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. So right now, I have spg and plat, probably going to cancel both soon as much as I would love to keep them both, (To earn double spg on spend and lounge access)
    Am I correct that I can still apply for the ba card if I want to?

  2. @Liz 1000KF on Avis rental of 2 days

    • I don’t want to put any KF miles in to my KF account at the moment as they have the strict 3 yr expiry policy and I am not planning on using them in the next 3 years. I was saving Marriott pts through SPG Amex churning once a year, Heathrow Rewards and doing some MR transfers to Marriott to build them up over the next few years till we are ready to go to Oz again in a few yrs time. Was trying to build both our Marriott accounts up to 120k each to give us 50k KF miles each then top up with Hrwatheow Rewards and MR pts when I was ready to book. Now won’t be able to get up to 120k Marriott points because we won’t be able to churn the SPG Card so readily. Need to come up with another plan.

      • Mikeact says:

        Perhaps I read it wrong, but I thought yesterday you were looking for a few miles to top up ? I don’t know how many you have but if they are going to waste look at their partners closer to home…Lufthansa..Egyptair..Swiss..Brussels..Turkish..LOT..and even Virgin Atlantic. You might be able to use them up with a trip closer to home, despite their recent devaluation.

        • Mikeact says:

          If you see this, I meant to add that their Star Alliance partner rewards also increase on April 16th. Economy is no change…..25k around Europe, but Business is up accross the board. Unlike Singapore themselves you will undoubtedly incur fuel surcharges, some more, considerably, than others.

        • We have 90k and 44k Marriott pts. I was aiming to get to 120k in each account so I could convert to 50k each KF miles then top up with MR pts and Heathrow Reward pts nearer the time when I needed them. Just storing them in Marriott accounts free of charge till I need them. That was my strategy for the next couple of years. Now I can’t see us reaching 120k each Marriott pts so will need to abandon that plan and probably just convert to Avios or Virgin in the future. I have plenty of Avios and Virgin miles for the next couple of years so will wait and see what happens. SIN-BNE is 62K KF miles now for one way redemption in Business.

  3. Shoestring says:

    Plenty of people will be cancelling Plat & waiting 2 years – –> also means cancelling the associated Priority Pass.

    You might want to reconsider the Travel Plus Pack from Barclays – £16.50 a month, minimum 6 months, on their free current a/c – 6 free lounge passes & other free benefits include a good-looking Travel Insurance policy & RAC breakdown cover. You could have his ‘n hers current a/cs, 6 months each then rinse & repeat for 12 Dragonpass entries pa, no limit on who gets to use them or how many at a time, you could use all 6 in 1 go if you felt like it.

  4. Does the business card have opportunities for further referrals as the personal card – example 5 x 18000 points for 5 referrals?

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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. (?)

  9. 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)

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

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