EXCLUSIVE: More American Express changes – interest rates become variable, ‘over limit’ fees will be scrapped

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American Express is about to announce another round of product changes.

These will impact ALL credit cards (British Airways, Starwood, Nectar, Costco, Preferred Rewards Gold etc).  The good news is that there is nothing major to worry about this time.

The changes will take place on 1st October.

American Express moving to variable interest rates

Interest rates move to variable pricing

I would hope that no Head for Points readers pay interest on their American Express credit cards.

With one exception – the ‘low rate’ version of the American Express Rewards Credit Card, see here and pictured above, which is a competitive 9.9% APR variable – the interest rates charged on Amex’s credit cards are substantially higher than you can find elsewhere.

From 1st October, interest rates will track, and change, in line with adjustments to the Bank of England Base Rate.  If there is a change in the Base Rate, American Express will adjust the interest rate on its cards within approximately 60 days.

These pricing will apply to both new and existing customers.

American Express removing £12 over limit fee

Good news …. the over limit fee is being removed

At present, American Express charges a £12 fee to anyone who exceeds their credit limit.

This fee will be removed on 1st October.

These changes are minor, and are actually positive for most people – I assume most readers do not pay interest, so they are net winners from the removal of the £12 fee for breaching their credit limit.

If you have an American Express credit card, you will receive a formal notification of these changes over the next few days.

(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.)

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  1. Sorry if this is a stupid question but a lot of my friends from different countries eg S Africa, Germany, Australia and Canada are always interested when I tell them about my BA AMEX and getting the companion ticket etc. I presume there is no way of recommending foreigners for AMEX as they’d get directed to the UK site? Could I recommend an Canadian friend for example, who could take out a card there? Or is it that we can only recommend people in UK? And is there an equivalent Head for Points type of site for people in Germany?

    • MattC says:

      Seems unlikely to work unless they have a UK location to post cards to etc. and pass any credit checks..

    • YHBU (mainly flight deals), vielfliegertreff

      • Tesco Tease says:

        I honestly thought you’d fallen asleep on your keyboard for the second half of that comment.

    • Jonathan says:

      I have it and live in Ireland. The key is that points will only credit to you BAEC account (and the 2-4-1) when the BAEC account is registered in the UK. So I tend to keep it all registered in IRL most of the year round, and then once a year move the BAEC address temporarily to my parents address in the UK, once the points and 2-4-1 credit at the end of the month, I then move it all back to IRL for convenience.

      • Referrals do work. You just put in your existing card number when applying for a new card.

        • Simon says:

          Really?! Sorry, perhaps I’ve misread this, but referrals work when referring someone who lives abroad for an Amex card in that country? What are the mechanics of even doing that?!

    • Bagoly says:

      Dawn: Germany – if you haven’t already, get a Payback card.
      This is the one indirect earning path for M&Ms which seems to have not been closed down by LH reaction to the “pay me cash for my miles” court case.
      With the *5 and *10 vouchers, we have been getting enough for a LH Business Class Meilenschnaeppen every two years just from regular shopping.

    • Charlieface says:

      Looked into Global Transfer once, threads on Flyertalk indicate you can call them to ensure you will be approved, apply online as usual with referral, then call them back with the application number which they manually approve.

  2. OT: Carbon charge might soon be applied to air fares by default but will be voluntary so we could opt out. I wonder how long the voluntary aspect will last if this comes to pass.

    • RIccatti says:

      This is not smart at all. Less polluting travel option between London and New York.

      On one side Heathrow capacity expansion is stimulated, on the other hand passengers are taxed with carbon charge.

      Carbon-saving measures are not in hands of customers — the planes arrive and depart as scheduled, if customer does not make a journey, carbon footprint be pretty much the same. Measures are in hands of the industry and operators — airlines who and demand more carbon-efficient airplanes from manufacturers.

      • Memesweeper says:

        Taxing the aviation fuel is the way to go. The EU is developing plans that won’t violate the international agreements on the treatment of aviation fuel and tax. Taxing passengers does not incentivise airlines to switch to alternative fuels or cancel half-full planes.

        • Andrew says:

          Hold on…

          If the EU start demanding that “half-full planes” are cancelled, won’t that mean children are stranded going to and from school in the Highlands & Islands? Or individuals forcibly delayed from accessing healthcare?

