American Express revamps its Gold card perks
American Express has renewed its Preferred Rewards Gold Card, with a huge signup offer to attract new customers.
Until November 8, 2022, participants can earn up to 30,000 Membership Reward Points when they sign up and spend £3,000 in the first three months.
The sign-up offer represents a 50 percent increase over the usual 20,000 points.
>> Read our guide to the best credit cards here
Going for Gold: American Express has renewed the Preferred Rewards Gold Card, with a huge limited-time sign-up offer for new customers
With 30,000 points on offer, this could be equivalent to £150 worth of shopping vouchers, or a round trip to many European cities.
The offer is not available to anyone who currently has an Amex personal card or anyone who has had an Amex card in the past two years.
In addition to the sign-up bonus, new and existing cardholders will receive a bonus of 2,500 membership points for every £5,000 of eligible spend on their gold card, up to five times per card membership year.
This means that members can earn up to a maximum of 12,500 points per year, exceeding the previous limit of 10,000, and no longer need to spend £15,000 to activate the bonus.
Card members can also use these points earlier, with bonuses awarded when earned, without waiting until after the end of their membership year.
They will also continue to earn one Membership Reward Point for every eligible £1 spent on their card.
This basically means that once the bonus has been counted in, customers can earn up to 1.5 points for every £1 spent.
For example, someone who spends $25,000 during the year will now receive 37,500 reward points.
That’s 12,500 bonus points and 25,000 spend.
However, there is one catch. From October 12, the annual fee for the Gold Card will increase from £140 to £160.
Amex is also doubling the number of free Priority Pass visits to airport lounges given to members each year from two to four.
Priority Pass offers over 1,300 lounges worldwide, including UK airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh.
What other benefits are there?
Cardholders also get up to £5 a month for Deliveroo purchases charged from the card.
This means that a cardholder can receive up to £120 cashback over the course of a year based on purchases from Deliveroo.
The wider benefits also include access to Amex Offers, which allow users to opt for discounts at select retailers, and Amex Experiences, which provides access to pre-sale tickets and exclusive offers for movie, music, theater and dining events.
They also have access to an ongoing EAT Life program of food events and additional benefits at more than 600 hotels worldwide through The Hotel Collection.
What’s the catch?
The main catch is that the sign up bonus is not available to those who have had an Amex card in the two years.
The £160 monthly membership may also put some people off, although it’s worth pointing out that the card is free for the first year.
It is possible to cancel after the first year and not pay a cent.
It is also worth pointing out that while the card offers benefits, it is of vital importance to keep up to date with bill payment while you’re at it.
If you don’t follow this golden rule, you’ll have to pay sky-high interest. At the moment, the gold card charges 69.2 percent APR.
Please note the annual fee for the Gold Card will increase from £140 to £160 from 12 October and for new cardholders joining the new representative APR will be 69.2 per cent
‘There are no obvious catches,’ says Rob Burgess, editor of the frequent flyer and loyalty points website Go to points.
‘30,000 points is worth £240 in Nectar points if you go Amex to Avios to Nectar as your worst redemption.
‘Plus you get £120 in Deliveroo credit and four airport lounge passes. There is no arguing against a “free card for a year”.’
“Although there is a fee for the second year, if you forget to cancel on time you can still do it later and get a pro-rata refund.
“You might even want to pay for a month or so in the second year because you’ll get four more airport lounge passes.
“The only downside is that you don’t get the sign-up bonus if you’ve had an Amex personal card in the past 24 months.”
Should you apply?
Choosing the best credit card, as with many things, comes down to whether the benefits on offer best suit one’s circumstances.
They may be looking for a credit card to pay off debt — and in that case, a balance transfer credit card may work best.
This allows customers to pay off debt by transferring the entire debt to the new card, often with the promise of 0 percent interest for a fixed period.
Or equally, they could be someone who enjoys frequent trips abroad and therefore needs a credit card best suited for spending abroad.
But if they decide that a rewards credit card is for them, then a lot will depend on how much money they spend and how they spend it.
There are cards aimed at flyers, supermarket spenders and fitness enthusiasts.
A major problem for those considering Amex’s Gold card is the hefty annual fee they start paying after the first year.
For those looking for a cheaper reward or cash back card, there are other options.
This is Money recently ranked its six favorite cashback cards that give cardholders a small return every time they spend.
Burgess added: “I’m having a hard time advocating keeping the card in the second year and paying the fee.
‘For example, Amex has a free-for-life card Rewards credit card which offers the same one point per £1 spent.
“Most people would be better off switching from year two unless they are heavy Deliveroo users and are confident they will maximize the £120 in Deliveroo credit.”
But since the first year is free, there’s still a lot to enjoy, according to Burgess.
“We believe this is the best card for someone who wants to be more involved in frequent flyer miles and hotel points.
“Amex points are valuable because they can be converted into multiple schedules. You are not tied to Avios as with a BA Amex card.
“You can hold onto your Amex points until you know what you want, then switch to BA, Virgin Points, Hilton, Marriott, Eurostar points etc.
‘For those less interested in frequent traveler points, it’s – arguably – the best credit card on the market for the first free year.
‘After that, to be honest I think most people will struggle to get value for the £160.
“But in the first year you should be able to get £500 worth of the 30,000 points, the four airport lounge passes and the Deliveroo credit.”
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Chase Bank will pay £1% cashback on expenses for the first 12 months. Customers also get access to an easily accessible linked savings account that pays 1.5% on deposits of up to £250,000. The account is completely free to set up and is completely app-based. Also no costs when using the card abroad.
The Club Lloyds account offers £150 free cash when you switch. It also pays 0.6% on balances up to £4,000, and 1.5% on £4,000 – £5,000. There is a monthly account fee of £3 to pay. But this is waived for every month you pay in £1,500 or more.
Natwest’s daily bank account pays €175 if you switch. All you need to do is deposit £1,250 into the account before December 16 and log in to mobile banking.
First direct will give newcomers £175 when they change account. It also offers an interest-free current account of £250. Customers must pay at least £1,000 within three months of opening the account.
Nationwide’s FlexDirect takes into account up to £200 cash incentive for new and existing customers. Plus 5% interest up to £1,500 – the highest interest on all current accounts – if you pay a minimum of € 1,000 per month, plus a free overdraft. Both last benefits last for a year.
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