This article looks at the American Express Rewards Credit Card. This is a little known member of the Amex family which, in one scenario, can prove incredibly useful..
One of the downsides of cancelling American Express Preferred Rewards Gold or The Platinum Card is that you are required to empty out your Membership Rewards points account. If you don’t, your points will be lost.
However ….. is there a free way to keep your Membership Rewards points alive when cancelling an American Express Gold or Platinum card?
Yes. (OK, you probably guessed I was going to say that!)
You shouldn’t transfer Membership Rewards points until you are about to book
Having to close your Membership Rewards points account can lead to a dilemma over when to cancel your Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum card.
You will be paying £13.33 per month after the free first year to keep an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card active and £48 for The Platinum Card. However, this allows you to keep your Membership Rewards points where they are. If you are forced to transfer them because you close the account, you may regret it later.
Because American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to many different airline and hotel partners, they are more valuable than airline or hotel points. You shouldn’t convert them until you need them.
Can you keep your Membership Rewards points when cancelling an American Express card?
There is a solution that:
- lets you keep your Membership Rewards points account open, and
- allows you to stop paying an annual fee for either the Gold or Platinum credit cards
This card is the answer:
You can apply for the little-known American Express Rewards Credit Card. Full details are on the American Express website here.
This card has NO ANNUAL FEE and lets you collect Membership Rewards points.
For simplicity, I will occasionally refer to this card as ARCC as ‘American Express Rewards Credit Card’ is a bit of a mouthful.
What is the American Express Rewards Credit Card?
ARCC is a standard Amex-branded credit card. Here are the headline details and legally required interest rate information:
American Express Rewards
Sign-up bonus and earn rate:
- Get 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 within 90 days
- Earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent
- Points transfer at 1:1 into Avios, Virgin Points and other airline and hotel schemes
- Your best choice if you want a ‘free for life’ card which earns Membership Rewards points
- A good choice if you want to close a Gold or Platinum card but keep your points intact
- Annual fee: Free
Representative 30.7% APR variable
You will receive 10,000 American Express Membership Rewards points as a sign-up bonus on the American Express Rewards card if you spend £2,000 within 90 days of signing up.
Membership Rewards points are hugely flexible. You can transfer them into Avios, Virgin Flying Club or other airlines (at 1:1) or into various hotels schemes, into Club Eurostar or use them for shopping vouchers.
To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous 24 months, have held any other personal American Express card.
You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s American Express account.
You are OK if, currently or in the previous 24 months, you have held a Business American Express card.
For clarity, you can still apply for the American Express Rewards card even if you do not qualify for the bonus. You may want to do this if you are thinking of swapping your Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum card for a free alternative, and would prefer to keep your existing Membership Rewards points balance alive.
American Express Rewards is the only ‘free for life’ American Express card which lets you collect Membership Rewards points.
We do NOT recommend this card if you would also qualify for the sign-up bonus on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. The Gold card is free for the first year, comes with two free airport lounge passes and has a higher sign-up bonus of 20,000 points.
The best reason to get American Express Rewards is if you are coming to the end of your free first year with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold, or no longer want to pay the fee on The Platinum Card, but want to keep your Membership Rewards points intact.
You need a minimum personal income of £20,000 to apply for the card.
It has no annual fee and no substantial benefits, except for the ability to collect Membership Rewards points at 1 point per £1 spent.
It is unlikely that many Head for Points readers will qualify for the 10,000 points sign-up bonus because you cannot have held any Membership Rewards cards in the previous 24 months. That will exclude anyone who has, or has recently had, a Gold or Platinum Amex card.
Don’t worry about that. You may still want to get this card even though you won’t get a bonus.
Get the ARCC card if you are planning to cancel Amex Gold or Platinum
If you currently have an Amex Green, Gold or Platinum card and want to cancel it but do not want to cash in your Membership Rewards points, this card is your answer.
The only ‘snag’ is that you will not have reset the 24 month clock on being able to reapply for a new Gold or Platinum card and receive another sign-up bonus. In order to do that you need to close down your Membership Rewards account entirely.
For a lot of people, though, being able to keep your existing Membership Rewards balance alive will be more important.
You can apply for the FREE American Express Rewards Credit Card here.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.