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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.

  • Russ says:

    As no bits, Scoot, Singapore airlines low cost carrier has just landed its first aircraft at Gatwick.

  • Sam says:

    So the way that charge card works, from cardholder point of view is effectively the same as credit card really. I don’t understand why was there a switch from charge to credit within Amex? I guess the main benefit to cancel charge and apply for credit is that someone can enjoy free annual fee with the same benefits for one year.

    • Rob says:

      If you have a credit card and always pay the full balance off each month, there is no difference. However, some people will – now and again – miss a payment and incur interest on a credit card, either by accident or design.

      I also think it was a marketing angle. Charge cards are hard to explain to the general public and Amex has been VERY keen to position Gold as its most mainstream card, as all of the recent TV advertising shows.

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

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