Big News Re Upgrading American Express Gold Cards (Potentially Much More Generous Offers Available!)

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I rang American Express about upgrading my Amex Gold yesterday and have a (potentially) interesting data point to share. It’s important to be clear that I only spoke with one agent, so I don’t consider this information to be 100% solid at all, but I’ll be testing it over the next week, so we should know for certain soon. Anyway, if you’re interested in upgrading American Express Gold Cards to Platinum, here’s the story:

Earlier this year, Amex changed its Gold Card product from a charge card to a credit card (essentially meaning it’s now possible to carry a balance rather than having to pay it off in full each month). This was a pretty minor change from a customer perspective, as the Gold Card benefits and sign up bonus remained the same as before.

I got a new Gold Card (credit, not charge) a few months ago and decided it was time to upgrade to Platinum again, primarily because I’ll be doing a fair bit of travelling soon and value the Priority Pass lounge access. As I’ve done on previous occasions when upgrading, I headed to the American Express Platinum upgrade webpage and filled in the application info – believing that I would receive the advertised 20,000 Membership Rewards Points bonus, assuming I was approved and spent £1,000 on the card.

I didn’t receive instant approval, but I never do with Amex, so assumed it would come through as usual in due course. A couple of days later I received an email from Amex stating I needed to give them a ring and quote a reference number.

When I rang, I was (politely) informed that my upgrade application had been cancelled because “it is not possible to upgrade a Gold Credit Card to a Platinum Charge Card”. Obviously I wasn’t very pleased, because American Express has a whole webpage and bonus offer dedicated to upgrading Gold Cards to Platinum, without mentioning that it’s only old Gold Charge cardholders that can benefit…

The agent was apologetic and mentioned that it’s a known issue which has been highlighted to management, but evidently hasn’t been fixed yet.

I then asked what I should do, because I still want a Platinum Card, but also wanted the 20,000 Points upgrade bonus – and this is where the conversation got interesting.

The common belief (certainly what I’ve always believed anyway!) is that you aren’t eligible for a Membership Rewards sign-up bonus on a new card, if you currently hold a Membership Rewards earning card or have held one in the last 6 months. I was therefore confused when the agent advised that I should just apply for a Platinum Card as a new applicant, because I’d get a higher sign up bonus anyway (30,000 Points, or 35,000 if referred) than the 20,000 Points a Gold charge card holder would get for upgrading.

I challenged this a few times, just to make sure I’d understood correctly and the agent double checked with a supervisor too. He stated categorically and consistently that if an existing customer’s Gold Card is a credit card, it’s now seen as an entirely different product to the Platinum Charge Card and they are therefore eligible to receive the standard Platinum sign-up bonus – despite already holding a Memberships Rewards earning card.

I asked if there was a way to get the policy confirmed in writing, the agent said no, but that the call was being recorded (as standard) and was very happy for me to take their name and note the time of the call, etc.

Bottom line

As I said at the beginning, I’m still a little sceptical about whether this will work out as the agent stated – but I’ve applied for a Platinum as a new customer anyway to see what happens, so should be able to provide an update fairly soon.

If it does work out, upgrading American Express Gold Cards is now much more lucrative than before! Partly this is because of the higher bonus – remember that if you’re referred you can actually get a 35,000 Membership Rewards Points sign-up bonus.

The other reason is because it’s not really ‘upgrading’ at all anymore – presumably you can just keep both cards if you like and that means you can continue to take advantage of the Gold Card’s superior earning rate for travel expenses (etc) at the same time as enjoying the many Platinum benefits.

Let’s see what happens…

Have you tried upgrading an American Express Gold Card recently? – What was your experience?


  1. Tom says

    I was looking at the Amex Gold Credit card. As an Amex Plat holder, would I get the sign up bonus on the Gold credit card? So far I have only seen exclusions for Gold charge card holders not receiving the sign-up bonus.. any thoughts?

  2. Mike G says

    I very much doubt this will work. I had a very old Gold credit card from the early 2000s that earned MR. When I applied for Platinum they told me I wouldn’t get the bonus, so I had to cancel that Platinum and re-apply in my wife’s name.

