The beginners guide to whether you qualify for an American Express sign-up bonus or not

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As we covered yesterday, American Express has announced a 2nd round of ‘no notice’ changes to its personal credit and charge cardsThe details are here.  This follows the changes made in late March to the rules on how you qualify for a sign-up bonus.

To help you get your ahead around the new state of affairs, I have updated this one page summary of the new rules and the new bonus levels.  I will add a link to this page to the sidebar on the desktop and tablet version of Head for Points.

For absolute clarity …. the rules below do NOT stop you applying for any of the cards.  They simply influence whether or not you will qualify for a sign-up bonus.

The new Amex sign-up bonus decision tree

This is the decision tree you need to follow:

Have you had ANY personal American Express card (excluding MBNA and Lloyds Bank cards) in the previous 24 months?

If ‘no’:

You can apply for any personal American Express card and receive the full advertised bonusThis article outlines my recommended application strategy to maximise your bonuses.

If ‘yes’:

You CANNOT get a sign-up bonus on the following cards:

  • Platinum Cashback
  • Platinum Cashback Everyday
  • British Airways American Express (free card)
  • Preferred Rewards Gold
  • Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Nectar
  • American Express Rewards (all three variants)

You would need to cancel all of your existing American Express cards to start the 24 month clock.  In two years time, you could then use the strategy I describe in this article to get two or three cards in quick succession.

You MAY still qualify for a bonus NOW on:

  • The Platinum Card (30,000 Membership Rewards points)
  • British Airways Premium Plus (25,000 Avios)
  • American Express Gold Business (20,000 Membership Rewards points)
  • American Express Platinum Business (40,000 Membership Rewards points)

Keep reading to see if you do qualify …..

As an existing or recent cardholder, under what scenarios might I still get a bonus NOW on The Platinum Card, British Airways Premium Plus, American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business?

You can get The Platinum Card sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points if:

You have not had a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, or American Express Rewards card in the previous 24 months (BA, Starwood, Nectar, Platinum Cashback are OK and, importantly, you CAN get The Platinum Card sign-up bonus if you have Platinum Business or Gold Business)

You can get the British Airways Premium Plus sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios if:

You have not had a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus card in the previous 24 months (Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, American Express Rewards, Starwood, Nectar, Platinum Cashback, Platinum Business and Gold Business are OK)

You can get the American Express Gold Business or Platinum Business sign-up bonuses of 20,000 and 40,000 Membership Rewards points respectively if:

You have not had a Gold Business, Platinum Business, Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards card in the previous six months (British Airways, Starwood, Nectar, Platinum Cashback cards do not count)

American Express sign-up bonus rules

Let’s do the same analysis from the other direction:

The new Amex sign-up bonus rules by card type

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

If you currently have a Platinum Business or Gold Business card:

You can get a bonus NOW on ANY personal American Express card IF you have not held a personal American Express card in the previous 24 months.

For clarity … the bonus rules on the personal Amex cards now only look at what other personal Amex products you have had in the past 24 months.  Any small business Amex cards you have are not taken into account.

American Express sign-up bonus rules

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.  Let me stress again – these new rules do NOT stop you applying for any of the cards.  They simply influence whether or not you will qualify for a sign-up bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points – 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 Rewards – bonus of up to 5,000 Membership Rewards points based on card variant – apply hereour Amex Rewards review interest rate varies depending on which card variant you choose

British Airways American Express – bonus of 5,000 Aviosapply hereour BA Amex review – representative APR 22.9% variable

British Airways American Express Premium Plus – bonus of 25,000 Avios 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

Nectar – bonus of 20,000 Nectar pointsapply hereour Nectar Amex reviewrepresentative APR of 28.2%, including £25 fee, based on a notional credit limit of £1,200

The Platinum Card – bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points apply hereour Amex Platinum review

Platinum Cashback – 5% cashback bonus (max £125) for three months – apply hereour Amex Platinum Cashback review – representative APR of 28.2%, including £25 fee, based on a notional credit limit of £1,200

Platinum Cashback Everyday – 5% cashback bonus (max £100) for three months – apply hereour Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday review – representative APR 22.9% variable

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express – bonus of 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy pointsapply hereour Starwood Amex review –  representative APR 39.7% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit

American Express Gold Business  bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards pointsapply hereour Amex Gold Business review

American Express Platinum Business – bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards pointsapply 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. Paresh says:

    My wife is only a supplementary card holder on both my AMEX Preferred Gold and BA Premium Plus account. I’ve now triggered the introductory bonuses on both cards plus the 2-4-1 voucher.
    Am I right in saying that she can get an introductory bonus if she applied for her own Gold rewards and consequently a BA Premium Plus.

    • Shoestring says:

      Yes correct on both counts

      The supps don’t count for anything much

      You can also refer her (for both cards) from your best card for referrals

    • Supps don’t count from prior Amex perspective. Remember you can refer her!

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