Credit & Charge Card Reviews (2): American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card

This is my review of the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) charge card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for.  These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page.  My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

Key link:  American Express Preferred Rewards Gold application page

Key facts:  No annual fee in year 1 and £140 thereafter

About the card

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is issued directly by American Express.

The general American Express rule is that you can hold two charge cards and two credit cards at the same time.  Platinum is the other widely-held charge card, the credit cards include the BA, Starwood SPG, Nectar, Costco and Harrods Amex cards.

Any American Express cards you may have which are issued by Lloyds, TSB, Barclays or MBNA will not directly impact on whether you are accepted for this card.

Note that the Preferred Rewards Gold card is a charge card, not a credit card.  You MUST clear your balance in full at the end of each month.

Review American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card UK

What is the sign-up bonus?

Amex Gold offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 within 3 months.  This is the most generous sign-up bonus generally available on any free UK loyalty charge or credit card – albeit that Amex Gold is only free for the first year.

Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios.  Click here to see what other reward programmes are Membership Rewards transfer partners.  This means that you can receive 20,000 Avios points for free by applying for this card, spending enough to trigger the sign-up bonus and then transferring the points to British Airways.

You can get an even higher bonus of 22,000 Membership Rewards points if you are referred by an existing American Express Platinum or Gold cardholder.  Please e-mail me at raffles [at] if you would like a referral.

Any other benefits?

You receive two free airport lounge passes each year with Amex Gold, valid at any airport lounge in the ‘Lounge Club’ network.  Heathrow (although not Terminal 5), Gatwick, Luton and Stansted – amongst many others – have participating lounges as do most major airports worldwide.  After your two free visits, you can make further lounge visits for a £15 charge.

You will receive 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points each year when you renew your Amex Gold membership if you have spent £15,000 in the previous year.  These will post one month after your renewal date.

You will receive a 10% discount and free additional driver on Hertz bookings.  There are also 350 4-5 star hotels worldwide which offer a $75 in-hotel credit and an upgrade when booked by an Amex Gold cardholder via the American Express travel service.

What is the annual fee?

There is no fee for the first year of Amex Gold.

For future years, there is a fee of £140.  I would personally struggle to justify that fee in light of the benefits unless I was making heavy use of the $75 hotel credits.  As the annual fee is refunded pro-rata if you cancel, there is no rush to cancel before the fee becomes due.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.

Foreign currency transactions and airline transactions earn 2 points per £1, as do travel bookings made via the American Express Travel website.

What is a Membership Rewards point worth?

Anything from ‘not a lot’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer!  I wrote this lengthy article on the subject here.

If you redeem your points for, say, an Amazon gift card then you will receive around 0.5p per point.  This is a poor return compared to a typical cashback card or the value of an airline mile if used sensibly.

I tend to value airline miles at 0.75p – 1p each (this is conservative) so that is your valuation if you transfer to an airline programme.

Some of the hotel programmes also offer good value.  Club Carlson (the Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn scheme) transfers at 1:3 from Membership Rewards, for example.  Their top five-star hotels generally cost 70,000 points per night which would be just over 23,000 Membership Rewards points.  This would usually get you over 1p per point of value.

The other hotel partners are Hilton and Starwood.  Remember that, as Starwood Preferred Guest points can now be transferred at 3:1 into Marriott Rewards points, you can now use Amex Gold as a way of earning Marriott points.

You can take a look at the full list of Membership Rewards options here.

Other points to note

You will not receive the sign-up bonus if you have held a Platinum, Gold or Green American Express card in the six months before you apply.

For clarity, you will definitely receive the sign-up bonus if you already have a BA Amex, SPG Amex, Platinum Cashback Amex or any Amex issued by Barclays, Lloyds or MBNA.

After the first year, when the £140 annual fee kicks in, you can cancel at any time for a pro-rata fee refund.  American Express is the only card issuer to offer such a pro-rata fee refund.

American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for any of its cards.


The sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points (22,000 if I refer you) is the most generous incentive generally available on a free UK charge or credit card.

For day to day spending, 1 point per £1 is middling, although the 10,000 point bonus for spending £15,000 in a year would increase your average rate sharply if you achieved it.

The application form for Amex Gold can be found here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (1): American Airlines AAdvantage American Express & Visa
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  1. Nicholas Martin says:

    For the AMEX Gold card, is overseas spending considered towards the 2k spend required in the first 3 months to be able to trigger the 20,000 Membership Awards points? Or is it only local spending?

  2. Maybe a little OT, but the 2 charge card and 2 credit card rule with amex, has anyone had a different result with it? I know with the extra bonus points that were available recently on the Nectar credit card, some people were saying that amex would allow 1 charge and 3 credit but I was rejected when I applied for a 3rd credit card. (Generally on those check your eligibility before you apply websites, amex gives me a 90% acceptance chance).
    Basically, I’m wondering if it’s worth closing one of my amex credit accounts and trying again for it/a different card.

