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BIG NEWS: American Express blocks multiple sign-up bonuses, starting immediately

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American Express unveiled massive changes to its UK card sign-up bonuses last night.

This will effectively end card churning for most people.

Before I go on, I want to stress one thing.  The new rules on bonuses do NOT stop you applying for any of these cards.  They simply influence whether or not you will qualify for a sign-up bonus when you do.

It is also worth remembering that, even if YOU no longer qualify for a particular bonus, your partner or other adult family members might.

American Express restricts UK sign up bonuses

What is changing?

Until today, American Express sign-up bonuses followed two basic rules:

Cards were grouped into families based on reward type (Membership Rewards points, Avios, Starwood points, Nectar points) and your eligibility for a bonus depended on whether you had recently had a card in the same ‘family’

There was a six month restriction in place between cancelling an American Express card and being able to re-apply – with a new bonus – for a card in the same ‘family’

This is what is changing for the personal American Express cards:

The concept of ‘families’ has gone for most products.  The eligibility rules now span ALL personal American Express cards in most cases.

The look-back period increases from six months to 24 months

Whilst there are two exceptions, in simple terms you cannot get a sign-up bonus on a personal American Express card if you have held ANY personal American Express card in the last 24 months.

Are there any exceptions to these new rules?

Yes.  There are a few exceptions to the above:

The British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card is only impacted by the change in the look-back period to 24 months.   The old rules on eligibility remain – you cannot have had either of the two British Airways American Express cards in the previous 24 months BUT American Express does not count any other card you may have had.

(In plain English: if you’ve had a Platinum / Gold / Starwood / Nectar / Platinum Cashback card in the last two years, but NOT either of the BA Amex cards, you are eligible for the bonus on the Premium Plus card – but not the free BA Amex)

The Platinum Card is only impacted by the change in the look-back period to 24 months.   The old rules on eligibility remain – you cannot have had a Preferred Rewards Gold, Green, Platinum or American Express Rewards card (all of which earn Membership Rewards points) in the previous 24 months BUT American Express does not count any other card you may have had.

(In plain English: if you’ve had a BA / Starwood / Nectar / Platinum Cashback card in the last two years but NOT a card offering Membership Rewards points, you are eligible for the bonus on the The Platinum Card – but not Preferred Rewards Gold)

Small Business and Corporate products are not impacted at all.  The existing rules apply for those.  Importantly, the six month rule continues to apply for these cards.

(In plain English: if you’ve not had any personal or business card offering Membership Rewards points in the past six months, you are eligible for the bonus on the American Express Gold Business and American Express Platinum Business, assuming you own a qualifying small business)

American Express scraps UK sign up bonuses

Can you summarise this by card?

Here you go:

If you currently have the free British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus credit card ….

You would need to cancel and wait 24 months before you can get a bonus on Platinum Cashback, Platinum Cashback Everyday, British Airways, British Airways Premium Plus, Preferred Rewards Gold, Starwood Preferred Guest, Nectar, American Express Rewards

You can get a bonus NOW on The Platinum Card IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, American Express Rewards, American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business card in the previous six months and meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

If you currently have Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card or American Express Rewards credit card ….

You would need to cancel and wait 24 months before you can get a bonus on Platinum Cashback, Platinum Cashback Everyday, British Airways American Express, Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, Starwood Preferred Guest, Nectar, American Express Rewards

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways Premium Plus IF you have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus card in the previous 24 months

You would need to cancel and wait six months before you can get a bonus on American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business, assuming you meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

If you currently have a Nectar or Starwood Preferred Guest credit card ….

You would need to cancel and wait 24 months before you can get a bonus on Platinum Cashback, Platinum Cashback Everyday, British Airways American Express (free version), Preferred Rewards Gold, Starwood Preferred Guest, Nectar, American Express Rewards

You can get a bonus NOW on The Platinum Card IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways Premium Plus IF you have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, American Express Rewards, American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business card in the previous six months and meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

If you currently have a Platinum Cashback or Platinum Cashback Everyday card ….

You would need to cancel and wait 24 months before you can get a bonus on Platinum Cashback, Platinum Cashback Everyday, British Airways American Express, Preferred Rewards Gold, Green, Starwood Preferred Guest, Nectar, American Express Rewards

You can get a bonus NOW on The Platinum Card IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways Premium Plus IF you have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards card in the previous six months

Discussion of the American Express sign-up bonuses changes continue in a further articles here.

Reference information

Here are links to our reviews on each of the cards, a link to the application website and the legally required interest rate information:

IMPORTANT: Note that the reviews have not been updated with the new bonus rules yet

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – apply here  – our review is here – representative APR 57.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit

American Express Rewardsapply hereour Amex Rewards review interest rate varies depending on which card variant you choose

British Airways American Expressapply hereour BA Amex review – representative APR 22.9% variable

British Airways American Express Premium Plus apply hereour BA Premium Plus Amex review – representative APR 76.0% variable including £195 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable

Nectarapply hereour Nectar Amex reviewrepresentative APR of 28.2%, including £25 fee, based on a notional credit limit of £1,200

The Platinum Cardapply hereour Amex Platinum review

Platinum Cashbackapply hereour Amex Platinum Cashback review – representative APR of 28.2%, including £25 fee, based on a notional credit limit of £1,200

Platinum Cashback Everydayapply hereour Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday review – representative APR 22.9% variable

Starwood Preferred Guest American Expressapply hereour Starwood Amex review –  representative APR 39.7% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit

American Express Gold Businessapply hereour Amex Gold Business review

American Express Platinum Businessapply hereour Amex Platinum Business review

(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. Shoestring says:

    O/T £250 Amex credit for £1000 spend @Microsoft Store

    • Dominic says:

      Damn, not on either of mine – that’s one that I could actually use!

