Still got the Amex Gold charge card? Swap to the Amex Gold credit card and save

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It is now almost two years since American Express withdrew the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card.

The good news was that it was replaced by the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.  This was a virtually identical product except that – as a credit card – you now had the option to not fully clear your balance each month.  We don’t recommend this due to the representative 22.9% APR variable interest rate but the option is now there.

Existing cardholders were NOT automatically switched to the Gold credit card.

If you still have the Preferred Rewards Gold charge card, you will be paying the £140 annual fee by now.  In my view, you should seriously think about switching to the Gold credit card.  I explain why below.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

There are two good reasons why you may want to get the Gold credit card if you already have the Gold charge card.  You can then cancel the Gold charge card.

But – and I want to be clear about this – you will NOT receive a sign-up bonus on the Gold credit card.  This is because you already have a Membership Rewards account via your Gold charge card.  If you want to receive a sign-up bonus, you would need to cancel your existing Gold charge card, close your Membership Rewards account and reapply after 24 months.

Here are the two good reasons to apply for the Gold credit card, given that you are paying £140 per year for Gold charge:

You will still receive your first year on the Gold credit card for free.  This is important.  Instead of paying the £140 annual fee on your Gold charge card, you could apply for the Gold credit card and get a year of free membership.  You would save £140 over the next 12 months.  The fee on your existing Gold charge card will be refunded pro-rata when you cancel.

You will receive a 2nd Lounge Club card with another two free airport lounge passes.

Timing is everything, however.

As a Amex Gold cardholder, you receive a bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points for spending £15,000 each card year.

If you swap from Gold charge to Gold credit, your existing ‘year to date’ spend on Gold charge does NOT carry over.  You will be starting from scratch again towards your next 10,000 points bonus.

If you do spend £15,000 on your Gold charge card each year, the best time to apply for Gold credit and later cancel Gold charge is shortly after your 10,000 bonus points for the previous year have posted.

American Express released a PDF document here for current Preferred Rewards Gold charge card holders which explains this in more detail.

What happens to your Membership Rewards points?

Your Membership Rewards account exists separately from any of your credit or charge cards.  If you apply for Amex Gold credit, having already got Amex Gold charge, the Membership Rewards points from both cards will flow into the same pot.  You do NOT need to empty out your existing Membership Rewards account before you cancel Gold charge.

Amex Gold 350

A quick summary of what Amex Gold offers

All of the other benefits of the Preferred Rewards Gold charge card are retained when you swap to the Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.

This is as good a reason as any to run through them again and remind you why I think Amex Gold is the best miles and points card for the beginner.

Here are the core benefits of the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card:

The card is free for the first year

Amex Gold has an annual fee of £140 BUT this is waived in your first year.  A free first year means that you have some time to see if it suits you or not. You can cancel at any point. If you continue after the first year, you can still cancel at any time and get a pro-rata refund on your fee. Amex is the only UK credit card company to offer partial fee refunds.

As I made clear above, anyone who switches from Gold charge to Gold credit will still get the ‘free first year’.  This saves you the £140 you would otherwise be paying to keep your Gold charge card.

The sign-up bonus is decent

You get 10,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (worth 10,000 Avios) when you sign up and spend £3,000 within three months. This is a good deal because ….

The rewards scheme is a valuable convertible currency

You can transfer Membership Rewards points into MANY different things. Take a look at their website.

We tend to focus on airline schemes (1:1 into Avios, Virgin Flying Club, Flying Blue, Delta SkyMiles, Etihad Guest, Emirates Skywards etc) or hotel schemes (1:2 into Hilton Honors, 1:3 into Radisson Rewards, 2:3 into Marrriott Bonvoy.)

In reality there are lots of other options, including High Street gift cards. I wrote this article on how to get the best value from Membership Rewards points. It is possible, if you are smart, to get over £100 of value from your 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus.

‘Convertible currencies’ are worth more to you. It is better to have 50,000 Amex points than 50,000 Avios points. Why? Because your 50,000 Amex points would get you 50,000 Avios points if you needed them – but you have a lot of other options too.

You get two free airport lounge visits per year

As an Amex Gold cardholder you receive free membership to Lounge Club, a global network of airport lounges. Each year you get two free visits – either two visits for yourself or one visit for yourself and a guest.

The Lounge Club website shows you which lounges you can use including many at Heathrow and Gatwick.  Additional visits after your two free ones are charged at £20 per person per visit. You receive two additional free passes each year if you renew your Amex Gold membership.

As noted above, you will get a fresh Lounge Club card and a further two free lounge visits when you apply for Gold credit, even if you already have Gold charge.

