What American Express sign-up bonuses can you get, based on the cards you have?

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This is our beginners guide to whether you qualify for an American Express sign-up bonus or not.

It runs through the checklist of which UK American Express cards you can get based on the cards you have.

This way I have written it below is, I think, the simplest way of looking at it.  It’s still not THAT simple however ……

The new Amex sign-up bonus decision tree

This is the decision tree you need to follow:

Have you had ANY personal American Express card (excluding MBNA, Lloyds Bank, supplementary and small business Amex cards) in the previous 24 months?

If ‘no’:

You can apply for any personal American Express card and receive the full advertised bonusThis article outlines my recommended application strategy to maximise your bonuses.

If ‘yes’:

You CANNOT get a sign-up bonus on the following cards:

  • Platinum Cashback
  • Platinum Cashback Everyday
  • British Airways American Express (free card)
  • Preferred Rewards Gold
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Nectar
  • American Express Rewards

You MAY still qualify for a bonus NOW on:

  • The Platinum Card (30,000 Membership Rewards points)
  • British Airways Premium Plus (25,000 Avios)
  • American Express Gold Business (20,000 Membership Rewards points)
  • American Express Platinum Business (40,000 Membership Rewards points)

You WILL qualify for a bonus NOW on:

  • British Airways American Express Accelerating Business (2,200 On Business points)

Keep reading to see if you do actually qualify …..

Do I qualify for an Amex Platinum sign up bonus?

The 2020 Amex sign-up bonus rules by card type

Basically,  “if you have THIS card, you MIGHT still qualify for a bonus on THAT card ……”

Remember that supplementary cards do not count as having ‘had’ a card.  If you are a supplementary on your partner’s Amex Gold, for example, you can still apply in your own name and get a sign-up bonus as long as you meet the other criteria.

If you currently have the free British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus Amex credit card:

You would need to cancel and wait 24 months before you can get a bonus on Platinum Cashback, Platinum Cashback Everyday, British Airways, British Airways Premium Plus, Preferred Rewards Gold, Marriott Bonvoy, Nectar, American Express Rewards

You can get a bonus NOW on The Platinum Card IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, American Express Rewards, American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business card in the previous six months and meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways American Express Accelerating Business IF you meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

If you currently have Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards credit card:

You would need to cancel and wait 24 months before you can get a bonus on Platinum Cashback, Platinum Cashback Everyday, British Airways American Express, Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, Marriott Bonvoy, Nectar, American Express Rewards

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways Premium Plus IF you have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus card in the previous 24 months

You would need to cancel and wait six months before you can get a bonus on American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business, assuming you meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways American Express Accelerating Business IF you meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

If you currently have a Nectar or Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card:

You would need to cancel and wait 24 months before you can get a bonus on Platinum Cashback, Platinum Cashback Everyday, British Airways American Express (free version), Preferred Rewards Gold, Marriott Bonvoy, Nectar, American Express Rewards

You can get a bonus NOW on The Platinum Card IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways Premium Plus IF you have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, American Express Rewards, American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business card in the previous six months and meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways American Express Accelerating Business IF you meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

If you currently have a Platinum Cashback or Platinum Cashback Everyday Amex card:

You would need to cancel and wait 24 months before you can get a bonus on Platinum Cashback, Platinum Cashback Everyday, British Airways American Express, Preferred Rewards Gold, Green, Marriott Bonvoy, Nectar, American Express Rewards

You can get a bonus NOW on The Platinum Card IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green or American Express Rewards card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways Premium Plus IF you have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus card in the previous 24 months

You can get a bonus NOW on American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business IF you have not held a Preferred Rewards Gold, The Platinum Card, Green, American Express Rewards, American Express Gold Business or American Express Platinum Business card in the previous six months and meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways American Express Accelerating Business IF you meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

If you currently have a Platinum Business or Gold Business American Express card:

You can get a bonus NOW on ANY personal American Express card IF you have not held a personal American Express card in the previous 24 months.

You can get a bonus NOW on British Airways American Express Accelerating Business IF you meet the qualifying criteria for having a small business

For clarity … the bonus rules on the personal Amex cards now only look at what other personal Amex products you have had in the past 24 months.  Any small business Amex cards you have are not taken into account.

And if you’re starting from scratch ….

If you have not had ANY personal American Express cards in the last 24 months, the best route to optimise the number of sign-up bonuses you can get is:

start with either a Marriott Bonvoy, Nectar or (the less generous) cashback cards

follow up with either The Platinum Card or British Airways Premium Plus

follow up with either The Platinum Card or British Airways Premium Plus (depending on which one you didn’t get in stage two)

If you look at the rules above, you’ll see that you can still get three bonuses in a short space of time as long as you do it this way.

