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American Express Gold relaunched today – some good news, mainly bad news

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This news was embargoed by Amex until 9am which is why this article is later than usual.

American Express has relaunched the Preferred Rewards Gold card today.  This has involved a rejig of the benefits package which, for many people, makes it a poorer deal.

This is the new benefits package you will receive when you apply for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card:

Amex Gold 350

  • Earn 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in your first three months
  • Earn one Membership Rewards point for virtually every £1 spend on your Card
  • Earn one additional Membership Rewards point for virtually every £1 spent directly with airlines
  • Earn one additional Membership Rewards point for virtually every £1 equivalent spent in a foreign currency
  • Earn two additional Membership Rewards point for virtually every £1 spent at amextravel.co.uk
  • Get 10,000 Membership Rewards points after each year of Cardmembership, when you spend £15,000
  • Two complimentary lounge visits per year to use at over 350 airport lounges globally
  • 10% off Hertz car rental rates, plus a complimentary one card upgrade and additional driver fee waived
  • $75 hotel credit and room upgrade where available at over 350 hotels globally including Hilton, InterContinental and Sofitel
  • Annual fee of £140 after the first year, which is free

Let’s look at the new benefits:

You no longer earn double points for supermarket or petrol spend in your first year or for all travel spend in subsequent years.  It has been replaced by a far weaker ‘double points on airline spend’ and ‘double points for spend at amextravel.co.uk’.

Double points on overseas spending has been retained.  If you are spending your employers money then this continues to be a great card to use when travelling.  Because Amex levies a foreign exchange fee of almost 3%, most people would be better off using a card with no foreign exchange fees.  The Lloyds Avios Rewards card, for example, has no FX fees and lets you earn Avios points on your foreign spending.

You earn 10,000 bonus points if you spend £15,000 in a year.  This is an increase on the current 7,500 points.  If you spend exactly £15,000 then you will have earned 1.66 Membership Rewards points per £1 which is not at all bad.

You retain the two Lounge Club passes annually.  Whilst this benefit is unchanged, it is becoming more valuable because of the forthcoming Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 and the new Escape lounge at Stansted, both of which are likely to accept Lounge Club passes.

$75 in-hotel credit and a room upgrade at 350 4-5 star hotels globally.  This looks like a slimmed down version of Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts focussed on upper tier rather than luxury hotels.  The value is entirely dependant on whether you book into any of these hotels during your membership year.  It is also possible – although this has yet to be confirmed – that only Best Flexible rates will be covered and not cheaper non-refundable rates.

Annual fee of £140, an increase of £15.

Hertz benefit added.  This may or may not have any value – the free additional driver may be useful to some people.  The 10% discount can probably be beaten by using other airline or hotel discount codes.

The change that surprises me most is the removal of the supermarket and petrol ‘double points’ in year one.  People who took out Gold tended to hold it for the full first year, even if they didn’t see the value in the £125 fee thereafter, because it was an excellent card to use at the garage and the supermarket.  This also meant they kept it in their wallet at all times.

Once a card is out of your wallet or purse, it slips out of your mind.  Even if people keep the card for 11 months in order to charge occasional airline tickets to it (a good deal at 2 points per £1, without a doubt), it will almost certainly be kept in a desk drawer until needed.  That does not build up the emotional bond required for people to pay the fee going forward.

I continue to believe that Amex is missing a trick by not waiving foreign exchange fees on cards with high annual fees.  It would make a substantial difference to the overall Amex Gold package and would give people a real reason to keep the card.

As a long-term package, it may or may not work for you.  The potential expansion of Lounge Club to Terminal 5 and Stansted means the lounge vouchers are worth having.  Having a Lounge Club card also allows you further lounge visits for just £15 each which is a decent deal at, say, Plaza Premium in Heathrow Terminal 2.

You would probably offset the annual fee through the lounge passes and the 10,000 points for spending £15,000.  The issue is that many people will NOT spend £15,000.

It is a little odd having a card which only requires a £20,000 household income to get it but which requires you to earn far more (in order to spend £15,000 a year to bank the 10,000 points) to make it worthwhile keeping it.   Amex is effectively encouraging people to take out the card with no intention of renewing it by making the main renewal benefit out of the reach of many people.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2020 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my November 2020 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.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual 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:

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

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.

Comments (101)

  • Umberto says:

    Shame. This was also the next cc I wanted to take out. Any idea if I can cancel after the 20,000points are transferred and still retain all the benefits?

