ENDS 29th JUNE: Amex Gold has a 20,000 point bonus and you have six months to earn it – should you apply?

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You have one week left if you want to apply for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card whilst the sign-up bonus is doubled to 20,000 Membership Rewards points (=20,000 Avios).

There are actually two reasons why Amex Gold is twice as attractive as usual at the moment:

the sign-up bonus is doubled to 20,000 points, and

the amount of time you have to make the qualifying spend is doubled from three months to six months

Amex Gold also remains FREE for the first year.

Let’s get the boring legal bits out of the way first.  The card has a representative APR 56.6% variable including the annual fee (free in year 1) based on a notional £1,200 credit limit.  The interest rate on purchases is 22.2% APR variable.

There is no minimum income requirement to apply.

You can apply for the card here.

What is the Amex Gold sign-up bonus?

Until 29th June 2020, the sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is doubled to 20,000 Membership Rewards points.

You can convert 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points into:

  • 20,000 Avios
  • 20,000 Virgin Flying Club miles
  • 40,000 Hilton Honors points
  • 60,000 Radisson Rewards points
  • 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
  • 1,666 Club Eurostar points

…… amongst other things.

Amex Gold

How long do you have to meet the qualifying spend?

You need to spend £3,000 to earn the sign-up bonus on Preferred Rewards Gold.

This usually has to be done within three months of your application being accepted.

However, American Express is currently giving you SIX MONTHS to spend £3,000.

This averages out at just £115 per week.  Even if you are currently spending a little less, you will have until Christmas to hit the £3,000 (assuming you apply now) and I imagine that your spending rate will increase as lockdown eases.

This HFP article looks at how the doubling of the sign-up bonus period to six months impacts other American Express cards.  If you don’t qualify for Gold, you may still qualify for a bonus on another card.

Do you qualify for the Amex Gold sign-up bonus?

Before we go on, let’s look at whether you actually qualify for the 20,000 Membership Rewards points bonus.

Since American Express changed its rules last year, a lot of HFP readers will NOT qualify.  However, think outside the box – could your partner apply?  Perhaps your adult children?  Your parents?  If any of these people are in your British Airways Executive Club household account, you would still benefit if they transferred the sign-up bonus to Avios in the household account.

Remember that the cardholder could issue you with a free supplementary card on the account, so you could do the necessary spending to trigger the bonus.

Who does qualify?

If you have never held a personal American Express card before, you will definitely get the bonus.  You can skip the rest of this section.

Here is the offical wording from the Amex website:

“This new Cardmember offer is only available if you have not held a personal American Express Card within the previous 24 months. If you have held a personal American Express Card within the previous 24 months, you will be entitled to all other Card benefits, excluding the welcome offer.”

You WILL receive the 20,000 bonus points if you 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, even if you receive Membership Rewards points from it.

You WILL receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, the 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’.

With that out of the way, let’s look at why we like the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.

Amex Gold 350

The Amex Gold card is free for the first year

Amex Gold has an annual fee of £140.  There is no fee for your first year so you can 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 card company to offer pro-rata fee refunds.

The Amex Gold sign-up bonus is very generous

You get 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (worth 20,000 Avios) when you sign up and spend £3,000 within six months.

20,000 points is a special offer which runs until 29th June 2020.  The standard bonus is just 10,000 Membership Rewards points.

20,000 points is a good deal because ….

The Amex Gold 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 £200 of value from your 20,000 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 they could also get you a heck of a lot more besides.

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 2 free airport lounge visits – either 2 visits for yourself or 1 visit for yourself and a guest.

Whilst these aren’t a lot of use at the moment, they are valid for 12 months.

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 2 additional free passes each year if you renew your Amex Gold membership.

Get 10,000 bonus 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 of American Express Preferred Rewards Gold 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 flight bookings when booked directly with airlines – this could be very valuable if you spend a lot on flight tickets

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


The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card is a low cost (zero cost, actually, in Year 1) and high reward way to begin a relationship with Amex.

If you were thinking about applying, it makes sense to do so by 29th June whilst the sign-up bonus is doubled to 20,000 Membership Rewards points and you have six months to hit the £3,000 spending target.

