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(SUSPENDED) Are you going to cancel an Amex card before fee refunds are scrapped?

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EDIT: Amex has now suspended these changes until at least 2024. See our top story.

American Express has traditionally offered one feature which other UK credit card companies did not.

If you took out a card with an upfront annual fee, you would receive a pro-rata fee refund if you cancelled your card part-way through the year.

This feature ends on Sunday 1st October for most cards.

You will still be allowed to cancel your card but you won’t get any portion of the annual fee back.

Does this change apply to all American Express cards?


The change only impacts credit cards.

If you still hold a charge card – although all personal charge cards have been withdrawn from the market over the last couple of years for new applicants – then nothing changes. You will still be able to cancel it at any point for a pro-rata fee refund.

The two core small business cards – Business Gold and Business Platinum – are charge cards and will not be impacted by this change.

How will this change the card market?

That’s a good question, especially as you also need to factor in the appeal of competing products – the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard, for example, has a fee of £20 per month and so can be cancelled at any time without penalty.

Let’s look at a few of the cards:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is free for the first year, so the appeal of this card (you receive 20,000 Membership Rewards points as a sign-up bonus, £120 of Deliveroo credit and four airport lounge passes) is unchanged.

The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card is more complex, but at a non-refundable £575 for the first year it remains a good proposition. In year one you would get 30,000 Membership Rewards points bonus, up to £600 of dining credit, £150 of Harvey Nichols credit, two Priority Passes, travel insurance etc.

During special offers such as the recent ‘60,000 points + £200 of Amex Travel credit’ promotion it becomes exceptional value for the first year, even at the full £575.

No more pro-rata fee refunds for UK American Express cardholders

British Airways Premium Plus American Express

The British Airways Premium Plus card becomes less attractive for a quick pump and dump, with the 25,000 Avios bonus equalling but not exceeding the £250 annual fee on our valuation.

However, because of the value of the annual 2-4-1 companion voucher, it is by far the most common card for HfP readers to keep for the long term. I doubt many people who read HfP cancel this card quickly.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

Most HfP readers who have the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card will have it because of the 15 free elite night credits you receive. This is an annual benefit, and anyone who gets the card purely for the elite nights is probably in it for the long haul.

The 15 elite nights even count towards lifetime status.

What am I doing?

I am not looking to cancel anything before next Sunday.

My wife and I both have a British Airways American Express Premium Plus card. These generate 2 x 2-4-1 companion vouchers annually, which is ideal for our family of four. I treat these as ‘long term holds’.

I also have The Platinum Card. I have held this for many years and I still feel I make a ‘profit’ from the annual fee. The £300 annual dining credit and £100 of Harvey Nichols credit is money I would spend anyway, and I easily get value from the travel insurance, car hire insurance, Fine Hotels & Resorts hotel benefits etc. Nothing will change here.

My Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is also a keeper. I am only about five years short of Lifetime Platinum status in Marriott Bonvoy, and the 15 elite night credits I receive each year from holding the card is a key part of achieving that. The £75 fee is also easily justified by the semi-regular Marriott Bonvoy cashback offers (the new one is £100 back on £250 of Marriott spend) and the six points per £1 I earn for UK Marriott spend.

The only card we could drop is my wife’s Preferred Rewards Gold card. However, as this is the old charge card version, we will retain the right to cancel this at any point for a pro-rata refund so there’s no rush to act here. I also feel that we get value from this via the Deliveroo credit and the fact that Amex Gold seems to have FAR more cashback offers than any of our other cards.

No more pro-rata fee refunds for UK American Express cardholders

What should you think about before cancelling?

Here are the answers to a few common questions about card cancellations:

Preferred Rewards Gold / The Platinum Card:

  • your Membership Rewards account will be closed shortly after you have closed your last Membership Rewards-earning card – you will need to transfer your points out. This may impact your willingness to cancel.
  • your Priority Pass airport lounge card will be cancelled as soon as you cancel your card
  • for Platinum, you will retain your hotel status cards until the end of the year and potentially longer

British Airways Premium Plus:

  • if you downgrade to the free British Airways American Express, your card year remains the same and your ‘spend to date’ towards your next companion voucher is carried over
  • irrespective of what you may be told by Amex, any unused 2-4-1 companion vouchers should remain in your British Airways Executive Club account (the card T&C contradict this and say they will be removed but in reality this is what has always happened for the past 20 years – although of course you do this at your own risk, and have no recourse if they are removed now or in the future. The risk free option is to downgrade to the free BA card.)
  • you do not need a British Airways American Express card to pay the taxes when you redeem your 2-4-1 voucher (and the new T&C confirm this) but you will need AN American Express card of some sort. This does not necessarily need to be in your name as Amex does not do name verification as a security check.

