We ran an article yesterday about the increased sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points on the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card.
Big changes to the Amex Gold benefits package also kicked in yesterday.
I have run this second article to highlight, for existing cardholders, all of the changes. It was easiest to separate this from the main article as, for new cardholders, it doesn’t really make any difference knowing what has just been added to the package.
There is one additional improvement from the original announcement in June.
I should remind you before we go on that the representative APR is 69.2% variable, based on an annual fee of £140 and a notional £1,200 credit limit. The respresentative APR on purchases and for the free first year is 26.6% variable.
What changed yesterday for Amex Gold cardholders?
‘Quite a bit’ is the answer.
The net result is hugely positive for those in their first free year. It is positive for most people who pay the fee for Year 2 onwards too, although it depends on what you spend and how you use the benefits.
Let’s look at what has changed.
The annual fee from Year 2 has gone up from £140 to £160
I wanted to mention this first so you can judge the other changes in context.
You receive FOUR free airport lounge visits per year, up from two
Amex Gold customers previously received two free visits per year to any airport lounge in the Priority Pass network.
This increased to four from yesterday. Existing cardholders should have had an extra two lounge passes added to their entitlement for the current year.
The lounge passes cover 1,300 lounges globally, including the Club Aspire lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5. Most UK airports which have a lounge will have at least one which is in Priority Pass.
The problem, of course, is access. Getting access to Priority Pass lounges was tricky before covid and – with many lounges closing for good during the pandemic – it has got worse since. If you are travelling at a peak time your chance of getting into a Priority Pass lounge at a major UK airport is low.
(No1 Lounges and Club Aspire get around this problem by letting you pay £6 to guarantee a slot in advance via this page of their website. This only helps if you are travelling from Gatwick, Heathrow Terminal 3, Heathrow Terminal 5 or Birmingham.)
If you can use the passes, and it is usually far easier to get into lounges outside the UK, then the extra two passes easily justify the £20 increase in annual fee.
The annual bonus has changed
You previously received an annual bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points – worth 10,000 Avios for example – when you spent £15,000 in your card year.
Irrespective of how quickly you spend £15,000, you didn’t receive the 10,000 bonus points until 30 days after your renewal date. This was annoying if you were planning on cancelling the card.
This has now changed. 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)
Importantly, the bonus is now paid as soon as you hit each tier threshold. You do not have to wait until the end of your card year.
What happens during this transitional year?
Very soon (to be honest, I expected it yesterday but it didn’t happen) all existing Amex Gold cardmembers will receive a bonus based on their spend to date in their current membership year.
It is important to note that, for this transitional year, no-one will be worse off. Amex has committed that anyone who spends £15,000 in their current membership year will be guaranteed 10,000 bonus points, with an additional 2,500 if they hit £25,000 of spend.
Who wins and who loses here?
Do you spend under £15,000 per year on your Amex Gold? You’re a winner, because you previously received no annual bonus. You will now receive something, as long as you spend at least £5,000.
Do you spend exactly £15,000 per year on your Amex Gold at present, and then swap to other cards once you’ve guaranteed your 10,000 points? You will be worse off, because £15,000 of spend will now only get you 7,500 points.
Do you spend £25,000 or more per year on your Amex Gold? You’re a winner, because your annual bonus will now be 12,500 points instead of the current 10,000 points.
The only people who are worse off as of yesterday are those who currently spend between £15,001 and £19,999 per year. Your annual bonus drops from 10,000 points to 7,500 points, although once you hit £20,000 you are back up at 10,000 points.
You will receive Avis Preferred Plus car rental status
I don’t put much value on car rental status, if only because it is offered via many different routes and few people rent enough to find it worthwhile.
Avis Preferred Plus offers a complimentary upgrade when available, as well as a dedicated phone number for reservations and customer support.
You can access the Amex Experiences app for the first time
This is something which was not in the original announcement back in June.
Amex Gold cardholders can now download and access the Amex Experiences app for the first time. It will feature “exclusive Gold Cardmember events, offers, competitions” apparently.
All other Amex Gold benefits remain
Nothing is being taken away from the Gold package. Your £120 of Deliveroo credit, Hertz car rental benefits and hotel benefits via The Hotel Collection will continue.
Existing Amex Gold cardholders should come out on top from these changes, I think.
- Existing cardholders who use the lounge passes will win – they get two more passes each year for an extra £20 fee
- …. and you have just received an extra two lounge passes, to use in your current membership year, without paying anything extra
- Existing cardholders who spend under £15,000 or over £20,000 win – they will get a higher annual bonus than they did previously
Virtually no-one loses out, except those who spend between £15,001 and £19,999 and who don’t use the lounge passes. Those people can adapt, however, by either pushing more spend onto Amex Gold or moving some away.
You can find out more, and apply if you are not already a cardholder, on the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold site here.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 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.
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 & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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
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.