There has been a lot to digest about the new American Express sign-up bonus rules in the last few days. Apart from everything we have discussed so far – see here and here – there was something I missed.
For one group of people, getting a new American Express sign-up bonus just got easier.
Why is life easier for Amex Business cardholders?
Under the old rules, all of the cards which offered Membership Rewards points (Green, Gold, Platinum, Gold Business, Platinum Business, Amex Rewards) were lumped together. If you had one of these cards, you couldn’t get a bonus on another one until you had cancelled it and waited six months.
Under the new rules, this family has been broken up. Instead, two new families have been created between the personal American Express cards and the small business American Express cards.
Let me explain what this means. Under the old rules, if you had a Gold Business or Platinum Business Amex card, you were blocked from getting the sign-up bonus on a personal Gold, Green, Platinum or Amex Rewards card.
This is no longer the case:
The rule for personal Gold, personal Green and Amex Rewards now says “I understand I will not be eligible for the Welcome Bonus award if I hold or have held any personal American Express Card in the past 24 months”. There is no mention of small business cards.
Similarly, the rule for personal Platinum now says “I understand I will not be eligible for any Welcome Bonus award if I hold or have held any personal Membership Rewards-enrolled American Express Cards in the past 24 months”. There is no mention of small business cards.
Which means in plain English …..
This means that if you have Amex Gold Business or Amex Platinum Business, you can now apply for Preferred Rewards Gold, The (personal) Platinum Card or the Amex Rewards Credit Card. The only caveat is whatever other personal Amex cards you have had in the last 24 months.
If you are an Amex Gold Business or Amex Platinum Business cardholder who has not held any personal Amex cards in the last 24 months, you can literally apply for any personal Amex card you want – immediately, with no need to close your Business card – and get the sign-up bonus. None of the bonus rules on personal cards make any reference to Small Business cards.
Note that this method does not work in reverse. The rules for applying for the Amex Business cards remain unchanged:
if you have had a personal Green, Gold, Platinum or Amex Rewards card, or a Gold Business or Platinum business card, in the previous six months then you CANNOT get a sign-up bonus on Gold Business or Platinum Business
if you have NOT had a personal Green, Gold, Platinum or Amex Rewards card, or a Gold Business or Platinum business card, in the previous six months then you CAN get a sign-up bonus on Gold Business or Platinum Business
You obviously need to meet the American Express definitions of having a qualifying small business before you can apply, but these are relatively generous.
An update on our article yesterday
We ran article yesterday entitled “Should you leave American Express for 24 months until you can get a new sign-up bonus?“.
Readers picked up on a couple of other issues to consider. I edited these into the main article early on Saturday morning but if you read it by email you will have missed them.
Here are the two points I added:
“And you need an Amex to pay the taxes on your 2-4-1 tickets ….
Remember that you need to pay the taxes when you redeem a British Airways 2-4-1 voucher using an American Express card. Despite what the rules say, it doesn’t need to be a BA Amex and it doesn’t need to be in your name (Amex does not check names as part of its card verification) but you WILL need access to an American Express.”
“Finally, do the Amex cashback offers have value to you?
Most of us have save £100+ per year via the cashback offers added to our Amex card statements. You should factor the loss of those savings into your calculations.”
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion 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
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
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.