It is now five years since American Express withdrew the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card.
The good news was that it was replaced by the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card. This was a virtually identical product except that – as a credit card – you now had the option to not fully clear your balance each month.
The representative APR is 75.2% variable, including the annual fee. The representative APR on purchases, and in the first year which has no fee, is 30.7% variable.
Do you still have the old charge card version of Amex Gold?
Existing cardholders were NOT automatically switched to the Gold credit card.
If you still have the Preferred Rewards Gold charge card, you will be paying the £160 annual fee. In my view, you should think about switching to the Gold credit card. I explain why below.
Here are two reasons to switch to the Amex Gold credit card
There are two good reasons why you may want to get the Gold credit card if you already have the Gold charge card. You can then cancel your Gold charge card.
But – and I want to be clear about this – you will NOT receive a sign-up bonus on the Gold credit card. This is because you already have a Membership Rewards account via your Gold charge card. If you want to receive a sign-up bonus, you would need to cancel your existing Gold charge card, close your Membership Rewards account and reapply after 24 months.
Here are the two good reasons to apply for the Gold credit card, given that you are paying £160 per year for Gold charge:
- You will still receive your first year on the Gold credit card for free. This is important. Instead of paying the £160 annual fee on your Gold charge card, you could apply for the Gold credit card and get a year of free membership. You would save £160 over the next 12 months. The fee on your existing Gold charge card will be refunded pro-rata when you cancel.
- You will receive another Priority Pass card with another four free airport lounge passes. Of course, your existing Priority Pass will be cancelled if you cancel your existing Gold charge card so you may want to wait until you’ve used up your four free lounge entries for your current year.
Timing is everything
As an Amex Gold cardholder, you receive a bonus of up to 12,500 Membership Rewards points for spending up to £25,000 each card year.
You trigger 2,500 points when you hit £5,000 of annual (card year) spending and another 2,500 points for every additional £5,000, up to a total of 12,500.
If you swap from Gold charge to Gold credit, your existing ‘year to date’ spend on Gold charge does NOT carry over. You will be starting from scratch again towards your next 12,500 points bonus.
If you spend more than £25,000 on your Gold charge card each year, the best time to apply for Gold credit and later cancel Gold charge is shortly after you have maximised the annual 12,500 bonus points for the current card year.
American Express released a PDF document here for current Preferred Rewards Gold charge card holders which explains this in more detail.
What happens to your Membership Rewards points?
Your Membership Rewards account exists separately from any of your credit or charge cards. If you apply for the Amex Gold credit card, having already got Amex Gold charge, the Membership Rewards points from both cards will flow into the same pot.
You do NOT need to empty out your existing Membership Rewards account before you cancel Gold charge.
A quick summary of what Amex Gold offers you
All of the other benefits of the Preferred Rewards Gold charge card are retained when you swap to the Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.
This is as good a reason as any to run through them again and remind you why I think Amex Gold is the best miles and points card for the beginner.
Here are the core benefits of the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card:
The card is free for the first year
Amex Gold has an annual fee of £160 BUT this is waived in your first year. A free first year means that you have some time to see if it suits you or not.
As I made clear above, anyone who switches from Gold charge to Gold credit will still get the ‘free first year’. This saves you the £160 you would otherwise be paying to keep your Gold charge card.
The sign-up bonus is excellent
Assuming you qualify (and you won’t qualify if you are swapping an Amex Gold charge card for an Amex Gold credit card), you get 20,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (worth 20,000 Avios) when you sign up and spend £3,000 within three months.
This is a good deal because ….
The rewards scheme is a valuable convertible currency
You can transfer American Express 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 American Express Membership Rewards points.
It is possible, if you are smart, to get over £200 of value from your 20,000 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 you have a lot of other options too.
You get £120 of Deliveroo credit per year
Amex Gold cardholders receive 2 x £5 Deliveroo credits each calendar month.
This will trigger, in the form of £5 cashback posted to your Amex Gold statement, when you make a Deliveroo purchase for £5+. It is valid against grocery deliveries as well as restaurant deliveries.
If you are a regular user of Deliveroo then this is a very valuable benefit.
You get four free airport lounge visits per year
As an Amex Gold cardholder you receive free membership to Priority Pass, a global network of airport lounges. Each year you get four free visits – either four visits for yourself or one visit for yourself and three guest (or, indeed, two visits for yourself and one guest!).
The Priority Pass website shows you which lounges you can use including at Heathrow and Gatwick. Additional visits after your two 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.
As noted above, you will get a fresh Priority Pass card and a further four free lounge visits when you apply for Gold credit, even if you already have Gold charge.
You get up to 12,500 bonus Membership Rewards points for spending up to £25,000 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.
However, for your first £25,000 of annual spending, the maths changes. For every £5,000 you spend, you receive 2,500 bonus points, up to a cap of 12,500 bonus points per card year.
If you spent an exact multiple of £5,000, you would have earned 1.5 points per £1 spent. This is very good going.
Other American Express Preferred Rewards Gold perks
Those are the key perks as I see them. 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 airline transactions
- 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
It is worth highlighting the ‘double points for flights’ benefit as this can be very beneficial for heavy travellers.
If you charge £25,000-worth of flights – and literally nothing else – to your American Express Gold card each year, you would earn 62,500 Membership Rewards points.
Your 62,500 points comprises:
- 25,000 base points for spending £25,000
- 25,000 bonus points as airline spend counts double
- 12,500 bonus points for spending £25,000 in a card year
That’s a pretty decent return and you can divert the rest of your annual card spend to other cards if you wish.
If you bought your flights in a foreign currency then you may do even better. Whilst you are not meant to double up, Amex may give you double points for foreign spend and double points for airline spend on the same transaction. As you are paying a 3% foreign exchange fee, however, this is not necessarily worth it unless you are spending someone else’s money.
It was slightly surprising when Preferred Rewards Gold transformed from a charge card to a credit card overnight.
If you already have the Amex Gold charge card and are paying the £160 annual fee, you should seriously consider moving to the Gold credit card. You get another ‘free first year’ and another two free airport lounge visits.
(For confirmation of this, read Amex’s own PDF here.)
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2023 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 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 a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) 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 bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.