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American Express gives you SIX months to hit your bonus sign-up spend – should you apply?

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American Express has finally bowed to pressure, including from us, and extended the qualifying period to earn a sign-up bonus on its cards to SIX MONTHS.

This means, if you apply today, you would have until early November to hit the spending target.

This rule change is backdated.  Anyone who applied after 30th January 2020 has had their qualifying period extended to six months.  This will already be showing on your online statement page if you take a look.

It is now a lot easier to earn an American Express sign-up bonus

A six month period to hit your bonus spend changes the game massively.  Almost anyone should now be able to hit the target, even in lockdown!

Taking the free British Airways American Express as an example, you now have 26 weeks to spend £1,000.  This is just £38.50 per week.

At the top end, with The Platinum Card, you now have 26 weeks to spend £4,000.  This is £154 per week.  It could be a squeeze for a single person, but manageable for a family.  In any event, if you assume you will be back at work or travelling before the six months is up, you should be able to ‘back end’ the £4,000.

Amex gives you SIX months to hit your qualifying bonus spend

What are the American Express sign-up bonuses?

For personal cards:

The Platinum Card: 30,000 Membership Rewards points (=30,000 Avios) when you spend £4,000 in six months

Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card: 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points (=20,000 Avios) when you spend £3,000 in six months (the bonus on this card is doubled to 20,000 points until 29th June)

British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card: 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in six months

British Airways American Express Credit Card: 5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 in six months

Nectar Credit Card: 20,000 Nectar points (= £100) when you spend £2,000 in six months 

Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card: 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (= 6,666 Avios) when you spend £3,000 in six months

The American Express Rewards Credit Card: 5,000 Membership Rewards points (=5,000 Avios) when you spend £2,000 in six months

Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card: 5% cashback on your purchases for six months (up to £100) 

Platinum Cashback Credit Card: 5% cashback on your purchases for six months (up to £125) 

IMPORTANT:  interest rate and fee information is at the bottom of this article, along with links to our detailed reviews of each card.

Amex gives you SIX months to hit your qualifying bonus spend

Which bonuses can I still get?

Probably not many!

If you have had ANY card on the list in the last 24 months as a primary cardholder (not a supplementary) then the only bonuses you MIGHT be able to get are British Airways Premium Plus and The Platinum Card.  You are blocked from the bonus on all the others.

You could get British Airways Premium Plus if you’ve not had either of the British Airways cards in the last 24 months.

You could get The Platinum Card if you’ve not had any Membership Rewards cards (Gold, Platinum, Centurion, Green, Amex Rewards Credit Card) in the last 24 months.

If you’ve only had Business Gold or Business Platinum in the last 24 months, you are free to get the bonus on ANY of the cards above.

For clarity, you are free to apply for any card at any time.  You won’t receive a sign-up bonus if you don’t fit the criteria, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be accepted.

Does your partner qualify for a bonus, if you don’t?

Whilst you may be disqualified from a bonus, would your partner, adult children etc qualify?  It doesn’t matter if they have previously had supplementary cards on your account as long as they haven’t had cards of their own.

They can issue you a supplementary card, allowing you to do the bulk of the spending if required.

Amex gives you SIX months to hit your qualifying bonus spend

How about the Business cards?

This offer also applies to the Business cards:

The Gold Business Card: 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 in six months

The Platinum Business Card: 40,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £6,000 in six months

British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card: 2,200 On Business Points when you spend £3,000 in six months

Again, links to our reviews of these cards and the important interest rate information are at the bottom of this article.

The bonus rules here are a lot more flexible.

You can have the Business Gold or Business Platinum bonus as long as you haven’t had a Membership Rewards card (personal or business) in the previous SIX (not 24) months.

There are NO RESTRICTIONS AT ALL on getting the bonus on the British Airways Accelerating Business card, as long as your business qualifies.

Conclusion

This is a welcome change of heart by American Express, especially for anyone who took out a card in good faith in February expecting to be able to hit the spending target easily before lockdown measures.

Given that six months takes you to early November, when you should be back to something close to your normal spending as long as your job is secure, there are some good opportunities here.  It is very possible that people who have not previously applied for Amex cards due to concerns over hitting the bonus spending target can now jump in.

Amex gives you SIX months to hit your qualifying bonus spend

APPENDIX:  Legal information and links to our card reviews

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 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 in six months – apply hereour American Express Gold review is here – representative APR 56.6% variable including £140 fee (first year FREE) based on a notional £1200 credit limit

The Platinum Card from American Express – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £4,000 in six months – apply hereour American Express Platinum review is here – this is a charge card which must be repaid in full each month, £575 annual fee

British Airways American Express – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 in six months – apply hereour BA Amex review is here – representative APR 22.2% variable

British Airways American Express Premium Plus – sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in six months – apply hereour BA Amex Premium Plus review is here – representative APR 74.7% variable including £195 annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit

American Express Rewards – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in six months – apply hereour Amex Rewards review is here representative APR 22.2% variable

Nectar – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in three months – apply hereour Nectar American Express review is hererepresentative APR 27.3% variable including £25 fee (first year FREE) based on a notional £1200 credit limit

Platinum Cashback – 5% cashback bonus (max £125) for three months – apply hereour Amex Platinum Cashback review is here – representative APR 27.3% variable including £25 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit

Platinum Cashback Everyday – 5% cashback bonus (max £100) for three months – apply here – our Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday review is here – representative APR 22.2% variable

Mariott Bonvoy American Express – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend £3,000 in three months – apply hereour Marriott Bonvoy Amex review is here –  representative APR 38.8% variable including £75 fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit

American Express Gold Business – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 in three months – apply hereour Amex Gold Business review is here – this is a charge card which must be repaid in full each month, £125 annual fee (first year FREE)

American Express Platinum Business – sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £6,000 in three months – apply hereour Amex Platinum Business review is here – this is a charge card which must be repaid in full each month, £595 annual fee

British Airways American Express Accelerating Business – bonus of 2,200 On Business points – apply hereour BA Business review representative APR 81.6% variable including £210 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.

Comments (96)

  • Anna says:

    Upgrade to BAPP and you’ll get the voucher straight away.

  • Gary_Dexter says:

    Still nothing for existing card members who’s card fees are pretty much null and void for this year in terms of using the benefits…

  • Matt says:

    Does anyone know if a similar rule also applies to the Virgin Atlantic Rewards + MasterCard? I applied February 2020 and need to spend £3,000 to get a sign up bonus of 10,000 miles. But in the current climate it is rather a challenge. Thanks