You’ll now pay more for to use Amex credit cards such as Platinum and Nectar
I’m a big fan of the benefits that come with some American Express credit cards. From cashback to free credit to travel insurance, they can be great additions to any wallet.
The problem is some of the cards also have annual fees – and some of those have just got a lot higher.
Combined with delayed but still forthcoming changes that stop you getting refunds if you cancel part way through a year, it might be time to question whether you’re getting value for money, or if there’s a cheaper alternative.
Here’s what you need to know.
What are the new Amex card fees?
The annual cost for five personal and one business American Express card has increased for new applicants from 11 October 2023. Here are the ones affected:
- Amex Platinum: £650 (was £575)
- Amex Preferred Reward Gold: £195 (was £160) / First year is still free
- Amex Nectar: £30 (was £25) / First year is still free
- Amex Marriot Bonvoy: £95 (was £75)
- Amex Harrods: £195 (was £160)
- Aex Preferred Rewards Gold Business: £195 (was £175) / First year is still free
Cards with no fee change include:
- Amex Platinum Cashback card: £25
- British Airways Amex Premium Plus: £250
And the following remain free:
- Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday
- Amex Rewards
- Vitality Amex
What if you already have one of these cards
If you already have one of the cards then you don’t need to worry just yet. The new price will apply when you hit your anniversary month on or after 29 February 2024.
So if you are billed at any point between now and 28 February you’ll pay the older and slightly lower fee.
You’ll of course have the option to reject the new price and cancel your card. If you do that you won’t pay anything at all – but your card will obviously close.
If you do this, make sure you’ve either used up any points on your account beforehand, or in the case of the Platinum or Gold cards, opened up the free Rewards card which will keep your points balance active.
What about pro-rata refunds?
I wrote earlier in the year about Amex’s plans to end the partial refund of card fees if you cancelled part way through a year. This was due to come into affect on 2 October 2023, but was quietly postponed a few days beforehand.
So for now, existing cardholders can still cancel their card and get some of the fee refunded. But that will all change once the new fee structure is in place.
However this won’t happen before 29 February 2024 and could be later. So both new and existing cardholders will still get a refund on what’s left if they cancel at any point before then.
Should you ditch your Amex card?
Once you pay these new charges for a card you’ll obviously be reducing the value of the cards. In some cases I’ve never recommended paying the fee, even at the previous prices.
The prime example here is the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card which doesn’t offer enough to justify paying £195. However, this card was and remains free in the first year, so it’s still a decent option as it can pay close to 1% back in rewards (if you swap earned points into Avios and then into Nectar points).
The now £30 you’ll pay from year two onwards for the Nectar Amex is also hard to justify. Though it does pay 1% back (in Nectar points), you can get that from Chase’s debit card for most of your spending. That’d mean you’re better off with a free cashback or reward card for spending you need to make on a credit card (possibly for extra consumer protection)
As for the Platinum card, you’ll also struggle to cover the annual fee, even at it’s higher rate. Even if you use the exclusive offers such as £50 Harvey Nicks credit twice a year and £150 restaurant credit, that’s only £250. Factor in the travel insurance and perhaps you’ll get closer to £450 in value each year, but that’s still down by £200.
Of course, none of this takes into account the welcome offers you can get with American Express credit cards, and Amex has launched a handful of boosted offers to coincide with the fee changes.
These are still worth considering, particularly the Platinum offer when combined with the other features such as £150 restaurant credit (twice) and £50 Harvey Nicholls credit (three times) over the first year. This could net you a profit, after the fee, of around £450, as well as included worldwide travel insurance. I’ve explained more about how this works here.
And there are still free American Express cards available worth considering.