          There’s more to flights across Europe than leisure.

      • RussellH says:

        Which is why expanding Heathrow is an illogical idea, if (as I believe to be necessary) you want to curb the actual number of flights.
        Rather like the sugar tax, the aim of the tax is (or at least should be) to put people off using aircraft, which, in terms of passenger km travelled, produce vastly more CO2 than other forms of travel. Further, jet aircraft fly at 10 000m or higher, where the effects of the CO2 are much greater than at ground level.
        However, designers of the tax do need to be smart. Andrew (below) suggests that a small prop plane flying GLA to Islay (or to Barra) may emit less CO2 than, say a bus + ferry combination, presumably because the plane can travel directly, while the surface route is circuitous. Given the fact that the small plane will fly at a much lower height, he may well be correct, I do not know, but I agree that potential anomolies like this need to be properly researched and accounted for in designing any such tax.

        • Lady London says:

          It’s just another excuse for more tax.
          What a load of politically correct nonsense.

          • Memesweeper says:

            May as well tax bad things (like fossil fuels, alcohol) rather than good things (like personal income, housing transactions)

            Unfortunately what normally happens is a rise in the one isn’t matched by a cut in the other.

        • I believe Loganair are currently working with Cranfield to develop electric power for their small props.

    • Andrew says:

      For all the alleged glamour, the reality is that a flight is just a form of public transport.

      So whether it’s a filthy CalMac Ferry, an ancient bus, train or a Q-400, surely a “carbon tax” should be levied equally across them all?

      (I’m pretty sure that when I pop across to Islay, that a quick Logan Air from Glasgow will be the most carbon friendly method of travel).

      • And of course the money made by trading the carbon saved on the carbon trading floor will be given back to customers 😉

      • RussellH says:

        Trains can often be carbon neutral. Eurostar and the motor vehicle shuttles through the channel tunnel have long claimed that they source all their electricity from carbon free sources, presumably French nuclear power generation in the main.

        • Lady London says:

          … leaving the problem of disposing of nuclear waste lurkin around a few generations ahead.

  3. stevenhp1987 says:

    Shop small offer on my Gold card, today until 22nd September. Appears to be one transaction only?

    No geographical restrictions this time.

    • Andrew says:

      £30 off a £100 spend at Selfridges is quite decent too.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Got that on 2x Gold but not Plat. Hopefully I’ll have it on all four and 30% off something decent.

  4. John G says:

    Funny how Amex rates never aligned their rates like this when interest rates were falling!

    I don’t pay interest but it still frustrates me to see 20%+ rates on credit cards at the same time banks offer 1.5% in a savings account!

    • Lady London says:

      FX fees of 3% annoy me in the same way @John G when theoretically money can be borrowed for a year at 1.5% so is at risk or takes up bank lending capacity for one year, and yet somehow the UK market gets away with 3% on a one off instantly completed transaction with no time risk and pretty much zero cashflow impact to the bank/ card co.

      • Doug M says:

        They have to make money somehow, what you don’t like just don’t use. Why pay the 3%? Anyone doing this on personal spend for a few points is missing the bigger point.

  5. Lady London says:

    So clearly they expect interest rates to go up…anyone know when any interest rate announcement is typically due?

    • Andrew says:

      It’s not exactly a secret!

      1st August.

    • Shoestring says:

      LL – I don’t think too many people are anticipating a move up on UK/ European/ US bank rate – the ECB meets this week and the feeling is that there could even be a reduction but probably no move; the Fed is making interest rate cut noises; and the BoE is highly unlikely to go against the tide either, probably observing the other 2 and holding steady for a few months until Brexit stuff starts happening.

      • Karen Brown says:

        Thank you very much Shoestring. That;s exactly the kind of answer I was looking for – I was hoping you might be around to answer as I know you are pretty clever in these things.


  6. TGLoyalty says:

    On one hand I think great I hope they carry on making changes like these which will never affect me.

    On the other hand I’ve had the occasional brain fart over the years and forgotten to pay something when I should or transfer money around my account so a DD doesn’t bounce and been stung.

  7. HonestSausage says:

    OT but I wonder when they are going to redesign that aaweful see through American Express Rewards Credit card

    • It is a bit odd. I had never actually touched one until last week, it is a little cheap and as they get used the plastic gets scratched.

