Step by step, here’s how to maximise the latest boosted offer from American Express.
This won’t be for everyone, but if you are in a situation to follow these steps and spend the money required, it’s hard to beat the return from the welcome offer and account credit deals available through the American Express Platinum credit card over the next year.
Here’s how you can take advantage, then ditch the card with a healthy profit.
What is the American Express Platinum credit card?
The Amex Platinum card is the premium option offered by American Express. You’ll pay a massive £650 annual fee, but in return you’ll get some premium features such as travel insurance, airport lounge access and top tier status at some hotel chains.
The problem is these extras alone don’t justify the fee – and that’s if you even need them. And nor do the exclusive offers only available to cardholders.
First you can spend £50 at Harvey Nicholls and you’ll get £50 back. You can do this twice a year as it resets on 1 January and 1 July. So over the next 12 months you can take advantage three times and save £150.
Then when you spend £150 on eating out at participating restaurants in the UK both before and after 1 January, so £300 in total (there’s potentially also another £150 on restaurants abroad, though it’s harder to redeem this).
Combined you’re looking at £450 of savings a year from these exclusive promotions – but you’re still £20 short of the amount you’ll have paid. If you travel a lot then the worldwide travel insurance could cover some of that, but it’s a lot of effort just to break even.
When you factor in the usual welcome bonus of 30,000 Amex Reward points after a £4,000 spend in three months it makes it more appealing – but it’s still marginal, and could well be beaten by less complicated offers on other Amex cards. My review takes you through the card in more detail.
Why now is the time to get one
So why bother telling you about it? Well there are two factors that make NOW the best time to apply. First a new and temporary boosted welcome deal massively increases the profit available.
You can get 75,000 points for spending £10,000 in six months, which could be worth £566 if you swap them for Nectar points (via Avios). And there’s another £80 cashback for applying via a cashback site.
With me so far? It’s actually very low effort to take full advantage, but as mentioned it does require a huge amount of spending – so it won’t be for everyone.
I’ve broken it down into 9 steps so you don’t miss out anything. Here’s what you need to do and when.
Step 1: Check your eligibility for the card and welcome bonus
As you should before applying for any credit card, check the chances of acceptance for the Platinum card via an eligibility check. You can do this on a comparison site or direct with American Express. If it looks good, then move on to the next step.
You can still apply for the card if the odds are low. Even one out of 10 means you might get accepted. You just need to make a call.
However I’d avoid applying full stop if you have important credit applications in the near future, say the next six months. This includes mortgages, balance transfer credit cards or even car finance (if a car is essential to get to work etc).
You also need to check you are eligible for the welcome bonus. Though most Amex cards require that you can’t have had a card in your name in the last two years, it’s slightly different for the Amex Platinum.
The rule here is that you can’t have had one of the following cards in your name in the last two years:
- Amex Preferred Rewards Gold
- Amex Rewards
- Amex Platinum
- Amex Green
So even if you’ve had a different card, such as the Platinum Cashback or Nectar card, then you can get this bonus. I’ve explained more in this article on getting multiple American Express signup deals.
Step 2: Get extra when you apply
You can make a little extra when you apply if you go via one of two routes. The best paying right now is via Quidco where you can earn £80. Not a member? Sign up for another welcome bonus worth up to £17 (though that won’t work with an Amex application so you’ll need to buy something else too).
If you know anyone with an American Express credit card, you could instead ask them for a refer-a-friend link. This will get you an extra 5,000 Amex Reward points. However they’re worth £25 or £33, depending on how you use them, so you’re better off going via the cashback site.
Step 3: Apply for the card and pay the fee
Whichever option you choose, you then follow the link to apply for the Platinum Credit Card. Do this before 9 January 2023 as that’s when the boosted welcome offer ends.
Shortly after acceptance, you’ll need to pay the £650 fee. So if you don’t have the money available upfront it’s best you don’t apply. You’ll no longer be able to get a pro-rata refund if you cancel the card part way through the year.
Step 4: Spend £10,000 in six months
Assuming you’re successful in your application, you’ve now got six months to spend £10,000 to trigger the 75,000 point bonus. You must spend this full amount. A penny less and you won’t get the bonus.
This is a huge amount. You’re looking at roughly £1,667 a month. It’s definitely worth thinking about your spending before applying to be sure you can achieve this with your normal spending. Don’t buy things just to trigger the bonus – it’s a waste of cash.
It might be worth ordering a supplementary card for your partner so their spending goes towards the total too. Just make sure they realised you’ll be paying for their spending – the last thing you want is for them to splash the cash without realising how credit cards work. Do this once you’ve got your card rather than during your application as there are often some bonus points on offer this way.
