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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.

American Express Platinum is now a credit card - should existing cardholders switch?

The card has a representative APR of 437.9% including the annual fee. The representative APR when you make purchases on the card is 25.7%.

What changes for existing Platinum charge card holders?

Nothing.

Sweet and simple. 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.

American Express Amex Platinum card credit card versuse charge 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?

Good question.

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.

Swap American Express Platinum charge card to credit card

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.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibly to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (79)

  • Jbc says:

    I gave the Amex Plat. I gave 1 x sup cardholder. My son is 18. If I got him a Gold Supplementary card would he also get 2 free lounge passes per year like the Amex Gold credit Card?

    • Maples says:

      I don’t think so.

      • Rob says:

        No – that is a Preferred Rewards Gold benefit, not a Gold benefit (the fact that the two cards are indentical doesn’t help this discussion I admit!)

    • jamesjingyi says:

      No, the only benefit of the Gold card is the travel insurance, which was only available on the Platinum Charge card which has now been replaced by the Platinum Credit

  • C says:

    These changes are a big downgrade to save money with the loss of free additional supp cardholders for the travel insurance and to make money with the high interests rates.

    @ Rob : Wife and I have our own individual platinum card. Would you recommend both people to hold the cards or is one person enough since the benefits are being shared.

    • Maples says:

      Not Rob but I actually don’t see much point in both of you having Platinum card each.

      My plan was to get the Plat card, give the supp cards out to my partner and family. Then, my OH can get the Gold card or BAPP for increased points earnings.

    • Rob says:

      You don’t need it for the travel insurance or lounge access (unless you have, say, adult kids and you want to give your free supplementary card to them).

      I suppose if you double up on Harvey Nichols and the dining credit it is close to washing its face but you’re probably still paying more than necessary.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      “to make money with the high interests rates.”
      If Amex can make plenty of money off the diorganised/foolish who carry a balance (i.e. do it in a way that doesn’t cost me a penny) then I’m all in favour as it gives them more wiggle room to preserve or improve benefits without raising fees.

  • Swissy says:

    I wonder how referrals would work with existing Plat Charge Card holders ?

    • Andrew J says:

      The same way they always do – you can refer someone to any Amex card.

    • Justin says:

      Existing Plat card holders can refer others to the new Plat Credit card version.

      Source: My Plat referral for the Credit Card version shows as 65k with the £200 AmEx travel credit.

  • vol says:

    Noting the new s75 benefits, but the lack of additional supp cards is disappointing I think for this new card

    • Harrier25 says:

      In my view, Amex has become good at taking good products and instead of enhancing them they are making them worse.

  • Iainm says:

    Slightly off topic, but just got my £150 credit after a visit to Bread Street in Edinburgh at the weekend.
    Would love to say the meal was great…but great offer on the Platinum card and credited in days

  • Sam says:

    Can I just confirm, that if it is true that as a main Platinum charge card holder I can apply for up to 4 gold suppl cards for free?

  • Nick says:

    So. I have the basic fee free Amex which I have had for over 2 years. I also have the BA Amex Card. If I change to the Platinum card it will be a credit not charge card? I will get the 60,000 points? But the credit card does not give me the dining credit? Thanks

    • Rob says:

      When you say ‘basic’ Amex you mean ‘The Basic Card’? Does this give you Membership Rewards points? If it does, you don’t get the Platinum bonus. If it doesn’t give points, you qualify.

      Plat only comes as a credit card. You will get the dining credit regardless of whether you qualify for the 60k points + £200 travel credit.

  • Cate says:

    First off, thanks for the info/guidance! I applied for the Platinum card on 2 August and the application was approved at 22.36 on 2 August. The new deal is offered on applications made after 00.01 on 3 August, so 84 minutes after my application was approved and within 24h of my actual application. Obviously, had I known they would double the sign on bonus, I would have waited a day to apply… I’ve called and written to Amex asking them to honor the new sign on bonus, but they have told me NO which I think is ridiculous and unfair. No consolation prize of any kind. Any other ideas on how I can appeal to them? FWIW I’ve been loyal Amex member for over a decade.

    • Rob says:

      You could cancel under the 14 cooling off period. However, what isn’t clear is – just because you are in the cooling off period – whether Amex would ‘forget’ you applied and therefore let you immediately reapply and get the full bonus. The big risk is that they treat you as having had a Membership Rewards card in the last 2 years and give you nothing for the 2nd application.

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