Back in 2016, American Express removed the minimum income requirements from its UK personal and small business cards.
The plan was to take a more holistic view of your finances. A single person living at home on a £25,000 salary has a totally different disposable income profile to someone who is married with two kids and a mortgage taking home £35,000. Setting a strict cut-off level was seen as a blunt instrument.
For whatever reason, potentially linked to new FCA customer duty regulations, American Express has decided that this structure was no longer workable.
Minimum income requirements have now returned.
That said, they are not exactly tough. Someone on minimum wage doing 40 hours per week will still qualify for most cards. The real losers are the retired and non-working partners, as the requirement is based on your personal income. High savings or a high household income are no longer enough.
These are the new PERSONAL income requirements.
- Preferred Rewards Gold – £20,000
- British Airways (free card) – £20,000
- Platinum Cashback – £20,000
- Platinum Cashback Everyday – £20,000
- Nectar – £20,000
- Marriott Bonvoy – £20,000
- American Express Rewards – £20,000
- Business Gold – £20,000 (personal income, not company)
- The Platinum Card – £35,000
- British Airways Premium Plus – £35,000
- Business Platinum – £35,000 (personal income, not company)
It’s worth comparing these numbers to the 2016 levels, remembering that we’ve probably seen 25%+ wage inflation since then.
The Platinum Card was £40,000 in 2016 but is now £35,000. The Marriott Bonvoy American Express was £30,000 in 2016 but is now £20,000.
The only big jump is the British Airways Premium Plus card, which was available on a £20,000 income in 2016 but now requires £35,000.
The other personal cards were £20,000 in 2016 and remain at £20,000 now, so the income requirement is far lower in real terms.
For HfP readers, these limits are unlikely to make much difference to those in work but are likely to hit the retired or those applying on behalf on non-full time working partners or their student children.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.