Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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 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 card

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

Comments (39)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Gary Colclough says:

    My wife has Amex gold which she got sign up bonus about 6 months ago, can she still get the BA sign up bonus?


  • edwin says:

    if I have a BA Amex, can I still get a sign-up bonus of Platinum & SPG AMEX?

    • Rob says:

      No. You CAN get Platinum but Starwood is out if you have/had ANY other Amex cards. This is why newbies need to start with SPG.

  • JohnE says:

    My wife has a supplementary card on my Gold Amex so in order to maximise our Avios I applied for a BA premium card for her, in her own name (not having held one previous) ———– & it has been declined / unsuccessful. It was stated that the decision was influenced by information in her credit report however looking at her credit report via Experian it is excellent!
    This begs 2 questions, firstly being retired, I declared that she had 0 income — does Amex have a minimum income requirement for their cards or indeed take household income into account. Secondly are they becoming wise to applications from current card holders spouses / partners & are now hiding behind any reason not to issue new cards?
    Any views or insights would be appreciated.

    • Shoestring says:

      Yes they look at household income – there is now no formal lower limit but it used to be about £20K.

      You (your wife giving her ID) might want to contact Amex and ask them to reconsider her application taking household income into account.

      Amex are perfectly happy about issuing his ‘n hers Amex cards, ie 2x main cardholders from the same household.

    • Peter K says:

      If Retired does she have any pension? Some, even £100 per month, would surely be better for amex acceptance. Hard to be a responsible lender if the person has declared they have no personal income to repay you…

    • Liz says:

      I am retired and currently have no income as I am below pension age so I always put homemaker as per Robs advice on here. I always add my husband as a supp to my cards to show household income and have always been accepted, albeit with low credit limit but normally after 3 mths it goes up. I am going through the process of taking out a drawdown pension so will shortly have a pension in my own name but would always still include household income in future applications.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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