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American Express launches a new co-brand cashback credit card with Vitality

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American Express has just launched a new co-brand credit card – with life and health insurer Vitality.

This is interesting on a number of levels:

The cashback rewards on offer seem surprisingly generous given that, as a co-brand card, this product should be impacted by the EU caps on fees charged to retailers by card companies

It shows that American Express is still keen to play in the co-brand market, which is a positive sign for anyone hoping that travel firms like Hilton may launch new cards

Vitality American Express credit card

How will the Vitality American Express Card work?

Here are the key facts:

It is a credit card, not a charge card

You can only apply if you have a qualifying Vitality product.  If you and your partner have a joint plan, only one of you can apply for the card.  If you have individual plans, you are both eligible to apply for your own cards.

There is no annual fee

The interest rate is 22.9% APR variable

There is no sign-up offer although there are a couple of exclusive cashback offers, eg £99 back if you buy an Apple Watch and pay with the card

You will earn up to 1% cashback on your annual spending from American Express – 0.5% for the first £5,000 of purchases and 1% on purchases over £5,000 

You need to spend at least £3,000 per year on your Amex card to receive cashback

But here is the key … Vitality will pay you up to an additional 2% cashback on your spending, assuming you hit health and lifestyle targets

This is a limit of £20 per month on the cashback paid by Vitality (£1,000 per month purchase cap at up to 2% cashback)

Cashback, from both Amex and Vitality, is dropped onto your statement in a lump sum one month after the end of your card year

Accrued cashback is lost if you cancel your card

Vitality American Express Credit Card

What are ‘targets’?

If you’re not familiar with Vitality, it takes a carrot-and-not-a-stick approach to your welfare.  You track all of your exercise and ‘healthy living’ activity and receive rewards on the back of that.

For example, if you currently pay for Amazon Prime, you would get it for free with Vitality if you were active enough:

  • Take out an eligible Health, Life or Invest plan
  • Complete your online Health Review
  • Link a compatible activity tracker to your Vitality account
  • Earn 160 Vitality activity points a month to get the next month’s Prime membership on us

The current list of Vitality partners is here.  British Airways was a partner but is currently in the process of withdrawing.  There is a new Virgin Atlantic deal coming which we will cover separately.

This is how the American Express deal works

Take a look at the chart below (click to enlarge):

Vitality American Express card

If you hit ‘160 Activity Points’ in a month (the same level required to trigger free Amazon Prime membership in the earlier example), Vitality will pay you an ADDITIONAL 1% cashback on your American Express spend.

If you have two eligible Vitality plans – it is not clear if that means two across a household or if you hold two different plans of your own (eg health and life insurance) – then you would receive up to 2% ADDITIONAL cashback.

The additional Vitality cashback will be paid on all card spend, including supplementary cards.

The Vitality ‘top-up’ cashback is limited to £1,000 of purchases per month.  This means that the maximum you can earn is £10 per month if you hold one qualifying Vitality plan and £20 per month if you hold two qualifying plans.  You would also need to hit 160 Activity Points to earn this rate.

The cashback runs in arrears.  If you hit 160 Activity Points in January, for example, you would receive 1% or 2% cashback on your Amex spend incurred in March.  If you dropped to 120 points in February, you would receive 0.75% or 1.5% on your spend in April.

When is cashback paid?

Cashback follows the same model as the existing American Express cashback cards.

It is paid one month after your card anniversary date.  If you cancel your card, accrued cashback is lost.

A minimum annual spend of £3,000 on the card is required to earn cashback.

The additional ‘up to 2%’ paid by Vitality is dropped onto your American Express card as a credit at the same time.  It is not paid directly to you by Vitality or used to reduce your monthly premiums.

How does the Vitality American Express Credit Card compare to the American Express Platinum cashback cards?

American Express already has two cashback credit cards.  We reviewed the Amex Platinum Cashback cards here.

