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.)

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  1. Julian says:


    I feel sure that Amex are reading your articles on the remaining loopholes in their rules for new card signup bonuses with interest and that the team meeting on how to address these problems will be taking place in the course of the next few days……………….

    • Peter 64K says:

      Just like the churning loophole that only lasted a few days, no weeks, no months, actually years?
      It might happen, but unlikely I feel. Amex are known to have left badly worded t&c’s in contracts for years which are to their detriment, even when openly mentioned on this site.

    • the_real_a says:

      AMEX middle/higher managers were always incentivised by “new card openings” in their bonus going back 20 years. (i mean who needs 4 AMEX cards?) I’m fascinated to know what the new targets are, as that might help us understand where the value for us will be in the short term.

      • Freddy says:

        Clearly pushing towards business amex, with the different terms on bonus and concidently also running adverts this week on business amex cards. Higher interchange fees would explain it surely

        • the_real_a says:

          AMEX own branded personal cards are also exempt from the interchange cap… so there is margin for value there too.

        • Freddy says:

          The co-branded companies wouldn’t be too impressed if their cards had a 2 year period whilst the amex branded ones had 6 month period. Had to make a division somewhere

        • Memesweeper says:

          @freddy — I think you might be onto something there. And in 24 months all the co-brand cards will be renegotiated or closed so things will no doubt change again…

  2. OT: Trying to use my BA 2 for 1 online. Seems straight forward. I want to two one way bookings in Business but from the same city. i.e. Lon-Dxb and Dxb- Lon for example. I just want to book the one-way online and book the return when I have more avios. Question is can I book the return one-way online too? Also, someone mentioned you get some taxes refunded once you book the return part if I understood correctly. How does that work? Sorry my first time doing this!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You need to call to add the return using the voucher

    • Peter 64K says:

      If you call the helpline to get the return added they will adjust the fees (eventually, maybe months down the line!).
      You can book the return online and then ring to combine the flights into one with the voucher apparently, but the fees are not adjusted I believe.

      • Thanks all

        • Managed to book, thanks! Both kids (10 and 13) were charged same taxes in Club World) Aren’t they less for children? Remember something about APD not being charged for kids.

    • Matthew says:

      APD is charged in full in a ‘premium seat’ so the kids pay full APD. It’s only free or discounted in an economy seat for the kids I’m afraid.

  3. With business cards, is the amount personal or business?

    ie. Wife and I are directors. Can she get the biz Plat and then six months later refer me, and cancel. Then after six months I can refer her and then cancel. Rinse and repeat?

    • Guess this is exactly what amex want to stop happening. But if you are. Big spender then it’s no loss to amex. However, you can’t hold other amex cards that would bar this activity.

  4. the_real_a says:

    Presumably one could use an AMEX gift card to pay for the 241 taxes if all other avenues of holding a card have been exhausted. (?)

  5. Hamza Jamil says:

    First post (be gentle): what about the impact on ICC. We travel frequently to the US/EU – I wonder if better to cancel the personal, and use the ICC for international costs?

    • Peter 64K says:

      I assume that’s an option as Rob had said that holding the ICC cards does not impact the UK ones.

    • Just be aware it can be a bit of a pain/cost to pay of these cards – depends on what options you have for international payments open to you (Rob has grandfathered HSBC deal, I have to use Caxton, not found anyone else offering a decent deal)

  6. As I have said several times before, it would be very easy for Amex/BA to enforce the ‘use the card which earned the companion (241) voucher to pay the taxes etc. rule’.

    If BA are not already holding the BAPP card numbers against the vouchers, it would be a morning’s work for Amex to extract a list of all the outstanding vouchers with BAEC number, date issued and BAPP number and pass it across. On the payment page for the redemption using the voucher, the BAPP number would be pre-loaded and made read-only so just the expiry date and CVV number entered by the card holder. This would be a minor change to the three payment pages – online, Android, Apple and maybe CS agent as fourth.

    I say this as a holder of a 241 voucher who has cancelled the BAPP card knowing the risk.

    • Memesweeper says:

      A day’s work for Amex to run the report.

      About now till the heat death of the universe for BA to make the necessary corresponding IT changes…

      • We all hope so, but people need to be aware of the risk.

      • Probably, I had them pricing up offpeak dates at peak rates earlier today. Hope they fix that quick.

    • Based on BA IT’s past record with payment page I expect this would (a) take them quite a significant time and (b) potentially lead to another data breach 😉

    • Mark2 – Guessing you don’t work in IT for a large corporation.

  7. Just called am ex to cancel BA card as I want to move to business card in 6 months and have been clearly told my 241 will also be cancelled as rule 15 T&C clearly state tax much be paid for using the BA Amex card. Is this correct? I don’t want to lose the voucher, and have read here that wasnt the case but they were very adamant I’d lose it??? Thanks

    • They always tell you this. Have done for years. It is total nonsense. Challenge the agent, they should know the reality as opposed to what is on their script. No reader has ever lost a voucher.

      • Thanks for your reply Rob, I did challenge the agent she went away to check T&Cs and came back with a quote of rule 15 and that voucher would definitely be cancelled. Do they actually cancel the voucher or inform BA to?

