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.

This article was updated on 4th March 2017 and is correct as of that date.

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.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Equifax credit report and score.  Your first 30 days are free then it’s £14.95 per month.  You can cancel at anytime.

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] headforpoints.co.uk 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.

Travel bookings made via the American Express Travel website, and paid for online, earn 3 points per £1.

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.

Conclusion

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.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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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Comments

  1. 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 avios.com: £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

  2. 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)

    Thanks

  3. 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?

  4. 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.
    Thanks

    • Wally1976 says:

      This is a longstanding offer that shows no sign of going away. (That’s more-or-less a direct quote from another Raffles article I think!)

  5. I don’t think that those Hotel programmes should be there.

    EDited from review of Amex Plat :- ?

  6. If I sign up for the Preferred Rewards gold Charge Card and qualify for the 20k bonus, can I also get a BAPP card and claim the 25k Avios if I spend the qualifying amount? Your article about the BAPP reads as though I can get both without having a 6 month gap, but the tart of the Gold Charge Card application reads as though only one bonus can be claimed.

    Many thanks.

  7. Hi Rob,

    I got gold card last year, hit the bonus and cancelled it. Can I still use the Lounge Club access or it also expired with my gold card cancellation? The expiry date on Lounge Club card says May 2018.

    Thanks,
    Gaurav

  8. Could some clarify, does your amex online account containing the 20,000+ membership reward points get closed when you cancel your gold card, ie do you have to transfer or spend the points before cancelling. Many thanks

    • I believe a month’s grace after closing account but I’d just get them moved out before closing. You need the MR account closed anyway if you want to restart the clock on being able to churn the card!

      • And to add, it’s a good idea to set up your transfer partner(s) of choice in advance to speed up the transfer out process. Usually happens straight away but can take a couple of days.

        • Good point. And remember Nectar and linking your account to Amazon to buy gift cards is a good way of using up small orphan numbers of points.

  9. Has the bonus offer stopped? I have this card and have just qualified for the bonus, but looking at the Amex website, there’s no mention of this any more?

  10. Thank you all for the tips on transferring. Looking at the amex online account it looks as if you can only transfer to the BA exec club and not to your Avios account – is this right ?

  11. Thanks Alan. Last question i have been reading about some issues about transferring when you have a BA exec household account. Is it possible to transfer avios from my BA exec account which is linked to a household account to my personal avios account (which is not linked to a household account) ?

  12. After sign up and earning the 20k bonus points, how quickly are these bonus points credited to your account for you to then use?

  13. Does anyone have experiencing of churning this card – ie cancel and then reapply after 6 months. Does this work or should you wait longer since one of the articles mentions reapplying after 2 years. Also does the continuous cancellation and application affect your credit rating and would Amex refuse an application even if 6 months had elapsed. Many thanks in advance

    • You can re-apply after 6 months. It is up to Amex whether they accept you again, they usually do. It has no impact on your credit rating (for a start, this is not a credit card!).

      However, you should keep one credit card – any old card – permanently open. What does impact your credit profile is not having a long term relationship with a card issuer. Obviously someone who has had a card for 10 years is more reliable, on paper, than someone whose current cards are all under a year old.

      • Thanks Rob..much appreciated. I wish i had come across this site when it was first set up, as this would have made a huge difference to my avios over the last 20 years :)

  14. I’m doing exactly what others are suggesting. Approaching the £15k spend on the Gold card so sticking with it until my renewal date which isn’t far away to get the £10k bonus points then will cancel and get a pro-rata refund of the £140 fee. Have just referred my wife for her own Gold card so we can get the 22k + 9k bonus too. I have 2 questions though:
    If I cancel my own Gold card once I’ve renewed and got the 10k points bonus, can Amex take back the points or is it a given?
    My wife was an additional card holder on my Gold card – will this stop her from getting the sign-up bonus if she applies in her own right?

    I’m now going to apply for the BA Premium Plus because I think that the companion vouchure is much more valuable than 10k points and it’s for a lower annual spend too!