Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Received a Harrods American Express card invitation? This is what it offers.

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

The Harrods American Express card is a little-known product which is not freely available, a little like the new Vitality American Express card launched last year.

Historically, the Harrods American Express card was only meant to be available to Gold and Black members of the Harrods Rewards loyalty scheme.  I have my doubts about this, as you would often see leaflets on the tills in the store, but that is what the Harrods Rewards website says.

Over the last few days, Harrods has been emailing UK members of Harrods Rewards, irrespective of status, with an invitation to apply.  I thought it was worth taking a look at the card in case you received an invite.

The application for the Harrods American Express card is here, although you shouldn’t apply if you haven’t received an email directly and are not a Harrods Rewards member.

Harrods American Express card review

What does the Harrods American Express card offer?

The Harrods American Express card comes in a metallic shade of brown (bronze?) as you can see above.  I’ve never seen one in the flesh so I don’t know how classy the real thing looks.

Here are the headline features:

It is a charge card, not a credit card – you must clear your balance each month

There is an annual fee of £150

The sign-up bonus is paltry 1,000 Harrods Rewards points, worth just £10 – it appears that you receive this irrespective of other American Express cards you hold

This is what you earn when you spend on the card:

One Harrods Rewards point (1p) per £1 spent

Two Harrods Rewards points (2p) per £1 spent in Harrods – for clarity, this is on top of your usual points

I have no idea why the sign-up bonus is so low.  If Harrods and American Express are so keen to extend the cardholder base, I would have expected a substantially more generous bonus – potentially as high as 10,000 points (£100). 

Does the Harrods American Express card have any extra benefits?

The only guaranteed benefit is an ‘annual complimentary Discovery Hammam experience’. 

This takes place in the Moroccan Spa on the fifth floor.  To quote from the Harrods website:

“What is a hammam? The hammam is a traditional bathing ritual that uses heat, steam and stretching massage techniques to cleanse, polish and soften skin.

Involving intense exfoliation with a Kessa glove, the treatments boost mental wellbeing and circulation, as well as providing a host of other benefits. While hammams in Morocco are traditionally public baths, the Moroccan Spa by marocMaroc’s hammam is a semi-private experience where the full-body washing ritual is performed by an expert therapist, in your own marble booth.”

A ‘Discovery Hammam’ experience would usually cost £60, although the Moroccan Spa is currently closed due to coronavirus restrictions.

The other benefits are more nebulous:

“Invitation to By Appointment” (the personal shopping service)

“Early access to, and extra Rewards points during, Sale Previews”

“Invitations to members-only Harrods events”

Are these events any good?  We don’t know.  It is worth mentioning that, about 5 years ago, I was gifted top-tier Harrods Black status for a couple of years.  This usually requires £10,000 of spend in a calendar year.  During that period, we were invited to a fair number of exclusive childrens events, often held in-store on a Sunday morning before the shop opened.  I was also once invited to a dinner in the wine store hosted by Qatar Airways, which is where I met the Qatar Airways UK country manager and where our good relationship with the airline sprung from.

You also need elite status at Harrods now to book Santa’s Grotto for your children.

However …. it is not clear how credit card holders fit into the pecking order for events.  The card was, nominally, only for elite members of Harrods Rewards anyway, so holders would already be receiving these invitations.  If you are only a base level member of Harrods Rewards then you may not get offered much.

Harrods American Express card review

Have Harrods and American Express missed a trick here?

There would have been a very easy way to make the Harrods American Express card more attractive – make the points you earn from spending count towards status.

Alternatively, cardholders could be automatically upgraded to a higher tier.

The current levels are:

  • Green (base tier) – 1 point per £1 spent
  • Green (tier 2, £2000 – £4999 of spending) – 1 point per £1 spent
  • Gold (£5000 – £9999 of spending) – 2 points per £1 spent
  • Black (£10000+ of spending) – 3 points per £1 spent

Having two green tiers is a little odd but that is how it operates.  ‘Tier 2’ is the cut-off for receiving a free postal subscription to Harrods Magazine and getting free tea and coffee in the in-store cafes.

I’m not suggesting that Harrods should give you £1 of ‘spend credit’ towards status per £1 spent on the American Express card.  This would make it too easy to obtain Black status.  They could offer 1 status £1 for every £5 or £10 spent.

It is possible, for example, that having the card is not enough to get you access to the Santa’s Grotto invitation list.  This could be fixed by automatically giving you a certain level of status in Harrods Rewards.

Anything else worth knowing?

According to HFP reader reports, the Harrods American Express can be used in place of a standard Harrods Rewards card.

This means that, in theory, you could ask a cashier to swipe your Harrods American Express in order to credit your base points but then pay with a different card.

This feature is not confirmed anywhere on the card website, however.

Conclusion

The Harrods American Express card is a bit of a missed opportunity, I think.

In terms of day to day rewards, there are free American Express cards which can get you an equivalent 1% return on your spending (British Airways American Express, American Express Platinum Everyday Cashback, American Express Rewards Credit Card) .  You don’t need to spend £150 in annual fees.  The three cards above also have more generous sign-up bonuses.

