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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.

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 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.

This article was updated on 1st January 2024, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

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’.

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 lounge 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 for a £24 charge.

£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.

There are 350 4-5 star hotels worldwide which offer a $75 in-hotel credit and an upgrade when booked by an Amex Gold cardholder via the American Express travel service.

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.

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 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.

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 (30)

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

  • David H says:

    If you held the card for a year then cancelled when the 2nd year fee kicked in, when can you re-apply in order to benefit from another free year? Disregard the sign-up bonus qualification which my son would struggle to achieve anyway – he is just interested in another free year with Deliveroo credit, lounge passes, reward points etc. Hope someone can give an indication even if there is no written rule.

    • Rui N. says:

      Yes you can. No guarantee you’ll get it approved of course.

      • David H says:

        Thanks. Agree you could apply straight away but how long a gap would it be advisable to leave in order to have a good chance of being accepted ? That is what I am hoping someone has some insight into !

        • Harrier25 says:

          Well, that’s kinda like asking, how long is a piece of string.

          • David H says:

            Thank you. I will ask the question on the chat thread and see if anyone more helpful and less sarcastic responds. There may be some useful data points out there!

  • FatherOfFour says:

    I really value the bonus points (2500MR for each £5000 spent up to £25k) I estimate this is around our annual CC spend, so effectively we are getting 1.5 flexible MR per £, as opposed to the 1 base point.

    • JDB says:

      Yes, the regular bonus plus foreign spend and airline bonus make this very worthwhile. While foreign airline spend incurs FX fees, it’s still much cheaper than getting the airline to do the conversion, let alone the cost of booking via international sites, plus you get s75 that has proved useful over the years so with 3MR + 0.5MR bonus that’s a good deal as far as I’m concerned. Similarly for foreign hotel deposits, 2MR, 0.5MR bonus and s75 very happy with that. My son now uses the Deliveroo benefit which adds to the value proposition on top of this card being by far the highest earning one for my spend pattern.

  • Maples says:

    The Deliveroo offer has been extended until October 2023, and I wonder if it’ll continue after that.

  • RussellH says:

    I have not looked at the Deliveroo site since giving up my Gold Amex a year ago; do Deliveroo still have their link for donating food to those who have no money for food?

    Apart from being a way of using the credit for those who do not live anywhere near Deliveroo, you earn 120 points for an outlay of 24p.

    Not massive, but an impressive earning yeld!

  • Mayfair Mike says:

    Better options than Currensea when purely looking to spend abroad for no/low fee. Curve or Halifax Clarity to give 2 better alternatives for starters

    • Rob says:

      One of these is a massively complicated product with byzantine rules, and one is a credit card which will reduce your capacity to take out other miles-earning credit cards.

      Is it really worth it to save an extra £10 on £2,000 of foreign spend?

      Clearly is for some but I’m not convinced.

      (Before anyone mentions it, we get paid substantially more by Curve than Currensea if a reader takes out a card.)

    • RussellH says:

      I am surprised that (Transfer)Wise multi currency a/c does not get more attention here.
      If you have no interest in Virgin miles, Clydesdale/Yorkshire/”Virgin” Money current a/c debit card is also free to use in Eurozone/Sweden/Romania.
      And if you are lucky enough to live in Cumbria or North Lancashire, a Cumberland Building Society debit card is free to use anywhere.
      I agree that Halifax Clarity should be in any traveller’s pocket, even if it is only a backup to other cards (in my case two Eurozone debit cards and a Swiss debit card).

      • rio says:

        isn’t revolut better than wise? at least you get fee free transfers between currencies for the first 1k per month.

    • Harrier25 says:

      Why do people here even bother with Halifax Clarity? It’s just a boring run of the mill credit card with very few benefits.

  • RussellH says:

    I have the Horizon card too, but in my world the ½% refund is not really significant. Last year the card ‘earned’ me 49p, and I am pretty sure that the better MasterCard exchange rate from Clarity (cf. Visa for Horizon) would have cancelled a good part of that. But I do like to use both the cards occasionally – a friend of mine recently got a “use it or lose it” letter from Halifax about his Clarity card. Needless to say, he went out and used it a couple of times that day.

    • Harrier25 says:

      He should’ve lost it and then gone out to find a little more excitement when spending abroad. Halifax Clarity should’ve been left, long forgotten in the last decade.

  • aq.1988 says:

    I’m now into my 2nd year of the Gold and want to cancel it, purely because I’ve also recently taken the BAPP, and also have the BC Plus, and can’t justify 3 lots of fees.

    I already have taken the free ARCC to keep my MR safe, rather than have to transfer to a partner.

    The Deliveroo credits are useful but I don’t use it enough to justify the fee (I think I got £35 back last year).

    I contacted chat to cancel and was offered 10k retention bonus to keep it, and accepted it. I know there’s no requirement to actually keep longer it but consider it bad form to cancel now, so will keep it until the next renewal.

  • Mike A says:

    This article states the following: “American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for any of its cards”.
    This isn’t factually correct, American Express discriminates against retired people, their algorithms even for existing card members look at income and decide to accept or reject on that basis. Of course many retirees who aren’t taking large incomes from pension pots are then discriminated against.

    • Rob says:

      The algorithms look at the gap between your stated income and assumed expenditure. Graduate on £30k living rent free at home will get accepted before someone on £60k with a big mortgage, in theory.

      That said, if you are only taking £10k per year from your pension (which would still be far more than, say, my Mum spends in a year) then its not hard to see why Amex wouldn’t give you a card with a £175 fee.

      • Mike A says:

        Which is exactly where the algorithms fail, they discriminate against someone that’s retired but not relying on an annual income. When someone highlights Retired in an application Amex should take a different route in its decision process. As an Amex member for 12 years holding various cards, I was refused.

        • JDB says:

          An allegation of discrimination by Amex against retired people (if based on the protected characteristic of age) is a very serious one and almost certainly misconceived. The simple fact is that the criteria for credit have been tightened by most providers over the past 12 months; nobody of any age should necessarily expect to have applications accepted in the way they were previously. I’m not sure that having had various Amex cards over the last 12 years (with the implication that some are now closed) necessarily counts in your favour.

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

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