An interesting quirk in the new Amex sign-up rules we missed, and other updates

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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.

These are people who currently have Amex Gold Business or Amex Platinum Business.

American Express Gold Business sign-up rules

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.

Amex Platinum Business sign up bonus

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 can learn more about Amex Gold Business in this HFP article.  You can learn more about Amex Platinum Business in this article.

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 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.)

Why you shouldn’t waste Avios on Club Europe redemptions from London City
How to use 'Part Pay With Avios' on BA, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus - Avios Redemption University - Lesson 9
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  1. Can we stop promoting Amex now. They are uncompetitive in the market. With 1:1 parity else where and the same benefits on other cards why would anyone want to use Amex?

    • Shoestring says:

      I’m happy to get the information & have an opportunity to discuss & digest it – not many here would see it as promotion of Amex, it was big news/ big changes and worth the column space.

      If Amex doesn’t work for you any more, no problem – but Amex cards will still feature prominently in the card strategy of the vast majority of HfP readers so you are clearly in a small minority who are dismissing Amex completely now. Loads of reasons why I will choose Amex personally (joining a portfolio of cards), including sign-up bonus, referral bonus, travel insurance, free lounge passes, loyalty bonus, ongoing miles earning, Shop Small and statement credit promotions – for others, 2-4-1 will be the big attraction.

      • I think Rob is clearly promoting Amex. No disrespect I have noticed that before this huge change and Rob wrote few articles on why we should apply for Amex. I wish I could say this is coincidental but I am afraid I don’t sadly.
        I am a fan of Rob but on this subject I am sorry!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Scam? Where’s the scam? The rules are being highlighted so they can be followed and you don’t end up taking or not taking out AMEX products for the wrong reasons.

        • Mikeact says:

          I totally disagree. As far as I am concerned, my reading is that Rob always tries to be impartial with his credit card comparisons, including Amex. He always tries to point out the best Avios (and Virgin nowadays) earning and burning strategies whatever card that may be. If another card were to offer such sign up bonuses as Amex, then they too would get possibly more coverage. Every card issued in the UK may have it’s own selling point, but very few fall into the Avios/Virgin category.

          • The lack of commercial awareness shown by some people is scary.

            If we get someone as a reader, we’ll make a few quid somewhere, somehow – if only because we get paid per page view for ads we sell direct.

            If we don’t have them as a reader, we don’t.

            If we are not providing useful and ‘all of market’ content then we won’t have any readers in order to make any money from them. Covering everything that is going on, regardless of commercial relationships, is sensible.

            Or, put another way, we actually make more money by writing about interesting stuff that doesn’t pay us than we would if we swapped those articles for less interesting ones that did.

        • Since when did an article discussing the cancellation of all amex business for two years equate with promoting amex? Criticism of ads, sponsorship, freebies etc is recurrent and tiresome, nobody is forcec to read them or even the blog at all. The blog costs considerableb money to run, employs staff and costs us nothing to read. Always thought it odd that soee are quick to complain about benefits to Rob abd the blog but ard forever silent with respect to the personal benefits received from reading it.

        • Lady London says:

          There is no other blog that would have done this is as unbiased a way as Rob.

          He even deleted my post “where’s Rob’s referral link” [to Amex]

    • > why would anyone want to use Amex?

      Ask yourself why people (including bloggers) like to *refer* Amex

      • Doug M says:

        Because on Plat alone I’ve probably had 150K MR and statement credits of around £1K. Lounge access and some other bits. Paid so far £450. I continue to see value for me for now.

    • > a voucher worth at least another 100k Avios if they travel with a companion

      Don’t forget that 2nd person has to pay a big chunk of cash (in YQ and taxes) to be able to travel.

      I’ve done the maths on BAPP 241 redemptions many times (earned four vouchers in last five years). I’ve never actually redeemed a 241 because there was always a better way to spend my Avios *and my cash*.

      • Doug M says:

        Why do you keep putting spend through a card that rewards with something that has no value for you?

      • Sign up bonus plus the referral made it worth getting the card. Put the spend through quickly, close the card, get most of the annual fee refunded.

