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Review: the American Express Platinum Cashback credit cards

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This is our review of the Amex Cashback cards, specifically the American Express Platinum Cashback and American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday credit cards.

Head for Points is primarily about earning airline miles or hotel loyalty points, and earning points via your credit card spend is an important part of that.

It is important to take the occasional reality check, though. It is pointless (sic) collecting airline miles from a credit card if you could get a substantially better deal with a cashback credit card instead.

With that in mind, I thought it was time to take a look at the Amex cashback offering. This consists of two different Platinum Cashback credit cards.

Key legal information

American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Cashback paid in a lump sum after 12 months
  • Minimum spend of £3,000 per year required to receive cashback
  • Annual fee: Free

Representative 22.2% APR variable

See if you qualify for the 5% cashback sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5% cashback on purchases on the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday card within 90 days of signing up.  This is capped at £100.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous 24 months, have held any other personal American Express card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s American Express account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous 24 months, you have held a Business American Express card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday card even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You will receive the standard rate of cashback on your spending.

Learn more about the card benefits +

American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday is the most generous free cashback credit card in the UK.

After the first three months, during which the special bonus rate applies:

  • Spend £0 to £5,000 and receive 0.5% cashback on purchases
  • Spend over £5,000 and receive 1% cashback on purchases

You must spend at least £3,000 per year to receive cashback.

Cashback is paid in a lump sum at the end of each 12 month period.  If you close the card mid-year you will lose any accumulated cashback.

As our review shows, this card is better value if you will spend less than £10,000 per year.  If you will spend over £10,000 per year, you should apply for the £25 American Express Platinum Cashback credit card instead.  The cashback rate is higher and you are better off even after paying the annual fee.

American Express Platinum Cashback

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Cashback paid in a lump sum after 12 months
  • Annual fee: £25

Representative 27.3% APR variable based on a notional £1,200 credit limit and £25 annual fee. Interest rate on purchases 22.2% APR variable.

See if you qualify for the 5% cashback sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5% cashback on purchases on the American Express Platinum Cashback card within 90 days of signing up.  This is capped at £125.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous 24 months, have held any other personal American Express card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s American Express account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous 24 months, you have held a Business American Express card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the American Express Platinum Cashback card even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You will receive the standard rate of cashback on your spending.

Learn more about the card benefits +

American Express Platinum Cashback is the most generous cashback credit card in the UK.

After the first three months, during which the special bonus rate applies:

  • Spend £0 to £10,000 and receive 1% cashback on purchases
  • Spend over £10,000 and receive 1.25% cashback on purchases

Cashback is paid in a lump sum at the end of each 12 month period.  If you close the card mid-year you will lose any accumulated cashback.

As our review shows, this card is better value if you will spend over £10,000 per year.  If you will spend under £10,000 per year, you should apply for the free American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card instead.  The cashback rate is lower but this is offset by the lack of any annual fee.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Experian Credit Score.

Which card is best for me?

As with all the credit cards we look at, you need to think separately about the sign-up bonus and the day-to-day return on your spending. There are actually two separate questions to consider:

“Is it worth getting the Amex Cashback cards just to benefit from the sign-up bonus?

and

“Is Amex Cashback a card I want to keep in my wallet for the long-term?”

What are the annual fees?

You can choose between a paid card and a less generous fee card:

  • The standard Cashback card comes with a £25 annual fee
  • The Cashback Everyday card is free
Review American Express Platinum Cashback card

What is the sign-up bonus?

Both cards have the usual generous American Express sign-up bonuses:

The Amex Platinum Cashback card pays you 5% back on your spending in the first three months, to a maximum spend of £2,500 (so capped at £125 back).

The Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday card pays you 5% back on your spending in the first three months, to a maximum spend of £2,000 (so capped at £100 back).

However, unless you are planning on spending over £10,000 per year on the card, I would not necessarily be tempted by the extra £25. As I will show, the free card is better in the long term for most people.

How much cashback do I earn?