You can track your progress towards the bonus in the Amex app. There’s a tab at the bottom called “Membership” and this is where you can see not just how much you’ve spent so far but also how long you’ve got before the six months is up.
Listen to Cash Chats, our award-winning podcast, presented by Editor-in-chief Andy Webb.
Episodes every Tuesday.
Step 5: Set up a Direct Debit
You won’t want to get charged interest on your spending, so you’ll need to clear the balance owed every month. An easy way to ensure you don’t forget is to set up a Direct Debit for the full amount.
If you’re new to cashback credit card spending then you need to be careful not to spend twice. By this I mean spending both on your credit card and from your current account – it’s easy to misjudge your “real” bank balance.
A way to avoid this is to transfer the equivalent of your spending to a separate account on a regular basis. Ideally daily, but weekly works too. This ensures there’s enough set aside to pay the credit card bill when it comes along.
Step 6: Shop at Harvey Nicholls three times
Within the offers tab on the app you’ll see a Harvey Nicholls credit offer. Activate this.
Then use your Platinum card to buy something that costs £50 or more before 31 December 2023. The purchase will trigger a £50 credit to your card making the item free or almost free (it’s hard to spend bang on £50, especially with delivery factored in).
Try to buy something you actually want or need. Beauty products are a good place to look, though it’s all mid to high end. It might be worth waiting until around Black Friday to see if you can combine your spending with other promotions.
Then, after 1 January 2024 you’ll want to repeat this – and earn another £50 credit. And there’ll be another £50 to grab after 1 July 2024 too. In total that’s £150 back.
Step 7: Eat out in the UK
The £300 dining credit promotion isn’t quite as good as it sounds (here’s my full analysis of the offer). I think you may struggle to use the £150 credit for overseas dining (though it’s great if you can). But this means I’m not factoring in redeeming that part of the deal in these calculations.
However the £150 credit for UK restaurants will be much easier to get, even if you don’t live in London where the majority of participating eateries are based.
This offer can be claimed once in 2023, but you can get it again in January 2024. This means in total you should get £300 back.
And if you can use the overseas credit too, then that will also start again from January. You’ll need to activate both UK and overseas offers in the Amex app before spending.
Step 8: Transfer your points
Once you’ve spent the £10,000 you’ll get the 75,000 points bonus added to your account almost immediately. There will also be another 10,000 or so earned thanks to the 1 point per £1 spent ratio. This gives you a total of 85,000 Amex Reward points.
You’ve got a few options here. Using them for gift cards, transfer straight into Nectar points or credit to your bill only gives you the equivalent of 0.5p (or less) per point. So the 85,000 points will be worth £425. Not great.
Better is to swap them into Avios points and then into Nectar points. This extra conversion stage increases the value per point to 0.67p, and a total value of £567. You will however have to use the points at Sainsbury’s, Argos and eBay.
Alternatively, you can move the points into a number of different airline schemes to go towards flights, though I’m not a fan of redeeming this way.
But if you’re not sure what you want to use them for you will need to open up another American Express card that earns Amex reward points – probably the free Amex Reward card. This is vital for the final step as your points won’t be lost when you come to cancel the Platinum card.
Step 9: Cancel your card
In the past you could cancel your card once you got the bonus to get a partial refund on the fee. Sadly the rules are changing and this won’t be possible from 29 February 2024. I think it’s unlikely many of you will be able to spend £10,000 on the card in four and a half months, so I’m assuming you’ll all need to keep the card for six months to get the bonus, and therefore be locked in for the full 12 months.
But once you hit a year, you’ll need to decide if it’s worth keeping it and shelling out another £650.
I don’t think it’s worth really spending on it if you do since you can earn more points from other cashback and reward credit (and debit) cards,.
Really it comes down to whether you’ll keep using the credit offers (and there’s no guarantee they’ll still be there) and whether extras like travel insurance are cheaper bought separately (which they will be if you don’t require needing annual, worldwide cover).
Personally I think it makes sense to cancel the card. If you haven’t fully transferred your points out then you’ll need another American Express card than earns Reward points, such as the free Amex Rewards card. This will prevent you losing your balance when you close the Platinum card.
Summary: How it adds up to £448
And that’s it! By spending (an admittedly massive) £10,000 in six months you will have:
- paid £650 for the Amex Platinum card fee
- made £80 from Quidco
- earned £566 in Nectar points (via Avios)
- gained £150 credit from Harvey Nicholls
- made £300 credit from UK dining
Adding this all together and you are up by a massive £448 profit in savings and cashback! And there will likely be other offers you can add to your card in this time, not least the American Express Shop Small promotion that will likely run once more in December.
As I said at the top, this won’t work for everyone. But if you follow the steps and only buy things you’d buy anyway, this is an easy way to make or save some extra money.