        The 241 itself is effectively worthless to me.

    • Worzel says:

      The voucher is worth at least 8k Avios.

    • New Bee says:


    • Nonsense.

      BAPP 241 can save you 150,000 Avios easily.

      Gold – if you spend exactly £15k – earns 1.66 miles per £1 which is literally unbeatable.

      SPG card is the ONLY way to earn miles in schemes like United, AA etc and gives 1.5p+ per point back if you keep as Marriott points.

      And given how many readers pay for Plat but never use it (inc me) you need to assume people appreciate the value.

      • Spurs Debs says:

        I’m planning on using mine for Japan I should save at least 200k points. Bargain paid for itself I’m happy.

        • Although if you’ve got VS miles I’d have a look at ANA via VS too – 120k (and £400 in taxes/fees) for return in F is a pretty nice deal!

        • Ronster says:

          Hello Spurs Deb

          Travelling to Tokyo in F on a 2-4-1, will save at least 204,000 points going off peak in F and 220,000 points going peak in F.

          Even with the taxes (whatever you care to call BA’s additional charges), your basically paying the equivalent of an economy ticket each, for the pleasure of traveling in BA F. This is for a “direct” return ticket, that would be close to £5k otherwise!

          Just booked my 2-4-1 LHR-NRT all in a lovely 787-9 Dreamliner in BA F.

          Thats all down to Rob!

          Thanks again

          Keep up the good work.


        • Spurs Debs says:

          Thanks Ronster, yes I’ve been plotting and planning for my 60th (😱) I saved my voucher for this flight.

          Question I’ve been looking at the different airports Hanada and Narita.
          I’m drawn to HND because it’s quicker to city, any reason you choose NRT?

      • You can lead a horse to water…..😄
        Amex is the whole reason I got into this hobby and why I read this site every day…..😉

      • > BAPP 241 can save you 150,000 Avios easily

        Assuming you don’t look too closely at the consequences of “saving” 150k Avios.

        There are BA fans who mindlessly redeem a big pot of hard-earned Avios and a 241 to get them to places where other schemes would cost less (miles + cash), even though the other schemes don’t have 241 vouchers. Sometimes it would be even be cheaper to buy miles outright in the other scheme. Sometimes it would be cheaper to buy a cash fare.

        BA and Amex aren’t issuing those BAPP 241 vouchers out of generosity.

        • Agree with you. There have been times here in the past few years, when many of us have actually cancelled 241 F to Asia, Dubai, Rob included, to buy cash fares in the QR,AY,BA, and other airline sales.
          Of course it makes sense to buy in a cash fare sale, but it used to be only a couple of £100 more than the fees. Now the fees have increased outrageously, the sale fares are also higher tho, it’s swings and roundabouts.
          But the flexibility of avios fares is paramount to a lot of people. RFS esp useful.

        • Nick_C says:

          Agreed that some people will not get any benefits from Amex. And some people will not be savvy enough to use the benefits wisely. My last 241 saved me 192000 Avios. The redemption fees and taxes were £550 each. The total cost, including the cost of the Avios, was £740 pp. We flew out in F and back in J. The cash price of the flights would have been £4k each. The cash price of Y flights would have been about £660 each.

          What will change for me is the cost per avios now the sign up bonuses have gone. But I still have a huge cache of Avios to use (thanks Rob and others) and the BAPP continues to make a lot of sense for me personally.

      • Eacactly, our 241 to Asia in F every year is worth 1000’s. Yes we have to pay fees, but it’s basically the price of a Y tkt, but is fully cancellable. That’s the beauty of those tickets.
        Def will continue to use full amex range, albeit via referral earnings within the family. But that’s just fine. Get great value out of offers, my iPad Pro was knocked off overhead locker recently, few weeks ago on a dub flight, cracked the frame and glass, and plat ins coughed up without any problems. So we will be staying with amex. Used a Lot of their offers last year, covered both fees easily. SS stamps still being used..v useful. Will stock up again in Dec if as returns.

        Plus for paying our bills, utilities etc, monthly, takes the sting out of them a lot!