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Typical. Had to buy a laptop 2 weeks ago. However did the spend target on Amex Plat in a day of activation for bonus points.

  2. The Streets says:

    Amex should never have advertised a 6 month rule in the first place. They should have made it hit or miss whether people applying again for a card they previously had would get a bonus. That would have made it more fun

    We are still none the wiser if churning can happen with cards such as IHG or Virgin

  3. Honestly, anyone who thinks the churners who took this to the extreme didnt contribute to this Amex change is seriously deluded.

    What’s your opinion Rob?

    And how long have you known this was coming
    ? You are always ahead of the game.

    Was the pushing of the business Amex cards recently a coincidence?

    And the march credit card updates didn’t seem to feature as prominent as in the past?

  4. I use noddle to check when i signed up to cards.

  5. Presumably if you reapplies after six months you won’t earn the sign up but you will get New ten referrals? Also do you have a link to the rules?

  6. QRFF1337 says:

    Clear as mud!
    Sorry, no ioffense, I’m sure its just me.
    So Have I got this right;
    I have a gold membership reward card.
    I have never held a BA card of any kind
    I will get the sign up bonus if I apply for a British Airways Premium Plus credit card now, whether I retain the gold card or not.
    True or false?

  7. Applied and accepted for an Amex Gold Rewards Card last week. On logging on I can’t see anything for showing progress towards the £2000 spending bonus of 20000 points a la BA Amex Premium card for their bonus/2-4-1 voucher ????

    • Doug M says:

      Usually appears after a day or two, assuming you were ahead of the T&C’s changing.

    • From memory the points just get added to the transaction that triggers the bonus with a little + above and you click on the + for a breakdown 😉

  8. Well this is a bit of sh– sandwich…

  9. Hi Rob I applied for an Amex SPG credit card on 13/3/19 .I already have the preferred gold card.I activated it on 20/3/19,but have noticed there is no mention on my account of the sign up bonus. Was my application too late with regard to the rule changes around bonuses?

    • As you applied before the rules changed you would be eligible for the bonus.I’ve never held the SPG card so don’t know when the bonus progress bar shows but the reply to @Baz above most likely applies to you too.

  10. So re below. Despite Amex telling me that I WOULD still be entitled to the sign up bonus because my card was approved before the new rules, there is still no countdown ( banner/window – sorry not sure of the term) telling me that I need to spend £X before target is reached.
    Anyone else have this??

    Thanks

    Sorry if this has been answered already. So my husband referred me for a BA Premium plus last week as it had been 6 months since I had one. I’ve been accepted but yet to receive card. Presume he’ll get referral bonus but will I get bonus for spend? Thanks
    Reply

    Michael says:
    21 March 2019 at 09:44

    You should do as you applied under old terms. This new policy came into effect today or yesterday.
    Reply
    sue says:
    21 March 2019 at 12:20

    So my card just arrived. I registered it but no banner on my page regarding spend bonus. Called Amex and they were not sure but said it SHOULD be ok as I applied before the change. time will tell i guess
    Reply
    BlueHorizonuk says:
    21 March 2019 at 09:45

    If you applied and been accepted before 9pm last night (I think that’s when Rob said the change happened) then you are good to go

    • Jimbob says:

      There’s often no count down banner for the sign up bonus, nothing per se to worry above.

      I don’t have one for my SPG Amex that I’ve had for 2 months

      • thanks. Ive ALWAYS had one before on every card Ive had so bit concerned, Ill keep checking!

        • Lady London says:

          I think I saw previous recommendations to look on the app rather than the website?

      • So banner has now appeared confirming welcome bonus countdown to 25K points. Got in just in time and will be last for over 24 months. hey ho! thanks for all advice

  11. Mark Bridgewater says:

    Hi . I have within the last 3 weeks got the starwoods Amex. I already have the Ba Premier and the platinum card. I have about £700 of the £1000 I needed to trigger the bonus. Will Amex honour this in the next week or so as I had the card before the announcement or will I lose out ?

    • Bingo! We have another one!

      Honoured.

    • Peter 64K says:

      I’m sure this has been answered earlier a few times 😂

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Tbh a simple edit from Rob which said if you applied for a card pre 9pm on 20th March you should be ok might have stopped about 200 comments.

        • Tbh these 200 comments have been an eye opener as to how financially naive some of the HfP readership are if they seriously think AMEX can retrospectively change T&C’s at will.

        • But some people will tell you “it’s not rocket science”

        • Peter 64K says:

          More to the point, it tells you how lazy people are at reading things and paying attention. Plus many want others to do the work for them.

    • and they were happy to do so, its what lead us here… :o(

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