    • Oliver says:

      The lounge club card is cancelled soon after you cancel the AMEX GOLD. I have first hand experience of this

  • Will says:

    If i already have a gold card when does the double points end? straight away or end of my first year.

    what i mean is this a “new cards only” devaluation?

    • Polly says:

      Everything stays as it is on your current card. It will apply to new applicants only. They can’t change your t and c half way through your contractual year!

      • taney says:

        “They can’t change your t and c half way through your contractual year !”

        I take it you haven’t read your T&C ?

        If basically says they can change the package of benefits at any time, as long as THEY believe the overall package is good value, and they give you 2 months notice.

        They have history in doing so, they previously downgraded many of the advantages of the plat card insurance mid-contract.

        They may or may not keep current cards on the current deal. But likely they will keep them as they are, as they will automatically revert to 1 point per supermarket spend, at their year end.

    • Colin JE says:

      I’d have thought they would have to write to existing card holders if they were changing your Ts&Cs, but that’s just my overblown sense of fairness! What they do for year 2 is anyone’s guess.

      • tangey says:

        It’s not a change of T&C, it’s a change of benefits, which as per the existing T&C they are allowed to change as long as they believe the new package is still “good value”

  • Dwadda says:

    You are totally right about out of sight, out of mind. Apparently I spent enough abroad on my BA Amex Premium to be charged £300 in foreign transaction fees last year despite having a fairfx card. I use fairfx for small purchases and to withdraw cash from unfamiliar atm’s; the Amex and HSBC Premier cards for larger payments as it is convenient.

    I am waiting eagerly for the supercard to arrive in the post. …has anyone got one yet?

  • Jonathan says:

    They take a bit, so they should give a bit…whens the MR transfer bonus to Virgin or Avios happening? They last did one in the UK last March and in the US in October so we should be due one soon, right?!

    • Tariq says:

      Fingers crossed. Was going to cancel my Amex Gold in July when the fee was due, but think I might cancel early now. Do we need to cash out MR before cancelling or do we get a period of time after cancelling where we can still access the MR account and make transfers, etc. (Just in case they offer me something tempting to stay!)

      • Tim says:

        Yoy do need to cash out first, but I think you can (for a small fee) transfer MR pionts to other card holder such as a partner.

        • Rob says:

          They scrapped that last year, unfortunately. You cannot transfer MR points to a third party now.

  • Brian says:

    Note that you only get the upgrade and $75 credit for the hotels when booking via Amex Travel and for stays of at last two nights. This would presumably mean that such stays would NOT count toward normal status benefits and points earning, which might well make it pointless, as it were, especially if trying to meet targets for bonus offers like Set Your Sights.

  • George says:

    There is a very real possibility that Amex decided that tracking all sorts of travel spend was nightmarish and should have never offered it in the first place. I know a lot of people who were claiming on untracked travel (and sometime supermarket spend) constantly, and Amex was awarding extra points for the inconvenience. I myself just only recently had a massive travel spend (season ticket) that didn’t award the proper points, so while I know that Amex was updating its directory of what constitutes as travel and supermarket spend, the database is still far from perfect.

    This also explains why the agent that I spoke to couldn’t award bonus points past the three-month mark. Previously, I had an Amex retention offer of double points for 6 months, which proved very lucrative, but apparently they’re putting a stop to that now.

    I for one will miss this perk. I also feel like I’m being pushed for going for the Platinum card. Shame that the UK version can’t mirror the US card, which has waived the ForEx fees, has double points on restaurants, etc.

    Do we know when the changes are coming into effect?

  • Wade says:

    Is the first year still free?

    • Colin JE says:

      Yes, it’s at the top of the Amex details page. Fee £140, First year £0

  • Colin JE says:

    Real shame about this. My wife has a Gold card and I was planning to get mine in July, having cancelled my last one in January (she will refer me so extra points for both of us). As others have said, this will just encourage churning faster.

    Does anyone know if the six months before you can reapply is calendar months (ie cancel Jan 10, reapply in July) or six actual months (cancel Jan 10, reapply June 11)?

    • Oliver says:

      Actual 6 months. When I phone to apply for it I ask when did I cancel this and has it been 6 months. Cheeky I know

      • Oliver says:

        Sorry I don’t phone to apply, I phone to check if I am past the 6 months, then I get the referral from raffles.

      • Tim says:

        You dont. You must choose.