Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Tricks to earn 2x and 3x points when using your Amex Gold

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A lot of Head for Points readers now have the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card, following the special sign-up offer of 30,000 Membership Rewards points which ran two weeks ago.

(If you don’t have one, it is still well worth getting.  Look at the Credit Cards Update tab above for more details.  20,000 Avios (via 20,000 Membership Rewards points) sign-up bonus and no fee for the first year.)

The Gold card has a number of special bonuses built into it:

Double points (2 per £1) on overseas spend

Double points on supermarket and petrol spend for the first year only

Double points on travel spend

There are some interesting anomalies in this system.  There is a huge 100+ page Flyertalk thread on the card, but you really don’t want to wade through it all!

Last month I published a post on ‘overseas spend’ anomalies.  Some companies – Apple Store, hotels.com etc – give you the overseas spend bonus even when spending with them in the UKSee here for more details.

I have picked out the following other titbits on earning Amex Gold points from the Flyertalk thread.  Please post in the Comments if you have any others.

Transport for London – some people have historically had problems with Oyster Top-Ups from underground stations earning double points, although this now appears to be getting better.  Top-Ups bought from machines in National Rail stations have always posted with double points.  Top-Ups triggered by a bus journey tend to post as single points.

Petrol – buying petrol at a supermarket filling station will often give 3 x points (supermarket and petrol bonus)

Petrol – grocery or other spend in a filling station will also trigger double points (or triple if a supermarket station)

M&S Simply Food is not treated as a supermarket.  Do not bother retro-claiming double points from Amex for these transactions, as they have a strict policy on this.  The only exception is when the shop is part of a petrol station, which would get you the petrol double points.

Tesco Direct is not treated as a supermarket transaction (non-grocery) and so only gets single points

British Airways – some people, definitely not all, have had triple points for BA transactions.  I received triple points for an ex-EU ticket billed in Euros, some have also had it for £ sales.

points.com – purchases of airline miles (eg Avios) usually do not earn the travel bonus, because the airline will have outsourced the service to points.com and they process your purchase

John Lewis – if you can buy what you want in a Waitrose Food & Home, you will get double points.  Even better, buy John Lewis / Waitrose gift vouchers in a Waitrose supermarket (usually at the cigarette counter) and spend those in John Lewis.  Although … see next point …

Waitrose – Waitrose is the least reliable supermarket for double points posting automatically

Gift cards from supermarkets – most big supermarkets now sell gift cards for other retailers.  You can therefore earn a 100% bonus at non-supermarket retailers by buying gift cards in a supermarket and then using them in the relevant retailer.

When you are clearly due the points (eg a hotel stay does not trigger double points) then you can request them via the Amex online messaging service.  It may be easiest to do this once a month rather than after every transaction.

It appears that the official Amex policy is that you should NOT receive more than one bonus per transaction.  For example, paying for a hotel abroad should only get you the overseas spend bonus or the travel bonus, but not both.  Here is a typical email received from Amex by a Flyertalk poster:

There does appear some confusion on how many points you would earn on outbound/overseas transactions. The points allocated for these purchases are 2 for each pound and this is irrespective of the type of merchant. You do not get any further bonus points for the transaction being at a hotel, so 2 for 1 is the maximum available on any overseas charge. In view of this I can confirm you have been earning the correct bonus points which have all been allocated to both the hotel charge on your current e-mail and the queried transactions on your previous e-mail.

Do not, therefore, waste your time emailing Amex to ask for triple points on an overseas hotel payment, for example.

If you have anything to add, please comment below!

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (10)

  • craigmshaw says:

    This week I’ve checked my Gold statement and I’ve had 2x MR points on Amazon spends, which is excellent leading up to Christmas!