More Amex Changes

Earlier this month American Express made a big change to welcome bonus eligibility rules. To be eligible for most Amex welcome bonuses (with some exceptions on fee paying cards) you can no longer have held an American Express card in the past 24 months, as opposed to the previous period of 6 months.

If this wasn’t bad enough, today they followed it with a reduction to the very attractive welcome bonus on the gold card AND an increase in the spend target. You now have to spend £3,000 on the card in the first 3 months (up from £2,000) to earn 10,000 points, or 12,000 with a referral, (down from 20,000).

For the average person considering an American Express card, this suddenly makes the gold card much less attractive. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, that it might mean it’s no longer the most attractive card for the average new rewards card holder. So, what might they consider instead?

American Express Nectar Credit Card

In terms of return, I’d suggest that the Nectar Credit Card is probably now as, if not more, attractive because:

– The welcome bonus is 20,000 Nectar points (21,000 with a referral), which is worth a guaranteed £100. As opposed to 10,000 Amex points, which is probably worth £100 if you use it well.

– The £2,000 spend target (in 3 months) for this bonus is probably more realistic for most people than the £3,000 on the Gold.

– The on-going earning is 2 Nectar points per £1 spent, which guarantees 1% back on all spend. Plus you can collect additional Nectar points on your Nectar Card at applicable partners.

– It’s free in year one, the same as the gold – and £25/year thereafter (can be cancelled at any point).

– Getting the Amex Nectar bonus doesn’t appear to affect your eligibility for the Amex Platinum card bonus (which gold would). So in theory you could get 20,000 Nectar on this + 30,000 Amex points on Platinum (as opposed to 10,000 Amex points on gold and then being ineligible for the Platinum bonus).

Note that the Nectar card doesn’t include the travel benefits, such as the two free airport lounge visits or inconvenience insurance available on gold, and the ‘save to card’ offers are typically weaker. So, it depends on how much you value these.

However, if you’re after points value, then it’s arguably a far more straightforward proposition. You have to spend less to get what could arguably be a better return – particularly given that many people used their first gold bonus for poor redemptions like Amazon vouchers anyway.

Of course, this is all based on the current Amex Nectar offer and assumes no changes are ahead for this too! As I understand, bonus changes only affect new applicants after the changes are announced – so if there is a card which currently looks attractive to you, it may be worth applying sooner rather than later.

My full review on the Nectar Credit Card card is here.
The APR is 28.2%, as usual with reward cards this only stacks up if you’re planning to pay your statement in full each month.

My referral is here – this will increase the bonus to 21,000 points. If you scroll down to other cards, you will see Amex Nectar.

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