The additional 1% back at Harrods, giving you a total of 2% cashback, is clearly a decent deal but you would need to be spending large sums in the shop before you came close to covering the annual fee.

Overall, there isn’t much to get excited about with the Harrods American Express card.  The biggest benefit is probably having a novel card to show your friends, for a far lower cost than American Express Platinum or Centurion!

Thanks to Andrew for explaining some of the card features.

Comments (55)

  • Sina says:

    I’ve recently applied for this card, It looks nice but came in a simple white envelope like other cards (except plat) and is not very clear how I can use the Dicovery Hammam Experience?!
    It’s not bad for a gold tier to get 4% overall discount when used on %10 discount days or on nominated discount days!

    • chabuddy geezy says:

      I agree the ability to choose 2 10% discount days per year and the 3% points are very good for black tier. I think this makes Harrods the cheapest place to buy luxury brands in London excluding duty free and Amex offers.

      • KBuffett says:

        I’d agree, although I don’t think the 10% discount days are available for use with brands like LV, Gucci, Hermes etc.
        Does anyone know if the chosen 10% discount days can be stacked with their offered 10% discount days?

        • chabuddy geezy says:

          Yes you are right you can’t use the 10% chosen days on most luxury brands, its does not stack with their regular 10% off days either. You can use it on the regular sale but not their sale preview.

          • Andrew says:

            And no discount in restaurants, services or the food hall either (although you can use it in the wine shop)

          • Lady London says:

            Useful for kitchen stuff though as they.have some good brands.

      • Andrew says:

        Yes I agree – as a black card holder it’s the only place where you can (effectively) get a 3% discount on Louis Vuitton – even Heathrow Rewards can’t be earned at their airport stores. And following a considerable renovation investment from the Qataris over the last few years, the quality of finish in the store is truly amazing – the souk-style areas they have in the mens and womens floors is such a pleasant environment and for me, far more luxurious than Selfridges (and no points at Selfridges)

        • Sina says:

          10% discount is not available at some departments, sure, but the 3% for black(2%for gold) + 2% for Harrods amex are, and you can’t find this discounts on many items anywhere!

          When used with other offers, it’s a nice to have!

          I bought a SMEG stand mixer for £995 using 10% discount day on my Harrods card last week and almost got a toaster for free (£139 value!)

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            I can easily imagine a toaster having a £139 price.

            £139 VALUE however may be pushing it…. :D.

          • Sina says:

            SMEG is very nice to look at! Some might say a work of art! And very hard to value art 😉

            Especially if you get a Dolce & Gabbana designer series 😀

          • Lady London says:

            Piqued by your comments Rob and @Sina, I took a look at the SMEG toaster and the SMEG kettle online.

            Great design on the Dolce. But tell me those are not Russell Hobbs appliances underneath.

            What I would really like to see is a washing machine in the Dolce & Gabbana pattern. Then I could really flash my cash and get the washing done as well.

          • Rob says:

            In my banking days we bought the company that makes base plates for kettles. Almost all kettle base plates globally are made by 2 companies, both on the Isle of Man! One was started after the founder broke away from the first company. All kettles, from all brands, are very simple bits of construction which are plonked onto the top of a pricey base bought from the Isle of Man!

          • Sina says:

            @Lady London SMEG appliance underneath 😉

            Also I think SMEG only makes kitchen appliance, so no washing machine but there is a fridge, cooker and cooker hood version of the Dolce! 😬

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I’m sure I earned on my LV purchase at Heathrow.

  • KBuffett says:

    Rob, surely it’s high time there was a full article on the Centurion Card, as I’m sure more of your readers and target audience will have this card or may be interested in it when compared with the Harrods Card. Drop me a line if you want the full Amex PDF of what it offers. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not invitation only as such,

    • Rob says:

      Happy to do something. The problem has, as you say, getting the information. I also dislike it as a product as it offers, in my view, excessively poor value for money – although that is perhaps a little hypocritical as I want to nice Centurion night out at Jaeger Le Coultre a couple of years ago as the guest of a friend.

      Purely for SEO reasons an article has some value!

      • Camille55 says:

        That was a good night Rob! I agree, an article would be great. They are trying to raise its benefits I think and the recent £200 statement credit for M&S, Waitrose, Harvey Nicks, etc (which was £100 for Plat I believe) was nice. However, I agree the offering on UK Cent could be much better. Double MR’s to start with! Not just for the recent 3 month period due to Covid, but ongoing.

    • BS says:

      Indeed I would be interested in that (in the same way I am interested in the BA premier offering). Not that I would ever be offered it. But just to see what is available for the 0.1%

      • Andrew says:

        A boss of mine a few years back had BA Premier – sometimes I would help his assistant with his travel requirements (as vicarious travel booking is nearly as good as booking for yourself) and I saw that he was Premier on his company travel profile and wondered what level of grovelling you might get from crew if they saw that in their iPad.