  3. Roger says

    Sounds good.

    The other problem on hand is now Amex Platinum referral links have stopped working for other non-MR card (BAPP, SPG etc.). which earned easy 18000 MR for every referral.

    Hope it is temp . glitch and comes back again.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Yes, just noticed that. What’s particularly odd is that the old links (if you happen to have them saved) do actually still work, in the sense that links for BA/SPG/etc generated from my Amex Gold still go to the boosted sign up pages for those cards – BUT, on the application page it says that the person who referred you will get X Avios/etc rather than MR Points, which doesn’t really make any sense…

      • Pf says

        That is very odd. My old links from last month (which did then allow referral to other types of cards) do not work anymore, in that they definitely only allow referrals to similar cards now. Looking on safari on my phone – I wonder if a different browser might make a difference. The application page has always inaccurately described the rewards for the referral when you click onto another type of card, but it was definitely working up until last week.

        • Joe Deeney says

          Hi Pf,

          Sorry – yep to be clearer, what I meant was that if you click on one of my old links (generated from amex gold) for an amex gold or plat referral you’ll see the same as on yours – just MR earning options. But, I had also saved direct links (also generated from amex gold) to each of the card options (BA/SPG/BAPP/Nectar/etc) and those links still seem to work (though they do only show other cards at the bottom in the same ‘family’ of cards – BA shows BAPP, etc).

          • LT says

            Are there any tried out news yet if the Platinum Charge Card could actually be considered as an entirely different product than Gold Credit card? And could essentially be signed up & receive a bonus even if I already have or have had recently the gold card? Thanks.

          • Joe Deeney says

            Latest update is that although I’ve hit the minimum spend, it can take up to 28 days for the welcome bonus to be credited, so more waiting to do before we know 100% unfortunately!

  4. Pf says

    Very interesting if it works. Could look at the reverse also. Effective downgrade to gold from platinum to get 22k sign on (and presumably no fee in first year of gold)… will have a look into that…

    • Roger says

      Downgrade is not as straight forward isn’t it as you would have two parallel cards unless you cancel and would not receive the sign up bonus.

      • Pf says

        Yeh, I will monitor. Not sure it will work. But if having a gold recently doesn’t invalidate you for platinum sign on. It’s not clear if holding a platinum charge card and a gold credit at same time would invalidate gold sign on.

        Would obviously be very nice to be able to hold gold and platinum and get sign on for both…

  5. grammer says

    It would be interesting to know if this works out…one downside as i see it is that you would be charged the annual fee immediately whereas i upgraded to platinum from gold charge in June and still no sign of the annual fee 🙂

    I suppose you could always cancel after hitting the spend target to bag the bonus then cancel for a pro-rata refund.

  6. Andrew says

    Hey Joe, I too, have recently applied successfully for the platinum card. I currently have a gold credit card. I enquired about the welcome bonus having described my circumstances and they confirmed that I would receive the welcome bonus.

    I think it may be worth adding that if you’re a business owner and use the card exclusively business, then the card fee can be put against the business, whilst you enjoy the perks of bonus points, prioirty pass and medical travel insurance.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Great news Andrew – cheers for letting us know! Have you actually received the bonus yet, or not hit the min spend yet?

      I’m still waiting to hear from Amex whether I’ve been accepted (not sure that what was effectively 2 applications in 3 days from me is a good look as far as they’re concerned, despite it really only being 1 application. Hopefully should be fine though!)

      • Andrew says

        No Joe, I’ve only just received and activated the card myself. One thing I have noticed is that my account page does not mention or illustrate the welcome bonus target which is making me a bit sceptical about whether this is true or not.

        we should have referred each other!!!!

        • Joe Deeney says

          Ah yes – I’m in exactly the same situation now (card came yesterday), no bonus mentioned on the account page. I’ve put the required spend through straight away to see what happens though, so should hopefully be able to confirm quite soon!

          Haha, I already ‘owed’ someone a referral so they should at least get their points, which is good – let me know next time though!

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