The American Express Platinum Cashback card (pictured above) has a £25 fee and pays you cashback at the following rate:

  • 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,500 of purchases
  • 1% back if you spend under £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)
  • 1.25% back on your spend over £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)

The American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday card has a tiered system:

  • 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,000 of purchases

After the first three months, you will earn:

  • 0.5% on the first £5,000 of spend (but you get nothing if you spend under £3,000)
  • 1% back on your spend over £5,000

As with the Vitality card, cashback is paid in a lump sum at the end of each card year.

The Vitality American Express Credit Card is a better deal than the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday card.  It has identical cashback from Amex BUT you will also get your cashback from Vitality as well.

Whether the Vitality American Express Credit Card is better than the £25 Amex Platinum Cashback Card depends on two things:

  • how much you spend on the card each year
  • how many Activity Points you earn per month

The Vitality Amex is likely to outperform for most people.

Is this a card worth getting?

Potentially, yes, if you are a Vitality member.

Someone spending £12,000 per year on this card, holding two Vitality plans and generating 160 Activity Points per month would be getting a very generous 2.8% back.  (£240 from Vitality and £95 from Amex, divided by £12,000.)  This is not bad at all.

Full details are on the ‘Member Zone’ if you log in to the Vitality website.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – May 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge 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. 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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios or other airline miles, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (SPECIAL OFFER) 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:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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 Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (91)

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

  • Graham Walsh says:

    Am I wishing for too much? A Hilton Amex card would be nice

  • Sussex Bantam says:

    Bloody hell that’s complicated….

  • Shoestring says:

    Health insurance built around you
    Get award-winning health cover with discounts and rewards for being healthy from £35 per month.
    https://www.vitality.co.uk/health-insurance/

    • Alex says:

      It’s got a bit of a Black Mirror feeling, that episode where they have to run on treadmills looking at adverts to earn credits in life…

  • OkS says:

    Vitality trawling for more data as per usual. They’re like those fishing trawlers that just destroy the ocean

  • Hardik Makkar says:

    Piece of crap credit card – given no competition, Amex is coming up with so bad credit cards. Look at US, they get competition from Chase, HSBC and every other major credit card provider. There they need to keep there game up. Here we get random cards, like this one. We want a HILTON AMEX COBRANDED Credit Card.

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      Where do I start? Well, the US doesn’t have fees capped, so they can offer many more benefits with cards. With commissions as high as 3%, it allows credit card issuers to offer much better enticements. We have fees capped at 0.5% in the UK, which is why there’s little in competition.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Hilton isn’t that interested in having one? Or can’t make a case with a provider to offer one?

      • Rob says:

        I want to understand how Amex is making money off this Vitality card post interchange caps because, logically, if it can make money off this it can make money off a Hilton card, substituting cash for points.

        • Symon says:

          I would say by Vitality paying for users data.

          • Lady London says:

            I would say by others paying Vitality for your data.

            I did a contract with a company that made very, very good use of such data and this would have a relatively high value as it’s intimate and specific.

          • BrownE says:

            Ask Vitality for their data processing between parties. It might surprise you 😉

        • Charlieface says:

          It’s capped, which changes the maths substantially.

          • Rob says:

            The Vitality money is capped, the Amex bit is not. Amex is still paying 1% to high spenders on 0.3% interchange (or whatever they are pretending is interchange).

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Do Amex really have interchange fees? Even if they have one they claim is the interchange they directly process their payments so plenty of other fees coming in.

          Ofcourse they needed to be leaner to swallow the reduction in fees.

          • Rob says:

            No, because there is no network between the cardholder and retailer. The thing with interchange fees is that Visa and Mastercard were raking off huge sums of money for virtually nothing.

  • Charlie says:

    Genuinely going to miss the BA benefit. This card does seem overly complicated and considering how unreliable their activity tracking can be I don’t hold out full hope that it will work as expected.

  • BJ says:

    I’d feel guilty every time I bought a bacon roll with this thing!

  • Bs says:

    I attached my Fitbit to the cat, around her collar. The heart rate is high enough for it to think I am exercising vigorously. vitality therefore give the points. Whilst I eat crisps on the sofa.

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

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