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Are the Amex Platinum Cashback cards a good alternative to miles and points cards?

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We tend not to focus on the two American Express Platinum Cashback cards much on Head for Points because they do not offer miles or points.

They are decent products, however, offering cashback on all of your spending.  You can find details of the Platinum Cashback card here and the Platinum Cashback Everyday card here.

Avios, miles and points earned from credit cards are not free.  You might think they are, because you have not explicitly handed over any money for them, but you have sacrificed something else – the money you would have received from using a cashback credit card instead.  On that basis, I thought it was worth taking another look at these cards.

American Express Platinum Cashback credit cards review

Cashback Visa and Mastercard products are not hugely generous following the recent cap on interchange fees.  Most have cut their rewards down to 0.2% of your spending (ie 20p per £100!).  The best options are Tandem, John Lewis / Waitrose and Amazon, all of which still offer 0.5% back in cash or vouchers.

American Express has two different Platinum Cashback cards – the American Express Platinum Cashback credit card and the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card.

What is the difference between the Amex Platinum Cashback and the Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday cards?

Basically, the annual fee and the cashback tiers.

The Cashback card (£25 fee) pays you cashback at the following rate:

  • 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,500 of purchases
  • 1% back if you spend under £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)
  • 1.25% back on your spend over £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)

The Cashback card comes with a £25 annual fee.  The Platinum Cashback credit card has a representative APR of 28.2% variable, including the £25 fee, based on a notional £1,200 credit limit.  The interest rate on purchases is 22.9% variable.

Meanwhile …..

The Cashback Everyday card (free) has a tiered reward system:

  • 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,000 of purchases

After the first three months, you will earn:

  • 0.5% on the first £5,000 of spend (but you get nothing if you spend under £3,000)
  • 1% back on your spend over £5,000

Cashback is paid in a lump sum at the end of each card year.

The Cashback Everyday card is free.  It has a representative APR of 22.9% variable.

Which is the best card to get?

Time for a quick bit of maths.

The break-even point for getting the £25 card is £10,000 of spending per year.  For everyone except the highest spenders, you are better off with the free Platinum Cashback Everyday card.

For example:

spend £9,000 per year and you will receive £65 on the free Platinum Cashback Everyday and the same £65 on the Platinum Cashback card, adjusting for the fee

spend £11,000 per year and you will receive £85 on the free Platinum Cashback Everyday and £87.50 on the Platinum Cashback card, adjusting for the fee

What is the sign-up bonus?

Both cards have the usual generous American Express sign-up bonuses:

The Amex Platinum Cashback card pays you 5% back on your spending in the first three months, to a maximum spend of £2,500 (so capped at £125 back).

The Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday card pays you 5% back on your spending in the first three months, to a maximum spend of £2,000 (so capped at £100 back).

However, unless you are planning on spending over £10,000 between month 4 and month 12, I would not necessarily be tempted by the extra £25 as the free card is better in the long term.

What more should I know?

You do not receive your cashback month by month.  Instead, it is paid onto your Amex statement at the end of each card year.  You cannot cancel the card early because you won’t receive your cashback.

However, this does not mean that it is more difficult to cancel the Cashback card with the £25 fee.  This is because Amex will refund your fee, pro-rata, when you cancel.  If you feel like dumping the card at any point, wait until the start of your next card year for the cashback from the previous year to arrive.  You can then cancel, and should get back at least £23 of your £25 fee as a pro-rata refund.

American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for its cards.

Conclusion

I am not suggesting that you should drop your existing reward credit cards and switch to cashback cards instead.  It depends what value you place on your miles and points as well as the other benefits offered by these cards, such as the 2-4-1 voucher on the British Airways American Express.  It is always good to be aware of the alternatives though.

If you do decide to go for one of these cards, I recommend the free Everyday card unless you plan to spend more than £10,000 per year.

The Amex site for the Platinum Cashback (£25 fee) card is here.  The site for the Platinum Cashback Everyday (no fee) card is here.

(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.)

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.

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Comments

  1. Genghis says:

    I don’t follow. Could you explain in more detail?

  2. Although, when I do it, the only cards I can choose from are the standard and gold amex, nothing else

  3. Any one with SPG Amex knows what was the old referral bonus and what is now a days (3x change)

  4. FlyUpTop says:

    Advise needed, I have the BA Amex card taken out three months ago, Platinum charge card but about to cancel as soon as bonus hits.
    Once I’ve cancelled the Plat, how long should I wait till I should apply for say the SPG Amex?

    • You shouldn’t wait.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Refer yourself for the SPG before you cancel!

      • Bonglim says:

        With TG Loyalty here

        Refer yourself to SPG Amex asap (as long as you have not had it in the last 6 months). Refer yourself FROM the platinum card – and you will get 18000 MR points. Wait for them to post before cancelling (normally just a few days).

        • Tilly71 says:

          Will downgrading from BAPP to the fee free BA card cause any issues with self referral?
          I done this yesterday..

  5. Fair point.

  6. I personally value a MR point at 1.4p or so. You could easily get it by transferring points to BA for short-haul flights within Europe in peak seasons. Another example is that all flights within Japan just cost 4,500 BA miles. Last Christmas I booked a business flight from PVG to NRT for just 15,000 miles, while the cash value was about 300 pounds.

  7. but unfortunately you have to accumulate enough points, say 30k, before you can freely book any flights and make the most of these points..that’s the problem.

  8. OT; MARRIOTT TP CONVERSION RATES POSTED IN BITS COMMENTS

    • Lol I posted them in the Marriott TP article too 😉 Not good, not good at all.

  9. Peter K says:

    My issue with cash is that there are so many things you ought to spend it on that it gets swallowed up on everyday things. Hotel/airline points have to be used on those (mainly) so they feel more like a luxury.

  10. Although if using hotel points abroad I’ve found they’ve gone up in value recently due to the drop in the GBP against all other currencies (bar Turkey), so I’m getting better value out of them as hotels would have cost more once paid in GBP.

  11. Agreed. I value MR at ~0.75p (same as I do for Avios, close to 2x 0.4p for Hilton, so matches transfer rates and my value for destination points currencies)

  12. It’s a good card – we do an annual article on it. Requires membership though.

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