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Still got the Amex Gold charge card? Swap to the Gold credit card and save £140

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It is now almost four 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 rolling over your balance due to the representative 24.5% APR variable interest rate but the option is now there.)

Do you still have the old charge card version of Amex Gold?

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.  In my view, you should seriously think about switching to the Gold credit card.  I explain why below.

Here are two reasons to switch to the Amex Gold credit card

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 your 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 another Priority Pass card with another two free airport lounge passes. Of course, your existing Priority Pass will be cancelled if you cancel your existing Gold charge card so you may want to wait until you’ve used up your two free lounge entries for your current year.

Timing is everything

As an 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 the Amex Gold credit card, 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.

A quick summary of what Amex Gold offers you

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 excellent

Assuming you qualify, you get 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (worth 20,000 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 American Express 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 American Express 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 you have a lot of other options too.

You get £120 of Deliveroo credit per year

Amex Gold cardholders receive 2 x £5 Deliveroo credits each calendar month.

This will trigger, in the form of £5 cashback posted to your Amex Gold statement, when you make a Deliveroo purchase for £5+. It is valid against grocery deliveries as well as restaurant deliveries.

If you are a regular user of Deliveroo then this is a very valuable benefit.

You get two free airport lounge visits per year

As an Amex Gold cardholder you receive free membership to Priority Pass, 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 Priority Pass website shows you which lounges you can use including 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 Priority Pass 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 Points 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.

Other American Express Preferred Rewards Gold perks

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

It is worth highlighting the ‘double points for flights’ benefit as this can be very beneficial for heavy travellers.

If you charge £15,000-worth of flights – and literally nothing else – to your American Express Gold card each year, you would earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points.

Your 40,000 points comprises:

  • 15,000 base points for spending £15,000
  • 15,000 bonus points as airline spend counts double
  • 10,000 bonus points for spending £15,000 in a card year

That’s a pretty decent return and you can divert the rest of your annual card spend to other cards if you wish.

If you bought your flights in a foreign currency then you may do even better. Whilst you are not meant to double up, Amex may give you double points for foreign spend and double points for airline spend on the same transaction. As you are paying a 3% foreign exchange fee, however, this is not necessarily worth it unless you are spending someone else’s money.

Conclusion

It was slightly surprising when Preferred Rewards Gold transformed from a charge card to a credit card overnight.

If you already have the Amex 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 free airport lounge visits.

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

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


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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 card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

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

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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:

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

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (31)

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

  • Ls says:

    Also worth pointing out you get section 75 protection with a credit card, that makes the card provider equally liable for the goods/services provided, and responsible for returning you to the position you would have been in should the service have been provided as stated. This does not mean simply a refund if the airline goes bust, it means the cost of identical replacement tickets instead, which especially if problems are last minute would be many times this initial outlay.

    • Chas says:

      Completely agree. For me that would be a key reason to swap from the charge to the credit card. Potentially (for some people) this may be slightly offset by the fact that you’d then have to spend within your credit limit, whereas your charge card doesn’t have a stated limit, although Amex would have their own internal limits card users would be unaware of. The two benefits stated in the article are really just tactical opportunities to optimise the timing of the switch – as Rob clearly points out, timing is everything.

      • John says:

        Has anyone who isn’t new to Amex had a problem with insufficient credit limits?

  • Robert says:

    “If you apply for the Amex Gold credit card, having already got Amex Gold charge, the Membership Rewards points from both cards will flow into the same pot.”

    Is this specific to the two Gold card versions? I’m having a right nightmare getting Amex to sort a request to merge a (now cancelled) Plat MR into Gold MR balance. Amex has actually shunted my Gold-associated MR across to my Plat MR account (I can now only see a list of my Plat-earned MR in my Gold “My Points” area, with my Gold points swept in to it). It wouldn’t normally matter, but I earned an 18k referral bonus between requesting the merge and it happening which has not credited, and they’ve reset my Gold 15k spend counter.
    Amex have quoted two different MR account numbers to me (associated with each individual card account), so it doesn’t seem there is one MR pot in this instance.

    • Rob says:

      No. All MR cards go into the same pot if you link them to the same MR account.

      It shouldn’t be difficult. Your MR account has a number – you even see this number when you log in. Amex simply has to ensure that the points from all your cards are sent to the same numbered MR account.

      • dougzz99 says:

        I had a variation of Robert’s problem and Amex made an absolute song and dance of correcting it. Amex CS is not what it once was.

        • Harrier25 says:

          I agree and its becoming very hit and miss whether offers credit or not.

      • Max says:

        This was not the case for me 4 years ago when I opened the free Rewards credit card with the intention of keeping my points and cancelling the Gold Charge Card. After opening the new card (same card account), it had a completely separate reward points pool. I discussed with Amex if there will be no problem when I close the Gold Charge Card (which had 22k points), and I was told this will be transferred automatically.

