Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The biggest UK card sign-up bonus EVER is here, worth 100,000 points

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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?

American Express Business Platinum has an annual fee of £595. Business Gold has an annual fee of £125, but the first year is free.

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.

HFP Amex American Express Business Gold Card

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.

Our review of American Express Business Gold 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.

How do I apply?

You can apply for American Express Business Platinum, with the 100,000 points bonus, here.

You can apply for American Express Business Gold, with the 50,000 points bonus and no fee for the first year, here.

Comments (240)

  • Roger says:

    Question is how and where can you spend 10k/5k as a small business?
    Only if it was possible to link to Curve or some other such card for a possible MS.

    • Aviosnewbie says:

      If you do any online advertising, that’s a good way. £3.3k per month on Google/FB/amazon ads

    • BJ says:

      Simple, fully flexible air fares, some hotels are pay up front on flexible bookings (Travelodge £150 London rooms), council tax (including prepay and refund to bank account if your LA allows) coming soon. Just a word of caution, I’ve always believed that internal files with amex are more important than the rating agencies and Ii know from experience that those files comprise quite detailed customer information so gaming this offer too much may mor be wise.

    • Jonathan says:

      As a small business more places accept Amex today than ever before. 85% or more of my suppliers accept it without any surcharge.

    • Rob says:

      We pay our office rent by Amex, so £5k in 3 months is done with that.

    • Rolfe says:

      We once bought a used vehicle and the dealer accepted Amex with no fee! Haven’t come across that before or after, but was a nice one off!

  • aviosnewbie says:

    Awesome! If I apply now, will I also get the £150 offer that was mentioned yesterday?

    • cinereus says:

      No way to tell for sure but probably.

    • BJ says:

      Somebody mentioned calling amex to see why they never got a similar offer after applying for a card and were, not surprisingly, told the offer was for existing members only. That said, I have had new accounts in the past get loaded with pre-existing offers as has everybody else so you just have to wait and see.

  • Tom says:

    Doesn’t seem live yet.

    Do you get the bonus even if you have a supplementary Amex Platinum?

    .

    • BJ says:

      Yes, supps don’t count. As long as you have not had a MR earning card for 6+ month you’ll get the bonus.

  • cinereus says:

    This is really annoying. I only just received my new Biz Plat card.

    I don’t suppose there’s any way to upgrade your current sign up bonus to this offer instead?

    • aviosnewbie says:

      Unfortunately not. I similarly missed a great offer last year and someone pointed out an analogy that if I fill up my car and then gas prices fall, I cannot claim a refund from the gas station. Which seems fair, but I know feels frustrating if you’ve just taken the card

      • Julian says:

        But you don’t put all year long’s petrol in to just one fill up at the pumps……

    • Robbie says:

      I’m in the same situation – received my business card last Friday; it’s a shame to miss out on so many points

  • BJ says:

    I thought for a second it was April Fools Day. Great offer but let’s not get carried away with the hype … if it’s avios that interest you then you can do (much) better with the BAPP given the 2-4-1 can easily return well on excess of 100k avios. Furthermore, you get a year to spend the £10k and the fee can be as little as 5% of business platinum fee. So despite this eye-catching offer, keep it in its proper perspective. Of course, if you can benefit from both BAPP and this it’s a great day at the office 🙂

    • Harry T says:

      Don’t forget about those “taxes” for two though 😀 have genuinely seen business cash fares to the US that are almost the same for two people as the taxes and charges on a 241.

      • Andrew says:

        Yeah agree with you Harry. Don’t see the value in the 2for1 with cash prices so low for the last few years. I think their day has passed.

        • BJ says:

          Cash prices will not always be low like they are now, and at the time I use a 2-4-1, Xmas/NY, they never are. BA flights to BKK typically hit £1500 in Y at this time. However, there is another reason I find the 2-4-1 very valuable: if you can use it in F it is close to a guarantee that you will fly no worse than CW. Furthermore, if you fly F, the arguments versus cash fares doesn’t have a leg to stand on in normal times. For tbese reasons, my needs for flexibility and the temporary nature of cheap cash fares, 2-4-1 vouchers will remain key to my future strategy. So much so that I am hoping the Barclays variant will be equally valuable.

      • BJ says:

        Using the 100k from this fir avios in no way allows you to avoid the tax though. Totally agree on paying for flights, zi ‘very went on about it here on a regular basis long before you came on HfP Harry. Too many rushed to book reward flights when miles and status earning cash flights made much more sense. On the plus side the increasing awareness of exEU flights started getting more peopke to think more seriously about when cash or miles were better. For me it was always a question of flexibility so reward flights won the day most of the time.

        • Harry T says:

          Flexibility can be worth its weight in gold, for sure. However, if you’re not tied to dates and your plans can be concrete (who misses those days?!) then a cheeky exEU can be better value as it also earns tier points and Avios. Fingers crossed I can use my £683 business class returns to Boston this August!

          • Michael C says:

            SO hope you do that, Harry, the price is insane – the boat up to Salem (bizarrely, FAB Mexican restaurant there) with the train back is gorgeous in the summer. Our “Boston in the fall” was of course cancelled *tears”.
            I totally agree that 241 has become a thing of convenience: my OH is a lecturer, so we often don’t know his free days a semester in advance. We’ve actually used the last couple as last-minute city breaks in club – no massive saving, just v pleasant trips away, and happy enough!

          • BJ says:

            Thank goodness I didn’t book a trip to Boston … but surely the jinx will end sometime, good luck 🙂

          • Genghis says:

            FYI – I recommend James Hook & Co lobster.

  • Tom says:

    Would be nice if we could get the referral points for recommending this to a friend!

  • Tony says:

    So “your” post yesterday was a tease after all ( on the bits page )

  • aviosnewbie says:

    I just cancelled my wife’s biz gold card account, but still have her referral code. If I apply using that code, will she get bonus points? I know it’s a stupid qsn in a way, but I read somewhere that there are 30 days after cancellation to move out reward points. So are new referral points also credited within those 30 days?

    • BJ says:

      Not a stupid question. I’ve thought about this in the past but didn’t risk alternate referral points in the end.

      • aviosnewbie says:

        Thanks! But what do you mean by not risking the referral points? What risk? – other than just not receiving those points?

        • BJ says:

          Referral points are based on the card you refer from. If you have other active cards the referral bonus from them is all but guaranteed so why risk them for an uncertain bonus by referring from a card that was closed within the last month.

          • RJ says:

            @BJ if you have an alternate card why would you even think about doing it from a card that’s been closed?

          • Genghis says:

            @RJ e.g. referring from a Plat gets more points than referring from a Nectar? Not worth the risk IMO.

    • Charlieface says:

      I reckon that would work, except that the MR account is closed and wiped after 30 days.

      If you are still within the 30 days, it could be OK, but really wouldn’t risk it.

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