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Review: American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) credit card

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This is our review of the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) credit card.

This review 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 link: American Express Preferred Rewards Gold application page

Review American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) credit card

Key facts: No annual fee in year 1 and £195 thereafter. You can cancel at any point.

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.

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 instead.

What is the Amex Gold sign-up bonus?

Amex Gold offers 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 within three months. This is the most generous sign-up bonus available on any free UK loyalty credit card – albeit that Amex Gold is only free for the first year.

Membership Rewards points can be converted 1 to 1 into Avios. Click here to see what other airline and hotel programmes are Membership Rewards transfer partners.

This means that you can receive 20,000 Avios points for free by applying for this card, 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.

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.  You still receive the other card benefits outlined below, including the four free airport lounge passes, £120 of Deliveroo credit and ‘no fee in the first year’.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold UK credit card review

Any other benefits with Amex Gold?

Four airport lounge passes:

You receive four free airport lounge passes each membership year with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold, valid at any airport lounge in the Priority Pass network. Heathrow (including the Aspire and Plaza Premium lounges in Terminal 5), Gatwick, Luton and Stansted – amongst many others – have participating lounges as do most major airports worldwide. After your four free visits, you can make further lounge visits at a discounted rate of £24.

£120 of Deliveroo credit:

You receive £120 of Deliveroo credit each year.

This arrives in the form of 2 x £5 credits each month. You receive £5 cashback each time a Deliveroo order for £5+ is charged to your Gold card, up to £10 of credit per month.

Up to 12,500 bonus points each year:

You will receive up to 12,500 bonus Membership Rewards points each membership year based on your total spending. The first 2,500 points arrive after £5,000 of spending and a further 2,500 points are earned after each incremental £5,000, up to a total of 12,500 points.

Other benefits:

You will receive a 10% discount and free additional driver on Hertz bookings. You will receive Preferred Plus status in the Avis car rental programme. We look at the Hertz benefit in more detail in this article.

There are 700 4-5 star hotels worldwide which offer a $100 in-hotel credit and an upgrade if available when booked by an Amex Gold cardholder for 2+ nights. Full details are on the Amex Travel website here.

Review American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (Amex Gold) credit card

What is the Amex Gold annual fee?

There is no fee for the first year of Amex Gold.

For future years, there is a fee of £195. I would personally struggle to justify that fee in light of the benefits unless I was making heavy use of the $75 hotel credits, the airport lounge passes and the Deliveroo credit.

You can apply for the card with a minimum personal income of just £20,000.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You receive 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on the card.

Foreign currency transactions and flight tickets bought directly from the airline earn 2 points per £1. This is a valuable extra benefit for anyone who buys a lot of flights.

Much of the time, but not always, airline transactions which are paid for in a foreign currency earn 3 points per £1 as the offers double up.

Travel bookings made via the American Express Travel website, and paid for online, earn an impressive 3 points per £1.

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.

I tend to 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. Your options are Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and Radisson Rewards. Club Eurostar is also a decent deal given that Eurostar ticket prices have risen sharply since the pandemic.

You can take a look at the full list of Membership Rewards options here. If you are strategic you should be able to get 1p per point of value when you use them.

Review Amex Gold credit card

Is Amex Gold a good card to use when travelling?

Yes, to the extent that you receive double Membership Rewards points when using the card abroad.

However, because 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.

Conclusion – is Amex Gold worth it?

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is our recommended ‘first’ miles and points card for someone who is new to all this.

The sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points is EASILY the most generous incentive available on a free UK loyalty credit card.

I recommend signing up and giving the card a try, if only for the first free year.

As well as the bonus, the four free airport lounge passes and £120 of Deliveroo credit are well worth having.

For day to day spending, 1 point per £1 is middling, although the 12,500 bonus points you can earn each year based on your spending increase your average ‘points per pound’ rate sharply.

Because American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to so many partners, you have time to learn more about which airline and hotel programmes would work best for you. In time you might move on to a dedicated airline or hotel credit card, but Amex Gold is a good place to start.

The application form for Amex Gold 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.

Comments (26)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Chrisdf says:

    Will I still get accepted for a free first year with lounge passes if I upgrade from the free rewards card also I cancelled the gold card in December 23 at end of first free year.

    • Rob says:

      A fresh application gets you first year free plus lounge passes. An upgrade may not get you the free year – Plat downgraders used to be charged.

  • Ruth says:

    You haven’t mentioned that you need a certain amount of annual income to successfully apply. They also seem to set the credit limit very low, so have to make payments midmonth so as to keep it useable. And got told off for making a payment to my husband’s card, although that would be ok from a joint account.

    • Maples says:

      Is there evidence on the Gold card being given a very low limit or is that from your personal experience?

      Making payments to your husband’s card is something that’s affecting all Amex cards I think, and there’s probably a good reason for it.

      • Erico1875 says:

        Weird. I pay my wife’s BA Amex every month

        • Rob says:

          You need to stop. They came after my wife last year and wanted to cancel all her cards. Unfortunately it’s a money laundering flag.

          • Erico1875 says:

            Thanks Rob. Didn’t realise the implications.
            If only I was a Russian or Saudi arms dealer. Then I’d be exempt from these rules😁

          • Vit says:

            Yes I have been warned last month or two ago as well.

      • lumma says:

        The last time I got Gold (before the sign up bonus rule changed), I was only given a £500 limit. Just called them up to play musical credit limits to increase it

      • Ruth says:

        Personal experience. £1200 on my last card, £1500 for my husband.

  • CJD says:

    If you’ve recently closed the Gold card, how long should you wait before re-applying?

    I didn’t think the benefits were worth the annual fee and didn’t fancy paying £195 on top of the £250 for the BAPP and £20 a month for Barclaycard, but now that I’m considering downgrading to the free BA Amex, I wouldn’t mind holding the Gold card as I think it’s the best card in the Amex stable for earning.

  • lollyfry says:

    About the 4 priority passes, I’ve downgraded 2 months ago from Plat to Gold so will the existing PP membership I have automatically be changed to allow the 4 entries? Or should I have received a new PP card/account?

    • Rob says:

      Very good question, no idea. In a world with joined-up IT then, yes, it should be fine but in reality ….

    • PJJ says:

      I downgraded from Plat to Gold in February. On a trip back from Nice explained to the guy on reception what had happened and no new PP card had been issued. He checked the card and said ‘fine’ and in I went

  • Bob says:

    I’ve just renewed after year 1, but I got AMEX to credit an extra 25000 MR points before my year1 ended subject to a low spend of £1000 in the 3 months prior to renewal.
    I would not have renewed otherwise because the Deliveroo credit is non existent in my area because they have no footprint here in my part of Somerset

  • Daniel says:

    I have tried cancelling this card 3 times over the last 3 years; and every time I have been offered a retention offer and end up staying.

    It’s a good card; the earning rates a good : outbound spend and flight bonus makes it attractive. Deliveroo credits I can use; but wouldn’t if I didn’t;t have the card and the lounge passes end up going to waste as I have status and mostly fly OW.

    Long story short; if I wasn’t offered a mention bonus – the card would have long been canceled.

    The card used to be better when there was the anniversary bonus of spend £15k get 10,000 MR and obviously when it was only £120 AF.

  • Nomad312 says:

    Regarding the 4 free Priority Pass entries per year, is the year for these a calendar year (as with the dining credits for Platinum) or based on your Amex card anniversary? Considering downgrading to Gold, would be nice to get an extra 4 passes if that’s how it works.

  • Sathya says:

    Do you still get the bonus., if you have had personal BA Amex card in the past 24 months ?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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