Monday, 6 January 2014


(Update 02-Apr-2017...currently you can get 45K sign-up points !. see my later article here )

 (Update 25-Nov-2015....New gold cards no longer get a x2 spend bonus, so the best that can be done now is 40K MR, but that's still better than the 37K you get normally so read on....)

American Express cards provide excellent ways of boosting your reward travel options, due to the sign-up bonus points available.

A commonly advertised one is the platinum card. The card costs £450, and after you spend £2000 in the first three months, you get 35K (assuming you are referred). Including the 2K points that you get for spend, that is 37K for your £450 outlay. That would get you 37K BA avios miles, for example.

However, there is a little known way of getting 40K (actually up to 42K) bonus points, which to my knowledge hasn't been published on any UK blog.

amex gold card application
Take out the free gold card Apply for the upgrade


Instead of signing up for the platinum card, apply for the gold card via a referral link (here is my link). This card is free, and if you sign-up via that referral, you get 22,000 bonus points for spending £2000 within the first 3 months.

Once you have done the requisite spend, and the bonus points have posted, apply to UPGRADE to the platinum card, using this link. This will cost the usual £450, and you will end up with the same card and benefits as if you signed-up for the card directly. However, as a thank you for the upgrade, American Express will give you a further 15K points when you spend £1000 on your new platinum card.

So that's 22K referral bonus on the gold card, 2K for doing the £2000 of spend on it, 15K for upgrading to the platinum card, and 1K for the £1000 of spend required to activate the platinum upgrade bonus, a total of 40K for £3000 of spend.

Don't forget, the gold card gives double points for supermarket, petrol or travel spend, so you have the potential to get 4K points for your £2000 of spend on that card, giving a possible total of 42K of MR points.

As a comparison, if you take out the platinum card directly (i.e. don't go via the upgrade route), then for £3000 of spend, you would end up with 38K points. So this smarter way provides the potential of 4K extra points for no additional outlay.

Note also, that the gold card comes with 2 VIP passes to airport lounges. Although the platinum card comes with priority pass, these VIP passes can be used to bring 2 extra guests into the lounges, or you can give them to friends/ colleagues. I'd value them at £30-£40.

Why is this smarter way not widely reported ?

Maybe it's because a gold card referral doesn't pay as much as a plat card referral, or maybe no one else has figured it out.

What's the downside of doing this ?

It requires a little bit more work, than just applying for the plat directly.

It is possible that the upgrade offer might be withdrawn, but there is no end date for the offer, and it has been running for well over a year at this stage (as of Feb 2015).


  1. Hi,

    Thanks for that - do you know if Amex do another credit pull for the upgrade? I've got the Gold, but try to keep my applications to about one every three months.

  2. I Don't know for sure.

    However given that on standalone applications, the Platinum card requires a 40K household income, versus the 20K requirement for the Gold card, I suspect they do.

  3. Thanks for that - yes I think they probably do. I aim to get at least 20k MR/Avios/equivalent from each application (over the last 18 months: BMI, BAPP, AA, SPG, Gold), but 15k MR and a Cathay Gold card is quite compelling...

  4. This post was primarily aimed at people who were looking to take Platinum directly. Your situation might be better served by cancelling the Gold, waiting 6 months then applying for the Plat for the full sign-up bonus. But if the CX gold card is of value to you, then you need to apply before the deadline, and thus the upgrade is your best choice.

  5. Really remarkable work you have done. I got huge of important idea from your post. A big thanks for sharing with us !!

  6. Keeping checking back, as soon as a link becomes available, I'll update this post.