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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)

  • Gareth says:

    Not really because they have a stupid 2 years rule

  • Harold R says:

    Asked this on the general chat this morning but seems more relevant here.
    If making a new application for Amex Platinum Personal Card will we get the current benefits of double points on spend and redeeming points at 0.9p if so sign up bonus is now worth £342 in cash (38k x 0.9p) goes along way to offsetting the yearly fee.

    • Rob says:

      I am guessing you do, but it’s not contractual so I doubt you have a leg to stand on if you don’t get it.

  • Novice says:

    I have resorted to churning business cards under my parents names as I don’t have a business 😂

    Under my own name, I still have a few months before 24 months is up.

    It’s a good job my surname is obviously same as parents so I have no issues sending bonus over to my BA avios account. However, mum and dad aren’t happy getting cards every 8/9 months but let me off coz they are awesome 😎

    So my point is if someone has a family member who has a business go for it.

  • SL says:

    How do referrals work? If I have only had the plat business card and have maxed my referrals on it can I do another batch of referrals on a personal plat if I take it out?

    • Rob says:

      No, not if the cards are linked to the same MR account because the referral limit is 90k per MR account. You could get a BA card and do 90k-worth of referrals on that. Same with Bonvoy.

  • Roger says:

    When are we going to see fee refund or free extn on Amex Platinum?
    WIshful thinking?

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      This card is the most acute but there are others where it is not apparent what the annual fee gets you at this point in time. This is the pressure AMEX need to bow to.

      • James says:

        Downgraded from Platinum to Gold as I can’t justify the cost with no lounges, car hire or taxis! Amex were great – no fee on gold – 10k points for 15k spend. Will switch spend from BA card.

        • Rob says:

          Do you actually have a counter showing for the 10k bonus? I thought Amex was downgrading to a standard Gold charge, not Gold credit and not the old Preferred Gold charge, which means no lounge passes, no £15k bonus etc.

          • V says:

            Rob, I did the downgrade as well. It’s now the Preferred Gold charge. Lounge access, no fee and 10K bonus for £15K. However, IIRC you’ve previously said that the counter after downgrading should be ignored??

          • Rob says:

            Not this counter! If it shows, I think you’ll get it.

          • Rum says:

            That’s what I have. Downgraded late Feb/early March from Plat to Gold charge and I have the counter showing. No fee in first year.
            What is strange is only primary cardmember got Lounge Key and was told my 1st supplementary cardholder gets *no* lounge key card. Can anyone confirm if this is right?

          • The Urbanite says:

            I downgraded and the counter is there and working. Was also assured I’d be eligible over the phone!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            They are downgrading to the old charge 10k counter and new lounge club card received. Which will probably get me 2 free visits.

    • Roy says:

      Apparently a refresh of many cards coming “early May” although that may not necessarily be in all markets. The rumour is of statement credits for things like steaming services and “wireless mobile services” (whatever they are) coming to Plat in the US. Potentially might help offset the annual fee.

      But then AFAIK the US doesn’t currently have the double points and double redemption value offers that we do, so whether statement credits will come here is anyone’s guess.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Help with the laundry costs not that useful either in Lockdown 😄

      • PJ says:

        They may not have double points or redemption value in the US, but there’s lots of evidence of people getting big MR bonuses or credit for retention, which has not been the case in the UK. Anecdotally the most we get is an offer to downgrade to Gold or the regular Amex charge card for free for a year.

        As has been stated elsewhere, we would need to spend around £4k/mo to break even on the fee, so Amex need to do something in the UK to retain cardholders for Platinum.

        • Roy says:

          I agree. Hopefully Amex does, too. I guess it all depends on how many customers they are losing right now.

    • Rob says:

      Afraid so. It has happened in other countries but it appears the UK market is stickier.

      • PJ says:

        They are playing us like a fiddle by dangling this “refresh”. I was all set to cancel last month but then the double points thing tuned up, now there’s the May rumours so I’m hanging on for a few more weeks because of the inconvenience of having to apply new card details (especially for the supplementary card my wife uses!)

    • RogerC says:

      When cancelling, one of the options the retention team gave me was to receive a pro-rata rebate and then pay monthly for the card going forward.

    • Lady London says:

      …when enough people close it and tell Amex they are tired of receiving nothing.

  • Simon Barlow says:

    I have a platinum and two trips with flights paid for using the card planned for later this year. In all likelihood they will be cancelled due to COVID. If I cancel my card now would that invalidate any insurance cover on the card, in case I needed to pursue S75? TIA

    • Anna says:

      My understanding is that the travel insurance would be cancelled but S 75 is a separate process and still applies to cancelled cards.

      • Simon Barlow says:

        Thanks Anna, Flights should be covered by EU 251 or whatever it is, and the airb’n’b should be refunded as they seem to be quite good ont heir covid refund policy. Leaning towards cancelling the card due to lack of upcoming travel.

        Thanks again.

    • Harry T says:

      Section 75 doesn’t apply to charge cards, so you would not be covered either way.

      • Anna says:

        Forgot it was a charge card but don’t they have their own similar provision?

        • Simon Barlow says:

          My understanding is that AMEX effectively extend cover to their charge cards. Thanks both.

          • Harry T says:

            Yes, amex offer some form of purchase protection on their charge cards, but you would not have an equivalent to statutory section 75 protection once you have cancelled the card. I doubt Amex will cover you for chargeback claims if you’ve cancelled the charge card, and if they weren’t willing to help you, you would have no legal protection or recourse.

  • Anna says:

    It would be a lot more helpful if they would reduce the 24 month rule to 12 ☹️

    • Novice says:

      I know but I’m making it work for now. It helps that my parents aren’t into this points game as they aren’t bothered and accept the costs of business travel etc.

      They have credit cards but are more into bank transactions etc. So that helps me nicely as I don’t have the kind of money my parents have access to.

      As a writer, it’s not a fixed salary so I can’t predict how much money I will have in the bank so I got in the points game a few years ago because I can’t stand economy class.

  • ken says:

    What are the current referrals ?

    Business Plat 18k ?
    Plat 12k
    Business Gold ?