The standard Cashback card pays you cashback at the following rate:

  • In year 1, 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,500 of purchases
  • 1% back if you spend under £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)
  • 1.25% back on your spend over £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)

The Cashback Everyday card has a tiered system:

  • In Year 1, 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,000 of purchases
  • 0.5% on the first £5,000 of spend from month 4 to month 12 (but you get nothing if you spend under £3,000)
  • 1% back on your spend over £5,000

Cashback is paid in a lump sum at the end of each card year.

Which is the best Amex cashback card to get?

Time for a quick bit of maths.

The break-even point for getting the £25 card is £9,000 of spending per year.

For modest spenders (ie those who would spend under £9,000 per year) you are better off with the free Platinum Cashback Everyday card.

For example:

spend £9,000 per year and you will receive £65 on the free Platinum Cashback Everyday and the same £65 on the Platinum Cashback card, adjusting for the fee

spend £11,000 per year and you will receive £85 on the free Platinum Cashback Everyday and £87.50 on the Platinum Cashback card, adjusting for the fee

Are the American Express Platinum Cashback cards any good?

What are the rules for getting the Amex Cashback sign-up bonus?

Most HfP readers will not qualify for the sign-up bonus, unfortunately.

The bonus is only available to customers who have not held a personal American Express card in the previous 24 months.  Cards issued by MBNA or Lloyds Bank do not count.

You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits.

What more should I know about the Amex cashback cards?

You do not receive your cashback month by month. Instead, it is paid onto your Amex statement at the end of each card year.

However, this does not mean that it is more difficult to cancel the Cashback card with the £25 fee. This is because Amex will refund your fee, pro-rata, when you cancel.

If you feel like dropping the card at any point, wait until the start of your next card year when the cashback from the previous year will arrive. You can then cancel, and should get back at least £23 of your £25 fee as a pro-rata refund.

American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for its cards.

What alternative cards are worth a look?

The American Express Platinum Cashback cards are the highest paying cashback cards currently available in the UK.

However, American Express is not accepted everywhere, and you will need a Visa or Mastercard as a fall-back option. The best non-Amex cashback cards have very low returns, however. 

Here are some typical earning rates for general spending, although you may earn more for spending at the company which issues the card:

  • The John Lewis Partnership card now pays 0.25% in vouchers
  • The Amazon Platinum card pays 0.25% in vouchers
  • The Marks & Spencer card pays 0.2% in vouchers
  • The Sainsbury’s card pays 0.1% in Nectar points

Where do I apply?

The application form for the Amex Platinum Cashback (£25 fee) card is here.

The application form for the Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday (no fee) card is here.

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 (33)

  • Heran says:

    For the last list, it is worth to add HSBC Premier Credit Card as it seems it has higher cash-like earning rate.

  • SteveSauceman says:

    Barclaycard Rewards card should also be mentioned, no fee, 0.25% back, no forex fees

  • Jack says:

    As someone who is a student and has a spend of between 3-5k per year, the platinum Amex card is perfect for me. There is no annual fee and the cash as a statement credit is ideal. Once I graduate I will reassess when I have more disposable income and consider the gold card. Not only that I can also build up my credit rating with the card so it is perfect for younger people!!

  • Rob says:

    That’s not ‘open to all’ and free is it?

    • cinereus says:

      Sorry I was only looking at the heading “What alternative cards are worth a look?” which didn’t mention these criteria (in fact, I can’t find any mention of “open to all” in the article).

    • Gary_Dexter says:

      How is it not “open to all”?

  • Lady London says:

    How do the offers differ from other Amex cards?

  • Freddy says:

    If my yearly spend was limited to 10k per year I’d probably opt for one of these cards and forget about points. The amount of points needed to obtain a nice redemption at this level of spend would take an age once the initial bonuses were obtained

  • The Streets says:

    I used this card to pay for my uni fees 20 years ago!

  • Steve says:

    Definitely. £36 fee so need to spend over £1,200 /mth for it to top the Amazon or JL offering.