American Express is offering its largest sign-up bonus ever on its new Platinum Credit Card.
New customers who sign up for the Platinum Card by 25 October and spend £6,000 in the first six months will receive a whopping 60,000 Membership Rewards points.
They will also receive a £200 credit for online spending at American Express Travel, the company’s online travel booking portal, which can be allocated to flight and hotel bookings – as long as they reach the minimum spend of £6,000.
One expert said, “Amex is turning Platinum into a coupon book for middle-class people.”
Membership Rewards Points give American Express users the flexibility to make the most of their rewards in the way that best suits them – from shopping to gift vouchers to holidays abroad
Although the card comes with benefits, it is essential that you stay up to date on bill payments. Failure to follow these rules means paying high interest.
The benefits don’t stop at just the reward. Card membership also includes £300 restaurant credit, travel insurance and lounge access.
Cardholders can earn 1 membership reward point for every £1 spent, and 2 points for any purchase made on Amex Travel.
Amex recently announced that the Platinum Card will change from a charge card to a traditional credit card for all new card members.
While existing Cardmembers will not be eligible for the sign-up offer, they will at least benefit from the enhanced Refer a Friend referral bonus.
Customers will now earn 24,000 Membership Rewards points, double the previous 12,000 points, for a successful referral.
It is possible to accumulate a maximum of 90,000 Membership Reward points from referrals alone in a given year.
The invited friend will receive an additional 5,000 bonus points, taking their total welcome bonus to at least 65,000 points, if they spend £6,000 in the first six months.
Although the points on offer are bewildering, the card also comes with a hefty annual fee of £575.
Spend and save: Amex cardholders can now get up to £100 a year when spending at Harvey Nichols – a new benefit announced in January 2022
What else does the card offer?
The Platinum Card, whether in the form of a credit card or a new credit card, comes with a wealth of benefits.
This includes worldwide travel insurance for the Cardmember and their family, as well as the ability to add supplementary Cardmembers.
However, in the case of the new credit card, it was cut for only one additional card member.
It also gives away £150 to spend at selected restaurants in the UK, a further £150 at restaurants abroad, up to £100 per annum when spending at Harvey Nichols and hotel benefits including free room upgrades on arrival.
Amex is turning Platinum into a coupon book for middle class folks
Rob Burgess, headforpoints.com
Another popular benefit is access to the world’s largest independent airport lounge entry program, Priority Pass. In total, cardholders have access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in 140 countries.
“Amex is turning Platinum into a coupon book for middle-class folks,” says Rob Burgess, headforpoints.com editor for frequent flyers and loyalty points.
It transforms from a status symbol into something you can take a realistic look at on a pure value for money basis.
Is full travel insurance for your family, airport lounge access, status with four hotel chains, access to a Eurostar lounge, £100 Harvey Nichols credit, £300 food credit and £120 Addison Lee credit valued at £575 per year or not? It is now a simple yes or no question.
Should existing Platinum Card members switch?
Existing Platinum Card members will not receive the sign-up bonus for switching from a debit card to a new credit card – but there may be an advantage in doing so.
Charge cards can help build credit and earn rewards just like traditional credit cards – but unlike credit cards, the credit card balance must be paid off in full each month, otherwise the cardholder will incur a fee.
With credit cards, cardholders can keep a large portion of their balance each month as long as they make the minimum payment each month as set by your credit card issuer.
Another difference is that charge cards do not come with a specific credit limit like credit cards.
Alternatively, the issuer can set a person’s purchasing power based on their purchasing behavior and payment history, and their debit card can be declined if the purchase exceeds it.
According to Rob Burgess, there are pros and cons that existing cardholders should consider before moving from credit card to credit card.
The good news is that purchases on a credit card have Section 75 protections and are legally binding, unlike Amex’s voluntary scheme on a debit card.
You can of course now carry over a balance on the credit card but the interest rate is so high that you need to be a complete idiot to do that. With a debit card, you had to pay it off every month.
The bad news is that they will now be limited to one additional card on the Platinum Credit Card, not the five existing cards they have.
This is a big deal for some people, because everyone who gets a supplementary card gets full travel insurance for their entire family.