  2. Annabelle says:

    Morning! Re: Paying taxes on 2-4-1 with any amex – do they do a billing postcode check too on amex transaction? Thanks

  3. I’m pretty much done with Amex. I don’t see how they can continue to charge for cards that offer such comparitavely poor benefits.

    I’d have rather seen them go down the US route of once in a lifetime signup bonuses, but with big multipliers for ongoing spending.

    Me and my partner have probably put £50k a year through Amex for the last 3/4 years. Don’t know if that means we’re profitable customers or not but either way they’re losing it!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Out of interest Where are you going instead?

      • Many people will lean towards the HSBC mc elite, fee £195, no bonus after 1st year, is xhurnable according to some here, good earning rate, free lounge passes, plus for £60 you can add a 2nd person, with free lounge access also. It’s earning rate of 1/£ for elite card, or 0.5/£ for premier.
        But with high threshold for obtaining a card.

        Also the new replacement lloyds mc with o.4/£ not bad for a free card. We may, just may drop hsbc and continue with our lloyds replacement for non amex spend.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Hasn’t Barclaycard just blocked using any of the fin tech cards for payments inc curve.

      • Shoestring says:

        Responsible credit providers/ banks can’t allow customers to potentially self-harm by paying off their credit card balance with another credit card through circuitous methods…quite right, too! 🙂

      • New Bee says:

        I am able to use (for now)
        how long the party lasts – who knows.
        I agree @ shoestring’s comment. I feel Amex was being irresponsible too by letting people churn cards away…but that didn’t stop people from doing so and in the process make 100s of 1000s of avios. It wasn’t even a loop hole neither is this Barclaycard business 😀

      • Shoestring says:

        There was a horrible statistic in the paper yesterday: [in light of UK Finance statistics that show that 46.7 per cent of the UK’s £67.3billion outstanding credit card debt, £31.5billion, is on cards that are not bearing interest] ie balance transfers and interest-free ‘purchase’ credit cards.

        That’s a lot of people – alongside the savvy stoozers – potentially getting into unmanageable credit card debt – and plenty of them on a crazy merrygoround of paying off credit with yet more credit.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        @Harry you keep saying this but balance transfers have been around for years. Which is exactly the same thing except they aren’t charging you a fee when using curve.

      • It’s absolute insanity how easy it is to borrow money on credit cards at no or little interest compared to going through a “genuine” loan application.

        I honestly cannot see the justification for giving someone a credit limit on a card of more than a few months salary, the card companies have next to no idea what that money is used for.

        If you require borrowing in excess of that you really should go through an application if lenders want to claim to be responsible, although I think that given rates are 0.75% small loans should more accurately reflect interest rates.

        I run a small business with 7 digit turnover, HSBC give me a £30k unsecured overdraft (renewal fee £405) and interest rate 9.9%+ base yet I can go and stick £20k on my MBNA card for 3.9% Apr no fee, no credit scored application.

        • If you don’t pay MBNA they can bankrupt you. If your company goes bust (‘revenue = vanity, profit = sanity’) the bank loses the lot and you keep your nice house and car.

    • New Bee says:

      OMG thats scary 🙁

    • Lady London says:

      I’d say that’s there Amex are going…. if they continue to think the UK market is worth staying in.

      • Lady London says:

        *that was commen to @Jack post “once in a lifetime signup bonuses, but with big multipliers[ / bonuses] for ongoing spending.”

        • Sincerely hope not!, but the 5 x and 10x for ongoing spend more than makes up for that in the USA l guess. My friends still say their miles are rolling in.

        • Qwerty Bertie says:

          I’d much prefer that to what was just lost. Less hassle, less impact on credit files (not that it matters most of the time for me as I’m on long mortgage fixes), and a more straightforward honest relationship rather than feeling guilty for occasionally taking advantage of loopholes.

    • The Original Nick says:

      Amex offers do it for me. £200 off £600 spend and shop small on both main card holder and supp card basically pay the £450 fee. So I’m then getting all the other benefits for FREE.