        • Which bit of ‘no-one has ever had a voucher cancelled, ever’ are you struggling with? 🙂

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Have have two sitting in my BA card right now which tells you that the reality is the voucher is fine after you cancel.

      • the_real_a says:

        You mean you want them to cancel the voucher?

      • Hi Rob –
        I’m (99.9%) sure you’re right, but
        There is a difference between confidentially stating past Amex practise, and confidentially predicting future Amex policy!
        The sudden 6-month rule change must make folks nervous…

        • That should have been “confidently”, of course !

        • True, but the T&Cs have not changed. There is a version online dated 2009 which has this rule in it. It is not even clear if the FCA would consider it ‘fair and reasonable’.

        • That’s quite helpful having it in from 2009, sounds like “custom and practice” would put consumers on a pretty firm footing then given they haven’t reversed any in the past decade!

  8. Matthew says:

    Can one be referred and refer others for an Amex IDC or Euro equivalent? I used to have the IDC but cancelled it some time ago. Wondering whether to get the Plat version of that…


  9. Could someone please confirm that I can get a personal gold if I hold personal plat? There won’t be a sign up bonus obviously.
    What I’m trying to judge is whether the plat is working for me long term and i think it might come down to continued availability of (self) referral. Gold can become a card I keep for a full year (spending 15k).
    Thanks for help.

    • Shoestring says:

      the old rules said no, you can’t hold Gold & Plat at the same time – I don’t think Amex have published any changes in this respect but you could always phone them up to be certain

      Would probably be enough to cancel Plat and take out Gold the next day – I can definitely still go from my Gold charge card to Plat from one day to another.

      • I have a Gold credit card and just got a Platinum card without a problem. Might be different if you still have the Gold charge card.

        • Thanks both. I have plat but not gold currently. Looks like now the gold is a credit card it is possible to hold both. I’m thinking gold for spend, plat for referrals going forward.

  10. Appreciate the advice Rob, card now cancelled

  11. Is the supplementary bonus for adding an extra card on platinum always applied or do you have to wait for the offer to appear?

  12. Shoestring says:

    A naked man has reportedly been arrested in Moscow after trying to board a plane while shouting about how clothes made him less agile and aerodynamic.
    Eyewitnesses said the would-be passenger passed through checks at Domodedovo Airport before suddenly taking off all his clothes and running on to the jet bridge, which connects airport terminals to planes.
    “He shouted that he was naked because clothing impairs the aerodynamics of the body. He flies with more agility when undressed,” a witness told Russian channel REN TV.
    Airport staff prevented the man from boarding his flight to Crimea and he was later detained by police officers.
    Fellow passengers told Ren TV the man did not appear drunk.

    • If this you seeking inspiration for the next flight back from your place in the sun, Harry? 😀

    • On the contrary, I would have thought his projectile would likely increase drag!

  13. sprout7 says:

    Sorry O/T – I have a lloyds upgrade voucher but I think my avios account has now been closed. Is it possible to see the voucher on my ba exec account or any other way of checking it’s expiry date?

    • You can’t see it on your BAEC a/c. I can still see mine on my account (which has stayed open due to Aer Club). Actually spent it today, agent transferred points from my BAEC account whilst on the call – then the bloody Lloyds Avios card blocked the taxes transaction so she kindly held whilst I went through Lloyds security to lift the block!

      • Lloyds security are very twitchy today. They blocked my transaction for £5 because I had not used it recently.

        • Yeah, I find they’re the twitchiest by far of any of my cards. Used to be good and just send a text you could reply to confirming the transaction though (and then reattempt), this time had to go through the whole rigmarole. When I bought a laptop recently they texted me a code, verified fine and order completed, only to get a text 10 min later asking me to confirm transaction and saying I wouldn’t be charged and would have to make it again! Thankfully ignored it and all went through fine.

          They also said I should have a new card – I pointed out they hadn’t sent them out yet!

  14. Reeferman says:

    Are the fees pro-rata refundable if you cancel during the course of the 12 months – with the Gold and Platinum Business Amex cards?

    • I’d imagine so, Rob said pro rata refunds are global practice for amex.

    • RIccatti says:

      No pro-rata fee refunds for AMEX USA.

      You have one month (statement cycle?) after renewal to decide to cancel card or not. After that AMEX USA does not refund the fee.

      • Reeferman says:

        Thanks, but am looking at Amex Business cards in UK – can’t find anything on-line one way or the other.

  15. One thing worth considering for some people is that the only Credit Card accepted at CostCo is AmEx. Otherwise you’ve got to use debit cards.

    • A-Mahdi says:

      Not for long time, Amex lost their contract with Costco 2 years ago in the USA and the new contract was awarded to Visa , the contract in the UK is I think for another 2 years so after that Costco may move to Visa in the UK as well

      • William Squires says:

        Are you certain that’s the case? They are still pushing the Amex pretty hard in store.

        The cynic in me wonders who else is going to give them a better deal over here. The prospects of moving to a NewDay or Creation backed card are pretty grim, but I guess Amex are unlikely to prop up a card which loses at least 0.7% up to 2.7% either.

        Brilliant product while it lasts though.

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