Credit & Charge Card Reviews (1): American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) charge card

This is my review of the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) charge card.

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.

(EDIT:  This article was updated on 27th December 2017 and is correct as of that date.)

Key link:  American Express Preferred Rewards Gold application page

Key facts:  No annual fee in year 1 and £140 thereafter.  You can cancel at any point.

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, Amex Rewards and Harrods Amex cards.

Any American Express cards you may have which are issued by Lloyds 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 rob [at] headforpoints.co.uk if you would like a referral.

Any other benefits?

You receive two free airport lounge passes each membership year with Amex Gold, valid at any airport lounge in the ‘Lounge Club’ network.  Heathrow (including the Aspire lounge in 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.  You may want to roll over your membership for a couple of months until you have used the two extra Lounge Club airport lounge passes which come on renewal.

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 charge card, or the new Amex Rewards credit 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 Lloyds, MBNA or any other bank.

You will also definitely receive the bonus if you are currently a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s Amex Gold or Platinum card.  As far as Amex is concerned, that card belongs to the primarily cardholder and does not make you an ‘existing cardholder’.

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 available on a free UK charge or credit card.  I strongly recommend signing up and giving the card a try, if only for the first free year.

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.

Important dates for your diary - offers about to close which you shouldn't miss
Bits: BA closing Toronto lounge, new SPG Moments concerts, new Amex offer at Thistle, Amba, Guoman
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Comments

  1. OTish

    The ShopSmall map etc. for 2017 is now available at https://www.amexshopsmall.co.uk/shop-small-for-shoppers/

  2. Can you still apply for this card even if you already have the Nectar Amex?
    Thanks

  3. StevieM says:

    I am Plat Amex. I can only find like for like (Plat for Plat) referrals in my Amex account. A friend asked me today for a Gold referral and Amex say that I will NOT get bonus if I refer him onto Gold as I am Plat. Any ideas?

  4. Mrugesh Trivedi says:

    I received an offer in the mail for AMEX Business Card promotion where I would get 75000 points after spending $5000 in 3 months. I applied online with the promotion code and got approved. After receiving the card and before activating it, I called AMEX to verify my bonus eligibility since I had the similar card in the past. and they confirmed that I am eligible (since I didn’t have the same card in last 5 years).

    I have spent almost $3200 in first 2 months already and now they are telling me, I will not eligible for the promotion even I spent $5000 in 3 months since I has the card in the past.

    I am very upset and don’t know what to do next. These people are outright dishonest.

  5. Can you use one of your Lounge Club passes for a guest, or would you have to pay for a guest at full price? Thanks

    • Yes. You can either use both yourself on two trips, or both at once with a guest – as long as you are there too.

  6. Hi Rob,

    Do you need to register with Lounge Club or just show your Amex card at the lounge? Looking at both the Amex and Lounge Club websites it doesn’t seem like there’s a place to sign up to Lounge Club as an Amex cardholder. Thanks

    • Lounge Club cards sent out automatically. Showing your Plat won’t work at those lounges, only Amex Centurion Clubs (and a few others like Eurostar)

      • …. and Plaza Premium

        • Ah yes, forgot that slightly random benefit! Perhaps they would let you double-up? Cardholder + 1 guest on Amex Plat and cardholder + 1 guest on PP = cardholder + 2 guest for no cost? I managed to do that in Hamburg by using both my Plat UK & Plat ICC Priority Pass cards 😀

  7. adriano says:

    I’m undecided what to do:
    I’m holding BA free (not using it anymore), Amex Plat since 7/17 (hit the bonus last month) and Amex business Gold since 8/17 (hit the bonus this month).
    My partner is supplementary card holder on Plat and Free card. What do you guys recommend to get into flowing rotation of canceling / referring/ reapplying?
    The BAPP looks great but how to hit it off the right way?

    • Assuming you have, or could have, a BA household account, easiest option is to refer your wife for a BAPP card. 9k for you, 26k for her. You can then cancel yours.

      She can give you a supp BAPP card if you do most of the spending. After 6 months she can refer you back.

  8. Antonio says:

    Hello. I just applied for to Amex Gold. I plan to convert the Amex points to Avios eventually. I have seen that BA sometimes runs offers in USA where you get 30% or 40% bonus Avios when transferring Amex points to Avios.

    Do they also run these offers in UK? Just to know whether to hold my points in the Amex until they have an offer 🙂 Thanks

  9. My wife is just about to apply for Gold Rewards Card. I recall there is a question when applying that asks if you have another Amex card. She has a BA Premium card. I understand she is still eligible for signup bonus as this card is not run by Amex. Is this right? Is she ok to conform that she already has an Amex card without losing the sign up bonus or is the answer to this question no?

  10. Hi,
    I have a green AMEX corporate card through work with my name on it (and companys name).

    – Can I be recommended a Pref Gold Rewards Card by someone else and still get the bonus?
    – Can I also recommend the Pref Gold Rewards Card to someone else so they get the bonus?
    – Do I get the bonus if I am a additional card holder with BA Amex (Standard)?

    Thanks,
    Damon

    • Do you receive Membership Rewards points on your Corporate Card? Some companies let their staff earn them, some do not.

      If you DO get MR points then you cannot get the bonus on the Gold or Platinum cards. You might be able to refer someone else to personal Gold – look at your online account for your Corporate Green. If your company has not allowed you to have online access then you can’t do it.

      If you DO NOT get MR points via your corporate card spend then you’re fine to apply for Gold and earn the bonus.

      The BA Amex has nothing to do with Gold / Platinum bonus entitlements so don’t worry about that.

  11. excelwang says:

    Does the Anniversary Bonus target (£15k) count both the spent by primary card and supplementary card? I looked at their T&C and it says the membership year for supplementary card starts from the date of issue of the supp card, so this does not sync with the main card. I wonder whether AMEX count the Anniversary Bonus requirement separately for supp card as well?

    • Genghis says:

      Supp spend counts towards the 15k in the main card holders year. But say the card was taken out in Jan along with Supp card 1 and in May supp card 2 was taken out. An additional fee would be applied in May and every May thereafter for the additional supp card

  12. Antonio says:

    Hi! I received my first Amex Gold last week, but it did not come in a welcoke kit (so no Lounge Club card). Are these sent separately? Thanks

  13. I’ve previously held the Gold card and received the sign-up bonus once before. I’ve since cancelled my card and have waited a few days over the 6 month requirement before reapplying. I’m trying to find out whether I’ll receive the welcome bonus again, or whether I should’ve waited until the start of the 7th calendar month to be sure? Thanks,

  14. Hi anyone got that link to get a “signup upgrade bonus” from Amex Gold to Amex Platinum please?