    Also, I’m struggling to find a reason why you would need to open 2 UK charge cards with them. As you can only have one sign up bonus, surely paying the annual fee for platinum cancels out any benefits from having the gold card?

    • I have 1 charge card and with nectar applied this month as my third credit card. Got approved without any problem.

      It may be worth trying it out if you are going to cancel one of the credit card anyway within a couple of months to take current nectar promotion. having said that you never know there could be even better offer before end of the year.

    • It’s probably for people who have a personal and business charge card rather than 2 personal cards

    • I have 1 charge (Platinum) and 3 credit cards (BAPP, SPG and Cashback) with AMEX.

    • the_real_a says:

      I have 1 charge and 3 credit cards

    • The eligibility checkers are generally rubbish unless they are run by the financial institution itself, as Amex isn’t going to give them its private criteria for acceptance, only general rules. If you are already an Amex customer, Amex tends to just run internal checks.

      I have only ever had one credit search from Amex which is when I applied for my first ever UK Amex.

  3. Does anybody know if I can get the bonus if I’ve had an Amex business charge card in the last 6 months?

    • No, not if you earned MR points from it.

      • Thanks Rob

        • I received the Amex Gold Charge sign-up bonus points even though I also have the Amex Platinum Business Charge, so not sure if Rob’s response is correct.

          The MR points are held in two separate MR accounts as such, as the Personal and Business cards have different redemption options and cannot be combined. This may be the reason you also get the sign-up bonus.

          I have qualified for the 10k bonus on renewal on my Gold card. Is there anything wrong with cancelling the card straight after the bonus points are applied on renewal, or will this mean I won’t get the £140 refund of the annual renewal fee as I have received the 10k points benefit?

  4. So if I’m wanting a platinum card just get that because I wouldn’t get the bonus if I had this first?

    Also noticed that the green card comes with additional purchase cover (1 year extended warranty) which none of the others do which may make it worth getting if you’re about to buy a few electronics!

  5. Both myself and my boyfriend have this card and were looking to use the Lounge Pass at Gatwick North in November as we fly to Mauritius. From the comments yesterday it looks like you have to pre book on the websites to ensure a lounge spot, is that right? Which do people prefer, Nmbr1 or Aspire? Thanks all!

    • Brighton Belle says:

      Number 1 is far better than Aspire. Aspire food offer is dire. It must be policy as Aspire at Edinburgh is fab so they know what to do really. I stopped using it as it just felt a mean minded experience for the £15 they get from Priority Pass.

      My No1 access with Priority Pass is poor. About 1 in 3 attempts are successful. Morning flights fill the lounge up.If you really want to get in the advice is to prebook a glass of champagne through their website. That gets you in without the fee.

  6. I recently tried and failed to get into the Gatwick lounge with my Lounge pass, but I hadn’t prebooked. The concourse was very busy, so assume the lounge was as well. So yes it seems you need to prebook.
    As I didnt get in I can’t compare, but the Lounge pass app gives some insights into facilities and has photos. Plus I’m sure someone else will comment on their experiences with both.

  7. Has anyone had issues transferring from amex to emirates with a second churn of the gold card?

    My next target is another day at the emirates superbox but I’ve heard issue of problems transferring to skywards once you’ve added a new MR account.

    If anyone did have problems then how did they overcome them?

    Also what would be the fastest way to 40k points? My current balance is 0 points and I’m looking for new cards as I’m about to cancel amex gold

  8. Out of interest rob how much do you get for a referral and is this how you build up your avios?

    By the way I say this as someone who you have you referred for a gold card!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Gold is 9k and Platinum is 18k, there is a annual (CY) Cap of c98k points

    • In the interests of disclosure, I’d be interested to know whether Rob gets anything after the MR points cap? Rob gave my wife a referral last week for an Amex Plat and it would be good to know that that went some way to helping HfP?

      • As a credit broker in effect, being under FCA authority, I’m sure Rob has a good arrangement with Amex beyond usual! And why not? :-)

  9. The Urbanite says:

    Anybody else taken aback by their spending power?

  10. slightly o/t; I have the amex gold charge card and have booked flights to Istanbul for Dec 16 – I am looking to use the two lounge passes (before they expire at end of the year) I get however it appears the flight is out of t5 and as far as I am aware there is no lounge in t5 that accepts the lounge pass. is this correct?

    What alternative options are there? Could I use the lounge in t3 and then transfer to t5?

    • No alternatives – arguably you could use the arrivals lounge in T2 which is landside but not sure why you would do this. The Sofitel lounge is not in Lounge Club IIRC?

