Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

LAST DAY: Amex Preferred Rewards Gold has a 20,000 point bonus – should you apply?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

TODAY IS THE LAST FULL DAY 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).

The offer will be withdrawn early tomorrow morning.  If you want to guarantee you get it, you need to apply on Sunday.

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.

Amex Gold

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 TONIGHT, 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.

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, you must do so today (Sunday) if you want the 20,000 Membership Rewards points bonus.  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.

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. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

Comments (42)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • WillPS says:

    Has anyone had any success paying a Council Tax bill via PayZone with Amex?

    My council doesn’t do PayPoint, unfortunately…

    • PJJ says:

      Have you checked your local Post Office, our’s take Amex

      • WillPS says:

        I’ve definitely used Amex there to pay for stamps – does that mean they’ll also take it for council tax payment?

        • PJJ says:

          Cab but ask when passing

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          My P.O tills set up not to accept Amex for council tax but do accept for postal services.

          • WillPS says:

            Dang. planning to upgrade my Green to Plat and get the bonus before 20th Jul to cash out at 0.9p.

            I’ll go down the route of everyday spending + water bills at well known convenience store + prepaid card top up… worst case even I did all £4k via prepaid topup that’d cost £140 (3.5%) and that would give me 24,000 points = £216. Seems worth a go even at the worst case of it being worth £76…

    • Charlieface says:

      Most Payzones will not take Amex for it. If I’m not mistaken it’s because the fees they pay are lower than Paypoint and won’t cover the card fees.
      Post Office are coded not to accept credit cards for bills.

  • Caroline says:

    Again just for new customers though?

  • Doug M says:

    It’s really not that hard to get through lately. Just try again, and stick with it, refund is almost always the best option, the voucher is really poor unless you’re getting some sort of 2-4-1 extension out of it.

  • SJWV says:

    Hello I currently have the Amex preferred rewards gold card. I was thinking about applying for the BA premium plus amex. Will I qualify for the 25k avios sign up bonus? Thanks

    • Rob says:

      Yes, as long as you haven’t had either of the British Airways cards in the past 24 months.

  • M J . says:

    I want to refer someone whose only Amex held is the Vitality – would they still qualify for the PRG bonus ? (Yes, if I’ve understood the t&Cs correctly?) . Thanks

    • Rob says:

      No, I think Vitality still counts as ‘having a personal American Express card’. They would get Platinum or BA Premium Plus.

  • Steve O'Hara says:

    I think I’ve missed something here. I had thought that you could get the sign-up bonuses on non branded Amex cards ie gold or platinum even if you held a BA card (and no non branded Amex in 24 months) as they were counted as different schemes? Ie one is avios one is MR. Is this not the case? As I’ve seen in other comments it seems to be ok in reverse?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.