AN OVERVIEW OF THE UK AMEX GOLD CARD
Welcome to my recently updated review of the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card (Amex Gold Card review UK). Read on to find out why I think the Amex Gold Card is one of the best cards in the market at the moment and why you’d be mad to miss out on the free perks it has to offer.
Let’s start of with the boring bits. The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card is issued directly by American Express and is a charge card, not a credit card. For those that don’t know, a charge card needs to be paid in full at the end of each month!
You can hold up to 2 charge cards and 2 credit cards which have been issued by American Express at anyone time, although this doesn’t include Amex cards which I provided by the likes BA, Lloyds, TSB or Barclays. I’d recommend checking your credit rating before applying for a new card. Generally you should have a rating in excess of 700+. Click here for a free Equifax credit report and score. It’s free for the first 30 days and then £14.95 per month afterwards (make sure you cancel in the first 30 days!).
The Amex Gold card is free for the first 12 months and £140 thereafter. Unless you are spending a significant amount on the card (say £15k+) it would make sense to cancel the American Express card once you’ve achieved the sign up bonus. You’ll then be able sign up to the card again after 6 months and receive the bonus again.
AMERICAN EXPRESS GOLD CARD UK – THE SIGN UP BONUS
The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card offers 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in your first three months.
Membership reward points can be directly converted to Avios and a number of other partners. If converted to Avios this would be enough for a return flight to Athens.
Even better, you can get a higher bonus of 22,000 miles if you use this specific link for the Amex Gold Card, helping you to fly even further. For those who have read my post about the value of American Express membership rewards points (click here to read) if converted to Avios, you’ll know that I value the points at roughly £0.01 per point. As such by using this link you’re making in the region of £20 with the total benefit somewhere in the region of £220. Worth considering!
WHAT ARE THE OTHER BENEFITS OF THE AMEX GOLD CARD?
When you sign up to the American Express Gold card uk (and every year thereafter) you’ll receive 2 free airport lounge passes. These are offered by the Lounge Club network and can be used at most airports through the UK. I great perk to complement the free flights. Have a look at the No.1 Gatwick at London Gatwick North Terminal below.
Earn one Membership Rewards point for virtually every £1 spent on the American Express Gold Card UK. These again can be converted to Avios, which if applied to the 22,000 sign up bonus will help you reach those further away destinations.
You’ll receive 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you renew the American Express Gold Card UK after a year. I personally feel that the £140 charge for the card after 12 months does not merit the rewards offered. As such it may be beneficial to cancel the card once you’ve hit the bonus limits. Then reapply after a 6 month period (the shortest time required).
Further benefits include:
- A $75 hotel credit and room upgrades where available at over 350 hotels globally.
- Travel Inconvenience Protection and Travel Accident Protection benefits when you pay with your card.
- 10% off Hertz base car rental rates, plus a one car class upgrade and additional driver fee waived.
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE AMERICAN EXPRESS GOLD CARD UK?
American Express no longer has a minimum income requirement for the American Express Gold Card UK.
You cannot receive the sign up bonus if you have had either a Platinum, Gold or Green Amex card in the last 6 months. This does not apply to a Platinum Cashback Card, BA Amex Card or any Amex issued by MBNA, Lloyds, Barclays.
Finally just a reminder that the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card is not a credit card and should be repaid in full at the end of each month.
Amex Gold vs Platinum UK
A question that is regularly asked by readers, is whether they should splash out for the Amex Platinum Card or alternatively settle for the free (for first 12 months) Amex Gold Credit Card. In my eyes the only way to answer this is to price up the various benefits that the Platinum Card offers over the Amex Gold card and see if these offset the £450 per year cost. A quick summary of these (you can see my full review of the American Express Platinum card here) additional perks are as follows:
- An additional 10,000 American Express Rewards Points for signing up (boosted to a further 13,000 points using this link)
- Family Travel Insurance
- Full Car Hire Insurance
- Two Priority Pass card
- Eurostar lounge access
- Status in various hotel schemes: Gold in Starwood Preferred Guest, Club Carlson, Hilton Honors, Melia Rewards and Jade in Shangri-La Golden Circle
Now let’s look at the value of the individual benefits. If you were to transfer the 10,000 American Express Rewards Points to say Amazon you’d get a rate of 0.5p per point, resulting in the points being worth £50. Those that have read my post covering the value of an Avios Point (click here to read) will know that if transferred to Avios, I estimate value to be in the region of 1p. As such this benefit of an additional 10,000 membership rewards points is worth say £100.
You’ll receive Family Travel Insurance with the Platinum card. I’ve just run a quick search and the cheapest annual family insurance I can find with similar terms is in the region of £223. Again if you’re a single traveller this reward would be worth nowhere near as much.