Will this strategy work for Amex?

My gut feeling is that American Express will see an improvement in the ‘quality’ of cardholders who sign up for The Platinum Card and – for non-HfP readers who don’t understand the value of the 2-4-1 voucher – the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card.

The acceptance criteria for The Platinum Card has already been tightened up this year by bringing in a £35,000 minimum income criteria – presumably to meet new FCA rules on ensuring products are not missold – but this obviously goes further.

It remains to be seen if blocking British Airways Premium Plus refunds will make the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard more attractive for people looking for their first Avios credit card.

These changes probably won’t make much difference to the attractiveness of cards during special promotions. If Amex brought back the recent offer of ‘60,000 Membership Rewards points + £200’ which recently ran on The Platinum Card then it remains a no-brainer, especially with up to £750 of dining and Harvey Nichols credit thrown in during the first year, even at a sunk cost of £575.

What interests me is whether some people will still choose to cancel their cards quickly even when they don’t get a fee refund. This would make sense in some scenarios, since the quicker you cancel, the quicker the two year clock for reapplying comes around.

There is some upside too. It is possible that American Express will increase sign-up bonuses further on its paid cards because it knows that cardholders are committed to a full year. Let’s see what happens over the next few months.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

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: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can 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 – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 bonus points 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:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (202)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • barracuda says:

    Just got off a call with Amex re BAPP:

    1) Was told that I can cancel up to the 4th of November without paying a fee, as there is a 30 day grace period from the statement end date – mine is the 5th October
    2) No retention offer made as I had taken a previous retention offer on 12 Oct 22 – so was told to call back later
    3) Offered downgrade to blue

  • rtid says:

    I went on Amex chat and asked about my Platinum card, I was told after 2nd Oct no pro-rata refunds. however they offered me to move to a monthly fee

  • Ali m says:

    recently haven’t got any retention offers 🙁 here’s me thinking that the game maybe ‘up’ 😛 will be looking to re join in 2 years with a view to get a bonus with platinum and perhaps then keep platinum for good

  • namster says:

    amex gold, £160 annual due 31/10. Hold currently 27,000 reward points

    1) offered 10,000 reward points
    2) No option for blue card
    3) 30 days post cancel to transfer out


    1) should I stay or hold out for a better retention offer before 31st Oct
    2) where do you place 27,000 for best value long term ?

    • ken says:

      10K seems very fair for the Gold card, I’d have taken that, hard to imagine why they would offer more.

      for your existing points, surely just depends on your personal preference.

      • Vit says:

        I was offered 20k a couple day ago. Accepted as not eligible for upgrading to Plat this time around via the link. Thinking it may vary on how much you spent. I did more than £20k last 6 months.

  • Simey says:

    So downgrading from Premium Plus to free will retain my Premium Plus voucher (NOT replaced by lesser version?) and will also keep me right by T&Cs to use. We’ll still have 1 BAPP in the household anyhow. Am I right on this?

  • Chris says:

    When do we think the absolute latest time/day to cancel is?
    I’m awaiting a couple of transactions and statement credits to drop before cancelling.

  • Ben says:

    I’ve also been told just now that the pro rata is being extended by a year and an email went out to agents this morning.

    This was for my mother who has had her card for almost exactly two years, so would have got ten days of refund, and she got a 10K retention if she spends £3K in the next three months

    • Ryanfozzie says:

      Not sure that’s the case? I decided to ask the same 🙂

      “I have checked the details and as per the changes for all Credit Card products that have an annual fee, there will be no pro rata refund of the annual membership fee, when a customer cancel’s their account. The changes will be effect from 2nd October 2023.”

      • Ben says:

        I wasn’t saying it is correct, but I did ask to speak to someone who actually knew what the T&Cs are and was transferred from retentions to another department. She quoted me the email too…and I asked for a recording of the call. Well I didn’t but she was reasonably convincing and I said when are they letting customers know about this…she didn’t know.

        • Luca M says:

          As in my early reply, I have been told the same, albeit I was simply told postponed, not the length of time. I made a point that I was given misinformation in the past on the same chat, the person was adamant that this would not be the case this time and the chat record was there to stay

  • Ali says:

    Just got off phone. Decision was made this afternoon not to proceed with pro rata changes. Emails going out to members shortly.
    Offered and accepted 50k points for not cancelling Platinum.

    • Rob says:

      No, it was made a while back 🙂

      • Ali says:

        I’m sure you’re right as usual Rob. Other interesting thing was that I was on hold for about 10 minutes, and she was trying her best to rush the conversation without being rude. I imagine they’ve been overwhelmed with last day cancellations.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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