      • The Original David says:

        I quite like mine – it’s a rare breed so often triggers some questions, just like the M&M Diners. I enjoy a bit of novelty value in the aesthetics of my credit cards…

        • Symon says:

          I agree. It’s the only Amex card that never fails be be complimented. But equally it is feel dated – wasn’t the design first launched in the late 1990s? It’s very clear iMac.

      • RussellH says:

        I rather like being able to see where the wires go. And I do not see it as looking dated either. Quite the contrary, and I think the iMac still looks futuristic too.
        That said, I do prefer the look of the Gold Card, which has a timeless look to it, but I have just cancelled my last one – no way it worth £140(?) / year to me.

    • Rui N. says:

      I used to heavily use the US version of it back when I lived there (6% back in supermarkets!) and it always my favourite (or favorite over there) looking card – and being in the US I’ve had several dozens of different cards.
      But Rob is right that it does get lots of scratches on it – specially considering that until the last few years you had to swipe it every time and then insert it for the chip.

  8. fivebobbill says:

    Got an email from Amex this morning plugging a hotel sale with discounts if booked before 31st July (stay before 31st Aug).
    However, on scrolling down the page I see they are also awarding TWO Membership Rewards points for every full £1 spent on flights, pre-paid hotels, car hire and experiences booked through American Express Travel. A bit vague in the T&C’s, but I assume if spent before 31st July as well.
    This on my Amex Plat by the way…

    • David says:

      You will always get an extra MR at Amex Travel, that’s normal.

      • David says:

        Unless you mean 2 extra?

        • fivebobbill says:

          Hadn’t realised that David, only ever used Amex Travel once before and that was to avail of the £200 off £600 offer.
          I guess it’s simply the standard double points then, not awfully clear from the email though.

  9. I am getting really fed up with Amex Plat.. I have had a complaint raised with them since February and have not had a response. I was told I would get a written reply but when I speak to them they say we tried to call. I travel a lot and am working a contract at the moment, I do not always have my UK mobile on as I keep getting sales calls at overseas rates but Amex refuse to call an international number. In this day and age where calls are often done on VOIP and cost next to nothing this is ridiculous. I wonder how they contact their New Delhi chat line centre. Is it not Globaly yours? Don’t leave home without it? At £500+ per year it really is poor

    • Amit Puri says:

      That does sound familiar and pretty $hit from Amex, especially towards a plat holder – I’ve had these sorts of issues when communicating with their non-UK staff; utterly hopeless – Get hold of someone in Brighton and things get sorted out 100% of the time. You might have to ring them direct, UK time, get the issue resolved, give them an earful about the customer care or lack of, and pocket compo.

    • Jill ( Kinkell) says:

      My OH had issues and after months of not getting anywhere,ended up sending a fully documented written snail mail to Director of CS. Response was almost immediate. Brighton end couldn’t believe the poor level of service , listened to all the phone calls, agreed totally with my OH, points etc and compo given.. All discussed in a phone call…at a time to suit my OH… and all backed up with a 3 page letter, with profuse apologies. Keep trying and good luck.

  10. Hoping someone can help with a quick Amex Platinum query re sign-on bonus. The current sign-on bonus is 30k MR or 35k if referred (after spend target is reached). Was this the same before Amex put up the annual fee for new applicants and put up the spend target threshold? Thanks.

    • Yes, no change on the Platinum and BAPP sign up bonuses.

      • Thanks Anna, Amex CS are refusing to award me the 35k even though I was referred by my OH and she has the referral points showing on her account from my successful application. They have awarded me 30k.

        • Is it possible that you met the original target, but not the new target, and they have (incorrectly) refused the extra 5k on the basis that you have not met the new target?

          • Thanks. CS haven’t been able to offer an explanation – only that the ‘back-office’ team have looked into this and according to them i’m not due the 35k. It doesn’t make sense to me as a) I applied under the old Ts & Cs requiring 2k spend which I have met by some margin, b) my OH received referral points, and c) they have awarded me 30k points. They have also awarded 5k for a supp – and this is clearly shown on my statement as being for a supp plat card.

  11. Datapoint: For first time ever I failed to get a bonus when adding a supp so readers may want to be patient and wait until they see offer on their account. I tried adding it to a PRG with no offer showing. Also added it for somebody at another address for first time but I doubt that makes any difference.

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