant and days out vouchers.

From a travel perspective, it is actually positive to neutral:

National Express, Megabus and redspottedhanky.com (train tickets) credit now gets you 3x the face value of your Clubcard vouchers, up from 2x

There is no change to the Avios or Virgin Flying Club conversion rates 

You have also gained Uber and hotels.com as new 3x face value redemption partners this year.  Uber is now my preferred redemption as we use it heavily and it is a genuine ‘3x’ value.  If I took Avios instead I would be giving up £3 of Uber for every 240 Avios I earned which means I would be ‘paying’ 1.25p per Avios – and I don’t value them at that.

To do this without ANY notice at all stinks, however.  It particularly stinks that we are just 9 days from the end of the current Clubcard collection quarter.  People have 10 weeks of points locked up inside Clubcard which cannot now be spent at the old 4x redemption rate.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. I cancelled my Platinum AMEX a month ago. If someone refers me, would I be able to get it again now (I know I won’t get the sign up bonus) or do I have to leave a gap? I have a multi city holiday with the family coming up and the airport lounges and travel insurance alone would be really worth having.

    Also, I have an SPG Amex for which my partner has a supplementary. Could a supplementary cardholder refer someone for Amex Platinum and get the 5k SPG bonus? Thank you.

  2. Has anyone found Amex more strict now on applications? I’ve been declined after applying again following the 6 month break. My credit score on Experian is 999.

    Their letter states that their decision takes into account ‘past and current Cardmember information’.

    Maybe churners are no longer welcome?

    • I last applied for a card in September and that went through OK. Won’t know for another month or two whether we will have any issues with my wife’s next card.

      Interested to know whether others have faced more issues with their applications though.

    • I have just received my new Amex Gold after having previously held an account 7 months ok.

  3. BBC saying Tesco allowing grace period now. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42715143

  4. Sarah Gregory says:

    Re Amex Preferred Gold card. I cancelled mine on 23/07/17 so does that mean on 24/01/18 (6 months later) I could re-apply and get the bonus again or would I need to leave it a bit longer? Worried if I leave it any longer then the top post above about not getting bonus if new rules come into affect will mean I don’t get the bonus?

    • I usually leave it for another week, but I think I have cut it finer than that and have never missed out.

  5. I phoned them recently to reapply and was told I’d have to wait 2 YEARS after to cancellation to be eligible for the welcome offer again

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