Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

LAST CHANCE: Get 30,000 Avios with ‘free for a year’ Amex Gold

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Our credit cards directory lists 12 different personal credit cards in the UK which offer travel rewards.  For the beginner to this hobby, however, there is one obvious piece of plastic to start with – the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.

In return for taking out this card (FREE for the first year, cancel at any time) and hitting a £3,000 spending target, you will receive 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.  These will convert into 30,000 Avios or Virgin Points.

30,000 points is a special offer which runs until 9th November 2021. The bonus will then drop back to 20,000 points.

Most long-term HfP readers will not qualify for a sign-up bonus on Amex Gold, but you may want to send a link to this article to a friend or family member who is interested in Avios (or £240 of Nectar points) and may qualify. Does your partner or any 18+ children qualify, even if you don’t?

Key legal information:

Representative 59.9% APR variable.

No annual fee in the first year. Annual fee of £140 applies after the first year.

How do I earn 30,000 free Avios points with Amex Gold?

American Express has its own loyalty currency called Membership Rewards points.

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card offers 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within three months.

This is the most generous sign-up bonus available on any free (or free for the first year) UK loyalty credit card.

30,000 points is a special offer which only runs to Tuesday 9th November 2021.

Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios points.  This means that the 30,000 points you receive for signing up to American Express Gold will become 30,000 Avios points.

You aren’t restricted to Avios points.  You can also convert to Virgin Points, Emirates Skywards, Hilton Honors (at 1:2), Radisson Rewards (at 1:3), Marriott Bonvoy (at 2:3) and many more programmes.  Click here to see what other reward programmes are Membership Rewards transfer partners.

Do I qualify for the sign-up bonus?

You qualify for the 30,000 points sign-up bonus as long as you have not had a personal American Express card in the past 24 months.

It isn’t a problem if you had an American Express card issued by Lloyds Bank or MBNA.  This will not directly impact on whether you are accepted for the Gold card.  Similarly, it is not a problem if you have a Business or Corporate American Express card.

If you do NOT qualify for the sign-up bonus, you can still apply for the card.  You will still receive your first year for free, receive two airport lounge pass vouchers and earn 1 point per £1 spent.

Earn 30,000 Avios with American Express Gold

Any other benefits?

Free airport lounge passes:

You receive two free airport lounge passes each year with Amex Gold, valid at any airport lounge in the Priority Pass network.

Heathrow (including 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 can see which airport lounges accept Priority Pass cards on their website.

£120 of Deliveroo credit:

You receive 2 x £5 Deliveroo credits each month.

American Express will refund you £5 when you make any £5+ purchase with Deliveroo and charge it to your Preferred Rewards Gold card. This is worth £120 per year if you make the most of it.

Receive an annual renewal bonus of 10,000 points:

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.

Other benefits:

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.

Is there an annual fee on Amex Gold?

There is no fee for the first year of Amex Gold.

There is a £140 annual fee from Year 2.  However, you can cancel at any time – you won’t lose your bonus points.  Even if you do accidentally pay the fee for the second year, you can still cancel and receive a pro-rata refund at any time.

Earn 10,000 Avios with American Express Gold

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

As well as receiving 30,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up, you will receive points for all of your spending.

You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.

Foreign currency transactions and airline transactions earn DOUBLE points – 2 points per £1 – as do travel bookings made via the American Express Travel website.

What are the criteria for getting Amex Gold?

There is no minimum household income requirement.  As long as you are 18+ and a UK resident with no history of bad credit, you have a good chance of being accepted.

Can my partner apply too so we can both get the sign-up bonus?

Yes.  American Express is happy to issue separate Gold cards to different people in the same household.  This means that, if your partner shares a British Airways Executive Club household account with you, you could both receive 30,000 points as a sign-up bonus and so earn 60,000 Avios points in your BA household account.


We recommend American Express Preferred Rewards Gold as a very low risk introduction to American Express for anyone who is new to miles and points.

You don’t pay any fee in the first year (and can cancel at any point), you get 30,000 points as a sign-up bonus and you get two free airport lounge passes and £120 of Deliveroo credit. You can’t argue with that.

Make sure you apply now before the special 30,000 points bonus ends on 9th November 2021.

The application form for Amex Gold can be found here.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our November 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (13)

  • Oliver says:

    Does an Amex card abroad count in their criteria? I’ve had an Amex card in France (Air France/KLM) within last 2 years but no Amex cards in the UK.

  • Youllnever says:

    “2 points per £1 – as do travel bookings made via the American Express Travel website.”

    I thought it’s triple points for the Amex Travel website?

  • Judy says:

    Is there anyway of tracking the £3000 spend? They use to show it on main page but can’t find it.

    • FCP says:

      App is easiest, look under membership at bottom. It will tell you how much spent towards your 15k yearly target, so you can work out if 3k spent if you have less than 12k to go…

  • RK1 says:

    my wife has a companion amex card – is she disqualified from applying for the Gold card?

    • WearyTraveller says:

      No companion cards are not ‘real’ Amex cards. Inly personal cards count.

  • Lee Brown says:

    Thanks for the reminder, my wife’s last Amex Gold was closed Oct 2019 so looks like perfect timing. Presume I can refer her from my BAPP and if accepted assume she can then apply for me as partner on this card.

    • Lev441 says:

      Yes you can no issues. Check if you have a referral bonus too as I’m seeing 35,000 if referred on my account.

      • Lee Brown says:

        Thanks Lev441, you’re right, I got increased referrer bonus of 12,000 Avios on my BAPP and wife was accepted and will get 35,000 MR subject to hitting spend target

  • Simon says:

    Do you get the bonus if you have a BA Amex currently?

  • david says:

    Anybody have an idea for a low spender like myself how best to reach the 3k?
    Can I pay council tax for the entire year with Amex?
    Can I pay for example a laptop, wait for points, withdraw the 30k points then return laptop?

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