American Express recently extended the qualifying period to earn a sign-up bonus on its cards to SIX MONTHS.
This was a sensible move. Even people with good salaries may struggle to spend £3,000 to £4,000 within three months at the moment. Increasing the spend period to six months solved this problem at a stroke.
If you apply for an American Express card today, you will have until late November to hit the spending target.
EDIT: The ’30th June deadline’ message has now disappeared from the American Express website. It may no longer be the closing date for the offer. We will keep you updated.
We now know when this deal is ending
When this deal launched it was open ended. American Express told me that it was running ‘from 1st May’ with no set end date.
However, the following wording has appeared on the application page for the Business cards. The text makes clear that it applies to both personal and business cards:
Important Note on Welcome Bonus Offers
American Express is committed to supporting our Cardmembers and due to the impact of COVID-19, eligible Consumer and Small Business Cards will have their Welcome Bonus earn period extended. Eligible Cardmembers acquired between 29 January, 2020 through 30 June 2020, that have a Welcome Bonus, will have their earn period extended from three (3) months to six (6) months, to allow Cardmembers more time to achieve their spend threshold.
The cut off appears to be 30th June. This is the last date to sign up for a card and have six months, instead of three months, to earn the bonus.
Six months makes it a lot easier to earn a 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 (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.
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
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.
Giving you six months to earn your sign-up bonus is a generous offer from American Express.
Given that six months takes you to late 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.
You have just over six weeks to apply before the bonus spend period is reduced to three months.
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.
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
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
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
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 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
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
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
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.