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Amex cuts the payout on its Platinum Cashback credit cards

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American Express has cut the cashback rate on its two Platinum cashback credit cards.

The new rate comes in today for new applications. If you currently hold the Platinum Cashback or Platinum Cashback Everyday card, the new rates will come into effect from 4th August.

Changes are also being made to the invite-only Vitality American Express, although we are not covering that. They will match the new rates on Platinum Cashback Everyday. Details are here.

HFP Amex American Express Platinum Cashback card

There are two different American Express Platinum Cashback credit cards – Platinum Cashback and Platinum Cashback Everyday.

Here is the required interest rate information:

American Express Platinum Cashback

Read our full reviewApply here

Other information:

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

Representative 27.3% APR variable based on an assumed £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 0.75% 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.

American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday

Read our full reviewApply here

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 £10,000 and receive 0.5% cashback on purchases
  • Spend over £10,000 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.

Platinum Cashback has a £25 annual fee but has a higher cashback rate than the Everyday card, which is free.

What are the new American Express cashback rates?

Here are the new cashback rates:

Platinum Cashback

  • PREVIOUS: 1% cashback on spending up to £10000 per year, 1.25% cashback beyond this
  • NEW: 0.75% cashback on spending up to £10000 per year, 1.25% cashback beyond this

Platinum Cashback Everyday

  • PREVIOUS: 0.5% cashback on spending up to £5000 per year, 1% cashback beyond this
  • NEW: 0.5% cashback on spending up to £10000 per year, 1% cashback beyond this

Are the sign-up bonuses changing?

No.

New cardholders who qualify for a sign-up bonus will still receive a higher cashback rate of 5% on their spending for the first 90 days.

This is capped at £125 for the ‘annual fee’ Platinum Cashback card and £100 for the free Platinum Cashback Everyday card.

Do these cuts change our view of which card is best?

Oddly enough, no.

The ‘break-even’ point remains at £10,000. Put another way, if you spend more than £10,000 per year, you should pay the £25 annual fee for Platinum Cashback.

If you spend less than £10,000 per year, it isn’t worth it. Stick with the free Platinum Cashback Everyday card.

Here are three examples:

  • £5,000 spend – Platinum Cashback earns £12.50 net of fee, Platinum Cashback Everyday earns £25
  • £10,000 spend – Platinum Cashback earns £50 net of fee, Platinum Cashback Everday earns £50
  • £20,000 spend – Platinum Cashback earns £175 net of fee, Platinum Cashback Everyday earns £150

Are these still good cards, despite the cut in the cashback rates?

Yes.

Spend £10,000 on either card and you will receive exactly £50 (0.5%) back.

Spend more and you receive more.

If you push your annual spending up to £20,000, your return increases to £175 (net of the £25 fee) on Platinum Cashback, which is 0.875%. On the free Platinum Cashback Everyday, £20,000 of spending gets you £150 (0.75%) cashback.

Low spenders have less to get excited about.

Spend £5,000 on the Platinum Cashback card and your return, netting off the £25 fee, is only £12.50 (0.25%). On the free Platinum Cashback Everyday card, you would have received £25 (0.5%).

What is the best Visa or Mastercard to pair with Amex Platinum Cashback?

If you want a cashback Visa or Mastercard to use alongside your Platinum Cashback card, you are going to struggle to get a good return.

The typical return on a free cashback or store rewards card (eg Amazon, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Barclays Rewards) is now around 0.2% to 0.25%. The Santander All In One card pays 0.5% cashback but has a £3 monthly fee.

The free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard – the most generous Visa or Mastercard on the market – is up there with the American Express cards, albeit you receive Virgin Points and not cash.

This card is free and earns 0.75 Virgin Points per £1 spent.

If you thought you could get 1p per Virgin Point by redeeming for premium cabin flights (and we believe you can) your implied return is 0.75%. Virgin Points are not as flexible as cash, of course.

How does Platinum Cashback compare with the Nectar or free British Airways Amex cards?

We’ll look at this topic again later in the week.

The Platinum Cashback cuts simply reiterate the position of the free British Airways American Express as the best pseudo-cashback credit card in Britain. This assumes that you convert your Avios from the credit card to Nectar points and spend them in Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay.

As a reminder, the conversion rate from Avios to Nectar points is 1 : 1.6 and a Nectar point is worth 0.5p in most cases.