        Well, it wasn’t. All points were gone. I talked to Amex, and they had no idea where the points went, or even what the balance was before closing! After a month of no points, I called them up again, and then again after a few weeks later. Eventually, the points returned to my account… times three! Should have called them more often…

        Even now, I have a Business Gold Charge Card in addition to the free Rewards credit card, and I have two separate MR points pools. In total, over the past 9 years or so, I’ve had four instances when I had two MR-earning cards at a time, and every time it went to a separate MR pool.

      • Robert says:

        “Your MR account has a number – you even see this number when you log in”.

        Rob: I’ve never seen an MR account number online (desktop or app), unless I’m not looking in the right place. Can you walk me through exactly where to look? TIA

        • Rob says:

          Hmmm … you’re right, it’s no longer there. It seems to have gone as part of the move from membershiprewards.co.uk to integration with the main Amex website.

    • QFFlyer says:

      Yes this happens more often than not in my experience, almost every time I’ve opened a new MR card it’s opened a new MR account too. This sometimes has the unintended side effect of allowing the triggering of the SUB, and another lot of referral opportunities.

  • Nigel Cohen says:

    Can you please advise if it is possible to merge my wife’s MR points into my account (or household account) so that I can transfer all the points to Krisflyer for a future far east trip.
    Also, does the Platinum card carry a bonus for a certain amount spent in a year?

    • Rob says:

      No, you can’t transfer MR points to someone else.

      There are two ways around this but neither apply to Singapore I think:

      a) you transfer to an airline with a family account structure like BA, so they would go into your wife’s airline account but you could access them (but Singapore doesn’t have one of these I think)
      b) you transfer to a programme where they only check surnames and not first names – no-one has ever said that you can get away with this with SQ, but you can test it easily enough by having your wife try to transfer 1,000 points into your account (this assumes you and your wife use the same surname)

      Plat – no annual spend bonus.

      • QFFlyer says:

        The only way I know of this being possible (and it’s currently “temporarily” suspended) is – move the points to Amex Australia, transfer them to VA Velocity, where your and your OH’s accounts are linked (they automatically pool into the head account). You can then (or could) transfer from VA:SQ at 1.55:1 (so at a substantial loss).

        As I say, this was suspended in April 2020, it’s supposed to return at some point, but since VA exited administration there’s still been no development in this space (there was a mass exodus of VA points into SQ, therefore increasing VA’s liabilities, just prior to the suspension around the time of their entering administration).

        It also used to be 1.35:1 (which was just about tolerable when Amex AU transferred 1:1 to airlines (now 1:0.5)) and also worked in both directions (but you’d be mad to transfer SQ to VA).

  • Rob says:

    How do you tell if you have a Credit or Charge Card. I downgraded from platinum a while back When I go to refer anyone on my gold card it says “you can’t refer this product you can still refer the gold CREDIT card”

    I am pretty sure I didn’t downgrade to gold 4 years ago so is it possible as I downgraded I was given charge card somehow?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You have a gold charge card but a downgrade from a platinum is always a charge product.

      They could only give you a gold credit card if you did a completely new application for a credit product.

    • HH says:

      The quickest way to double check is if you see the “Available Credit” field which means it’s a credit card with a set limit. If it’s a charge card, you won’t see this field but there will be a “Check Spending Power” button that lets you see how large of a transaction would be approved.

  • HH says:

    Would I be allowed to open the credit card and keep my legacy charge card, or can I only hold one?

    My charge card year runs till August, and I’ve already hit the spend to get 10k MR bonus. I don’t want to lose the charge card but would be interested in opening the credit card free for a year and put enough spend on it to hit the bonus then close it before the annual fee hits.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, you can have both. You won’t get a sign-up bonus though because you already have a Membership Rewards card.

  • TM says:

    Does the gold companion credit card still exist? Haven’t seen anything about that for a while! I still have my platinum companion credit card – it has some pretty good offers now and then

    • HH says:

      I still have a gold companion and I know others who do too! I’m fairly sure it’s a legacy product because (a) it’s redundant for anyone holding the PRG credit card…though I’d love to know how many others still hold a gold charge card, (b) the companion gold features are virtually identical to the blue rewards card, which didn’t exist back then.

  • MilesOnPoint says:

    Would player 2 still get referral points for referring you for the Gold Credit (if player one already has gold charge card)?

  • Errol says:

    If one has this card and buys an airline ticket in foreign currency, does one get double points for foreign currency spend and again for buying an airline ticket?

    For instance, if I buy a ticket on ANA for £5,000 do I get 20,000 Membership Reward points?

    – 5,000 X 2 for paying ANA
    – 5,000 X 2 for paying in Japanese Yen
    – Total 20,000

    • Rob says:

      It used to, but I thought that had stopped. Any recent feedback welcome.

    • Genghis says:

      If it still works, it would be 3x. 1 for the spend, one for the airline and one for the FX. I’ve had it BC a couple of times I’ve done it on BA and U2.

    • QFFlyer says:

      Still works, you’d get 3x as Genghis mentions (base +1 extra for forex, +1 extra for airline spend) total 15,000.

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