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What bonus can you get for adding a free Amex supplementary card to your account?

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I wasn’t planning to do another American Express article this week, but something came up in the comments to the article on Monday (and comes up in my emails with worrying regularity) which made me think that we should take a proper look at American Express supplementary cards.  There seems to be some confusion about how they work.

Today I want to talk about the benefits of adding a supplementary cardholder to your Amex account and what bonus you will earn if you do.  A second article will explore the topic in more detail.

Why should you add a supplementary cardholder to your Amex account?

Reason 1 – it is easier to hit spending bonuses

The obvious first reason is that, by giving your partner a supplementary card on your American Express account, you can both focus your spending onto the same card.

This is especially useful if you are working towards a spend-based bonus, such as:

The 2-4-1 Avios redemption voucher on the British Airways American Express cards, which requires annual spending of £20,000 (free BA Amex) or £10,000 (the paid British Airways American Express Premium Plus)

The 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for spending £15,000 per year on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold 

It also makes it easier to trigger a sign-up bonus, such as the £3,000 in three months of spending required on the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card to receive the 25,000 Avios bonus.

Bonus points for adding a supplementary card to your American Express account

Reason 2 – you can share card benefits with other people

If you have The Platinum Card from American Express, it is crazy not to use your one free Platinum supplementary card.  The person who gets it will receive:

a Priority Pass for airport lounge access

full travel insurance for themselves and their immediate family (now requires opt-in under new EU rules)

Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Melia Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Marriott Bonvoy Gold hotel status

Eurostar lounge access etc etc

Even if you are single, you might want to issue a supplementary Platinum to a trusted friend or relative purely for the benefits.  My Mum had a supplementary Platinum on my account many years ago – I didn’t renew it when she hit 70 as the insurance no longer covered her – and my wife has one now.

You can issue further supplementary Platinum cards for £170 each per year.  This could be very good value for the right person given the Priority Pass and hotel status card benefits.

Note that not all Amex cards give all of their benefits to supplementary cardholders, so check the small print.

What are the benefits of adding a supplementary card to your American Express account?

Reason 3 – you can double-up on ‘statement credit’ cashback deals

Many people do not know that the holder of a supplementary card can register it as a stand-alone card on the American Express website.

If my wife logs in to her Amex online account, for example, she can see her own Gold and BA Premium Plus cards as well as the supplementary card she has on my Platinum account.

Importantly, the supplementary card receives its own batch of statement credit offers.  This means that, if an offer appears on both your main card and the supplementary, you can register for it twice and earn it twice.

Why should you add a supplementary card to your American Express account?

Reason 4 – you get bonus Membership Rewards or Avios for issuing a supplementary card

American Express now has a dedicated page on its website which you can use for issuing supplementary cardsYou can find it here.

(This page is a recent development from Amex.  In the past they have run occasional offers with bonuses for adding supplementary cards.  It now appears to be a permanent offer.  You only get the bonus points if you apply via this page.  You do NOT get the bonus points if you add a supplementary card during the original application process.)

The bonus is only paid on the FIRST supplementary card issued.  You will receive:

3,000 Membership Rewards points for issuing your first Preferred Rewards Gold supplementary card

5,000 Membership Rewards points for issuing your first Platinum supplementary card

3,000 Avios for issuing your first BA Premium Plus supplementary card

1,000 Avios for issuing your first free BA Amex supplementary card

There is NO bonus on the Costco, Harrods, Starwood or Nectar American Express cards.  There are bonuses on the two cashback cards.  The link for issuing supplementary cards is here.

Note that you WILL receive the bonus for issuing a supplementary card even if you did not qualify for a sign-up bonus when you originally applied for the card.

In Part 2 ….

Over the weekend we will look at the rules on getting American Express sign-up bonuses if you are already a supplementary cardholder.

Learn more about the credit cards mentioned above

Here is the legally required interest rate information on the credit cards mentioned above, together with links to our detailed reviews:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 in three months – apply hereour American Express Gold review is here – representative APR 57.6% variable including fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable

The Platinum Card from American Express – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in three months – apply hereour American Express Platinum review is here – this is a charge card which must be repaid in full each month

British Airways American Express – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 in three months – apply hereour BA Amex review is here – representative APR 22.9% variable

British Airways American Express Premium Plus – sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in three months – apply hereour BA Amex Premium Plus review is here – representative APR 76.0% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend £1,000 in three months – apply hereour Starwood Amex review is here –  representative APR 39.7% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable

(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.)

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.

Comments (112)

  • Paresh Thakrar says:

    Do you only get supplementary card bonus after applying for the supplementary card after the primary account has been set up?
    My wife got a BAPP card last week and added me as a supplementary cardholder at the application stage, she hasn’t received 3000 point bonus?

  • Sam says:

    Hi Rob, what about the Lloyds Bank Avios credit card(s)?

  • Oliver says:

    Hi Rob, I have a question about supplementary cards:

    If I’m not mistaken, gold has some benefits that you don’t get with platinum, e.g. more points on airline, foreign currency, and Amex travel spend.

    If you have a platinum card and request a supplementary gold card, will that gold card earn points at the gold or platinum rates?

    • Vinz says:

      Platinum. When I upgraded from gold to Platinum I kept my old gold card (still working) but the earning rates is that of Platinum.

    • Rob says:

      Platinum, because the benefits you list are benefits of Preferred Rewards Gold. Technically, Plat supps are NOT Preferred Rewards Gold, they are just ‘Gold’ – which is why you don’t get a Lounge Club card either.

  • Maxine says:

    Hi Rob,

    My husband is the supplementary card holder on my accounts (BA Amex and Platinum). Can he move the points to his BA account? We have a Household account.

    Background – I changed to my married name with Amex but not BA as I have flights booked in my maiden name. I didn’t know this was a problem until Amex wrote to me three months later to say they couldn’t move the points automatically because the surnames were different. I now have a stash of points that I’d like to use.

    • Nick says:

      The points will accrue to your account, good supp is just an extension of your card. So you need to move them into your account.

      Do you plan to align the names? If memory serves airlines are pretty good about changing names to married names. We had this on our honeymoon (all booked in Maiden name, but flown in married name) and it was far easier than we had anticipated to get it all changed.

  • Lewis says:

    Does a supplemental amex gold give another 2 lounge passes?

  • Neil says:

    I did this and ordered a Gold Amex supplementary card and Amex charged £45 for this. Is this a recent addition alongside all the other changes. Previously supplementary card holders on Gold were free.

  • Alan says:

    I’ve a 2-4-1 companion voucher which expires in January 2021 and my BA Premium Plus year starts in November so can earn another voucher until then.
    Ultimately I would like to use two 2-4-1 vouchers to take me, my wife and son to New York in Oct 2020
    Could my wife take out a BA Premium Plus card just now and earn the 2-4-1 voucher then add this to our BA Household account, so that both 2-4-1 vouchers are in the BA Household account?

  • MJT says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the article.

    My brother and friend have platinum Amex. I want to pay £170 for supplementary Amex.

    When I generate points by spending on the card, will the points accrue to my brother, or is there a way to divert them to my own Amex account (I have Amex gold account)?

    If i register it as a “standalone” card linked to my other card (gold), can I generate points to my own account?

    Many thanks,


    • BlueHorizonuk says:

      All points earned by spending on any card issued from your account goes to you. You can not have points going to different accounts.

    • Rob says:

      Main cardholder gets the points and the main cardholder gets and must pay the bill.