Can you get an American Express sign-up bonus if you already 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 I get an american express card if i already have a supplementary card

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.

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

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.

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  1. Yuff says:

    “You can also pick up 9,000 Avios for referring them via the American Express ‘refer a friend’ scheme.”
    Hasn’t this been reduced to 6k avios recently 😩

  2. Genghis says:

    Got an email yesterday from Virgin confirming the 1k Tesco autoconvert bonus in next qtr so turn on after you get your vouchers (v shortly I believe).

    • Shoestring says:

      Vouchers finalised tomorrow so safe to switch on auto convert after that

      • tom1 says:

        I’ve never done a Tesco > Virgin transfer – do the names have to match?
        i.e. my child’s Tesco to my Virgin?

        • Shoestring says:

          Not sure but you’ve just prompted me to take out a new Tesco Clubcard a/c for my son, since he has a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club a/c – he might as well earn 1000 V-miles for free with auto convert

          • Shoestring says:

            Just remembered he’s got one already! – must have been the old £60 off £80 🙂

            Just need to get him a Clubcard organised and Bob’s his uncle

  3. The Original Nick says:

    O:T as no Bits today. I used my Curve card last week and had my Virgin CC linked to it. Got charged for the first time a NON-STERLING TRANS FEE.

    • Doug M says:

      Can you explain more? Did you by any chance have the card set in the Curve app to other than GBP?

      • The Original Nick says:

        Hi Doug M. It was set to Euro’s and I was in France. It’s never happened before.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It should be set to GBP as that’s the currency of your underlying card.

          Set to EUR it charged your underlying card in EUR and your card gets charged in EUR. As the Virgin cc have FX fees then you’ve been charged a fee

  4. The Original Nick says:

    Thanks Harry.

  5. Janet says:

    My husband has just received a supplementary BA AMex card. We have not been offered a bonus on spending nor do I get any points for referring him. How do I apply for these?

    • Shoestring says:

      Janet – you haven’t referred him. Referring is when you give him your unique referral link (from your online BA a/c) and he clicks on it to apply for his own BA card (or any Amex card) as the main cardholder in his own right.

      You wouldn’t get bonus points on spending just for getting a supplementary card.

      Did you apply for his supplementary card some time after you got your own BA Amex card – or at the same time you applied?

  6. Shoestring says:

    AMEX25OFF working again (reportedly)

    • Anne says:

      Worked perfectly for me last night!

      • Shoestring says:

        Also was working for brand new a/cs if you want to set up a new one for your kids

        • Anne says:

          I think the cat might fancy his own Amazon account…

          Better than just the £25 off code working, it worked alongside a gift card balance as well – bought in Morrisons for an extra 10% off thanks to the current Amex statement credit offer. Result all round.

    • Not working on new account

  7. Munch says:

    Sorry just want to check due to the confusing new rules. I held a Gold card and cancelled Dec 2018, I’ve just cancelled a SPG card. I assume the only card I can now apply for is the BA Premium Plus Amex card and still receive the bonus avios?

  8. James says:

    I had been pondering this question for the last few days.

    I have a Gold card with supplementary card for my partner. I was thinking to refer her for the BAPP and in turn after we have had the bonus and 241 ticket after a year she would cancel and refer me.

    However, would it be more beneficial for me to refer her for a gold card and then her refer me to BAPP and then me to her for another BAPP? Given that there is no bonus for BAPP – > Gold but there is for the opposite way?

    My major concern is that terms could change in that year, but I have a feeling I’m overlooking something, I’m certainly not as versed as most of you that frequent this site.

    • If she has never had an Amex, the best route is Starwood first then Plat and BAPP later (order immaterial).

      • James says:

        Ahh, hadn’t thought about SPG instead.

        My partner doesn’t travel as much as I do – would I get the same perks in terms of status that an actual cardholder would? Or does the supplementary holder notice receive this on the SPG card?

        Have tried to Google this but to no avail and AMEXs offshore call centre weren’t confident in answering the question.

        • No real benefits to the Starwood card anyway apart from the points you earn.

          On Plat, the first supp gets everything that the main cardholder gets.

  9. 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?


  10. edwin says:

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

  11. 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…

    • 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.

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