Now get 20K points for upgrading your Amex

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As recently as yesterday, we were singing the praises of the American Express Gold Card. In addition to being free for the first year, it offers one of the most competitive sign-up bonuses out there, with the points readily convertible into a range of hotel points, air miles and more.

American Express Platinum upgrade

American Express have just made the position for Amex Gold holders substantially more interesting, with the launch of an American Express Platinum upgrade promo, offering them 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points if they upgrade to Platinum and spend £1,000 on the card in the first three months of holding it.

Now there is a catch, but a workaround, but then a catch to this. Bear with me…

The initial catch

The American Express Platinum Card comes with a fairly hefty £450 annual fee. While the benefits of card membership are substantial (including free lounge access), that understandably puts many people off, particularly given the relative cost of the Gold card (free for year 1, £140 p.a. thereafter).

The solution

The obvious workaround to this is to upgrade to the Platinum Card, bag the 20k bonus, then downgrade to the Gold card again.

american express platinum upgrade

You will receive a pro rata refund of the £450 fee when you downgrade.

The second catch

The key issue – and here’s the catch – whether you were in the first year of your Gold card or not, it appears you will then be charged the £140 annual fee for the Gold card. 

As such, if you are well within the first year of your American Express Gold card membership, you should probably treat this with caution. However, if you are coming to the end of that year, or are already paying £140 annually for the Amex Gold card, then you should give this offer some serious thought. £1,000 in spending in three months is a reasonably relaxed target (relatively speaking), and  you can of course return to the £140 a year card as soon as you have done that and the points have arrived.

So not one for everyone, but potentially for many. You can read why we like the Gold card so much here


    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi Rom,

      Could you elaborate a bit? My personal experience with upgrading and downgrading was exactly as Miles stated (admittedly a couple of years ago now). The last time I upgraded, Amex didn’t charge me the £450 so I didn’t cancel until the end of the year, when it was time to set up a new churn.

      Readers are in touch about this sort of stuff quite regularly, so we get a good sprinkling of data points – but it’s always good to hear of any outliers or changes.

      As with most of these things, there is at least some element of experiences varying (for example, not everyone got free Plat for a year), which is why it’s important not to leap to conclusions purely from personal experience or a small set of examples.

  1. Adam says

    I have gold at present, was going to wait to bag 10k anniversary bonus then upgrade to Platinum, bag 20k & HH Gold then cancel as soon as 20k hit & transferred.
    I was under the impression I would probably only pay one month pro rata fee on gold & probably free fees on Platinum if I cancelled within first month, is this still correct?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Not sure to be honest, I’ve never upgraded after having the gold for a year+. My gut is that you might risk not getting a refund on the £140 for the Gold fee that way. Though, given that I ended up with Plat free for a year, anything is possible!

  2. Rom says

    Didn’t mean to be unkind, sorry. You will be charged if over one year of gold. Pro-rata gold fee back and £450 charged. Before one year, it is hit and miss if £450 will be charged. There is a way to make sure it is not but best to not put it out publicly

  3. Rom says

    Regular reader here and really appreciate majority of the posts (especially Craig and Joe). Let insideflyer be selective in who is allowed to send out articles and keep affiliate links to a minimum and transparent please.

  4. Rom says

    Author has inserted his Amex referral links without stating so. Let’s keep the high journalistic level we have become accustomed to with insideflyer over the last year (I don’t think I’ve seen any posts from Craig which has hidden referral links)

  5. Rob Rixon says

    Is it worth calling up Amex and making an enquiry about the process first rather than trying the upgrade / catch / solution / workaround / catch process? They’re normally quite open about stuff…

    I had the Amex Gold in 2015, cancelled at the end of the year, then took it out again this year (again, free for the first year) and my renewal is due in July 2018 and the 10k renewal bonus points will be awarded ‘up to 60 days’ afterwards. So as Adam said, this may result in a pro-rata refund of the Gold charge. I took out the BA Amex Premium Plus card a month ago and have already been awarded 30k points which is good. So I may transfer and ditch once I’ve paid the statement off and see if I get a pro-rata refund from them too. Am definitely considering the Platinum upgrade though and if I do call them up, I’ll update here on how it goes!

      • Rob Rixon says

        First stage complete. Downgraded from the Premium Plus and for a pro-rata refund of £135.00. But on the basis they messed up taking my details down for the downgrade, it took longer than it should have done and they added a £25.00 statement credit, so effectively I’ve paid £35.00 for the 30k points (transferred to Avios), Companion Voucher and of course the Avios for the spend during that period as well.

        I intend to give Amex a call this week about the Platinum upgrade, so we’ll see how we go from there if they are still running the 20k points promo.

    • VK says

      @Rob & @Joe

      Yes. Will be useful hear what they said and what you did.

      My gold just renewed and I’m waiting for 10k to post. I will then upgrade to plat.

      Or could I upgrade now itself? Will I still get the 10k gold bonus + 20k upgrade bonus?

      Also will I get pro rata refund on gold 140 gbp fee considering I upgrade to platinum?

