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Amex USA extends the sign-up bonus spend period by 3 months – will the UK follow?

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In the last few weeks we have had a constant stream of emails asking us if American Express is offering any help to people struggling to hit their sign-up bonus spend threshold.

This is often £3,000 to £4,000 within the first three months of holding the card – and, at the moment, that will be a stretch for people.

The answer remains a resounding ‘No’.  Wearing our hat as a retailer of Amex cards, we asked Brighton last week if they would change the rules for triggering bonuses (our preference was to cut the target spend to a maximum £1,000) but we were told it was not possible.

Amex USA extends the sign-up bonus spend period by 3 months

There may be light at the end of the tunnel, however.

Amex USA has just announced it will be extending the sign-up bonus spend period by three months for anyone whose card was approved from 1st December 2019 until 31st May 2020.

This means that Amex cardholders in the United States will now have six months to hit the minimum spend requirements for their card bonuses.  This is extremely helpful as most people are unlikely to be spending much in the short term, given both the lack of opportunities to do so as well as any potential financial insecurity.

Whilst American Express in the UK has not yet made an announcement, they will hopefully do so in the next few days or weeks.  We will run a full analysis if and when we hear more.

What about British Airways American Express cardholders?

It would also be good to have some help for British Airways American Express cardholders.  Many will now struggle to hit the annual £10,000 or £20,000 spend target to trigger their 2-4-1 (sorry, companion) voucher.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold cardholders may also want some help hitting the £15,000 annual target to trigger 10,000 bonus points.

Let’s see what happens.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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

Nectar American Express

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

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

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

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

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.

Comments (29)

  • BJ says:

    Most HFP readers are probably now ineligible for sign up bonuses so not much to get excited about here, even if this happens. Movement on BA 241 vouchers would be welcomed by many though.

  • Nick says:

    About to cancel my plat after 7 years. Will probably sign up again end of year.

    Any final considerations before cancellation? Just clear out my MR balance?

    I will have other Amex’s but no MR cards

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Only thing of importance that springs to mind is to ensure that you aren’t relying on that insurance for any historical bookings.

      Of less importance, check how you want to withdraw the MR. Different routes have different minimums and multiples. Might be worth spending an extra couple of pounds now to allign MR with the exit strategy.

      • Genghis says:

        See which points accounts are coming up to expiry before you might get your next MR earning card – assuming Cos haven’t proposed a hiatus on expiry – and send across. Eg. A few to IB, a few to Radisson, Club Eurostar etc.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          This is good advice, especially IB (as they can be instantly swept back to BAEC) and Radisson, where the minimum transfer is 3xMR, so you’re not unnecessarily burning a stack of MR points either way.

    • Doug M says:

      One thing I considered when I wanted to cancel mine a few months back was a future Hertz rental booked using the Amex Plat rate. No one actually asked to see the card and I paid on another card.
      I’m almost certainly going to downgrade to the green card. Without travel the Plat is pretty useless to me. Poor offers on it, always assumed that was because my spend was directed at gold and SPG. SPG closed about a month ago, gold fee due next statement, and will probably close once £10K points arrive. Green allows me to keep the points, so not concerned about much else. Plat insurance never any use as existing conditions, so have long had own travel insurance.

      • Grant says:

        The free Amex Rewards Credit Card will also keep your MR account live (if that’s your only objective) and you can save the £60 fee for the Green card. Some suggestions that the offers are better on the Green card, and of course Green would offer you a route to upgrade to Plat down the line for a bonus.

    • Lady London says:

      Take the Green card or the free one as it can be a home for your MR points thus keeping them flexible.

      If you can afford the Green card then several posters on here have commented the offers seem to be better than on other Amexes including the Plat.

  • Rahaney says:

    My Plat annual fee is about to pop this week.
    I’ve a gold card so the mr points are safe, but has anyone had any luck with the fee being discounted or any type of retention offers? Cheer

    • AJ says:

      I was speaking with an agent recently and asked about the possibility of any goodwill gestures re fees and/or bonus MR points. She cryptically stated that they were extremely aware of the travel heavy benefits offered and the team were looking at it so basically watch this space!

      Not much to go on I know but it would appear that they recognise the fact that for the fee, most of the benefits are travel related which cannot currently be utilised.

