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End of ‘mistake’ Membership Rewards points for Amex Gold holders

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There has always been something odd about the way that American Express awards Membership Rewards points at certain retailers if you have an Amex Gold.

As a reminder, Amex Gold gives double points on all foreign spend transactions.  It also gives double points on travel spend as well as, in the first year only, supermarket and petrol spend.  It is also free for the first year and has a bonus which converts into 20,000 Avios points – more in my review.

In the internet age, the definition of ‘foreign spend’ is complicated.  You will have read how firms such as Amazon bill you in Luxembourg, for example, to take advantage of the lower VAT and corporate tax rates.

This led to strange anomalies.

Amex Gold 350

Back in December 2013 I wrote a piece entitled ‘When is £ credit card spend treated as foreign spend?‘.  The list of companies who processed your £ transactions outside the UK, thus triggering double points on the Amex Gold card, included Apple, iTunes, Amazon, easyJet, hotels.com, ebookers, American Airlines, Hotelopia, lastminute.com, Ocado and Paypal.

The following information has just started appearing on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold statements:

Information regarding additional Membership Rewards® points earned for spend at non-UK merchants

It has come to our attention that you may have previously earned additional Membership Rewards points where a transaction was charged and billed in pound Sterling at non-UK merchants, although such transactions do not attract a bonus under the Membership Rewards programme linked to your Card.

From 21 March 2015, transactions charged and billed in pound Sterling at non-UK merchants will no longer attract 1 additional Membership Rewards point for every equivalent £1 spent. This includes transactions that are converted into pound Sterling by the merchant before being charged and billed (known as “dynamic currency conversion”). Please note that we will not remove any additional Membership Rewards points that have been awarded to you for such transactions up to and including 20 March 2015.

You are (and will remain) eligible to earn an additional 1 Membership Rewards point for every equivalent £1 spent on non-Sterling transactions. If your transaction is converted into pound Sterling before submitting to us, you will earn at your normal rate. Transactions charged and billed in pound Sterling at merchants registered outside of the UK do not attract 1 additional Membership Rewards point for every equivalent £1 spent.

Looking at this, it seems that Amex was also giving double points if you used Dynamic Currency Conversion.  This is where you let an overseas shop or hotel charge your card in £ rather than in the local currency.  I hope that no Head for Points readers are daft enough to do this because the exchange rates used are generally pathetic.

Whilst Amex has changed its strategy, there are other credit card issuers who give double points for foreign spending.  These include the IHG Rewards Club Premium Visa and the TSB Avios and TSB Premier Avios cards.  Test in the past showed that a far smaller number of merchants triggered double points on these cards for £ transactions.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2022 update

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 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

American Express Business Gold

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (34)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Thomas says:

    One gets triple points on hotels abroad..

  • Irons1980 says:

    Off topic, but I have just opened an IHG premium card – it says double points for hotel stays, but no-where can I see on my literature that is says double points for foreign spend?

  • Andrew C says:

    It’s good to see Amex are handling this professionally at least. 1) advance notice 2) a few months grace period before introducing the changes and 3) not recovering points retrospectively (admittedly that could be very difficult to do)

  • Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) - Master Thread - Page 110 - FlyerTalk Forums says:

    […] more on the message: https://headforpoints.com/2015/01…ith-amex-gold/ […]

  • Hiltonhotelfans says:

    In the Netherlands Amex will also stop with double points at foreign expenses at their Amex Greencard. Lots of customers are not happy.

  • Stuart says:

    Shame hotels.com don’t do gift cards like I understand they do in US and Canada, I’d probably stock up.

  • Pete says:

    Slight tangent (but related!). I have the Amex Gold and my wife has a supplementary card on my account.
    Would she get the 20k MR if she applied for the Amex Gold in her own name?
    Thanks all.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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