American Express has increased the sign-up bonus on the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card from 20,000 to 30,000 points.
If you meet the bonus criteria, you will receive 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within 90 days. This is a special offer which runs to 9th January 2024.
You will receive an additional 5,000 Membership Rewards points if you keep the card for 15 months and make a single purchase in month 15.
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.
The legal bit …..
Let’s get the boring legal bits out of the way first.
The representative APR is 88.8% variable, including the annual fee. The representative APR on purchases, and in the first year which has no fee, is 31.0% variable.
What is the Amex Gold sign-up bonus?
As of yeterday, the sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased to 30,000 Membership Rewards points. You have until 9th January 2024 to apply.
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.
To earn the main chunk of 25,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, you need to spend £3,000 within three months of your application being accepted.
To earn the extra 5,000 bonus points, you need to keep the card for 15 months and make a single purchase in month 15. As there is a £195 fee for Amex Gold from Year 2 onwards (the first year is free), you need to consider more broadly whether the card benefit package justifies the cost.
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 25,000 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 £195. 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 and there is absolutely no obligation to keep the card beyond the first free year.
Of course, you would be missing out on the additional 5,000 bonus points – paid in month 15 – if you did cancel after the first free year.
The Amex Gold sign-up bonus is very generous
You get 25,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (worth 25,000 Avios) when you sign up and spend £3,000 within three months. This is a special offer which runs to 9th January 2024.
You get an extra 5,000 bonus points (worth 5,000 Avios) if you choose to renew the card for Year 2, at an annual fee of £195, and make a single purchase in Month 15.
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 Membership Rewards 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 £250 of value from your 25,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus.
‘Convertible currencies’ are worth more to you. It is better to have 25,000 Amex Membership Rewards points than 25,000 Avios points. Why? Because your 25,000 Amex Membership Rewards points would get you 25,000 Avios points if you needed them – but they could also get you points in a lot of other different schemes.
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 £24 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 in the UK can be tricky at peak times, although there are 10 lounges which you can reserve in advance for a small fee. Outside the UK getting access is rarely an issue.
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)
The bonus is paid as soon as you hit each tier threshold.
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
- triple 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
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 now 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 American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is a good way to get started. You will still qualify for the British Airways Premium Plus sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios in the future despite already having an Amex Gold card.
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. The offer ends on 9th January 2024.
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.