Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get 20,000 Avios or Virgin Atlantic miles for free as Amex relaxes Gold rules

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You need to be on your toes to keep up with the rules governing the very generous referral bonuses offered by American Express on the Gold and Platinum charge cards.

It was less than four weeks ago that I posted about new restrictions on those cards, which pretty much blocked most active miles and points collectors from qualifying.  

However, Amex has now made it a lot easier to get the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card.  Click here to see the full list of card features.

This card is so attractive because of the trade off between the fee and the bonus.  The card fee for the first year is currently £0!  This compares to the usual fee of £125 (which will be charged from Year 2 if you don’t cancel) and the £93 discounted fee for Year 1 which is the usual offer.

20,000 Membership Rewards points is a lot.  It can be transferred into 20,000 Avios points or 20,000 miles with Virgin Flying Club, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Etihad and others.  You could also turn them into 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points, 60,000 Club Carlson points or 40,000 Hilton HHonors points.

Now, this is what has changed overnight.  To qualify for the 20,000 point bonus, the old rules said that you must not hold any existing American Express cards issued by Amex.  This disqualified anyone with a BA Amex, SPG Amex, Nectar Amex or a Platinum, Gold or Green charge card.

The new rule is much more lenient:

The 20,000 Membership Rewards bonus points will be awarded onto your account once you have been approved and you have spent and charged £2,000 within the first 3 months of Cardmembership. All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available if you currently hold or have held any other Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Cards in the past 6 months.

Under the new wording, anyone who only has a BA Amex, Nectar Amex or an SPG Amex can now apply for the Preferred Rewards Gold card.  Only someone who has held a Platinum, Gold or Green charge card in the last 6 months cannot receive the bonus.

The card requires a household income (not personal income) of £20,000.

For general spending, the card offers good value when used for travel, overseas, supermarket or petrol spending, where you receive 2 points (ie 2 Avios) per £1.  On all other spending you only earn 1 point per £1, so you might want to put that spending on a different card once you have hit the £2,000 spend target for triggering the bonus.

Whether you keep the card after the first year is debatable.  The £125 fee is steep compared to the benefits, although you will receive 7,500 bonus points when you renew if you have spent over £15,000 in the previous year.  Personally, I wouldn’t bother – I would look to cancel before my year was up and move on to another card with another juicy sign-up bonus.

You can apply for Amex Gold and see the official list of benefits here.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Comments (9)

  • ups says:

    These changes have been there for a couple of weeks. The spend requirement used to be £1000 before, they increased that to £2000 and clarified the eligibility rules which is good 🙂

  • Darren says:

    Just to clarify i have an BA Amex card, which i have had for less than 6 months. Would i be able to apply and gain the Avios?

  • Raffles says:

    Yes, you are fine. Only people who have or recently had a card earning Membership Rewards points are blocked.

  • PanGalactic says:

    I’d just like to add that I called Amex today to asked whether having a Corporate Platinum (with MR account) would disqualify me from these offers and they checked and said that corporate accounts don’t count so I can get the bonuses, yay!
    I got them to put a note on my account to that effect just incase this turns out to be false info.

    • ups says:

      You have to pay separately for the corporate card to be enrolled into MR isn’t it? That’s what Amex asked me to do even though I have a MR account courtesy of the PRG card.

      • jude1234 says:

        Hi I have a platinum rewards card with Amex and my husband is an additional cardholder
        are both of us ineligible for the extra miles

        • ups says:

          I think your husband will be able to apply, additional card holders are not considered – I’m sure Raffles will correct if I’m wrong…

        • ups says:

          I should’ve said – additional card holders are not considered Amex account holders hence your husband should be able to apply.

  • PanGalactic says:

    No, as it doesn’t have an MR account.

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