Full car hire insurance is again slightly difficult to value. The vast majority of the time I rent a car it’s through work, as such this wouldn’t be saving me anything. However if you rent a car on every holiday you go on this could be worth a considerable amount. Having undertaken a quick search you can buy a similar annual policy for £40.
The Two Priority Pass cards could have some significant value depending on how much you travel. For an independent traveller who only fly’s a couple of times a year, the two free lounge passes with the Amex Gold card may be adequate. However if you’re a family of 4 who travels 3 times a year and likes to use a lounge, this could offer a significant saving. 4 guests visits 3 times a year less the two free visits available with the Amex Gold Rewards Card would result in 10 paid visits to a lounge. 10 visits would cost £150 if you were to use the benefits of the lounge club card provided with the Amex Gold credit card. A similar calculation can be undertaken for the Eurostar lounge access.
Whilst the various hotel schemes have value, it’s slightly more difficult to attribute a definitive value for the various benefits offered. For this example let’s say they are nice to have but provide no value to offset against the £450 cost for the Platinum Card.
So should you go for the Amex Gold vs Platinum Card? From the above you’ll see that an independent traveller traveling only 1 or 2 times a year will not benefit hugely from the Priority Passes, family travel insurance or car hire and as such the 10,000 membership rewards points (worth say £100) would not offset the £450 cost of the Platinum Card and as such I’d strongly recommend the American Express Gold Card UK. However if you’re a family of 4 who travels regularly the £450 cost of the Premium Card is more than offset by the benefits. It should also be highlighted that this example assumes you cancel the Amex Gold Card after year one and do not incur the annual £140 fee. If you’re prepared to pay the £140 for the Amex Gold Rewards, then the saving is even greater!
Ways to spend your Amex Gold Rewards?
So you’ve signed up to the free (for first year) Amex Gold Rewards Card, spent £2,000 in the first three months and now you’re looking for ways to spend your hard earnt 22,000 (20,000 if you don’t use this link) points.
If you wish you could redeem the 22,000 membership rewards points against your Amex Gold Card balance at a rate of 0.4p per point. Valuing the points at £88. This would be your base case scenario.
You can use the points to shop online via the American Express website. I would however note that the merchant rewards general equate to less than 0.4p and as such you’d be better off to purchase the item on your credit card (earning additional points) and then write off at a cost of 0.4p as explained above.
You can use the points on Amazon.co.uk converting to 0.45p or alternative 0.5p if you purchase an Amazon gift card. Similar 0.5p rates are offered for various other retailer gift cards.
Your membership rewards points can be used for hotel stays and generally work out relatively favourably at between 0.5p and 1p per stay. Hotel operators include Hilton, Starwood (providing access to the Marriott offering), Club Carlson and Melia.
Finally, and my recommended method, is to convert the points you’ve earnt from the Amex Gold Card to airmiles. You can see how I value Avios Points here, however I estimate the value to be in the region of 0.8p to 1.3p per point. See where you could travel using the British Airways calculator.
I recently combined the points I earnt from the Amex Gold Credit Card with the free night stay at ANY Hilton offered by the Hilton Honors Visa Credit Card (see my full review of the card here). This allowed me to have a free weekends stay at the Waldorf Astoria Rome, a total saving in the region of £600 which you can read about here.
Alternatively you can convert the points to airmiles, earn further rewards points and then combine with the 2-4-1 voucher offered by the British Airways Premium Card. Read about my recent first class trip to Brazil, including Concorde Lounge at Heathrow T5, by clicking here (coming soon).
There are various ways in which you can spend the points you’ve earnt with the Amex Gold Credit Card, with the initial sign up bonus worth anywhere between £88 (at 0.4p per point) and £286 (at 1.3p per point).
Amex Gold Lounge Access
One great perk of the Amex Rewards Gold Card is the access to Lounge Club. You’ll receive two free passes each year and further guests are charged at £15. In the UK this provides access to some 28 lounges and as such there’s good coverage.
I tend to quickly use up the two free passes however even at £15 per guest thereafter, I find the offering good value. As such I highly rate the Amex Gold Lounge Access offered by the card.
SUMMARY – AMEX GOLD CARD REVIEW UK
So, is Amex Gold worth it? The sign up bonus of 20,000 points (22,000 if you use this specific link) for the Amex Gold Credit Card is one of the most generous in the market at the current time. This coupled with the various other perks (2 complimentary lounge passes etc) makes it my card of choice for anyone seeking to build up points quickly. The card is free for the first 12 months with a charge of £140 after that. I’d recommend that the card is cancelled once that bonus of 22,000 has been achieved.
If you’re looking for some ideas as to how to spend the 22,000 airmiles you’ve earned from your American Express Gold Card UK – take a look at my recent free luxury weekend away for two.
I hope you’ve found the Amex Gold Card review useful and as always please do comment if you have any queries. Please do share this post if you think friends would be interested.
A link to the application form for the free Gold Amex Card can be found here.