You would now need to spend £17,000 before the £25 Platinum Cashback card outperforms the 0.8% pseudo-cashback that the free BA Amex pays.

The free Platinum Cashback Everyday card will never outperform the free BA Amex, irrespective of your spending.

Using the free BA Amex as a pseudo-cashback card even has potential upside, because there are occasional promotions which make Nectar points worth more than the usual 0.5p.

More on this later in the week though ….

Remember that, if you currently have a Platinum Cashback credit card, these changes do not apply immediately. They kick in from 4th August.

American Express Platinum Cashback

The UK’s most generous cashback credit card with a fee Read our full review

American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday

The UK’s most generous fee-free cashback credit card Read our full review

Comments (30)

  • Crafty says:

    I’ve held mine for almost 10 years, but think it’ll probably go now. Pointless when compared with Amex Gold (free first year) and IHG Black.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      I’ve held mine for roughly the same and would be tempted to purge it as I hardly ever use it, the BAPP taking virtually all my spending traffic. That said, it is perhaps worth keeping as some of the offers I get on it don’t appear on others, and there is also perhaps use once ones can be useful too, like the shop local £5, if you have a favourite takeaway etc..

      Another thing is I know your credit rating score takes into account the average age of a bank account. I am not sure if the same is true of a single credit card, but if it is then the 10yrs will help that scoring.

      • Rob says:

        Put it this way, someone whose credit report shows they have held the same card for 10 years is going to look more stable than someone who does not have any cards over 6 months old. Having the same current account for 20 years probably has the same impact though.

  • Joe N says:

    I use the paid cashback card as my main card and have the Santander to use abroad/where Amex isn’t accepted. Even with the cut in the cashback rate the Amex still pays more than the Santander, but it makes me question whether to difference is big enough anymore to make up for the inconvenience vs just using one card everywhere in the UK and abroad.

    • Alex says:

      Is it really an inconvenience though? Surely you’d have the best card for situations you regularly find yourself in. Although worth reviewing your cards now this change has happened.

  • Freddy says:

    Typical, I just signed up for the fee paying CB card because of the good rate. At least I got a referral bonus. Back to the drawing board

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      The rate after £10,000 is the same so all you have lost is 0.25% on the first £10,000, or £25. Does that really change the math that much?

      • Freddy says:

        I’ve done a quick check and on 30k spend I’ll net £300. On the nectar I’d get £275 unless I transferred all to avios which would increase to £335. I’ll keep this card and churn the biz cards and the BAPP.

        If I had a smaller spend I’d probably just opt for the free virgin card

  • Julian says:

    I thought the whole point of a Cashback Card was to use them at merchants that don’t accept Amex so I will always use my legacy Barclays World Cashback Visa card paying 0.5% cashback with no annual when I encounter one of those once the 0.4 Avios per pound deal on my Lloyds Avios card and the card itself comes to an end at the end of June as their replacement 0.25% cashback card offer is clearly not as good.

    I presume the reduction in cashback by Amex suggests that they are feeling the pain due to the reduction in merchant fees that Lidl, Aldi, Paypal and other budget upstarts who now take their card have insisted upon,. Membership Points on the other hand can always be devalued by Avios and other participants they exchange with so probably less urgent there for now to cut the payout rate…………

  • PointsPlease says:

    You need to be careful using the Platinum Cashback Everyday card as cashback rounds down.
    For example, whilst in the 0.5% cashback band, you receive no cashback at all on a £1.99 spend.
    This makes the earning figures in the article seem very “optimistic”.

  • GenX says:

    Had the free Everyday cashback card for nine years. It’s still good for offers, the 0.5% cashback, keeps the credit rating up and you can still have the Platinum MR Card sign up points every few years.

  • cinereus says:

    Not a big deal. Anyone doing even small amounts of MS is easily hitting £10k and the several options of Visa/MS offering good cashback rates are the perfect pairings.

  • N says:

    I wonder if there will be any changes to earnings for the free BA AMEX or the Nectar AMEX in light of these changes…

    I may be wrong here, but I thought these non-branded AMEX cards were the best earners for AMEX as they are exempt from the interchange cap, thus earning above the 0.3%?

    • Rob says:

      In theory, yes. In reality I have no idea if Amex’s legal cases against interchange fee caps are still progressing.

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