American Express has revamped its Preferred Rewards gold card, with a huge sign-up offer aimed at attracting new customers.
Until 8 November 2022, joiners can earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points when they sign up and spend £3,000 in the first three months.
The subscription offer is a 50 percent increase over the usual 20,000 points.
>> Read our guide to the best credit cards here
Going Gold: American Express has revamped the Preferred Rewards Gold Card, with a limited-time enrollment offer for new customers
With 30,000 points on offer, this could be worth £150 in shopping vouchers, or a return trip to a range of European cities.
Offer is not available to anyone who currently holds a personal Amex Card or anyone who has held an Amex Card in the past two years.
On top of the sign-up bonus, new and existing Cardmembers will receive an additional 2,500 Membership Rewards points for every £5,000 eligible spend on their Gold Card, up to five times per Card Membership year.
This means members can earn up to a maximum of 12,500 points per year, up from the previous 10,000 point limit, and they will no longer need to spend £15,000 to start the bonus.
Up to 15,000 reward points per year based on your spending
2,500 points when you reach £5,000 in annual spending.
2,500 points when you reach £10,000 in annual spending (5,000 cumulative points).
2,500 points when you reach £15,000 in annual spending (7,500 cumulative points).
2,500 points when you reach £20,000 in annual spending (10,000 cumulative points).
2,500 points when you reach £25,000 in annual spending (12,500 cumulative points).
Cardmembers can also use these points sooner, with rewards awarded as they are earned, without waiting until the end of their membership year.
They will also continue to earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every eligible £1 spent on their card.
This effectively means that once the bonus is factored 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 get 37,500 bonus points.
That’s 12,500 bonus points and 25,000 spending points.
However, there is one problem. From 12 October, the annual fee for the Gold Card will increase from £140 to £160.
Amex is also doubling the number of free Priority Pass airport lounge visits given to members each year, from two to four.
Priority Pass offers over 1,300 lounges globally, including UK airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and Edinburgh.
What other benefits are there?
Cardholders also get up to £5 back twice a month for Deliveroo purchases charged to the card.
This means that over the course of a year, the cardholder can get up to £120 cashback based on Deliveroo purchases.
Broader benefits also include access to Amex Deals, which allows users to sign up for discounts at select retailers, and Amex Experiences, which provides access to pre-sale tickets and exclusive shows across film, music, theater and dining events.
They can also access EAT Life’s ongoing program of dining events and additional benefits at over 600 hotels worldwide through The Hotel Collection.
The main problem is that the sign-up bonus is not available to those who have held an Amex card in the past two years.
The £160 annual membership may also put some people off, although it’s worth noting that the card is free for the first year.
It is possible to cancel once the first year is up and not pay a single penny.
It should also be noted that while the card comes with benefits, it does very important To stay on top of paying the bill as you go.
Failing to follow this golden rule means that a heaven-high benefit is being accrued. Currently, the Gold Card fee is 69.2 percent, but that figure includes other fees such as the annual fee. The interest rate on purchases is 26.6 percent.
Watch out: the annual fee for the Gold Card will rise from £140 to £160 from October 12, and for new Cardmembers who join, the new APR representative rate will be 69.2 per cent
“There are no obvious attractions,” says Rob Burgess, editor of Head for Points, a frequent flyer and loyalty points website.
‘30,000 points is worth £240 Nectar points if you move from Amex to Avios to Nectar, worst case redeem.
Plus you get £120 Deliveroo credit and four airport lounge passes. Can’t argue with that for a “1 year free card”.
While there is a fee for the second year, if you forget to cancel in time, you can still do so later and get a prorated refund.
You may even want to pay the fee for a month or so in the second year when you’ll get four more airport lounge passes to use.
The only “problem” is that you won’t get the sign-up bonus if you’ve had a personal Amex card within the past 24 months.
Should you apply?
Choosing the best credit card like many things comes down to whether the benefits on offer are the best fit for someone’s circumstances.
It could be because they’re looking for a card to clear debt — in which case, a balance transfer credit card might work better.
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 set period of time.
