Can you get an American Express sign-up bonus if you have the same card as a supplementary?
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This is the second part of our two articles on how American Express supplementary cards work.
In Part One earlier in the week we looked at why you might want to add a supplementary card to your account and how to earn a few thousand bonus Avios or Membership Rewards points for doing so.
Today I want to pick up on a question which features regularly in my inbox. Is it possible to get a sign-up bonus on an American Express card if you already hold the same card as a supplementary on your partner’s account?
Can you apply for an American Express card if you already have the same card as a supplementary?
The answer is yes, you can.
Here is the reason. If someone issues you with a supplementary card on their American Express account, it is NOT your card. It is their card. The main cardholder is the person who is legally responsible for your spending.
As far as American Express is concerned, you are NOT the cardholder.
This means that you are able to apply for the same card yourself if you choose.
Here is an example:
If your partner has a British Airways American Express Premium Plus card as a supplementary card on your account, they are still able to apply for their own BAPP card and receive the 25,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
You can also pick up 9,000 Avios for referring them via the American Express ‘refer a friend’ scheme.
Obviously they need to meet the usual rules for receiving the bonus, which on this card are that they must not have had either of the BA Amex cards in the past 24 months in their own right.
Here are some points to think about first
Whilst this is good news in terms of maximising bonus points across your household, there are some key things to remember:
When your partner gets their own card, there is another annual fee to pay. On the other hand, if they simply remain as a free supplementary cardholder on your account, there is no extra fee.
You may struggle to hit the spending bonus on your own card for, say, the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher, without the help of spend from your partner. Partner spend could also help you hit the annual 10,000 points bonus for spending £15,000 on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.
On the positive side, high spenders can trigger a second set of annual spend bonuses across the household. My wife has her own BAPP card, for example, and as we can easily spend £10,000 each on the cards we can earn 2 x 2-4-1 vouchers each year between us. With two kids, that’s very handy. On the other hand, she does not have her own Platinum card, because she gets all of the benefits for free as a supplementary cardholder on my account and I don’t want to be paying 2 x £450 annual fees each year.
The key thing to take away from this article is the knowledge, if you didn’t know it already, that if you or your partner have a supplementary American Express card in your purse or wallet, you can still apply for the same card in your own name and earn a sign-up bonus, subject to the standard bonus rules.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – March 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 offers:
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.
Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card
1% cashback (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review