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

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This is my review of the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) credit 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 Experian Credit Score.

(EDIT: this review was updated on 1st June 2019 and all of the data was 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.

Interest rate: Representative APR 57.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit. Interest rate on purchases 22.9% APR variable.

Review American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card UK

What is the Amex Gold sign-up bonus?

Amex Gold offers 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 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 10,000 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 12,000 Membership Rewards points if you are referred by an existing American Express Platinum or Gold cardholder. Please e-mail me at rob [at] if you would like a referral.

What are the rules for qualifying for the sign-up bonus?

The bonus is only available to customers who have not held a personal or small business American Express card in the previous 24 months.  Cards issued by MBNA or Lloyds Bank do not count.

You will not receive the sign-up bonus if you have a Corporate or Business American Express card via your job and you receive Membership Rewards points from it. If your Corporate or Business card does not provide Membership Rewards points then you are OK.

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

If you do not qualify for the bonus, you can still apply.  You still receive the other card benefits, including the two free airport lounge passes and ‘no fee in the first year’.

Any other benefits with Amex Gold?

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 £20 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 Amex Gold 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. Radisson Rewards (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 Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

You can take a look at the full list of Membership Rewards options here.

Is Amex Gold a good card to use when travelling?

Yes, to the extent that your receive double Membership Rewards points when using the card abroad.

However, because Amex adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.  Unfortunately there are no credit cards with a 0% foreign exchange fee which earn airline or hotel points.  One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HFP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.

If you want a dedicated credit card to use abroad, take a look at the Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (click here).  This card is free and charges NO foreign exchange fees.  It also offers 0% interest on purchases for 12 months and 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months.  Representative APR 21.9% variable.

Other points to note

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.


The sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points (12,000 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.

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  1. My partner currently has the Amex gold and the free year ends July 19 – once the free year is up can he take out a BAPP (and ARCC to keep points account open) and cancel the gold for a refund of the fee, say if he cancelled in September 19 after we have been on holiday and used the new lounge passes for the new card year?

  2. thehornets says:

    Can someone please remind me whether the supplementary card also comes with two free lounge passes? I think it does, but wanted to check.

  3. Is there still a reward for upgrading the gold preferred rewards charge card to platinum?

    Also if you have the charge card version of the gold card and apply for the new gold credit card version do you get another year free or is that only for brand new members?

  4. Traveller says:

    Do chain hotel bookings (IHG, Hilton, etc) via the Amex The Hotel Collection portal (ie the ones that get the $75 stay credit) qualify for points and stay credits in the hotel’s loyalty scheme (or are these 3rd party bookings)?

  5. “Foreign currency transactions and airline transactions earn 2 points per £1.”

    Note that it’s actually “foreign currency transactions and airline transactions earn an extra point per £1 each.” In other words, they stack: if you buy a flight ticket with an airline in a foreign currency, you get the same number of points as you would buying it from Amex Travel. Can be a useful source of extra points if (a) you can’t find a particular return flight combination through Amex Travel, and/or (b) your employer is paying for your ticket and you can pass on the non-sterling transaction fee.

  6. Onc3 £2k is spent in 1st 3 months, when do we get the 20000 miles? Is it shortly afterwards or do we have to wait till Year is up. Interested in card, but only if I can cancel once miles received.

  7. Tracy McLaughlin says:

    So after the free ones each lounge visit is £20. Can you have 2 visits at one time for £40? Me and hubby? Or should I cancel and get the barclays travel pack? Got 3 trips planned as a couple planned (so far) January, April and June, just finished free first year so waiting for bonus points to hit so could cancel after that, only worth keeping for the lounge, got BA platinum and Virgin Mastercard for points. Many thanks, Tracy

  8. Can I still apply for the AMEX Gold card and receive the sign up AVIOS bonus if I have the AMEX BA card?

  9. funkypigeon says:

    Wondering if there would be an bonus to upgrade from the Gold Credit Card to the Platinum one?

  10. Where in American Express’ documents can I read about the sign-up bonuses (specifically Amex Gold 20k sign-up bonus)? I understand if I have a BA Amex card already I am eligible for the bonus but would like to confirm this in the T&Cs. I’ve looked through several docs but I can’t seem to find the part that talks about welcome bonuses. Thankful for any help. Thanks

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