Further Changes to American Express Sign Up Bonuses
If the recent changes to the American Express sign up bonuses wasn’t enough, requiring customers who’ve previously held a card to wait 24 months (increased from 6 months), American Express have announced that they will be making further changes to the sign up and referral bonuses of some of our favourite credit cards.
The credit cards impacted are the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card, American Express Rewards Credit Cards and the American Express Platinum Credit Card. Let’s take a look at a the damage…
Changes to Amex Sign Up Bonuses
Of the three cards mentioned, only the American Express Gold Card and American Express Rewards Credit Cards have had their sign up bonuses changed. Each one now only offers half the bonus they did less than a week ago…
American Express Gold Card
We raved about the old bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points and for good reason. It was by far the most generous sign up bonus of any free credit card in the UK market. Now offering 10,000 Membership Rewards points (or 12,000 if you’re referred) the card is far less attractive than it was a week ago.
A further change to the sign up bonus is the requirement to now spend £3,000 in the first 3 months compared with £2,000 historically. I know most people just about managed to make £2,000 of purchases over the 3 month period but £3,000 is likely to be a game changer for the average household.
American Express Rewards Credit Cards
Standard Rewards – The sign up bonus has dropped from 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £1,000 in the first 3 months to 5,000 MR points when you spend an increased amount of £2,000 in the first 3 months.
Low Rate – The old bonus of 5,000 MR points has now been reduced to 2,500 MR points. Similarly the 3 month spend threshold has increased from £500 to £1,000.
There are no increased sign up bonuses for the American Express Rewards Credit Cards if you’re referred.
Changes to the American Express Refer-a-Friend Bonus
Further changes include the devaluation of the refer-a-friend scheme.
Gold cardholders will now receive 6,000 MR points compared with 9,000 MR points historically.
Platinum cardholders will no longer receive the excellent benefit of 18,000 MR points for referring any American Express card. This has been reduced to 12,000 MR points.
The cap of 90,000 MR points remains the same. For those who are quicker than me at maths you’ll have noticed that 12,000 doesn’t go into 90,000 and as such on the last referral Platinum cardholders will receive a reduced rate of 6,000 MR points.
Thrifty Points’ Thoughts
With the loss of a considerable number of third party American Express branded credit cards it wasn’t going to be long until Amex realised they had gained a monopoly on the UK credit card market.
With limited competition and American Express quite literally holding all the cards, I’m slightly surprised it’s taken them this long to devalue our beloved points earning credit cards.
Now not all is lost but this coupled with the ‘24 month rule’ does throw a small spanner in the works if you’re hoping to earn enough points for a First Class redemption – as we’ve historically written about here.
However assuming that a couple could spend say £10,000 each on a credit card each year, this may still (just) be possible. Let’s take a look how this could be achieved.
- Both couples sign up to the American Express Gold credit card benefiting from the 12,000 MR points (verses the ordinary 10,000) using this link. This doesn’t need to be at the same time and you may want to phase sign ups to ensure you can spend £3,000 in the first 3 months across both cards. You’ll earn a further 3,000 MR points each for your credit card spend. Total Points: 30,000 MR points
- Sign up to the British Airways Premium Plus using this link and spend a further £3,000 in 3 months to receive 26,000 points (if you’re not referred you’ll receive 25,000 points).
- Add your partner as a supplementary cardholder to earn a further 3,000 Avios and allow you both to contribute towards the 2-4-1 voucher awarded once you’ve spent £10,000 on the card.
- If all the remaining £14,000 of the couples credit card spending (total £20,000 less £6,000 on the two gold cards) goes on the BA Premium Plus card they’d receive 21,000 points (at 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent). Total Points: 50,000 Avios points.
- COMBINED TOTAL: 80,000 Avios points
As can be seen above it’s possible for a couple to earn somewhere in the region of 80,000 Avios points in a year which combined with the 2-4-1 rewards redemption voucher would effectively allow a couple to redeem a rewards flight which would usually cost 160,000 Avios. Let’s see some examples of where two people could fly with BA (use our BA Avios calculator to see all options)…
|First Class||80,000 – Peak – Abu Dhabi, New York, Chicago, Bermuda, Lagos, Dubai|
68,000 – Off Peak – Abu Dhabi, New York, Chicago, Bermuda, Lagos, Dubai
|Business Class||75,000 – Peak – Male, Johannesburg, St Kitts, San Diego|
75,000 – Off Peak – Rio De Janeiro, Osaka, Mauritius
Whilst the changes are likely to impact the number of times you’ll be able to redeem these flights, if used correctly the new sign up bonuses can still earn the average couple enough Avios points to be able to redeem that luxury once in a life time flight… phew!