American Express has introduced a raft of new changes affecting the sign-up bonuses on selected cards and their refer-a-friend scheme with immediate effect.
It’s fair to say that the last 30 days haven’t been a great time to be a miles and points enthusiast in the UK. First, Amex made huge changes to their rules surrounding eligibility for new customer bonuses. With a couple of exceptions, to be eligible for a sign-up bonus, you now cannot have held a personal American Express card of any kind in the last 24 months. Perhaps, more importantly, they also scrapped ‘card families’. For more on those changes, see this article.
Those changes, though not entirely unanticipated (many believed the previous ‘six-month rule’ was far too generous to survive), took many people by surprise and the shakeup doesn’t stop there it would seem. Overnight, American Express has rolled out further cuts.
Sign-up bonus changes
The cards affected by this latest round of changes are:
Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card (Amex Gold)
Old bonus – 20,000 Membership Rewards points (22,000 if referred by an existing cardholder) when you spend £2,000 in the first three months of card membership.
New bonus – 10,000 Membership Rewards points (12,000 if referred by an existing cardholder) when you spend £3,000 in the first three months of card membership.
Representative 57.6% APR variable. Based on purchases rate 22.9% p.a. variable, an assumed credit limit of £1,200 and a £140 annual fee.
Old bonus – 5,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £500 in the first three months of card membership.
New bonus – 2,500 Membership Rewards points when you spend £1,000 in the first three months of card membership.
Representative 9.9% APR variable. Based on a purchases rate of 9.9% p.a. variable and an assumed credit limit of £1,200.
Old bonus – 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £1,000 in the first three months of card membership.
New bonus – 5,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in the first three months of card membership.
Representative 22.9% APR variable. Based on a purchases rate of 22.9% p.a. variable and an assumed credit limit of £1,200.
For the time being, there have been no changes to the British Airways, SPG or Nectar credit card bonuses.
Old bonus – 9,000 Membership Rewards points
New bonus – 6,000 Membership Rewards points
The Platinum Card
Old bonus – 18,000 Membership Rewards points
New bonus – 12,000 Membership Rewards points
Note: the cap of 90,000 Membership Rewards points per calendar year for referrals made on a Gold/Platinum card remains the same.
As with the signup bonus changes above, there are no changes to the British Airways, SPG or Nectar credit card refer-a-friend bonuses.
Amex has been pushing the Amex Gold card for some time, seemingly in an attempt to broaden its appeal to a wider market. Today’s developments indicate a clear step change. I can’t immediately discern a reason for raising the spending requirement to £3,000 either. The British Airways Premium Plus card also requires £3,000 of spending to trigger the bonus but the difference between their sign-up bonuses is now huge (10,000 for the Gold card v 25,000 for the BA card).
As for referral bonuses, it has undoubtedly become harder to max out the 90,000 points per year cap with referral bonuses dropping. However, I personally prefer this change to reducing the cap entirely, which is what I was expecting to happen. This way, at least the option to earn 90,000 points is there if you can use it.
Not a great month for miles and points collecting in the UK then – are Amex done or are further changes still to come? That remains to be seen.
What do you make of these latest Amex changes?
Header image credit: Timofeev Sergey / Shutterstock.com