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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (2): 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.

(EDIT:  This article was updated on 1st February 2020 and all of the information was correct as of that date.  Ignore the October 2019 publication date.)

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Experian Credit Score.

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 credit 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 Gold cardholder. Please e-mail me at rob [at] headforpoints.co.uk 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 American Express card in the previous 24 months.  Cards issued by MBNA or Lloyds Bank do not count.

You will 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.

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.

(Much of the time, but not always, airline transactions which are paid for in a foreign currency earn 3 points per £1 as the offers double up!)

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.

Conclusion – is Amex Gold worth it?

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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Comments

  1. Joe Hodrien says:

    Hello, I was wondering, if you cancel after your free year, when does the fee clock reset again? ie if you wait two years (like waiting for the bonus), there will be no fee? Or does the old 6 month rule apply? Or, is it just one free year for life?

    Many thanks!

    • The fee clock appears to reset immediately (you get the lounge passes again too) as long as you get accepted.

  2. Julia Says says:

    Do you have to be Gold to make a Gold referral or can you refer to Gold from any Amex?

    • The Original David says:

      Any Amex. If you refer from e.g. the BA Blue, the “referee” will first see a page about the BA Blue, but at the bottom is a “view our other cards” button where they can then pick a different card, and still get your (and their) bonus.

  3. Adam Richardson-Raine says:

    From year 2 onwards, with the fee starting, even if you get the 10k MR bonus for the £15k spend, at what point would it make sense to keep this rather than use the platinum for everyday spending? (I realise that you get double points for using it on Amex travel). Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      There’s got to be some serious spending on Amex travel / employer paid FX expenses for it to be worth it. IMO, the Gold isn’t worth paying for and certainly the Plat isn’t worth spending on.

      • KBuffett says:

        Hi G
        Would you say that AmEx SPG is the best to spend on?

      • Adam Richardson-Raine says:

        Hi G. Thanks for your replay but it flies in the face of Rob’s review of the SPG card?? Perhaps the BA card with companion ticket reward may be better than the Gold from Year 2 then…

        • Genghis says:

          You didn’t mention the SPG card? I’m responded saying that I wouldn’t pay for the Gold and the Plat as an ongoing card to actually spend on yields a poor return. The SPG card, however, is strong if lots of ongoing spend.

          • Are you suggesting keeping the SPG card? I would have thought the Gold card was a better choice if you wanted to earn miles and the SPG card if you want Marriott hotel points. There is also the bonus 10,000 points every 12 months on Gold plus double points on flight purchases.

          • Genghis says:

            @Russ but paying £140 for the privilege in second year per OP’s case. I suggest you run the numbers for your circs.

            Let’s make up some: say £40k normal spend + £5k flights.
            Gold in second year would be 40k MR + 10k bonus + 10k flights = 60k = £600 – £140 fee = £460.
            On SPG: 135k Marriotts = £675 – £75 fee = £600.
            Even transferring the Marriotts to avios if that’s your goal:
            135k marriotts -> 55k avios (not including the current bonus of 35% for conservativeness) = £550 – £75 fee = £475.

          • Thanks for the breakdown Genghis. Will keep it in mind when next fee time comes around.

          • Adam Richardson-Raine says:

            Hi G. Thanks for the breakdown/example. Can I ask where 135k Marriot points -> £675 comes from? (Sorry never used Marriot before) Is that a conversion back to Amex points or cash or?

          • I generally use 0.5p as the value you can get from a Marriott Bonvoy point on an average day (beatable on a great day). This is based on what I’ve got when booking various redemptions over the years.

    • Harry T says:

      The Gold fee could perhaps make sense if you use a lot of Amex [email protected] offers. But it’s still better to cancel the card after getting the bonus 10k MR. Then you can reapply in a few months or get your partner to get it instead.

  4. Wally1976 says:

    Now that this is a credit card and not a charge card, is it possible to have the Platinum charge card at the same time as this?

  5. M Corrêa says:

    When you cancel the Gold card, does the Lounge Club membership gets automatically cancelled? Or you can still use for some time?

  6. Dear ladies and gentlemen ,

    Shop Small has arrived.

    Ready, set, go!

    • Wally1976 says:

      You can’t use it until 7th December (but yes, might as well save the offer straight away).

      • Such a bummer! I’m in London on Dec 6/7, but won’t be able to use it the first day.
        Oh well, more trips to the liquor store in my neck of the woods!

    • “One £5 statement credit per UK Card per merchant will be given up to 10 times.”

      10 times at the same merchant? Sweet!

      “Offer is only intended for the targeted recipient of this offer.”

      Appears on all 8 cards, better save now.

  7. Steven Hewitt says:

    What do you recommend after year 1 on gold? BA or SPG AMEX?

    • If you are rock solid on Avios then BA: high spend – BAPP (without bonus you need to eat £195 annual fee with extra 0.5 avios per £ spemt) and low spend – free BA

      If committed to VA same high / low with only £160 to recover with 0.75 mile per £.

      Looking for M&M you need to go for dinners, it’s very difficult to get this miles.

      Overall the best option is most likely SPG due to amazing flexibility with far more airlines than amex has on offer and great footprint of high end redemptions in Marriot.

      End of the like if you do a lot of overseas spend that is covered by work Gold Amex might me handy.

      There is no one and right card, it all depends.

  8. Jonathan says:

    That credit card was probably an effort by Amex to try something new, but didn’t work so they decided it wasn’t worth keeping.

    Unfortunately there’s always things like that in life, something that’s perfect for some, but uneconomically viable for the source to keep it going

    • Charlieface says:

      No. Amex had an exclusive Costco deal globally for many years which they recently lost. The UK is one of the last countries to still have it.

      • Sandgrounder says:

        OT but Costco credit card related. I was in Canada earlier this year. MasterCard is the partner there now, I was able to buy fuel in Calgary with my UK Costco card, as an attendant was present. I had to select a pre-auth amount on the automated pump, and I thought it might take a while to refund the difference. Nope, I was using Starling and I got the second push message through adjusting the purchase before I’d even put my seatbelt on. That’s how good their IT is. Legacy card issuers have a lot of catching up to do!

  9. Applied for additional card holder on the gold card which arrived in the post today, new online account made but no shop small on there ):

  10. OT: the Accor luxury offer

    I didn’t get a link via email, but I registered via the Accor site. I booked with Sofitel and my triple points posted 😁

  11. “(Much of the time, but not always, airline transactions which are paid for in a foreign currency earn 3 points per £1 as the offers double up!)”

    I get 3 MR = £1 for purchaes with many airlines with non-GBP currencies, apart from XiamenAir (MF) tickets in Euros on the MF website (IIRC may also be at the Vietnam Airlines overseas website as well). It seems AMEX do not recognize some airlines. My online history shows MR for “Airline Bonus” and “Outbound Spend Bonus” so I see the MF tickets get the Outbound Spend Bonus only, a phone call usually gets the Airline Bonus added to my account.

    I often get told by AMEX that I should get the Airline Bonus OR the Outbound Spend Bonus, not an AND. Other times I get AMEX (but only from the Brighton office) to say the rule is an AND. The AMEX website does not say either way. If AMEX pick up on this an enforce an OR condition then that will be a considerable drop in MR earned as airline purchases are my biggest AMEX one-off payments.

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