Last week, I began taking a closer look at cashback credit cards, specifically, the American Express Platinum Cashback cards.
Today, attention turns to the American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card.
This card offers 5% cashback on all of your purchases (capped at £125) in the first three months of card membership.
As Amex welcome bonuses go, I don’t rank this offer particularly highly. The Amex Gold card, for example, offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 20,000 Avios or Virgin miles) when you apply and spend £2,000 in the first three months.
If you were deciding between applying for the Platinum Cashback card or the Amex Gold card purely based on welcome bonuses, the Amex Platinum Cashback card doesn’t put up much of a fight.
Am I eligible for the welcome bonus?
You are eligible for the sign-up bonus UNLESS you hold or have held any of the Amex Cashback cards in the last six months.
You WILL still receive the sign-up bonus on this card if you hold/have held the Amex Gold/Platinum, BA Amex cards, Starwood card or Nectar Card.
There are NO minimum income requirements to be eligible for any cards issued by American Express. This restriction was removed a number of years ago.
This card has a £25 annual fee.
Like other American Express card products that carry an annual fee, this fee is refundable pro-rata if you choose to cancel your card at any point.
Representative 28.2% APR variable. Based on purchases rate 22.9% p.a. variable and a £25 annual fee.
Day-to-day earnings rate
After your first three months of card membership are up, you’ll earn up to 1.25% cashback, depending on how much you spend on the Card:
Spend £0 to £10,000 and receive 1% cashback on purchases
Spend over £10,000 and receive 1.25% cashback on purchases
Unlike the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card, there is no yearly minimum spend requirement for your spending to be eligible for cashback.
Refer-a-friend for extra cashback
Much like many other American Express cards, there is a refer-a-friend system available on this card:
Earn a £30 bonus for each approved referral – up to £150 a year.
Here’s where the cashback card(s) really lose out. £30 per approved friend really isn’t all that appealing. You can also only receive bonuses for referring five people per calendar year.
In comparison, a British Airways Premium Plus cardholder will earn 9,000 Avios for every successful referral that they make, up to a maximum of 90,000 Avios per calendar year (i.e. nine referrals).
When do I receive my cashback?
The elephant in the room.
Like the American Express Platinum Everyday Credit Card, cashback is only paid once a year, in the month following your card anniversary date.
If you hold a different American Express card, such as the Amex Gold credit card, your rewards for card spend (Membership Rewards points in this case) are available to be redeemed within a couple of days of making a purchase. Even if you hold the free British Airways Credit Card, for example, your points are swept across to your British Airways Executive Club account once a month.
I’d be interested to know how readers feel, but personally speaking, I find it hard to get excited about a card where I have to wait many months to see a return on my spending.
Which is better – cashback or earning miles and points?
And so to the million dollar question. If you were hoping for a clear-cut answer to this one I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed. Because this is so highly subjective, I’ll simply list some of the factors you may want to consider.
The attraction of each one is pretty clear:
- Cashback offers the ultimate flexibility. There are no restrictions on when you can redeem £100 cashback for example, and no restrictions on where you can spend it either.
- On the other hand, using just 9,000 Avios for flights to Nice for the Monaco Grand Prix for example, when economy tickets can easily fetch £300-£500, clearly offers enormous value.
- Your financial situation may mean you’re conscious of every penny and prefer cashback as a way of paying less for things.
- Collecting airline miles has an aspirational aspect. They allow people to travel in business/first class when they would/could never dream of paying the often ludicrous cash prices for these cabins. Hotel points make luxury hotels similarly attainable. Cashback doesn’t help you because you could never justify using it to pay for business class travel/luxury accommodation.
- And so on
I’ll freely admit that miles and points are what I choose to focus on. It keeps me motivated and importantly, I’m confident that the value that I get from redeeming my points comfortably exceeds the equivalent cashback that I’ve chosen to forgo.
However, choosing to spend on a points-earning card with doesn’t mean I forgo cashback entirely. That’s where shopping portals/cashback sites come in. I tend to click through the Xexec discount portal to earn cashback and then pay using my points-earning card of choice.
If cashback is your thing, the Amex Platinum Cashback credit card offers a good return especially considering the minimal annual fee.
As with the Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card, the real let-down of this card is the fact that cashback is only paid once a year, after your card anniversary date. If you’re earning rewards on your spending, having to wait a year to see get access to them is not particularly encouraging.
Do you prefer earning cashback or miles/points on your spending?
Disclaimer: The information provided by Tricks of the Trade is intended solely as a helpful guide to relevant travel rewards card products and their various features and offers. You should always conduct your own research as recommendations provided within may not be suitable for your personal financial circumstances.