American Express has revamped its Preferred Rewards Gold Card, with a huge sign-up offer aimed at attracting new customers.
Up until 8 November 2022, joiners 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 per cent increase on the usual 20,000 points.
>> Read our guide of the best credit cards here
Going for gold: American Express has revamped the Preferred Rewards Gold Card, with a huge limited time sign up offer for new customers
With 30,000 points on offer, this could equal £150 in shopping vouchers, or a return flight to a host of European cities.
The offer is not available to anyone who currently holds a personal Amex card or anyone that has held an Amex card in the past two years.
On top of the sign-up bonus, new and existing cardmembers will receive a bonus 2,500 membership rewards points for every £5,000 of 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 a year, higher than the previous 10,000 limit, and will no longer need to spend £15,000 to trigger the bonus.
Up to 15,000 bonus points per year based on your spending
2,500 points when you hit £5,000 of annual spend.
2,500 points when you hit £10,000 of annual spend (5,000 points cumulative).
2,500 points when you hit £15,000 of annual spend (7,500 points cumulative).
2,500 points when you hit £20,000 of annual spend (10,000 points cumulative).
2,500 points when you hit £25,000 of annual spend (12,500 points cumulative).
Card members also get to use these points sooner, with bonuses awarded when they are earned, with no waiting until after the end of their membership year.
They will also continue to earn one membership rewards point for every eligible £1 spent on their card.
This effectively means once the bonus is factored in, customers could earn up to 1.5 points for every £1 spent.
As an example, someone who spends £25,000 during the year will now get 37,500 reward points.
That’s 12,500 bonus points and 25,000 from spending.
However, there is one catch. From 12 October, the annual fee for the Gold Card will increase from £140 to £160.
Amex is also doubling the amount of complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge visits given to members each year, up from two to four.
Priority Pass offers over 1,300 lounges globally, including UK airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh.
What other benefits are there?
Cardholders also get up to £5 twice each month for Deliveroo purchases charged to the card.
This means that over the course of a year, a cardholder could receive up to £120 cashback based on Deliveroo purchases.
The wider benefits also include access to Amex Offers, which allows users to opt into discounts at certain retailers, and Amex Experiences, which offers access to presale tickets and exclusive offers across film, 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 that have held an Amex card in the two years.
The £160 annual 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 once the first year is up and not pay a penny.
It’s also worth point out that whilst the card comes with benefits, it is vital to stay on top of paying off the bill as you go along.
Fail to follow this golden rule will mean being charged sky-high interest. At present the gold card charges 69.2 per cent APR, but that figure includes other charges such as the annual fee. The interest rate on purchases is 26.6 per cent.
Watch out: The annual fee for the Gold Card will rise from £140 to £160 from 12 October and for new Cardmembers joining, the new representative APR will be 69.2 per cent
‘There are no obvious catches,’ says Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer and loyalty points website Head for Points.
‘30,000 points is worth £240 of Nectar points if you go Amex to Avios to Nectar, as your worst case redemption.
‘Plus you get £120 of Deliveroo credit and four airport lounge passes. Can’t argue with that for a “free for a year card.”‘
‘Whilst there is a fee for year two, if you forget to cancel in time, you can still do it later and get a pro-rata refund.
‘You may even want to pay the fee for a month or so in year two as you’d get another four airport lounge passes to use up.
‘The only “gotcha” is that you won’t get the sign-up bonus if you’ve had a personal Amex card in the last 24 months.’
Should you apply?
Choosing the best credit card like with many things boils down to whether the benefits on offer are best suited to someone’s circumstances.
It may be that they are looking for a card to clear debt – and in that case a balance transfer credit card might work best.
This allows customers to pay off debts by transferring the entire debt over to the new card, often with the promise of 0 per cent interest for a fixed period of time.
Or equally, they may someone who likes regular trips abroad and therefore require a credit card best suited to overseas spending.
But if they decide a rewards credit card is for them, then a lot will depend on how much money they spend and how they spend it.
Good to know:
You can convert 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points into:
30,000 Virgin Points
60,000 Hilton Honors points
90,000 Radisson Rewards points 45,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
2,000 Club Eurostar points
For example, there are cards geared towards flyers, supermarket spenders and fitness fanatics.
A major issue for those considering Amex’s Gold card is the hefty annual fee that they will begin paying after the first year.
For those looking for a cheaper reward or cashback card, there are other options out there.
This is Money recently ranked its six favorite cashback cards that’ll give cardholders a small return every time they spend.
Burgess adds: ‘I struggle to make a case for keeping the card into year two 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 swapping to that from year two unless they are heavy Deliveroo users and are sure they will maximise the £120 of Deliveroo credit.’
However, given that the first year is free, there is still much to like, according to Burgess.
‘Our view is that this is the best card for someone looking to get more involved in frequent flyer miles and hotel points.
‘Amex points are valuable because they can be converted to multiple schemes. You’re not tied into Avios like with a BA Amex card.
‘You can hold your Amex points until you know what you want from them, and then move to BA, Virgin Points, Hilton, Marriott, Eurostar points etc.
‘For people less interested in frequent traveler points it is – undoubtedly – the best credit card on the market for the first free year.
‘After that, to be frank, I think most people will struggle to get value for the £160 fee.
‘In one year though, you should be able to get £500 of value from the 30,000 points, the four airport lounge passes and the Deliveroo credit.’
Where to spend Amex points for the best deals
Amex allows you to convert points into rewards via 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 such as Amazon, Selfridges or Currys each point is worth 0.5p. For example, 60,000 points is enough for a £300 gift card from Amazon.
Meanwhile, you can secure up to 0.8p per membership rewards point if you convert American Express points into Nectar.
To this you need to transfer Amex points into BA Avios points, and then again to Nectar. Each BA Avios point can be exchanged for 1.6 Nectar points.
As a Nectar point is worth 0.5p, you’re getting 0.8p per Amex point (ie 0.5px 1.6) if you do the transfer via Avios.
For frequent flyers, points can be transferred to any of Amex’s airline or hotel partners.
The airline ratio is 1:1 meaning for every 10,000 points customers transfer, they’ll get 1,000 airline miles. Most experts believe that you should be able to get 1p per frequent flyer mile if used well.
Amex’s airline partners include British Airways, Iberia, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates.
You can also transfer points to the Hilton, Marriott and Radisson hotel programs and to Club Eurostar.
You can find out more about Amex’s travel and hotel partners here.
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Chase Bank will pay £1% cashback on spending for the first 12 months. Customers also get access to an easy-access linked savings account paying 1.5% on balances up to £250,000. The account is completely free to set up and is entirely app based. Also no charges 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 £3 monthly account fee to pay. But this is waived each month that you pay in £1,500 or more.
Natwest’s Everyday bank account pays £175 when you switch. You just need to deposit £1,250 in the account before 16 December and login to mobile banking.
First Direct will give newcomers £175 when they switch their account. It also offers a £250 interest-free overdraft. Customers must pay in at least £1,000 within three months of opening the account.
Nationwide’s FlexDirect account comes with up to £200 cash incentive for new and existing customers. Plus 5% interest on up to £1,500 – the highest interest rate on any current account – if you pay in at least £1,000 each month, plus a fee-free overdraft. Both the latter perks last for a year.
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