And remember ….

The discussion in this article is only about sign-up bonuses.  Subject to credit etc, American Express is still happy to accept you for any of these cards at any time – you just won’t necessarily get a bonus.

This is particularly important in relation to Preferred Rewards Gold where repeat cardholders DO still get another ‘first year free’ and DO still get another set of two airport lounge passes.  You still get these, even if you don’t qualify for a sign-up bous.

NOTE:  If you hold, or have held in the past 24 months, a personal American Express card which is not discussed in this article, such as The Centurion Card or a card which is not currently available to new applicants, please do additional checks as to your eligibility for a new bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business credit card

Reference information

Here are links to our reviews on each of the cards, a link to the application website and the legally required interest rate information.  Let me stress again – these new rules do NOT stop you applying for any of the cards.  They simply influence whether or not you will qualify for a sign-up bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points – apply here  – our Amex Gold review – representative APR 57.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit

American Express Rewards sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in three monthsapply hereour Amex Rewards review representative APR 22.9% variable

British Airways American Express – bonus of 5,000 Aviosapply hereour BA Amex review – representative APR 22.9% variable

British Airways American Express Premium Plus – bonus of 25,000 Avios apply hereour BA Premium Plus Amex review – representative APR 76.0% variable including £195 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable

Nectar – bonus of 20,000 Nectar pointsapply hereour Nectar Amex reviewrepresentative APR of 28.2%, including £25 fee, based on a notional credit limit of £1,200

The Platinum Card – bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points apply hereour Amex Platinum review

Platinum Cashback – 5% cashback bonus (max £125) for three months – apply hereour Amex Platinum Cashback review – representative APR of 28.2%, including £25 fee, based on a notional credit limit of £1,200

Platinum Cashback Everyday – 5% cashback bonus (max £100) for three months – apply hereour Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday review – representative APR 22.9% variable

Marriott Bonvoy American Express – bonus of 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy pointsapply hereour Marriott Bonvoy Amex review –  representative APR 39.7% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit

American Express Gold Business – bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards pointsapply hereour Amex Gold Business review

American Express Platinum Business – bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards pointsapply hereour Amex Platinum Business review

British Airways American Express Accelerating Business – bonus of 2,200 On Business pointsapply hereour BA Amex Business reviewrepresentative APR 81.6% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit

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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Comments

  1. OT (no Bits): While researching the Curve Metal card I thought I’d check their travel insurance, as that could be a huge benefit for me that I’d use.
    Quite surprised to read “No claim arising directly or indirectly from a pre-existing medical condition affecting you will be covered.” There’s not even an option to phone a medical screening helpline to pay an extra amount.

    • Same with the amex plat insurance

      • In which case I’m definitely going to use Emerald Life (travel insurance).

    • Amex Plat has the same …

    • the_real_a says:

      You also need to look at the clause – similar to AMEX plat – that bookings need to be made on curve to avail of some of transit protections. You would be insane to book travel without S75 protection.

      • Abigail says:

        Can you advise specifically which terms?

        • Genghis says:

          Only applies to some terms. Eg “ Rental vehicles hired on a daily or weekly basis from an authorised rental agency or hire car firm, must be paid for in full with your covered card.”

  2. mr_london says:

    I have Gold Credit Card and the first ear ends on 10/01/2020 and in December 2019 I applied for BA Plus card and was offered the sign up bonus.

    I did contact Amex via online chat to confirm before i applied.

    • Genghis says:

      Which is correct. Nothing out of the ordinary, assuming you’ve not had a BAPP in the past 2 years.

  3. Matthew says:

    I’m still having issues with referrals posting. Keep on being told wait full 10 weeks before raising complaint. They’ve never ever been this long in all the time I’ve done referrals so this is disappointing if this is standard process now. Especially annoying as I need the points to complete a redemption.

    • Let’s see – it’s 1st Jan so lets see how quickly mine turn up.

    • Definitely got a lot slower recently.

      Took about 2 weeks for the last couple when previously used to be on the day they got the card

    • Made 5 referrals around 18th December, cards arrived on the 20th and 23rd, all of the referral points for these just posted today

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Which now means it’s this years allowance and not last years?

        • Neil Donoghue says:

          Very good point! Made three referrals on the 18th of December, cards arrived on the 23rd and I still haven’t had any of the points!

    • Matthew says:

      Panic over…they have now posted! Now on to booking that redemption…. 🙂

      • Looks like a deliberate move by Amex to limit people maxing out the 90k annual referral limit

  4. Erwin Low says:

    Currently have the Amex gold.

