MSE News

Amex to cut cashback rates on best buy credit cards from August

NEW YORK CITY, USA – AUGUST 14 2015: American Express logo on display in the AMEX Centurion Lounge at New York LaGuardia Airport. A green living wall greets guests at the entrance.

American Express Platinum Everyday and Platinum Cashback cardholders will see cashback rates slashed from 4 August, meaning some could earn £25/yr less on the same level of spending.

Here, we round up what's changing and whether they're still worth having versus the top reward cards (for the full range, also see our Credit Card Rewards guide). 

Amex to cut cashback rates

The changes (detailed in full below) affect both new and existing American Express (Amex) customers – though for both cards the introductory 5% cashback in the first three months for those who haven't held an Amex card in the past two years will remain in place (capped at £100 for Platinum Everyday and £125 for Platinum Cashback).

  • Got or getting an Amex Platinum Everyday credit card? You'll need to spend more to benefit from the highest rate of cashback. 

    - Spend between £0 and £10,000 and you'll earn 0.5% cashback from 4 August. You currently earn 0.5% on spending from £0 to £5,000.
    - Spend above £10,000 and you'll earn 1% cashback. You currently earn 1% on spending above £5,000. 
    - You must continue to spend at least £3,000 each year, starting on the date of your account being opened, to get any cashback at all (this hasn't changed).
    - The card will remain fee-free with the same APR of 22.2%. 
  • Got or getting an Amex Platinum Cashback credit card? The lowest rate of cashback will be cut.

    - Spend below £10,000 and you'll earn 0.75% cashback, down from the current rate of 1%.
    - The top cashback rate of 1.25% for spending over £10,000 remains unchanged.
    - The £25 annual fee remains the same, as does the APR of 27.3%. 

Even after the changes, both cards will still be best buys - no other cards match them for the amount of cashback they pay.

You could earn £25/yr less on the same spending - although some won't notice a difference

The shake-up could see some with the Platinum Cashback card earn £25/yr less in cashback on the same level of spending. For example, if you spend £10,000/yr, after year one you'll earn £50 in cashback from August down from £75 at present.

However others, such as those who spend £3,000/yr or £5,000/yr on the Everyday card, won't see a difference in how much cashback they earn. Here's which customers will win and lose based on the following example spends: 

Amex Platinum Everyday annual cashback

  £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
  Current New Current New Current New Current New
Year 1 (i) £105 £105 £115 £115 £165 £140 £265 £240
Years 2+ £15 £15 £25 £25 £75 £50 £175 £150

New rate from 4 August 2021. (i) Assumes you spend at least £2,000 in the first three months to earn 5% cashback up to £100 max. 

Amex Platinum Cashback annual cashback (incl. £25/yr fee)

  £3,000 £5,000 £10,000 £20,000
  Current New Current New Current New Current New
Year 1 (i) £105 £103.75 £125 £118.75 £175 £156.25 £300 £281.25
Years 2+ £5 -£2.50 £25 £12.50 £75 £50 £200 £175

New rate from 4 August 2021. (i) Assumes you spend at least £2,500 in the first three months to earn 5% cashback up to £125 max. 

Both cards are still best buy cashback cards - and for most are the best reward cards

While it's disappointing to see Amex cut cashback rates, these cards are still the best reward cards on the market for most when you put them up against other cashback and points-earning deals. They'll still remain at the top of our Credit Card Rewards guide – especially as the market-leading 5% introductory rate on both cards remains.

But some people, such as Sainsbury's shoppers or keen travellers who need a few extra points to make a booking, will be better served by other reward cards which give points or airmiles – we've more on these cards below.

If you don't yet have a cashback card and would like one, here's the key info and how to apply...

  • Amex Platinum Everyday - best if you'll spend £10,000 or less each year.  As we say above, this gives you 5% back on spending in the first three months (max £100). Then you'll get up to 1% cashback, depending on how much you spend - though you need to spend at least £3,000 each year to get any cashback at all. Always repay in full to avoid the 22.2% rep APR.

    Want to apply for this card? It's best to check your chances of getting it first. Or apply* on the Amex site.

  • Amex Platinum - higher cashback if you'll spend £10,000+ a year. The 5% intro bonus here's capped at £125 in the first three months, then the cashback's tiered up to 1.25% - though there is a £25 annual fee. There's no minimum spend, but if you're spending less than £10,000+ (and more than £3,000), you're better off with the Everyday card above. Repay in full to avoid 22.2% interest (the card's rep APR is 27.3% incl the fee)

    Want to apply for this card? It's best to check your chances of getting it first. Or apply* on the Amex site.

While cashback is a simple way to earn every time you spend, you can sometimes beat the returns with loyalty points. For example, if you're a Sainsbury's shopper and want to max your Nectar points, or you're looking to take a long-awaited holiday and are seeking a quick airmiles boost to get you over the line to make a flight or hotel booking, other cards may suit you better. Our top picks include: 

For the full breakdown and more options, check out our Credit Card Rewards guide (also see (official APR examples).

Why is Amex making these changes?

An Amex spokesperson told us: "We regularly review our cards to ensure they remain competitive and offer good value for our customers. However, we have not changed our cashback earn rates for five years. We took the decision to make changes to the earn rates rather than cap the amount of cashback you can earn or limit cashback to certain categories and types of spending."

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