Or equally, it may be someone who loves regular trips abroad and therefore needs a credit card that is more convenient for spending abroad.
But if they decide the rewards credit card is for them, a lot will depend on how much money they spend and how they spend it.
Good to know:
You can transfer 30,000 American Express Membership Program Points to:
30,000 Virgin Points
60,000 Hilton Honors Points
90,000 Radisson Rewards points 45,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
2,000 Eurostar Club points
For example, there are cards geared toward flyers, supermarket spenders, and fitness fanatics.
One of the main problems for those considering an Amex Gold Card is the exorbitant annual fee that they will start paying after the first year.
For those looking for a cheaper reward or cashback card, there are other options out there.
This Money recently ranked its six favorite cashback cards that will give cardholders a small return every time they spend.
Burgess adds, ‘I find it difficult to make the case for keeping the card in year two and paying the fees.
For example, Amex has a free for life Rewards Card which offers the same 1 point for every £1 spent.
Most people would be better off switching to that from year two unless they’re heavy Deliveroo users and are sure they’ll add £120 on Deliveroo credit.
However, since the first year is free, there’s still a lot to like, according to Burgess.
“Our view is that this is the best card for someone looking to share more in their frequent flyer miles and hotel points.
Amex Points are valuable because they can be transferred to multiple schemes. You are not locked into Avios like a BA Amex card.
You can keep your Amex points until you know what you want from them, and then move on to BA, Virgin Points, Hilton, Marriott, Eurostar points, etc.
For people who are less concerned with frequent flyer points, this is without a doubt the best credit card on the market For the first free year.
Then, to be honest, I think most people would struggle to get value on the £160 fee.
“In year one you should be able to get £500 worth of 30,000 points, four airport lounge passes and Deliveroo credit.”
Where to spend Amex Points to get the best deals
Amex allows you to convert points into rewards across a range of shopping, travel and lifestyle partners, but how valuable the points are will ultimately depend on how you choose to redeem them.
When redeeming points for gift cards at stores like Amazon, Selfridges or Currys, each point is worth 0.5p. For example, 60,000 points is enough for a £300 Amazon gift card.
Meanwhile, you can secure up to 0.8p per Membership Rewards point if you convert your American Express points to Nectar.
To achieve this, you need to convert your Amex points into BA Avios points, and then back into Nectar. Each Avios point can be redeemed for the value of 1.6 Nectar Points.
Since a Nectar point is worth 0.5p, you get 0.8p per Amex point (that’s 0.5p 1.6) if you convert via Avios.
For frequent flyers, points can be transferred to any of Amex’s partner airlines or hotels.
The airlines ratio is 1:1 which means that for every 10,000 points customers transfer, they will earn 1,000 airline miles. Most experts believe you should be able to get a penny per frequent flyer mile if used well.
Amex’s airline partners include British Airways, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates Airlines.
You can also transfer points to Hilton, Marriott and Radisson hotel programs and to the Eurostar Club.
You can learn more about Amex’s travel and hotel partners here.
That’s five money from the best checking accounts
Chase Bank You will pay 1% cash back on spending for the first 12 months. Customers also get access to an easy-to-access linked savings account paying 1.5% on balances of up to £250,000. The account is completely free to set up and is completely app based. Also, there are no fees when using the card abroad.
Lloyds club account Offers £150 in free cash when switching. It also pays 0.6% on balances of up to £4,000 and 1.5% on balances of £4,000 – £5,000. There is a £3 monthly account fee to be paid. But this is waived every month you pay £1,500 or more.
An account provided by HSBC Pay £200 on exchange. Simply set up 2 direct debits and deposit £1,500 into the account within 60 days of opening it.
direct first Will give newcomers £175 when they switch accounts. It also offers an overdraft of £250 without interest. Customers must pay at least £1,000 within three months of opening the account.
Flex Direct Nationwide It comes with the account Cash incentive of up to £200 for new and existing customers. Plus 5% interest up to £1,500 – The highest interest rate on any checking account – if you pay at least £1,000 per month, plus a no-fee overdraft. Both of the latter franchises last for a year.
Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to influence our editorial independence.