      Clearly, the longer this situation goes on there is more likelihood of something being offered for Platinum holders whether this be a one off credit or MR points bonus or both – maybe wishful thinking but it would make the difference for me when it comes to renewing or otherwise.

      As you are renewing soon I don’t think it would hurt to ring and ask.

      • Brighton Belle says:

        Amex have been far too slow to deliver an incentive to keep their cards. Platinum delivers nowt. Priority Pass is useless. Hotel status is useless and even the cash back offers are pretty hard to meet. What I am getting for my £45 a month? Oh and 1 measly MR point. Switched to Gold for a year. Bonvoy card is chopped in half and The BAPP is queued for termination. Amex Brighton are snoozing through it all hoping we are just going to keep our fee paid cards.

        • Ken says:

          Pretty sure they just look at the inertia of enough of people not cancelling.
          Maybe better to target those who do cancel in the futures demand keep rinsing the loyal customers.

        • BJ says:

          Requested downgrade of my BAPP 11 days ago, still hasn’t happened despite a further call during the week. Not sure what’s taking them so long, staffing doesn’t seem to be an issue as Brighton (or USA?) are answering calls very quickly.

          • Lady London says:

            Make sure you fee adjusts back to the date you requested

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Call them up and tell them your thinking of cancelling your card. I’ve done this twice in a matter of days for two cards. Gold accepted 20k bonus on 4k spend and BA Amex Blue – Double avios both for 3 x months.

          • Rahaney says:

            Just spoke to them, they offered me to pay on a monthly basis rather than the whole annual fee and a single extra mr point per pound spend for the next 3 months…
            Advice?

    • Paul74 says:

      I cancelled mine about three weeks ago. I was planning to cancel anyway even without the current situation, but I wondered if I’d be presented with a retention offer. Like others here, not a thing, just an enquiry about why I was cancelling.
      As ever though, what they’re pretty good with is the admin after you cancel. My pro rata fee was swiftly refunded etc.
      Still have the Gold, need to spend about £3-4k by the beginning of August for the annual bonus.

      • Bentoni says:

        I downloaded the card from Platinum to Gold yesterday, after they offered nothing to retain me. The guy on the call even tried to charge me £140 fee for the gold card, until I said the first year fee free offer on their web site.

        Not sure how long it would take for the downgrade to take effect, as the account is still showing that I have the Platinum card.

        I was also told that they will send out letters to me and the supplementary card holders, and they need to be signed and returned, which is something that I have never done in the past for Amex. Is that a new thing?

        • Rob says:

          He should have charged you the £140 by rights.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The lady actively told me it was first year free and seen no charge added.

          • Guesswho2000 says:

            Not true, switching from another charge card product to Gold charge is been treated as new, no SUB but all other benefits are provided, including no fee in Y1. This was confirmed to me when I cancelled my UK plat last year.

  • Wingman says:

    I contacted Amex this morning with the specific question whether they would extend the annual membership to say 14-15 months, seeing as the travel related benefits are void for most people due to the current government guidelines on travel.
    Basically it was a flat ‘NO’ and no incentives were offered of any kind, so I cancelled my card this morning.

  • Fenny says:

    I was supposed to be paying for a new kitchen on my amex. Original plan was to have it fitted while I was in Greece at the end of May. No idea now when or if it will happen this year, so not going to hit the spend target and get the avios for my trip Down Under next year.

    I’ve stopped planning anything for the next 6months.

    • Bentoni says:

      I have stopped planning any future travels altogether, until we have a clear view on which airline will survive after this crisis.

      • Brighton Belle says:

        . . .and whether you will need a Covid 19 antibody heath certificate to prove you’re not a risk to their population. While the UK Government sees this as a problem I can see other countries insisting it is so. . . and then the airlines make it as mandatory as a passport.

  • Vinz says:

    Downgraded my husband’s platinum the other day. Pro rata fee refunded (£8) and I’m planning to upgrade at the end of July when hopefully we’ll be travelling again. This will save us about 190 in card fees. We were meant to be on honeymoon trip so Plat card very much needed – certainly not now.
    When we upgrade will make sure to get an offer…
    I will probably try and cancel the basic BA card too as I may get a point offer… 🙂