Over time your card needs may change.  Many people move on to the British Airways Premium Plus American Express because of the hugely valuable 2-4-1 voucher – but Amex Gold is a good way to get started.  You still qualify for the British Airways Premium Plus sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios in the future despite having already had Amex Gold.

Even if you eventually decide that the miles and points hobby is not for you, there are still plenty of other valuable ways to use your Membership Rewards points such as Amazon vouchers.  Your 20,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus converts into a £100 shopping voucher for example.

You can apply for American Express Preferred Rewards Gold 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. Venturelog says:

    If the person applying for this has never had a personal Amex card (except a supplementary card), applies for this today and then applies for the BAPP, are they eligible for the BAPP bonus?
    Or would they need to apply for the Platinum (bonus) to allow them to get the BAPP bonus)
    Thank you

    • Technically if you’ve held the gold in the last 2 years, you aren’t eligible for the BAPP bonus. However, it would be interesting to see what happens if you apply for both cards on the same day and what Amex IT would make of that! But yes, having Platinum would also allow for the BAPP bonus.

      • Venturelog says:

        Thanks Anna

      • Not correct, you can have the BAPP bonus after Gold the next day, it’s only Avios earning cards within 24 months which prevent you being eligible for BAPP bonus (not the same with the normal BA, that’s stopped by any personal Amex).

      • Genghis says:

        “Technically if you’ve held the gold in the last 2 years, you aren’t eligible for the BAPP bonus”

    • That’s fine. You can do Gold and then BAPP. You CANNOT do it the other way around, eg BAPP and then Gold, because Gold (being free in Year 1) has stricter rules than BAPP.

      • Genghis says:

        But even better might me to do Marriott / Nectar, Plat then BAPP to earn a good amount of points, especially as a couple.

      • Venturelog says:

        Thanks Rob

        • Apologies – I thought I had written that the other way around! But it would still be interesting to see what if you applied for two cards on the same day, which would get processed first?

  2. Andrew L says:

    Do the bonus points get added when you reach the £3,000 spending target or at the end of the first years membership?

  3. Chrsmi says:

    We’ve just applied for some upcoming expenditure in my partner’s name.

    Is the 20000 point a special bonus also on the business equivalent, or is that a standard rate? If it’s a bonus I will apply for one of those too in my business name.

  4. Rich Thomas says:

    How strict are AmEx with the 24-month limit? I currently have the free card, with my partner having a supplementary card on that account. His last AmEx gold card (which I had a supplementary card on) was cancelled on… 24th July 2018. I’ve been hoping they would extend this offer just a little further!

    • They are strict to the exact day.

      And, if you’re planning to cut it tight, I suggest ringing Amex to confirm when THEY think you cancelled your last card. It is possible that the day you told them to cancel is not the day that they actually got around to it.

  5. Waddle says:

    I’m about to transfer out a majority of my MR points. If I transfer out all my points and cancel my MR cards now. Can I get the bonus on the biz cards in 6 months instead of waiting 24?

  6. Alan Pardew says:

    I have a quick question:
    If you do not qualify for the bonus because you have had an amex card say 20 month prior, will amex tell you that you are not eligble for the bonus? At what point will you know you have not qualified? Is it once you have spent the 3k? Many thanks.

    • mark2 says:

      I have applied for cards knowing that I would not get the sign-up bonus, but my wife would get the referral points.
      There was no warning but the tracker does not show, but then it does not always anyway.

  7. Coucou says:

    Will Amex offer an incentive to upgrade from Gold to Platinum?

  8. Ale88 says:

    Does this mean the moment I downgrade to the Free BAPP which is the plan after I have achieved the £10,000 spend, I will have to wait 24 months? I will be referring the Mrs for the Gold card but after the fee free one year what can she do avoid the costly renewal fee?

    • If you hold the free BA card, the ONLY card you could get a bonus on is Platinum, and even that requires 24 months without a Gold or Platinum being held.

      Getting a Gold bonus would require 24 months without ANY personal Amex cards.

  9. Marco says:

    I’m always confused: will I get bonus if I have BA free amex at the moment?

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