  4. Chopin says:

    If I’m understanding right(correct me if I am wrong):

    I ‘ve had personal AMEX 6 months ago, now I can apply the Business AMEX and receive the bonus.

    Even the business AMEX does not block you get the personal AMEX sign up bonus under the new rule, I still need to wait 18 more months to apply the personal AMEX and receive the bonus.

    The changed rule means I do not need to cancel my Business AMEX before I apply the personal AMEX in the future.

  5. No Bits today so OT – Rob, are you planning on writing about the recently signed feeder deal between Korean Air and FlyBe?

    You can now book a long haul itinerary to Korea/China/Japan from the UK regional airports all on one booking (connection in CDG or AMS) at the moment its call center only, but I presume it will update on the Korean air website soon enough…

  6. Richard says:

    I assume this also applies to Amex Gold Corporate cards where I signed up for MR’s?

  7. Is it correct that you will receive the bonus on the (personal) Platinum card even if you already hold another personal Amex, provided that personal Amex is not ‘Membership Rewards-enrolled’ (BA Amex for example)?

  8. Can you cross refer from personal to business? So – say – a personal Platinum cardholder sends a referral but the recipient actually wants to apply for a Gold Business card?

  9. Chelseafi says:

    I think I’m correct in what I’m saying?… So I’ve not had a Plat or Gold for over 6 months, Can OH refer me for Bus Gold (and I get intro bonus and OH gets 18k from Plat referral). Then a couple months later OH refers me for Plat personal (I don’t get any intro bonus, OH gets 18k referral points) Can I have Bus Gold and Plat personal? My reason behind getting Plat is we want to keep one in family for our trips, and odd referrals, my OH currently has 2 referrals left this year, so OH would cancel Plat once referral points received. Thanks

    • Business Gold works. Adding personal Plat still needs you to have gone 24 months without a personal Plat/Gold.

      • Chelseafi says:

        Thanks so I know I won’t get sign up bonus for personal Plat but can I hold both Bus Gold and personal Plat is the main question?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Yes you could always do that.

          You can hold gold credit and Plat now too.

        • Yes, no problem having both and no problem getting 2 bonuses as long as you get Bus Gold first and meet the personal Plat 24 month rule.

  10. I just hope all the cancellations mean I’m slightly more likely to get on the Platinum Vista chocolate workshop next weekend.

    I’m keeping my Amex collection. I’m not bored of the treats yet. I do get why it isn’t worth it for everyone.

    • Doug M says:

      Agree. You work out it’s value to you and keep or dump. Either it works for you or it doesn’t. Another factor obviously is no matter how poor is it compared to before the recent change, what works better for you? There are no other methods of earning hefty Avios from spend, I know there’s an HSBC product but that’s quite niche, and if you don’t want VS miles where do you go credit card wise? My primary use of Avios has been and will likely continue to be RFS, which is great value.

      • Shoestring says:

        [There are no other methods of earning hefty Avios from spend]

        Oh yes there are! 🙂

        • Doug M says:

          I was thinking in credit card terms, rather than other more indirect offers, mention of which puts you on the naughty step. But feel free to share if you know better 🙂

        • > it doesn’t make sense to pay for Avios, unless they are incredibly cheap (i.e. way, way below 1p per point)

          I’m happy to pay 2p/Avios if I’m able to regularly redeem them at 4p+/Avios. Wouldn’t you be?

        • @shd – Fair point, for the %age of folk who can genuinely get a value in excess of the cost, but many of Harry’s ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ ruses for acquiring Avios have a cost in excess of the value the majority of people (IMHO/my own experience) can achieve, and so are far from being a good alternative to the signup bonuses which Amex have removed. I appreciate everyone places a different value on Avios, but people need to ask themselves, e.g. “would I REALLY pay £x for that CW flight” when calculating a value.

  11. Wally1976 says:

    Any thoughts on the pros/cons/implications/costs of setting up a company specifically for the purposes of earning Amex bonuses??

    • Alex W says:

      It is a faff and there are ongoing requirements to submit confirmation statements etc.

      • Sole traders are fine. Remember that you are always liable, not your company, so Amex takes minimal credit risk.

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