You get 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for spending £15,000 per year

The earning rate on Amex Gold is 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent. This is OK but not exceptional – although you should put some value on having a ‘convertible’ currency rather than being forced into taking Avios, Virgin miles etc via a dedicated airline credit card.

However, if you can spend £15,000 per year on your Amex Gold, the maths changes. You would receive 10,000 bonus points at the end of your card year. If you spent exactly £15,000, this means you would have earned 25,000 points – a rate of 1.6 points per £1. This is very good going.

Those are the key perks as I see them. There are various other benefits attached to the card as well, including:

double points for foreign spending (but there is a 3% fee for FX charges, so this is only a good deal if you are spending money your employer will reimburse)

double points on airline transactions

10% discount and free additional driver on Hertz bookings

$75 in-hotel credit and an upgrade (based on availability at check-in) when booking 350 4-5 star hotels worldwide

Conclusion

It was slightly surprising to see Preferred Rewards Gold transform from a charge card to a credit card overnight.

If you already have the Gold charge card and are paying the £140 annual fee, you should seriously consider moving to the Gold credit card.  You get another ‘free first year’ and another two Lounge Club passes.

(For confirmation of this, read Amex’s own PDF here.)

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card application page is here.

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.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Wow, many thanks Rob. My gold charge card renewal date is 8th Jan and I did spend the £15k to get the 10k bonus points. Once they have posted i’ll swap over to the credit card version and save at least £128 (11months of the £140 annual fee). Much appreciated HfP!

    • I suggest you upgrade to Platinum and bag the 20k MR points, if you can hit the £4k spend in 3 months, you can then downgrade or close it altogether!

      • Spurs Debs says:

        This is my plan, Son is going to put a chunk of his wedding through card so that’s the 4K done. The rest through BAPP to hit 241 voucher.

  2. Michael C says:

    Am I right in thinking I can’t “upgrade” from BA Amex to Amex Plat.?
    Do I have to drop the BA, wait for 6 months, then apply for Plat.?
    Thanks!

  3. Any data points on Amex bonuses on a <24 month gap?

    • Plenty of data, and you don’t get them. Are people slipping through the cracks? Yes. Is this just luck / bad Amex IT? Yes.

      It is too stupid, in my view, to risk resetting your 24 month clock by trying this. The only ‘safe’ cards would be Nectar or SPG which would not impact the 24 month clock on Plat or BAPP.

      Or just open a business bank account (no need to use it) and do 6 month churning on Business Gold and Business Plat just like the old days …

      • memesweeper says:

        — please don’t! As a legit business owner the last thing I want is Amex tightening those rules 🙂

    • Just to check I am right, I could refer Mrs S for the Amex Nectar for the Plat bonus. Both her Plat and BAPP are cancelled at the moment with the 24 month clock running, doing this would not reset the clock for those two?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Correct. I’d do the SPG though.

        • That’s the decision though, no fee for Nectar but a fee for SPG. Lower spend in the unlikely event we slip through the net. I think the Nectar would be a better choice because we would probably keep it for close to the 12 months.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Reward is higher if you do slip through the net though. Ongoing spend also has higher value.

  4. Hi Rob.
    Sorry to trouble you again.
    I’m aiming to take a 2 year break from Amex to get the Gold opening bonus again ……
    if i had a card linked to my wife’s account during that two years
    (We swap between blue and black and back again to get the 241 voucher after £10,000 rather than £20,000)
    would that count against me and be deemed as me having an Amex card in the two year fallow period?
    I hope that makes sense!
    Thanks.
    Howard

    • Hi Howard

      No, supplementary cards don’t count, so that isn’t a problem.

      Rob

    • If the only Amex you have is a supplementary one, you are eligible for a sign up bonus. I think having your own BA card affects the Gold sign up bonus but not the Platinum.

  5. Slightly OT: What about green upgrade to platinum? Is the 20k bonus for spending £4k in 3 months still available? Comments on this seem to have been conflicting over the last few months.There were also reports of the 20k bonus taking ages to post or not posting at all. What’s the latest experience on that please? I need to decide soon whether to upgrade green or cancel and get referred for platinum. And what about SPG, is that still generating sign up bonuses less than 24m? I got sign up bonuses on applications last year regardless of rule changes but my last application was August I think so I’m guessing any problems have now been fixed.

    • Zamila Tailor says:

      I’d like to know this too, looking at this article I think the family’s gold cards are indeed credit cards not charge cards, because they just had them for a year (last Jan and last Feb), not sure if they should go for spg route, or green to plat?
      In an case, I’ve moved points to bonvoy for the one that’s in the second year now

    • Isnt the referred welcome bonus for plat wayy higher than an upgrade, which is only 20k MP?

      • Yes, but chances of getting the referred bonus is very slim indeed unless you have not held an MR card for two years.

