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Review: the two Amex Cashback credit cards

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This is our review of the two Amex Cashback credit cards, specifically the Amex Cashback Credit Card and the Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card.

Head for Points is primarily about earning airline miles or hotel loyalty points, and earning points via your credit card spend is an important part of that.  Our UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

It is important to take the occasional reality check, though. It is pointless (sic) collecting airline miles from a credit card if you could get a substantially better deal with a cashback credit card instead.

Review American Express Cashback Credit Card

With that in mind, this article looks at the Amex cashback offering. This consists of two different Amex Cashback credit cards.

This article was updated on 1st May 2024, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

Reward credit cards generally have high interest rates and are not suitable for anyone who does not pay off their full balance each month. If you do not clear your balance, you should look for a non-rewards credit card with a low interest rate.

Key legal information

Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card

The representative APR is 31.0% variable.

Apply here

Amex Cashback Credit Card

The representative APR is 36.7% variable, including the annual fee.  The representative APR on purchases is 31.0% variable.

Apply here

Which card is best for me?

As with all the credit cards we look at, you need to think separately about the sign-up bonus and the day-to-day return on your spending. There are actually two separate questions to consider:

“Is it worth getting the Amex Cashback cards just to benefit from the sign-up bonus?

and

“Is Amex Cashback a card I want to keep in my wallet for the long-term?”

What are the annual fees?

You can choose between a paid card and a less generous free card:

  • the standard Cashback card comes with a £25 annual fee
  • the Cashback Everyday card is free
Review American Express Cashback Credit Cards

What is the sign-up bonus?

Both cards have the usual generous American Express sign-up bonuses:

  • the Amex Cashback Credit Card pays you 5% back on your spending in the first three months, to a maximum spend of £2,500 (so capped at £125 back)
  • the Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card pays you 5% back on your spending in the first three months, to a maximum spend of £2,000 (so capped at £100 back)

As I will show, the free card is better in the long term for most people.

How much cashback do I earn?

The standard Cashback Credit Card (£25 fee) pays you cashback at the following rate:

  • in year 1, 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,500 of purchases
  • 0.75% back if you spend under £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)
  • 1.25% back on your spend over £10,000 from month 4 to month 12 (and annually thereafter)

The Cashback Everyday Credit Card (free) has a tiered system:

  • in Year 1, 5% cashback on all your spending in the first three months, up to £2,000 of purchases
  • 0.5% on the first £10,000 of spend from month 4 to month 12 (but you get nothing if you spend under £3,000)
  • 1% back on your spend over £10,000

Cashback is paid in a lump sum at the end of each card year.

In reality, you will receive less than the headline rate. American Express rounds down the commission on each transaction to the nearest 1p. For example, if you spend £3.99 on the Cashback Everyday Credit Card, Amex works out the commission at 0.5% (1.995p) and rounds it down to the nearest penny (1p). Your £3.99 transaction has earned you 1p rather than the 1.995p that the headline 0.5% cashback rate suggests.

Review American Express Cashback Credit Card

Which is the best Amex Cashback card to get?

Time for a quick bit of maths.

The break-even point for getting the £25 card is £10,000 of spending per year.

For modest spenders (ie those who would spend under £10,000 per year) you are better off with the free Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card.

For example:

  • spend £9,000 per year and you will receive £45 on the free Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card and £42.50 on the Amex Cashback Credit Card after adjusting for the £25 fee – the free card wins
  • spend £11,000 per year and you will receive £60 on the free Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card and £62.50 on the Amex Cashback Credit Card after adjusting for the £25 fee – the paid card wins

What are the rules for getting the sign-up bonus on an Amex Cashback Credit Card?

Most HfP readers will not qualify for the sign-up bonus, unfortunately.

The bonus is only available to customers who have not held a personal American Express card in the previous 24 months.  This article looks at which Amex sign-up bonuses you may still be eligible for.

You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits.

Are the American Express Cashback Credit Cards any good?

What more should I know about the Amex Cashback credit cards?

You do not receive your cashback month by month. Instead, it is paid onto your Amex statement at the end of each card year.

This makes it more difficult to cancel the cashback card with the £25 annual fee, because you will be tied in to paying the fee for the following year.

You can apply for the card with a minimum personal income of just £20,000.

What alternative cards are worth a look?

The American Express Cashback credit cards are the highest paying cashback cards currently available in the UK.

However, American Express is not accepted everywhere, and you will need a Visa or Mastercard as a fall-back option.

Here are some typical earning rates for general spending, although you may earn more for spending at the company which issues the card:

  • the John Lewis Partnership card pays 0.25% in vouchers
  • the Barclaycard Rewards card pays 0.25% in cash and has 0% FX fees
  • the Lloyds Bank Cashback card pays 0.25% to 0.5% in cash
  • the Marks & Spencer card pays 0.2% in vouchers
  • the Sainsbury’s Nectar card pays 0.1% in Nectar points

Where do I apply?

The application form for the Amex Cashback Credit Card (£25 fee) is here.

The application form for the Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card (no fee) is here.

Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card

Bonus: 5% cashback (to £100) for three months

Read our full review

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 31.0% APR variable

See if you qualify for the 5% cashback sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5% cashback on purchases on the Amex Cashback Everyday Credit 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 Amex Cashback Everyday Credit 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 +

The Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card 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 Amex Cashback Credit Card instead.  The cashback rate is higher and you are better off even after paying the annual fee.

You need a minimum personal income of £20,000 to apply for the card.

Amex Cashback Credit Card

Bonus: 5% cashback (to £125) for three months

Read our full review

Other information:

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

Representative 36.7% APR variable based on an assumed £1,200 credit limit and £25 annual fee. Interest rate on purchases 31.0% APR variable.

See if you qualify for the 5% cashback sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5% cashback on purchases on the Amex Cashback Credit 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 Amex Cashback Credit 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 +

The Amex Cashback Credit Card 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 Amex Cashback Everyday Credit Card instead.  The cashback rate is lower but this is offset by the lack of any annual fee.

You need a minimum personal income of £20,000 to apply for the card.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility 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.

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