This is our review of the American Express Rewards credit card (‘ARCC’).
It is part of our series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles are linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards‘ area in the menu bar. Our other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.
Key facts: No annual fee
The representative APR is 30.7% variable.
Reward credit cards generally have high interest rates and are not suitable for anyone who does not pay off their full balance each month. If you do not clear your balance, you should look for a non-rewards credit card with a low interest rate.
This article was updated on 1st September 2023, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.
About the Amex Rewards credit card
The American Express Rewards credit card is free – not just free in the first year, but permanently free.
You earn Membership Rewards points on your spending.
This is an excellent card for anyone who currently has an Amex Gold or The Platinum Card and is thinking of cancelling it due to the annual fee. Whilst you wouldn’t qualify for a sign-up bonus, getting a free American Express Rewards credit card would keep your Membership Rewards points balance active.
If you don’t do this, you would need to spend or transfer all of your Membership Rewards points before closing your Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum card.
What is the Amex Rewards sign-up bonus?
American Express Rewards offers a sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 within three months.
Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios. Click here for our article on what other reward programmes are Membership Rewards transfer partners.
This means that you can receive 10,000 Avios points for free by applying, spending enough to trigger the sign-up bonus and then transferring the points to British Airways.
What are the rules for qualifying for the sign-up bonus?
The bonus is only available to customers who 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 and you receive Membership Rewards points from it. Amex is only looking at any personal cards you own or have recently owned.
You will definitely receive the bonus if you are only a supplementary cardholder on someone else’s American Express card. As far as Amex is concerned, that 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 for the card.
Any other benefits?
What is the Amex Rewards credit card annual fee?
There is no fee for the American Express Rewards credit card.
What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?
You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.
Unlike American Express Preferred Rewards Gold, there is no bonus for foreign spend or airline spend.
What is a Membership Rewards point worth?
Anything from ‘quite a bit’ to ‘a lot’ is the answer. I wrote this lengthy article on what American Express Membership Rewards points are worth.
Realistically, Membership Rewards points are worth at least 0.66p. This is because you can convert 1 point into 1.33 Nectar points via the Avios partnership. 1.33 Nectar points are worth 0.66p when spent at Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay.
I value airline miles at 0.75p – 1p each (this is conservative) so that is your valuation if you transfer to an airline programme.
Some of the hotel programmes also offer good value. You can choose from Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and Radisson Rewards.
Is Amex Rewards a good card to use when travelling?
As Amex adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad.
Unfortunately there are no credit cards with 0% foreign exchange fees worldwide which earn airline or hotel points. (The Virgin Atlantic credit cards have 0% FX fees in the Eurozone.) One option is to get a free card from Currensea. Currensea is a simple but clever idea. You pay abroad with your Currensea Mastercard debit card. Currensea translates the cost to Sterling with just a 0.5% fee (83% less than Amex charges) and withdraws the money from your bank account. You can find out more about Currensea by clicking here. Currensea is free so there is no risk in giving it a try.
Other points to note
You can apply for the card with a minimum personal income of just £20,000.
The American Express Rewards credit card is, in itself, a decent deal.
However, for one year, it would make more sense to take out the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card:
This has a far bigger sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points which is the most generous incentive available on a free UK charge or credit card. You also receive four FREE airport lounge passes. When your free year is up, you could switch to an American Express Rewards credit card.
For day to day spending on a free card, 1 point per £1 is a good return – although Amex Gold beats it due to double points on foreign and airline spend, and the annual spend bonus of up to 12,500 points.
The best reason for getting the Amex Rewards credit card is to protect your Membership Rewards points if you are planning to cancel an Amex Gold or Amex Platinum card.
The application form for the free American Express Rewards credit card can be found here.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility 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.