    I’ve heard this works but just want to confirm: I get the free BA Amex, spend a little less than 10k, and then pay and upgrade to the paid version of the BA Amex. Once I cross 10k, cancel the card. But the 1-for-1 Virgin voucher will still stay in my account for 2 years? Any truth in this?

    • Genghis says:

      Once the BA (nothing to do with Virgin) companion voucher is in your acct it **should** be valid for 2 years even if you cancel the BAPP. Reports of IT processing recently indicate this doesn’t always happen so you might have to chase with Amex.

  5. Did the rules for the the BA to AMEX own brand (gold, green) change recently? I remember that they used to be unlinked (i.e. its 24 months from the last AMEX cancellation). If that is the case that does put me in a bit of a pickle. I’ve been using the the BA Blue for 1,5 years (and about to switch to the BAPP to trigger the 10k voucher) with the expectation of switching back to the Gold card in the summer, when the 24 months of cancellation for it has passed. With this new info, once I trigger the voucher, should I stay with the BAPP? Should I just cancel the BAPP then and switch to the Gold now, without waiting? Or should I stick to the plan and switch to from the BAPP in the summer after the original 24 month expiry?

    Thank you for your input guys and girls

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      As you currently have an Amex card, you will get no bonus on the Gold card unless you cancel and wait another 2 years.

      Once the 24 months are up from your last MR card you can get the Platinum bonus only, even if you have a BA card.

      • Thank you, as unfortunate the AMEX shenanigans are, it’s pretty clear cut in this case. Still a bit lost which would provide more value in a scenario where I get no intro bonus, sticking with the BAPP (after getting the 2-4-1), the Gold or even just downgrading back to the BA Blue.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Get a family member (or Rob) to refer you for a gold, atleast someone gets some points. Get a year without fees and spend £15k.

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          That highly depends on how many Avois you are earning, how long until the next year starts on your BAPP etc.

          Do the math in terms of cost vs. expected spend (estimate based on previous and expected spend) to see which strategy which suit you best.

          Also remember the value of 2-4-1 voucher. If you have a high stash if Avios and a partner to travel with, the BAPP is a clear long-term winner.

  6. Cuchlainn says:

    When did the new 24 month Amex rules become effective ?

    I self-referred from old Gold PRG Charge Card to Platinum in late Aug 2019 and have spent £4K+ on Platinum. Amex say rules changed on 16th April 2019 and I am not entitled to the 30,000 MR Welcome bonus as I already held a MR card account.

    Chat says I have to prove that I was entitled to a welcome bonus in late Aug 2019 !

    Any help / screenshots on T&Cs around Aug 2019 would be very welcome.

  7. Jonathan says:

    OT is the Amex platinum travel insurance valid for cancellation of a trip in your country of residence?

  8. “there are no restrictions at all on getting the new as long as you are self-employed or have a small business”

    Does this only include the business cards or is this also valid for the personal cards?

    • Everyone gets the bonus – irrespective of other cards held – on the new BA Business card. Standard rules apply to all other cards.

  9. mr_london says:

    I have 6000 MR points, if I close the Gold Credit Card will I still have access to my points?
    I have the BA PP card.

    Also, How soon after I receive the 10,000 Anniversary Bonus can I close the Gold card?

    • No. You need to empty the account first OR get another Membership Rewards card (eg the free Amex Rewards Credit Card) before you cancel Gold.

      • mr_london says:

        Oh really! thanks for letting me know. Maybe it’s worth downgrading or just moving the points to BA!

  10. Just called Amex to check when I cancelled my last card as want to apply for the Amex BA Premium Plus. They advised I cancelled free BA Amex March 2018 so I presumed I could apply for the new card shortly after that date but they said as I had the Gold rewards Amex within the last year that the bonus would not apply to me. I queried this and they went off to check and came back saying same that the 2 years applies to all Amex cards. Anyone else had any problems? Thanks

    • Nick Wilson says:

      Has anyone else experienced this? Thanks

      • The call centre has absolutely no idea what it is talking about.

        You are fine to get the BAPP after 2 years of not having either BA Amex.

        • Nick Wilson says:

          Many thanks Rob. That’s what I thought. Appreciate your reply. Your website is the best!

  11. Apologies if I’m wrong but I think you’ve left a few words out above. See the below sentence for example. Should there be text between “on” and “IF”? Thank you!

    You can get a bonus NOW on IF you have not held a British Airways or British Airways Premium Plus card in the previous 24 months

    • Er, no. You have an adblocker on.

      This removes about 10% of the text from our articles (eg almost all the hyperlinks) AND almost all the images. I am – genuinely – interested to know how you actually read the site when huge chunks of text and pictures are not there.

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