  11. Does anyone know if the 20K points is still available for the Gold to Plat upgrade. The links on various sites seem to have stopped working and there’s no obvious info on the Amex website I can see.

  12. Oliver East says:

    So I recently got the Amex Gold card, I’ve hit the bonus and will be moving moving the MR to avios soon plus will be using the lounge pass in November. Is it literally as simple as after November cancelling the card waiting 6/7 months and then reapplying to hit the bonus once again? I’m still new to the point game and have yet to ‘churn’ a card.

  13. O:T, Has anyone any idea of how long a referral from BA Amex takes to hit the Amex account from approval of card?

  14. Hi All,
    I have gold card if someone referral me for platinum will they get a sign up bonus
    and will I also get one as well?

  15. Hi, My Amex Gold card is coming up for renewal in a week. Does it make sense to upgrade to a platinum for 2 months so that i can get my 10000 MR bonus and also get to keep the status form other loyalty programs (that come with a platinum card)? Would be greatful if you can please advice?

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      Amex told me that if I did exactly what you are describing then I would lose the 10K bonus. I waited until that had been received and then upgraded.

  16. I was offered an extra point per £ for 3 months if I reconsidered cancelling which I accepted, however the additional points have not been applied to spend. Just spoke with Amex who said they would not be awarded until the monthly statement is produced, does that sound correct?

    • The Urbanite says:

      I took them up on this offer just over 3 months ago. Points posted with each transaction, clearly shown as bonus points. Oddly, the bonus point is rounded up to the nearest pound whereas the base point is rounded down!

  17. TGLoyalty says:

    Sort of OT – has MR always rounded down in every case? noticed 0.99p earns 0 MR points! makes it even worse than most of my 1 point per £1 cards!

    • Yes, they round down. However the BA premium, which gives 1.5 avios per £ can give some interesting rounding up opportunities. Eg. 0.35p spend=1 avios IIRC

  18. Scottydogg says:

    Ive got the Amex gold and hit the spend for the points , and ive used my lounge passes .
    I’m wanting to cancel to start the 6 months countdown but I think I need the Priority Pass in a few months . If you cancel Amex Gold , does the priority pass also cancel or do you have this until the end of the year ?
    I notice that priority pass was taking the funds from the gold amex so if I cancel that , can I link another card ?

  19. Jason Hindle says:

    I have an Amex Platinum card that I can’t really justify the cost of. However, whenever I’m thinking of getting rid of it, there’s a flurry of travel and suddenly I find myself enjoying the occasional hotel upgrade (the Club Carlson gold benefit has worked well for me) and the Priority Pass.

    The card most definitely does not pay for itself though, and hasn’t for a good few years.

    • Bear in mind that you can apply for the hotel statuses and then cancel the card and you keep the hotel statuses until the end of their expiry period. You can then reapply for the card and refresh statuses.

      • the realharry says:

        Genghis – in a year, how much do you & your wife end up paying for Plat fees, totalised? And how many lounge visits do you get?

        Realise that’s not exactly the whole point or anything close – but just a rough idea?

      • I don’t know exactly. Around £150. The last Plat I did cost £19 in fees (just over 2 weeks). That £150 is worth the difference between Plat and Gold IMO: 92k – 57k = 35k or 0.43p/MR point. Only used lounge passes once in last 12 months as a LCC flight timed with one of our churns. Got Accor Plat status matched to Hilton Diamond. Both of which were very valuable in China so a bit of value there too I guess.

        • the realharry says:

          thx – I would get a few more lounge visits out of it – asked it before but can’t remember answer – can I have 16YO son as supp and we then both have 1 guest in? (the other 2 kids).

          I could then possibly time it over a holiday so that we got 8 lounge visits (ie both ends) before cancelling. 8 would be worth maybe £120 though we wouldn’t/ don’t pay that, so more like £80.

          Unfortunately my wife has completely lost patience with cards & points at the moment – I guess several of us have been there! – and she won’t play ball just for now (I hope). She vaguely understands that Clarity saves 3% when abroad, she knows how to prioritise the cards – but she has gone a bit ape about acquiring new cards etc.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Have to 18 years old based on the questions I was asked when applying for a Supp

            • the realharry says:


              actually now that free F&B has gone on European flights, the idea of paying £12.50 x4 to get into a good lounge (no1) becomes more acceptable

            • the realharry says:

              probably too tight to do more than 1x £12.50 and 3x WHS meal deal :)

          • We’ve all been there. Why don’t you blow some of that huge stash of avios you have and take your family F, stay in some in some nice hotels on points using status not really earned so your family can drink (and almost dine) for free. Then the OH may see the light…

            • the realharry says:

              she doesn’t understand me!

              oops – she don’t understand the points, well, she does, but she sees it as a complete waste of time vs proper endeavour, which I opted out of aged 36

              which is when she married me, so I can’t understand why she didn’t get it at the time :)

          • realharry, ( I like your new name) I have the same problem with my girlfriend. She is going ape about the cards we both have but I just keep going. That reminds me, I must have a count up and cancel some as they’re just sitting there doing nothing. Currently awaiting via post the BA Amex and the Lloyds avios duo cards. May try the Hilton Barclaycard again in January just to wind her really up.