      • dave says

        You do get the pro rata gold refund when your upgrade application is accepted. The 450 charge is then added at your next statement date.

        Your online account is upgraded to plat status straight away and your CC number remains the same so you can carry on using your gold card whilst you wait for your new plat to arrive.

        • Chris says

          My pt card arrived with a different number to the gold. I did it online and had no clue they accepted my application until the card arrived.

          The luggage tags they sent a few days later was a nice touch.

  6. Brian says

    I’ve had nothing but trouble with my upgrade to platinum. I’ve had to contact Amex for several things:

    – The Hertz 5 star sign up link is broken if you already have a gold plus account – this took 4 phone calls and still hasn’t been resolved
    – My HHonours membership has been stuck at pending
    – The 20,000 MR bonus on £1k spend wasn’t added to my account properly

    Also – during the upgrade process, my MR went awol for ages – meaning I couldn’t spend them without contacting amex.

    Overall, a very unpolished product for a £450 card. It should be simple – I’m not paying that much money to jump through hoops.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi Brian – sorry to hear that!

      The Amex site can definitely be annoyingly clunky when it comes to sorting the various elite statuses, transferring Points etc. The call centre staff are usually pretty good though, so I tend to just ring these days. As you say though, it’s a £450 a year card, so if you’ve had bad service, don’t be at all reluctant to request compensation.

  7. ICC says

    Would it be possible to upgrade the Amex Gold credit card to the platinum? I’d rather not give up on the charge card.

    Unless it’s possible to downgrade the Plat back to Gold charge once you’ve hit the minimum spend?

    • Rob Rixon says

      As far as I am aware, you can downgrade the Platinum back to Gold once you’ve hit the minimum spend. I replied back in June to say I was going to do this then, but I will actually do it this week. I’ve already picked up the 10k points for the new cycle of membership, but the target for another 10k points is £15k spend, which I will achieve, however not in a timely manner. So if the Platinum upgrade option for 20k of points for £1k spend in the first three months is still open, then that’s the plan and I will update here!

  8. Darren says

    Has anyone had any issues trying to upgrade their Gold Credit Amex? I’ve been told i cant upgrade from credit to charge, but i cant find a gold charge card so not sure what cards would have ever been upgraged?

    • Miles Hunt says

      The Gold “charge card” is no more. It’s now a “credit” card. TBH I never quite understood the difference. I believe the Platinum remains a charge card, but again – no idea why.

      • Joe Deeney says

        AFAIK, charge cards have to be paid off in full every month, whereas with credit cards you can carry a balance. Obviously if you’re using any cards just for points/miles, you should pay it off in full every month anyway so there’s not much practical difference.

        I haven’t heard about any issues upgrading from gold (now credit) to plat (still charge) before, and the upgrade link still looks ok, so it might just be an agent getting confused? I’ll be upgrading my own Gold in a week or 2 so will be able to see what’s happening personally then.

        • Uknoobie says

          Had the same issue trying to upgrade the credit card. Rejected after 10 days. Will have to try with the charge and see if it works

  9. The Mash says

    I am having the same issues.

    They don’t know their ars from their elbow. They are insisting I start a new Platinum application afresh instead of upgrading and don’t realise that I will not likely get the additional – or any – bonus.

  10. Henrik says

    Do you lose your gold saved offers eg “£10 off a £50 spend” etc etc when you upgrade gold charge to platinum charge?

  11. Rob Rixon says

    It’s taken a while, however an update on this one. I actually received an e-mail from American Express asking me if I was ready to upgrade to ‘the Platinum Lifestyle’. I figured as it was a targeted mail, then it should go through with no issues. So I went through the application and the confirmation screen at the end said it was being processed and somebody would be in touch.

    A few days later I then get an e-mail confirming my address has changed (it did back in July but I had already updated it in my account), but I noticed on the e-mail header that the logo was of a Platinum card and also my account number was different. I heard nothing for a few days and then received the supplementary card for my wife through the post and also my membership pack. My account shows a pro-rata refund of £111.00 and the offer of 20K points for a £1k spend is active on my account.

    Obviously, I don’t mind as I have the card and the refund and the points offer, but the comms was really poor! I will hit the £1k spend in the next couple of weeks as I am working in The Hague, but now that the Gold Charge card is no longer, I don’t actually know what the downgrade option would be from Platinum. Back to Basics…?

    • Lewis says

      What happened in the end?

      My Gold Charge Card is coming to the end of its first year soon and I’m wondering what I should do.

      Thinking of temporarily upgrading to platinum like you have done, but think I’d like to drop back down to gold again afterwards. I prefer the charge card to the credit cards though so not sure if I want to risk losing it!

  12. Maddu says

    Hi I know this is from last year but any updates on this?

    I have a gold credit card which is coming up for renewal in July (I will have spend the 15k to get the extra 10,000 points by then).

    Should I call and upgrade now to plat or wait until after renewal and the £140 is taken for the gold?

    Or do I have to wait till the 10k points are posted before I can upgrade?

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