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.
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.
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.
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 cards. You 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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
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.