American Express has recently changed their offers negatively. However, their bonuses are still very generous. There are currently offers five Membership Rewards credit and charge cards.
- American Express Platinum Card: Get up to 60,000 Membership Reward Points!
- American Express Business Platinum Card: Get up to 60,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Business Gold Card: Get up to 40,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Gold Rewards Card: Get up to 30,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Cobalt Card: Get up to 30,000 Membership Rewards Points!
AMEX improved their application eligibility requirements last year, making it easier for many people to obtain a card.
American Express Offer Changes
We’ve seen the following changes to the referral offers (which are often better than the public bonus):
- Decrease of the Business Platinum Card from 75,000 points to 60,000 points.
- Minimum spend on the Business Platinum increased from $5,000 to $7,000.
- Removal of the first year annual fee waiver on the Business Gold Card.
- Removal of the first year annual fee waiver on the Gold Rewards Card.
Issuers change offers once the analytics come in – the number of people that apply, the attractiveness of the bonus, and other variables. American Express by far has had the best offers, especially on their ultra-premium cards. A possible reason their incentives were so strong was to offset their reduced acceptance at merchants, although it’s not a problem for most major high-value purchases.
There is no small business card in Canada that offers a bonus similar to the Business Gold or Business Platinum. It’s unsurprising they adjusted the offer down. The upside, is that fewer people are taking advantage of the welcome bonus, and then leaving, which isn’t profitable. We’ve seen banks restrict this behaviour – most notably, the Chase 5/24 in America rule to block out these cardholders.
While welcome bonuses are a big way for people to earn points towards free travel, a big portion of credit card revenues are through interchange fees from purchases. I have both the Cobalt Card and the Business Platinum Card. I keep the Business Platinum Card because it’s very rewarding on everyday spend and great for airport lounge access. The Cobalt Card stays in my wallet (and mobile wallet) because the points are awarded over 12 months, and the bonus categories are stellar.
The Best American Express Card
It’s provides huge value long term, and is one of the few cards that has not had its offer change. Frequent travellers can benefit from a $200 annual travel credit, and a swath of elite status benefits. From this card, you get Hilton Gold, Starwood Gold, and Radisson Rewards Gold hotel status. You also have access to AMEX Travel, including Fine Hotels and Resorts rates.
It is one of the few cards in Canada that provide an Priority Pass membership with unlimited visits. You also earn 1.25 Membership Rewards points per dollar, transferrable to Aeroplan or BA Avios, which is among the highest earn rates on unbonused spend. Finally, you can earn up to 60,000 points after completing the minimum spend, which is close to a one-way business class or first class ticket anywhere in the world.
AMEX Business Gold Card Offer Changing
The referral offer for the Business Gold Card is now 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000. It references this point:
To be eligible for this bonus, your friend must apply for the Card by August 6th, 2018. We can still accept applications after this date but you may or may not be eligible for a bonus. See Referral Program Terms for details. Your friend could earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points when they charge $5,000 in purchases to their Card in the first three months of Cardmembership. Offer subject to change at any time.
With this language, the offers for the Business Platinum Card and Starwood Preferred Guest Cards were downgraded, so I suggest applying if you don’t currently have the card. My guess is that they may increase the minimum spend to match the Business Platinum, although it’s anyone’s guess at this point. You can combine both offers to pick up 100,000 MR from just two card offers.