Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

LAST DAY: get 30,000 points (=30,000 Avios) and new benefits with Amex Gold

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UPDATE – DECEMBER 2022:  This article is now out of date, but don’t worry.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.

For the last few weeks, American Express has increased the sign-up bonus on the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card from 20,000 to 30,000 points.

Today, Tuesday 8th November, is your last day to apply.

If you meet the bonus criteria, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within 90 days.

This package 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.

There have also been some changes to the benefits package.

The legal bit ….. 

Let’s get the boring legal bits out of the way first.

The representative interest rate on the card is 69.2% APR variable after the first year. The interest rate on purchases and for the first year is 26.6% APR.

What is the Amex Gold sign-up bonus?

As long as you apply today (Tuesday), the sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased to 30,000 Membership Rewards points.

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.

Amex Gold

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.

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 four 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 £160.  There is no fee for your first year so 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 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. This is a special offer which runs to 8th November.

The earning rate on your day to day spending 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.

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 points in a lot of other different schemes.

Amex American Express gold

You get FOUR free airport lounge visits per year

As an Amex Gold cardholder you receive free membership of Priority Pass, a global network of airport lounges.

You get four free airport lounge visits each year – either four visits for yourself or shared between you and any guests who are with you.

The Priority Pass website shows you which lounges you can use including many at Heathrow and Gatwick.  Additional visits after your four free ones are charged at £20 per person per visit. You receive four additional free passes each year if you renew your Amex Gold membership.

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.)

You get £120 of Deliveroo credit per year

Amex Gold comes with £120 of annual Deliveroo credit.

You receive 2 x £5 cashback credits each month. When a Deliveroo order for £5+ is charged to your card, you receive £5 back on your next American Express statement.

Get up to 12,500 bonus points per year based on your spending

As well as earning 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent, you will receive extra bonuses based on your total spending during each card year.

This is what you receive:

  • 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 will be paid as soon as you hit each tier threshold. You do not have to wait until the end of your card year as happened previously.

You would be receiving up to 1.5 Membership Rewards points per £1 on up to £25,000 of spending each year, which puts the earning rate on a par with the best cards out there.

What other benefits does Amex Gold have?

There are various other benefits attached to the card as well, including:

  • double points for foreign spending (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
  • double points on bookings with Amex Travel
  • 10% discount and a 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

Conclusion

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 TODAY (Tuesday 8th) 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 £200 of Nectar points if you route them Amex to Avios to Nectar.

You can apply for American Express Preferred Rewards Gold 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:

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.

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.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

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