            • I find if you do all the leg work – apply, register cards online, change PINs then slot it into her purse and take out the card she shouldn’t be using – OH is much more accepting. I provide my wife with one Amex and one MC/Visa to keep things simple.

            • My wife probably doesn’t know she is entered for all the BAEC competitions!

            • Ha ha +1. Showed my wife this and she asked if I wrote it!

            • Brighton Belle says:

              Sympathy. I have 31000 MR points locked on the missus Gold Card. She refuses to phone Amex and get it unlocked and the points into BAEC so her kids can fly in to see her. Sometimes you just give up at the idiocy.

        • My calcs are wrong. It should be for two churns so £150/184k (2 churns). Anyway. Good value for points IMO

  20. OT we booked an Avis car hire earlier this year through AVios for our US trip and paid for a GrpD car. After the booking we applied for the Platinum card and applied for the Avis Preferrred Card linked to the Platinum card. We presented the AVis Preferrred card and Platinum card at the Avis check in desk and got what we think was a 3 level upgrade! DOes this Avis preferrred account get cancelled when you cancel the Platinum card. DO you need to reapply for a new AVis Preferrred account with every new Platinum card?

    • No and not necessarily though if your status expires / is coming up to expiry then do the status match thing again

      • If the card doesn’t expire when you cancel the Platinum card then I will just add the new platinum card number to the billing info on the Preferred account. That should be enough hopefully.

  21. Thanks for the review. I am in my first year with this card and thinking about whether to renew it. I have seen the articles suggesting it is not a great long term deal, but think it is for me. I just want to test my reasoning!

    My wife and I spend £15,000 per year – and my understanding is that her supplementary card would have no additional fee. I also value the Lounge Club membership. I would probably pay for Priority Pass basic membership if I did not have it, so the additional lounge visits at £15 a time are a benefit (I would guess I make 4-6 lounge visits per year). Therefore, I am getting 1.6 points per £, which is a good earning rate, plus a lounge benefit I would value at around £80 – based on the cost of Priority Pass.

    What do people think? Am I missing something?

    • I would add that because of family circumstances, we are not in a position to take advantage of 241 or upgrade vouchers.

      • Not too sure the maths is right. With Amex Gold you get two Lounge Club lounge entries (cash equivalent say £12.50 on £20-750 avios back) so value of £25 and after that you have to pay. I’d therefore argue that after the sign up but including the Lounge access, ongoing spend and 10k bonus at £15k spend (and assuming first year so no fee) it’s an all in earning rate of (£100+£150+£25)/15k = 1.8%.

        • Just reread your post and as you want to renew I think the £140 fee should be added into the calcs thereby lowering the all in earnings rate to just less than 1%! There are much better options out there IMO

    • I would suggest that you refer your wife for a card getting 22+9 thousand and then cancel yours.

      • I’m in the same position kind of wondering whether to keep my Amex gold hit the £15k spend get the 10k MR pay the fee cancel after a month or so then refer my wife etc. Or do I just refer her now get the 9k MR her the 22k and then reassess?

        Any suggestions folks?

        • It depends on how far away you are from the £15k spend target and whether you don’t mind churning cards. If ‘miles away’, and you don’t mind chasing sign up bonuses I’d refer your wife. I would not chase the £15k spend target.

          • I’ll easily hit the £15k target pretty soon that’s why I’m tempted to keep it and collect the bonus. Though my year end is march 2017 that’s why I’m not sure if I can be bothered to wait until then

  22. I’m just about to cancel my first gold card then re apply in 6 months for another bonus (or get a platinum card.

    Work have also pushed me in the direction of green corporate amex card.

    will this impact any future bonus (i undertand i will not get any reward points from the green amex)


  23. Hi, need your advice pls. Have triggered the bonus on the Amex BA platinum, then downgraded to the free blue card and got the Gold preferred. The original idea was to cancel the blue card and re-apply in 6 months. Now, i’ve triggered the Gold bonus during my first month (2k). Doesnt it make more sense to cancel the gold and keep the blue card? This way I can re-apply in 6 months and get the larger bonus?

  24. Can anyone tell me if the bonus of 20,000 reward points for a new gold card standard or an offer at the moment ? I am busy spending on my premium plus card at present to get my companion voucher but obviously want a gold card too at some point.

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