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.
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
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 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.
Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.
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 Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus 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:
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
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
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.