American Express Platinum is now a credit card – should existing cardholders switch?
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If you didn’t read our article on the new American Express Platinum sign-up bonus yesterday – a crazy 60,000 Membership Rewards points plus a £200 Amex Travel statement credit – you might have missed the part about The Platinum Card becoming a credit card.
Slightly confusingly, Amex decided to announce the swap on the same day that it announced the new sign-up bonus which meant that the news may have passed you by.
You can apply for The Platinum Card, in its new form as a credit card, here.
The representative APR is 464.4% variable, including the annual fee. The representative APR on purchases is 29.7% variable.
If you currently have The Platinum Card in its charge card version, you will NOT be forced to swap it for a credit card version.
Looking at how American Express has treated long-time holders of Preferred Rewards Gold, which also used to be a charge card, it is very likely that your Platinum Card will be renewed as a charge card too.
Is a credit card ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than a charge card?
The good news about a credit card is that, unlike a charge card, you don’t need to repay your bill in full at the end of the month.
The bad news about a credit card is that, unlike a charge card, you don’t need to repay your bill in full at the end of the month – and so might be tempted to run up a large interest bill.
Whilst The Platinum Card has, in theory, no limit to what you can spend on it, this isn’t actually true. Amex has a secret limit on what it will allow you to charge to your card. With a credit card, you are told what this number is.
Are there any reasons to voluntarily swap?
There are a couple of ways of looking at this question. Let’s run through them.
One reason why you SHOULD swap – Section 75 coverage
The Platinum Card, in its charge card version, relies on the voluntary American Express arbitration scheme if you have a problem with a merchant to whom you have paid money. There is nothing wrong with the Amex scheme, but it is not legally binding.
If you swap to The Platinum Card as a credit card, your purchases will have protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If a merchant does not deliver your goods or service to a satisfactory level, American Express must put things right.
One reason why you SHOULD NOT swap – the loss of four supplementary cards
The new American Express Platinum credit card only allows you to have one supplementary card on the account.
Holders of the existing charge card are allowed to issue FIVE supplementary cards. One of these is Platinum, with all the Platinum benefits, and the other four are Gold cards with virtually no benefits.
However ALL supplementary cardholders are covered by the Amex Platinum travel insurance. Any Gold supplementary cards would be lost if you swapped to the Platinum credit card, and those people would no longer receive any insurance benefits. If you currently have Gold supplementary cards issued purely to share the travel insurance benefits, do not swap to the credit card.
Let’s look at bonuses and statement credits:
Would I get a sign-up bonus if I swap my Platinum charge card to the new credit card?
No. The rules are clear – you don’t qualify for another bonus as you have had another Amex product earning Membership Rewards points in the previous 24 months.
Would I get the other card benefits again if I swap my Platinum charge card for the new credit card?
Once you’ve used your £50 of Harvey Nichols credit for the current six month period, and your £300 of dining credit for the current year, could you get them again by swapping your charge card for the new credit card?
Potentially yes – but we need to wait for some evidence.
What happens to my credit report if I swap from the charge card to the credit card?
This is a very good question.
When you apply for a credit card, one of the ways the new lender decides whether to accept you is by looking at how much credit you already have across your existing cards. If this number is high relative to your income, you are likely to be rejected.
If you swap your Platinum charge card – which doesn’t have a credit limit as far as your credit report is concerned – for the new Platinum credit card, would this make it harder to be accepted for other credit cards in the future? Potentially yes.
What happens to my existing Membership Rewards points if I swap?
Nothing, they are safe. Your Membership Rewards points exist in a separate account to your cards, and it is possible to have multiple American Express cards feeding into the same Membership Rewards account.
Amex should automatically link your new Platinum credit card to your existing Membership Rewards account. If they open a new one for you in error, a quick call will get them merged.
Would there be a credit check if I swap from the Platinum charge card to the Platinum credit card?
I would imagine so, yes. This means that it might be a bad idea if you are thinking of applying for other credit products within the next few months.
Will there be an incentive at some point to swap from the charge card to the credit card?
Probably not. We never saw a points bribe to swap from the charge card version of Preferred Rewards Gold to the credit card version.
What we might see is a bonus for holders of the Preferred Rewards Gold credit card to upgrade to the Platinum credit card.
I imagine that the existing offer of 20,000 points for holders of the Preferred Rewards Gold charge card to upgrade to the Platinum charge card will now disappear.
A quick word about the swapping process
In this article we have used the word ‘swap’.
For clarity, there is no ‘official’ swap process. As American Express makes clear on its website here, your existing card will not be automatically cancelled if you apply for The Platinum Card as a credit card.
It is up to you to cancel your existing Platinum charge card when your application for the Platinum credit card has been approved.
American Express is actually happy for you to have both the credit card and the charge card, although there is little point in doing so, especially given the combined £1,150 of annual fees.
American Express has produced a one-page PDF document which you can download here and which summarises the differences between the two versions of The Platinum Card.
You can apply for The Platinum Card as a credit card by clicking here.
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
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