    • I applied for platinum upgrade on 29th December, still no update…is the team that deals with these upgrades closed until 6th jan?

  6. Third reason: Section 75
    Stronger than Amex own protection

    • Shoestring says:

      probs the best reason

      potentially a lot more valuable than the other 2 stated in article

      *don’t ever book travel on a charge card* – would be my advice (unless it costs under £100/ transaction)

      • Nonsense. Amex will fully stand behind you. They can’t afford to risk losing business to credit cards.

        • Shoestring says:

          good luck with that trying to persuade Amex to refund you alternative tickets at high prices on a competitor airline if airline #1 cancels you plus paying off other consequential losses

          eg BA goes on strike for a week & cancels your tickets to New York (that cost a mere £300)

          you find another way over on Virgin a day later and buy those – but now due to short notice they are £750 each – plus you lost a day’s NY hotel booking (£400), a day’s car hire (£150) & had to pay for another hotel at LHR (£250) plus food etc

          A credit card co would be liable in law to pay these costs (jointly & severally) & it would be much easier for you to get your refund than asking BA under EC261 (& BA would certainly not pay your consequential losses in NY).

          I don’t think Amex (charge card) would be so straightforward or would ‘look after you’ – because they don’t have the same S75 liability.

        • the_real_a says:

          Plenty of data points that AMEX dont consider consequential loss on their own guarantee. Sure they will sort out the direct breach of contract – but you are on your own for the consequential extra expense of additional alternative flights, hotel nights, car hire, home parking charges etc…

        • Lady London says:

          Ta muchly Shoestring.

      • Lady London says:

        Hey Shoestring OT why is it good for 15 yr gilts to be high? Is that any different from 30yr ones?

        • Shoestring says:

          that’s the ‘currency’ pension transfers are calculated in, which is what Anna was talking about

          15 year gilts hit an all time high round about mid August or so & the timing might have coincided nicely with Anna’s calculation of transfer amount

          https://www.sharingpensions.co.uk/gilt-yields-chart-latest.htm

          • Lady London says:

            Tx. I will take a look. Wondering why pegged to 15yr rather than 30yr.

            Would have thought you’d want the rate to be low rather then high though….as surely you want less compounding effect to get back to the principal?

          • Shoestring says:

            low vs high on UK gilts, begad if I know why they get expressed the way they are, suffice it to say when yields are low, cost to buy the gilts must therefore be high

            ie you’re thinking of a substitute for a company pension, the same in effect as buying an (expensive in most cases) annuity

            so if the yield is low, giving a lower amount of income per £1000 you used to buy the annuity (or gilt) – you need to spend more to get the same income

            so the pension transfer value goes higher, indeed, very much higher in the last 9 months (25%???)

            home my explanation is ballpark correct, maybe somebody who knows their stuff could clarify?

          • Just caught up! It’s public sector so I don’t know if gilts are involved… whatever they are… All I know is that I’m out of there as soon as I hit 50 😂

          • Shoestring says:

            which probably means they haven’t done your calculation yet – nothing to be concerned about, your transfer would still be at a great point in the last 10-15 years – as long as nothing much happens before you turn 50 – see my chart
            https://www.sharingpensions.co.uk/gilt-yields-chart-latest.htm

            fingers crossed & hope for political uncertainty etc (in the nicest possible way 🙂 ) – you obvs don’t want Armageddon but things like the oil price spiking & the latest news from Iraq/ Iran are all normally positive for 15 year gilts (ie they are a haven of safety)

          • Lady London says:

            Hum Shoestring so are you saying that when someone starts taking their pension (without moving it) then the provider of the pension at that time buys 15yr gilts that will generate enough interest, once invested in, that will pay the person’s pension? Dies that mean the pension company us basically buying an annuity for that person at the time they retire?

            And so if gilt interest rates were high at the time the person retires, then as more interest would be generated off the principal amount used by the pension provider to purchase those gilts to meet the pension payments, then if gilt interest rates were high then surely the pension provider would have to pay a smaller principal amount to buy enough gilts to pay the persons pension.

            And yet you said high gilt rates would lead to a higher principal, which surely would be the same principal amount whether paid by the pension provider to fix an amount in gilts that will pay the pension, or to buy an annuity (whether bought by the person or the pension provider), or as a transfer value? I must be missing something as these all seem to be requiring the same principal.

            Are interest rates on gilts perhaps quoted inversely from other rates I wonder. So far this looks like to get a high principal you would want a low interest rate on gilts not a high one if you were looking for a high transfer value?

          • Lady London says:

            Never understood gilts but I am sure what you are saying about wanting high gilt rates for high trsnsfer value is correct.