I can, for example, give my brother a free gold bonus on my platinum credit card and suddenly his entire family has travel insurance. You can’t do that now.
Where to spend Amex Points to get the best deals
Amex allows you to convert points into rewards across a range of shopping, travel and lifestyle partners, but how valuable the points are will ultimately depend on how you choose to redeem them.
When redeeming points for gift cards at stores like Amazon, Selfridges or Currys, each point is worth 0.5p. For example, 60,000 points is enough for a £300 Amazon gift card.
Meanwhile, you can secure up to 0.8p per Membership Rewards point if you convert your American Express points to Nectar.
To achieve this, you need to convert your Amex points into BA Avios points, and then back into Nectar. Each Avios point can be redeemed for the value of 1.6 Nectar Points.
Since a Nectar point is worth 0.5p, you get 0.8p per Amex point (that’s 0.5p 1.6) if you convert via Avios.
For frequent flyers, points can be transferred to any of Amex’s partner airlines or hotels.
Take off: When it comes to travel, Membership Rewards points can be used with a number of airline partners including British Airways
The airlines ratio is 1:1 which means that for every 10,000 points customers transfer, they will earn 1,000 airline miles. Most experts believe you should be able to get a penny per frequent flyer mile if used well.
Amex’s airline partners include British Airways, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates Airlines.
You can also transfer points to Hilton, Marriott and Radisson hotel programs and to the Eurostar Club.
You can learn more about Amex’s travel and hotel partners here.
“Honestly, for the first year, it’s a no-brainer if you can hit the £6,000 spending target in the first six months,” says Burgess.
If you keep it for a year, you’ll get at least £480 worth of your 60k bonus points (switch it to Nectar and you’ll get £480 worth of credit, so that’s the worst case).
Then I added £200 Amex Travel credit, £600 dining credit (when reset January 1st), £100 Harvey Nichols credit, travel insurance and airport lounge access.
“If you’re living a typical middle-class lifestyle with a good deal of travel, then — for the first year at least — it’s a no-brainer, right?”
What should users be wary of?
The annual fee of £575 is clearly the key factor to be aware of when deciding whether the card offers good value.
Aside from that, the bonus offer is only available if you have not held a personal membership or a rewards registered American Express Card within the past two years.
If you have held such a card within the past two years, you will be entitled to all other benefits of the card, with the exception of the welcome offer.
As with all credit cards, it’s important to pay it off each month to avoid being stung by high interest charges.
The credit card purchase rate is 25.7 percent, which is the interest rate charged when you use your credit card to make purchases, and only applies if the balance is not paid off each month.
The annual interest rate is 437.9 per cent representative, which is most affected by the card’s £575 fee. The APR is calculated by adding the interest rate to the card fee.
Additionally, it should be noted that some UK retailers do not accept Amex due to the fact that it charges them a fee of around 3 percent for every sale they make.
There are now over 35,000 retailers in the UK that accept Amex. Amex also claims to have more small businesses on its network than ever before, after seeing a 20 percent increase over the past year.
That’s five money from the best checking accounts
Chase Bank You will pay 1% cash back on spending for the first 12 months. Customers also get access to an easy-to-access linked savings account paying 1.5% on balances of up to £250,000. The account is completely free to set up and is completely app based. Also, there are no fees when using the card abroad.
Lloyds club account Offers £150 in free cash when switching. It also pays 0.6% on balances of up to £4,000 and 1.5% on balances of £4,000 – £5,000. There is a £3 monthly account fee to be paid. But this is waived every month you pay £1,500 or more.
An account provided by HSBC Pay £200 on exchange. Simply set up 2 direct debits and deposit £1,500 into the account within 60 days of opening it.
direct first Will give newcomers £175 when they switch accounts. It also offers an overdraft of £250 without interest. Customers must pay at least £1,000 within three months of opening the account.
Flex Direct Nationwide It comes with the account Cash incentive of up to £200 for new and existing customers. Plus 5% interest up to £1,500 – The highest interest rate on any checking account – if you pay at least £1,000 per month, plus a no-fee overdraft. Both of the latter franchises last for a year.
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