UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2022: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry. We produce a monthly directory of the top UK travel credit card offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Credit Cards’ menu above. Thank you.
Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card from American Express. 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. You can apply here.
Our credit cards directory lists 13 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 ends today, Tuesday 19th July. The bonus will then drop back to 20,000 points.
You can apply here.
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 61%% APR variable.
No annual fee in the first year. Annual fee 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.
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.
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.
This increases to four passes per year from October 2022 as part of a change to the card benefits. Existing cardholders will receive an additional two passes for their current membership year on that date.
Heathrow (including Terminal 5), Gatwick, Luton and Stansted – amongst many others – have participating lounges as do most major airports worldwide. After your 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.
This structure is changing from 12th October 2022. Instead of a flat bonus, it will be tiered:
- 2,500 points when you hit £5,000 of annual spend
- 2,500 points when you hit £10,000 of annual spend (5,000 points cumulative)
- 2,500 points when you hit £15,000 of annual spend (7,500 points cumulative)
- 2,500 points when you hit £20,000 of annual spend (10,000 points cumulative)
- 2,500 points when you hit £25,000 of annual spend (12,500 points cumulative)
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 currently 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.
The annual fee is increasing to £160 from 12th October, so if you apply now then you will be on the £160 rate by the time your first renewal is due.
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.
The application form for Amex Gold can be found here.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 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:
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 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 Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
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 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:
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
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
50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – 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.