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American Express Platinum credit card launched with the biggest ever sign up bonus

American Express is offering its biggest sign-up bonus ever on its new Platinum credit card.

New customers who sign up for the Platinum Card before 25 October 2022 and spend £6,000 in the first six months will receive a whopping 60,000 membership points.

They will also receive £200 credit to spend online with American Express Travel, the company’s online travel booking portal, which can be used for 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 get the most out of their rewards in a way that works best for them - from shopping to gift cards to vacations abroad

Membership rewards points give American Express users the flexibility to get the most out of their rewards in a way that works best for them – from shopping to gift cards to vacations abroad

While the card offers benefits, it’s vital to stay on top of paying the bill while you’re at it. If you do not follow these rules, you will have to pay sky-high interest.

The benefits don’t just stop at the bonus. Card membership also includes £300 restaurant credit, travel insurance and lounge access.

Cardholders can earn one Membership Reward Point for every £1 they spend, and two points for every purchase on Amex Travel.

Amex recently announced that the Platinum card will change from a debit card to a traditional credit card for all new cardholders.

While existing cardholders are not eligible for the sign-up offer, they will at least benefit from an enhanced invite a friend referral bonus.

Customers now receive 24,000 membership points, double the previous 12,000, for a successful referral.

It is possible to collect up to 90,000 Membership Reward Points in any given year through referrals alone.

The invited friend will receive 5,000 bonus reward points, bringing their total welcome bonus to a minimum of 65,000 points if they spend £6,000 in the first six months.

While the points on offer are tempting, the card also comes with a hefty annual fee of £575.

Spend and save: Amex cardholders can now get back up to £100 a year when they spend at Harvey Nichols - a new benefit announced in January 2022

Spend and save: Amex cardholders can now get back up to £100 a year when they spend at Harvey Nichols - a new benefit announced in January 2022

Spend and save: Amex cardholders can now get back up to £100 a year when they spend 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 charge card or in a new credit card format, offers a large number of advantages.

That includes worldwide travel insurance for the cardholder and their family, as well as the option to add additional cardholders.

However, with the new credit card, this has been reduced to just one additional cardholder.

It also gives £150 to spend in select UK restaurants, a further £150 in restaurants abroad, up to £100 a year back when spending at Harvey Nichols and hotel benefits including free room upgrades on arrival.

Amex turns Platinum into a coupon book for the middle class

Rob Burgess, headforpoints.com

Another popular benefit is access to the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program, Priority Pass. In total, cardholders have access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in 140 countries.

Rob Burgess, editor of the frequent flyer and loyalty points website headforpoints.com says: “Amex turns Platinum into a coupon book for the middle class.

‘It’s about changing from a status symbol to something that you can realistically look at on pure value for money.

‘Is full travel insurance for your family, airport lounge access, status with four chain hotels, access to Eurostar lounges, £100 Harvey Nichols credit, £300 dinner credit and £120 Addison Lee credit worth £575 per year or not? It’s now a simple yes or no question.’

Should existing Platinum cardholders switch?

Existing Platinum card members won’t get the sign-up bonus for switching from the debit card to the new credit card – but it can be an advantage to do so.

Charge cards can help build credit and earn rewards just like traditional credit cards, but unlike credit cards, the charge card balance must be paid off in full each month or the cardholder has to pay a fee.

Credit cards allow cardholders to transfer a large portion of their balance each month, as long as they make the minimum payment each month as determined by your credit card company.

Another difference is that debit cards do not have a fixed credit limit, like credit cards.

Instead, the issuer can set a person’s purchasing power based on their purchase behavior and payment history, and their debit card can be declined if a purchase exceeds it.

According to Rob Burgess, there are pros and cons for existing cardholders to consider before switching from debit card to credit card.

The good news is that credit card purchases have Section 75 protection that is legally binding, unlike Amex’s voluntary debit card scheme.

‘Of course you can now roll over a balance on the credit card, but the interest is so high that you would have to be a complete idiot to do that. With the charge 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 current five they enjoy.

‘For some people that is a big problem, because everyone who gets a supplementary card gets full travel insurance for the whole family.

‘For example, I could give my brother a free Gold top-up on my Platinum charge card and suddenly his whole family has travel insurance. You can’t do that now.’

Where can you spend Amex points for the best deals

Amex allows you to convert points into rewards through a range of shopping, travel and lifestyle partners, but how valuable the points are ultimately depends on how you choose to redeem them.

When redeeming points for gift cards at stores such as Amazon, Selfridges or Currys, each point is worth 0.5 pence. For example, 60,000 points is enough for a £300 gift card from Amazon.

Meanwhile, you can secure up to 0.8 pence per membership reward point when you convert American Express points into Nectar.

To achieve this, you need to transfer Amex points to BA Avios points and then back to Nectar. Each BA Avios point can be exchanged for 1.6 Nectar points.

Since a Nectar point is worth 0.5p, if you transfer through Avios you get 0.8p per Amex point (ie 0.5px 1.6).

For frequent flyers, points can be transferred to any of Amex’s airlines or hotel partners.

Jetting off: When it comes to travel, membership points can be used on a number of airline partners, including British Airways

Jetting off: When it comes to travel, membership points can be used on a number of airline partners, including British Airways

Jetting off: When it comes to travel, membership points can be used on a number of airline partners, including British Airways

The airline ratio is 1:1, meaning that for every 10,000 points customers transfer, they get 1,000 airline miles. Most experts believe that with proper use, you should be able to get 1 cent per frequent flyer mile.

Amex’s airline partners include British Airways, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates.

You can also transfer points to the Hilton, Marriott and Radisson hotel programs and to Club Eurostar.

You can learn more about Amex’s travel and hotel partners here.

Burgess adds: ‘Frankly, for the first year it’s a no-brainer if you can meet the spending target of £6000 in the first six months,’ says Burgess.

“If you kept it for a year, you’d get a minimum of £480 worth of the 60k points bonus (convert them to Nectar and you’ll get £480 in credit, so this is the worst case scenario).

Then you add £200 Amex Travel credit, £600 dinner credit (as it resets on January 1, £100 Harvey Nichols credit, travel insurance, airport lounge access.

“If you have a typical middle-class lifestyle with quite a bit of travel, then that – at least the first year – is a no-brainer, isn’t it?”

What should users pay attention to?

The annual cost of £575 is clearly the most important factor to consider when deciding whether the card is good value.

Apart from that, the bonus offer is only available if you have not had a personal membership or a rewards-enrolled American Express card in the past two years.

If you have had such a card in the past two years, you are entitled to all other card benefits, with the exception of the welcome offer.

As with all credit cards, it’s important to pay it off every month to avoid getting stung by high interest charges.

The credit card purchase rate is 25.7 percent, which is the interest charged when you use your credit card to make purchases, and only applies if the balance is not paid off each month.

The APR is a representative 437.9 percent, which is significantly affected by the card fee of £575. APRs are calculated by adding the interest to the card fee.

Plus, it’s worth knowing that some UK retailers don’t accept Amex due to the fact that it charges them around 3 percent for every sale they make.

There are now over 35,000 UK retailers that accept Amex. Amex also claims it has more small businesses on its network than ever before, up 20 percent in the past year.

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