American Express has launched the biggest sign-up bonus ever seen in the UK for a payment card.
It doesn’t just set a new record, it smashes them. The highest bonus I have ever seen in the last 20 years was a short-lived 50,000 points offer on American Express Platinum. This deal, on the Business cards, is up to twice as generous. If you only sign up for one mileage promotion all year, this should be it.
The number of points involved is huge. If you don’t qualify to apply yourself, you should think seriously about any family members who could sign up and let you benefit from the points – or do your friends a favour and tell them about it.
The bonuses are on the two American Express Business cards:
American Express Business Platinum now has a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points.
American Express Business Gold – which is free for a year – now has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points.
These are, clearly, huge sums.
The offer is valid for applications received by 9th April.
Is there a catch?
The only ‘catch’ is that American Express has raised the qualifying spend at the same time as raising the bonus.
- You need to spend £10,000 in three months to receive the 100,000 points on Business Platinum
- You need to spend £5,000 in three months to receive the 50,000 points on Business Gold
If you don’t feel that you can hit these targets, I recommend that you do not apply until after 9th April. At that point, the usual offers – 20,000 points on Business Gold for spending £3,000 in three months, and 40,000 points on Business Platinum for spending £6,000 in three months – will presumably return.
What can I do with the bonus points?
I ran this article on how you can use Membership Rewards points.
For HfP readers, the key one is that they convert at 1:1 into Avios and Virgin Points.
You can pick up 100,000 Avios if you convert the sign-up bonus on Business Platinum.
100,000 Membership Rewards points would also get you:
- 300,000 Radisson Rewards points
- 200,000 Hilton Honors points
- 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
- 100,000 airline miles in various other schemes including Emirates, Etihad, Air France KLM and Singapore Airlines
What are the annual fees?
The annual fees are, of course, tax deductible as a business expense.
The way to maximise your points but minimise your fees is to apply for American Express Business Platinum and then, once you have spent £10,000, downgrade to Business Gold. You will receive a pro-rata refund of your Business Platinum fee.
Of course, if spending £10,000 in three months is going to be difficult, you should simply apply for Business Gold in the first place. £5,000 is easier, although I accept that this will still count some people out.
How are the cards structured?
Both Business Platinum and Business Gold are charge cards, not credit cards.
You MUST pay your entire balance at the end of each month. There is no option to pay interest and roll over the amount you owe.
We will cover the full benefits package in detailed card reviews later this week.
Who qualifies for the bonus?
You qualify for the bonus as long as you have not had an American Express card earning Membership Rewards points in the last SIX MONTHS.
Note that the rule on the Business cards is six months and NOT the 24 months that applies to the personal cards.
For clarity …. the ‘no Membership Rewards cards’ rule applies across personal and Business cards. If you have had a personal Gold, Platinum etc card in the past six months then you will NOT receive the bonus on Business Gold or Business Platinum.
On the upside, getting Business Gold or Business Platinum has no impact on your ability to get a future bonus on a personal Amex card. Confusingly, the bonus rules on the personal cards ignore any Business cards you may hold. The Business cards, on the other hand, look across your Business and personal card portfolio.
For absolute clarity ….. the following cards have no impact on your ability to get the bonus:
- British Airways American Express
- Nectar American Express
- Marriott Bonvoy American Express
- Harrods American Express
- Platinum Cashback
…… because none of the cards are ‘Membership Rewards’ cards. They offer something different (Avios, Nectar points, Marriott points etc) as a reward. If the only Amex card you have had in the past six months is one on the list above, you definitely qualify for the 100k / 50k bonus.
What are the rules for being accepted for Business Gold or Business Platinum?
You can be a sole trader, partnership or Limited Company. You must meet the following criteria, which are cut and pasted from the Amex website:
- The business has a current UK Bank or Building Society account
- You/The business have/has no County Court Judgements for non-payment of debt
- You are aged 18 or over
- You have a permanent UK home address
Your business does not necessarily need to be trading. I know readers who have been accepted when they were still in the process of setting up their company. You will need a business bank account.
Full card reviews will follow
This is obviously a very exciting offer if you meet the qualification criteria.
Even if you use your Membership Rewards points in the worst possible way – converting them to Avios and then on to Nectar – you would get 0.8p per Amex point as Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay credit. This means that the Business Platinum bonus is worth a guaranteed minimum of £800 and the Business Gold bonus is worth a guaranteed minimum of £400.
Our in-depth review of American Express Business Platinum is here.
These two reviews will help you decide which card is best for you. We use Business Platinum at Head for Points and find that it works well.