Dedicated cashback hunters will know the number of decent credit cards has plummeted in recent years.
With both offering the chance to earn 5% cashback in the first three months, these are by far the most generous rates in the market.
While the rates fall sharply thereafter (more on that later), these are still extremely competitive cards for those who are serious about racking up a decent amount of cashback on their spending.
It’s just a pity you still can’t use them everywhere…
Platinum Cashback Card: pros and cons
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll pocket 5% cashback on spending for the first three months.
Sadly, Amex has capped the maximum amount you can earn at £125, which works out to £2,500 spend.
After that point, your cashback rate falls sharply to 1% on all spending below £10,000, rising to 1.25% on if you managed to spend more than that.
These are really generous rates: rivals can offer similar or even better rates, but usually the offer is restricted to spending in specific stores or brands, making them far more restrictive.
Perhaps the key downside is that it comes with a sizeable £25 annual fee, which means the card is really only suitable for those able to spend more than £10,000 a year. If not you’ll likely be better off with the fee-free version we’ll discuss in a minute.
The other downside is that American Express isn’t accepted everywhere in the UK, so you might find you’re unable to rack up cashback at some of your favourite stores.
Everyday Cashback Card: pros and cons
The fee-free version (APR 22.9%) works much like the above version except the cashback tiers are slightly lower.
So for example, you can earn a maximum of £100 rather than £125 in the first three months.
You’ll earn 0.5% cashback if you spend £5,000 or less, rising to 1% if you exceed that threshold.
The sweet spot for this card is certainly between £5,000 and £10,000.
More than that and you will likely be better off with the fee-charging version above; any less and you should consider alternative cashback offers as 0.5% can certainly be beaten.
The 5% rate isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime offer
As we mentioned earlier, the introductory cashback rate of 5% is streets ahead of rivals, so we should mention that you could get it more than once (just not at the same time).
Amex says the card is not available “if you currently hold or have held any other Platinum Cashback American Express Credit Cards in the past six months”.
So there’s the loophole: you simply need to wait half a year after closing the card to apply again and bag that 5% rate.
Certainly, if your spending is clustered at certain times of the year (for example if you buy your annual rail pass), this would be far more profitable for you.
As with all cashback cards, it’s vital you clear your balance in full each month or the high interest rates (22.9% representative APR on both the above cards) will quickly erode any cashback earnings.
Also, note that you won’t get your ‘cashback’ immediately. Instead, it’ll be paid out annually on the anniversary of you opening the account.
We should also stress that, aside from shops not accepting Amex cards, there are other instances where you won’t be able to earn cashback.
These include any interest, fees (including default fees), balance transfers, cash withdrawals (including transactions treated as cash), loading of prepaid cards, American Express Travellers Cheque purchases or foreign exchange transactions.
Finally, any purchases made at warehouse retailers will only earn a reduced rate of 0.5%.
These cards are definitely among the best cashback offers on the market.
Before applying you should check that the stores you expect to spend in accept Amex cards.
If you find you spend a lot in a specific store, then why not check if they have a dedicated cashback card? You might actually end up earning more this way.
But, as always, clear that debt in full!