American Express has increased the sign-up bonus on the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card from 20,000 to 30,000 points.
If you meet the bonus criteria, you now receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within 90 days. This is a special offer which runs to 19th July.
This is an exceptionally generous deal for a card which is FREE for the first year. Remember that 30,000 Membership Rewards points convert into 30,000 Avios, amongst other things.
You can apply here.
The legal bit …..
Let’s get the boring legal bits out of the way first.
The interest rate on the card is 61.0% APR variable after the first year. The interest rate on purchases and for the first year is 25.3% APR.
What is the Amex Gold sign-up bonus?
As of yesterday, the sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased to 30,000 Membership Rewards points. You have until 19th July to apply.
You can convert 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points into:
- 30,000 Avios
- 30,000 Virgin Points
- 60,000 Hilton Honors points
- 90,000 Radisson Rewards points
- 45,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
- 2,000 Club Eurostar points
…… amongst other things.
You need to spend £3,000 to earn the sign-up bonus on Preferred Rewards Gold. This has to be done within three months of your application being accepted.
Do you qualify for the Amex Gold sign-up bonus?
Before we go on, let’s look at whether you actually qualify for the 30,000 Membership Rewards points bonus.
A lot of HfP readers will NOT qualify. This article explains which sign-up bonuses you are still eligible for, depending on the cards you hold/have held in the past 2 years.
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.
What are the exact rules for getting the bonus?
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.
For everyone else, 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 30,000 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, £120 of annual Deliveroo credit and ‘no fee in the first year’.
You could also consider another Amex card. This article looks at which sign-up bonuses you could still be eligible for.
With that out of the way, let’s look at why we like the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.
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 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (worth 30,000 Avios) when you sign up and spend £3,000 within three months.
30,000 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 £300 of value from your 30,000 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 of Priority Pass, a global network of airport lounges.
Each year you get two free airport lounge 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 many 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.
You get £120 of Deliveroo credit per year
Since May 2021, Amex Gold comes with £120 of annual Deliveroo credit.
You receive 2 x £5 cashback credits each month. When a Deliveroo order is charged to your card, you receive £5 back.
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 Points etc via a dedicated airline credit card.
(Amex Gold is better than the free British Airways American Express card for the first free year, assuming that you won’t trigger the companion voucher on the BA card. Whilst the BA Amex earns 1 Avios per £1, Amex Gold earns 1 point which is worth 1 Avios OR a lot of other things, if your plans change.)
If you can spend £15,000 per year on your Amex Gold, it becomes very attractive. 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.
What other benefits does Amex Gold have?
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 now whilst the sign-up bonus is increased to 30,000 Membership Rewards points.
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 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus converts into £240 of Nectar points if you route them Amex to Avios to Nectar.
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibly 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.