Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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)

  • Jonathan says:

    Do the supplementary bonuses come on the small business cards too?

    • Sididdly says:

      What is the bonus if I upgrade from gold to platinum?

      • Shoestring says:

        20K from Gold *charge* card to Plat

        can’t upgrade from the Gold credit card

      • Rob says:

        None if it is Gold credit, potential 20k if you have Gold charge BUT if you were not targetted it may not post. Reports vary.

  • Go says:

    Prior to upgrading from gold to platinum my partner removed my supplementary gold from her account. Despite this they still automatically sent me the supplementary platinum even though my name should no longer have been linked to the account. This is the second time they have done this over the last few years.

    • Shoestring says:

      This is very common according to previous comments – flaky IT

  • Sam says:

    Question – my O/H has never held an American Express card of any kind. I have a BAPP.

    To maximise bonuses would the best tactic be for her to get the Amex Good card, trigger the 10,000 point bonus, then for us to add each other to our cards as supplementary holders, triggering those bonuses for each other? (I don’t think we can justify the £450 fee on the Plat card unless it is REALLY worth it in people opinions) – Thanks!

    • Genghis says:

      There was a HfP article the other day. Remember fees refundable prorata

    • Rob says:

      Strictly speaking, best route is Starwood first, then these two in either order: Platinum and BA Premium Plus. That is 70k Avios from sign up bonuses plus whatever referral and supp bonuses you get. Fees are refundable pro rata remember.

      Alternatively, an easier life is Gold and then a BAPP.

  • Shoestring says:

    On Gold, though, your ‘1st’ extra supp (ie in addition to the one you applied for perhaps misguidedly when you took out the main card) will cost you money:
    Share the security and benefits of the Gold Card with anyone you choose. Apply below for a Supplementary Card for a partner or family member. As part of the fee, main account holders receive 1 Supplementary Card for free. Thereafter, £45 if you are on an annual fee or £4 per month if a monthly fee is applied to your Card.

    So – 3000 bonus MR points but approx £4/ month – I’m about to upgrade to Plat so may give it a whiz first

  • Dave says:

    OT: just opened a gold business card. Does anybody know how long it normally takes for the welcome bonus progress to appear on your account? I’m sure I’m eligible but all the recent changes are making me a bit nervous!

    • Jonathan says:

      I opened a business platinum 3 weeks ago and not seen the progress bar once. As you say, I’m sure I’m legible for the bonus.

  • Rodg says:

    I have the BA card which allows me to obtain a Companion ticket with a spend of £10,000. My wife has the supp. If I cancel her supp and apply for a BA card in her own name (with referral) will we each get companion tickets after a spend of £10k each?

  • HackinJack says:

    How do you register a supplementary card as a standalone one? If I try to create an account for my wife’s one I enter the card details, then it takes me to the login page with no option to create a new account, If I log in as me it says the card is already registered.

    • Lumma says:

      If it’s saying it’s already registered it might be registered on your own account. I don’t think they show up on the desktop website but if I use the AMEX app they show up as a separate account on there with their own offers

    • john says:

      Usually the name on the online account has to match the card I think. You could see if it shows up if you go to Account Management -> Remove a Card from Online Services

  • Simon says:

    OT. Was rather pleased with myself last week and have banked a bucket load of brownie points with the Mrs which have an enormous value as we all know.. An email popped up from Accor. Bottom line is we are off to Montreux Jazz Festival , 2 nights in Fairmont Le Montreux Palace with lake view rooms on Lake Geneva , tickets for Janet Jackson and Chilly Gonzales for 30,000 Accor points per couple. . The icing on the cake is that transport to the event is from Paris on the Orient Express. Lunch and Dinner included. Now this is a Carlsberg redemption and slots is perfectly with our Andre Rieu Maastricht tickets I have which incidentally also bagged more of the valuable brownie points.

    Thanks to Rob for making this possible in the first place.

    • Simon says:

      Have so much fun, Simon! 🙂 A.N. Other Simon

    • Spurs Debs says:

      I took my Mum to the Andre Rieu Maastricht concert a few who’s we spent two nights there, first night we had reservations in one of the restaurants by the square. The night of the concert I only got front row right in the middle tickets for us. Even the local mayor was behind us.
      We stayed in a hotel on the square which overlooked the concert.

      Mum loved it she is a huge fan, and I was so happy I made her dream come true.

      You will have a great time, every one is happy and you can get up and dance.