            But the only way I can understand for that to be true is if interest on gilts would work the exact opposite way to how interest compounding and it’s opposite NPV, normally would work to calculate a NPV I.e. a principal/annuity/transfer value.

            So I know you’re right Shoestring its just counterintuitive! 🙂

          • Shoestring says:

            I’m really getting out of my depth here so some clarifying comments from somebody who knows their stuff would help!

            – we’re talking about Anna transferring her public sector pension (ie defined contribution/ occupational pension) into a SIPP/ private pension, giving her a better 25% tax free allowance & control of her investment (& it becomes inheritable). She is trading away certainty & some no doubt excellent benefits – which conversely might die with her when she herself dies/ or go 50%/ 67% to a spouse until they die – for some advantages, I mentioned control, I mentioned better 25% tax free amount, plus if invested wisely she could get much better use & return out of her money than leaving it in the occupational pension. She accepts uncertainty in the future as part of the trade-off.

            if the money were left where it is, the pension provider would typically have a very wide range of investments but yes, gilts would figure prominently (- some pension providers are a bit different in the public sector as they have not funded future outgoings 100%, let’s ignore that & just talk about choice between occupational pension & SIPP).

            yes – I think gilts are often quoted inversely ie low yield = high price (and so the opposite must be true)

          • Lady London says:

            Ta Shoestring you’ve summed it up exactly.

            The only thing I’m looking to find out more about is whatever replaced QROPs and the like, I still think there’s a need for this.

            Also on the money purchase/transfer angle, the other big negative the person would be accepting is all the charges on s money purchase scheme. Final salary schemes currently absorb these ( or more correctly, they don’t make charges whereas money purchase do. 1%, say, in annual charges on someone’s money in a money purchase scheme will, I believe, effectively halve the value in the scheme over about 30 years? Lots of people do live that long these days.

          • I’m not transferring anything, I’m just taking my pension at age 50 as permitted by the scheme I’m in. I dodged the decimation of the public sector schemes during the government’s austerity reforms by the skin of my teeth.

          • Shoestring says:

            sorry I got that wrong – but I hope the principles involved are still worth discussing (sorry your name was mentioned incorrectly)

          • Lady London says:

            Would love to know how you managed the dodge if we ever meet Anna!

    • Lady London says:

      That’s a really good point why, in the UK, between pretty mm such equal charge card and credit card, credit card defo better.

      • Lady London says:

        Having said that, every time I needed s75 I ended up having to ask card co for a charge back instead as I’d spent under £100.

        So taking Rob’s comment into account, as most of us prob spend a lot of amounts under £100 then the Amex guarantees do help a lot on a chargecard.

  7. memesweeper says:

    Is it possible to downgrade Platinum to Gold? Is the resulting Gold a charge card or the new credit card version?

    • Dnt think you can down grade your plat as Amex is not issuing new Gold charge card.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        There were comments that they were downgrading plat to gold charge but most of those posting had upgraded from gold in the first place.

        • I was offered downgrade to Gold charge from Plat despite not having had the Gold charge before. It is possible, just give them a ring.

          • +1 – I downgraded from plat to Gold Charge in August – downgrading to Gold Charge was a “special offer” and included first year free. Kept it for 3 months then upgraded back to Plat to get the 20k MR for £4K spend in first three months bonus, which has just posted.

    • Dave Barron says:

      I rang to cancel my Platinum in November. At the time I asked if I was eligible to downgrade back to Gold Charge and I was. I was prepared to cancel completely if necessary after cashing out my MR points. But instead I’ve got a fee free year and my MR points remain in tact. Advisor said I could always upgrade back to Platinum again if I wished to. Interestingly I still use the metal Platinum card as a gold card was never issued to me. I got my pro rata refund of Platinum free credited to account within a week and got my 2 free lounge passes too.

    • the_real_a says:

      Yes – in the summer i downgraded to gold charge with all the first year benefits…

  8. But with a charge card you can upgrade to plat and still receive welcome bonus. With a credit card, you need to cancel it for 24months before you can get any plat welcome bonus.

    • Reports on the Plat upgrade bonus posting have become more variable. Due to my licensing restrictions I cannot write articles encouraging readers to sign up for targeted offers for which they were not targeted.

  9. I did this but it seemed to take away my lounge card offer. Has anyone else had this?

  10. I have a plat card which I signed up for the day before the fee hike. If I decide that it’s not worth another year at the higher fee, can I still get the free first year on the gold? I believe I’ll not get the sign-up bonus and I’m fine with that, but I’m unsure about the first year’s fee.

    • No. But nothing stops you cancelling Platinum and then applying for Gold. You get a small window during which your Membership Rewards account remains active.

  11. I have both personal and business gold and these are linked to 2 separate membership rewards accounts.
    Does anyone have experience merging these?

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