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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. David Franks says:

    I guess this site might now go the way of the shopper points one.

    Raffles. Thank you very much for all of your efforts over the years, I have benefited greatly from your insight and analysis.

    I hope that there is room in the ‘new world’ for your excellent website.

    • I think the 90% of our readership which travels heavily (but rarely comments) will be just fine. Remember we have 30,000 regular readers of which 100 provide all the comments.

      As we never wrote about churning we won’t have the SP issue of losing content.

      • James1 says:

        Of the 100, unfortunately 10 provide around 90% of the comments, but worst of all are the 3 that post around 80%

        • James1 says:

          …….and please, no comments about cancelling my subscription etc zzzzzzzzzzz

      • Peter 64K says:

        @James1
        While we all have our personal opinions on various commentators, at least the comments generally are much more useful, beneficial and erudite than those on the US blogs. Thank goodness.

      • never wrote about churning? really?

        “Once you’ve cancelled the card, you can reapply after six months and get the bonus again. This article explains the rules about getting American Express sign-up bonuses.”

      • Rag on a stick says:

        Hoorah, at least with the articles on churning becoming less frequent there will be more room for reviews from obscure airports showing ‘lounges’ containing 3 plastic chairs and a water dispenser, plus more articles on how to bore yourself to sleep at the Emirates stadium using points, and of course let’s not forget Dubai.

    • Squeal like a pig boy says:

      Shopper points? That’s the site which has hardly any articles anymore because Tesco stopped doing nearly all the promos due to blatant abuse? Soon the trough here will be just as empty due to all the greedy swines who’ve been busy stuffing their cheeks.

      • Peter 64K says:

        Ha ha ha. Your grasp of Tesco’s finances and the wider grocery scene is hilarious 🤣🤣🤣

    • Jimbob says:

      If you’ve been reading this blog and only get your majority of points from churning, then you’ve been seriously missing out.

      HfP is about far more than churning.
      Oh, and as I don’t travel for work, none of my Avios come from flying.

  2. How does supplementary card for Amex platinum work? Can I give 1 card to someone and then close it and switch it to someone else after couple months to save the fee for the 2nd one?
    Is the fee for the 2nd supp card on a prorata basis?

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Don’t see why not but they might detect something it up. Why the need to move the free supp card?

      As Amex fees are all pro-rata, guessing this will be too. Jump on a web chat with them and ask.

    • Peter 64K says:

      You can give a one platinum supplementary with the same benefits of the main card for free. You can also give a couple of gold coloured supplementaries for free on top of that with no added benefits for the holders IIRC.

  3. Does anyone know if this affects the international euros and dollars platinum cards?

  4. Rachel says:

    Seems very short-sighted. I’ve started putting most things on my no foreign-transaction fee US cards. I have the free BA and the Gold, and will probably close both of them this year and wait two years to apply again.

  5. Hi there, does anyone know if the upgrade offer (20,000 MR points for 1k spend within 3 months) to go from the Gold credit card to the Platinum card is still available?

  6. Charlie says:

    Churning was something I did approx every 2 years, I generally kept the Gold Charge card for about 11 months, then upgraded to Platinum, referred my other half, and cancelled after a month. I would also self refer the SPG card, cancelling after I achieve the initial spend.

    My other half would repeat the above, and we’ve been doing this since approx 2013. I have never churned the BA card.

    The upgrade from Gold to Platinum is gone, and I think the SPG cards clash with Gold/Platinum, so a hefty reduction but the game is far from over.

    Since getting hooked in 2012, the main HfP highlights for me were:

    -35000 AA miles from MBNA (2013)
    -17000 Ethihad miles from MBNA (2013)
    -Free cathay gold from Platinum Amex (2013)
    -Plugging my Uber code for quite a few referrals (2014)
    -Buying £100 Harrods gift cards with £30 amex cash back x 4 and redeeming at the Apple concession (2016)
    -18,000 Avios for 3 day car hire (2016)
    -90,000 Avios for booking 10 flights (2018)
    -Learning about EU261, I credit HfP with a massive successful claim (Avios long haul redemption booked but not “ticketed”, so was denied boarding, for of us so 2400 Euro ).
    -Reading about things I would otherwise not have a sniff off, such as super low tax HKG redemptions and IHG Ambassador.
    -I even have a lovely suitcase I got from BestSecret I think that was £50 off, so I only paid £9. I still have the free watch.
    -I’ve have kids now and I still refer to the flying with kids articles.

    HfP is much much more than churning.

  7. Daniel says:

    What’s the rules for re applying for a card forgetting about the welcome bonus……for example refer some one to achieve the referral bonus, they then can cancel the card, if there a time scale they can re apply for the same card if referred again….ans so on and so on etc

    • Peter 64K says:

      Amex may well just block you quickly for doing that, then you have lost out forever. Keep a cool head on this.

  8. Ahhhhh what a massive shame!

    Avios has been hobby and means to a family holiday each year for me since 2016! Even since then I’ve noticed the gradual erosion if offers and points which I understand were even more lucrative than when I started collecting.

    I would churn the gold card each year get the 20,000 points and combine with my points from my BA Amex and Clubcard to have enough for me, my partner and our daughter to take an annual holiday to somewhere in the 7,500 points bracket.

    Still all booked for Dubrovnik this year though which I just wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.

    Have also noticed recently that clubcarlson/RR has upped the price bracket for all the UK hotels that were 9000, to 15000 and then 28000 points. I used the one in Walsall that was 9000 points about ten times as a bargain stopover on the way up to a regular Manchester trip – the conversion from Amex points to RR was 3-1 so with a 20,000 points bonus you basically had a week’s stay somewhere for free.

    Best ever for me was Tune hotels 1p London hotel rooms about 10 years ago, had about 3 or 4 trips out of that!

  9. Donutz says:

    I cancelled the free BA Amex card in May last year. Does the 24 month “look back” still apply or is it for cards cancelled from the date these changes were announced?

  10. Scott says:

    I have the Amex Gold credit card (personal), so i would have to cancel and wait 2 years before able to get most Amex bonuses. Before i do that, i was thinking of referring myself to platinum, then referring myself from platinum to green (or something else with no annual fee) shortly after, then canceling the platinum after a month or so for a pro rata refund of the high annual fee. (It’s gonna be tough to accept the high fee without a bonus.)

    But i just got the gold card ~4 months ago, and the new Virgin Atlantic card in Feb, and this would be 2 new Amex cards. My credit score is high, but will Amex be cool with giving me my 3rd and 4th new card in less than 6 months?

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