The Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card is a mid-level Amex card that is a solid workhorse in the UK rewards card market. Why? Cardholders benefit from Amex travel-related perks like lounge access and the best earning rates in the Membership Rewards programme. While the card does come with a hefty £140 annual fee, that's actually a lot lower than the cost of a Platinum card. Read our review to decide if it's right for you.
The Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card by American Express Review
In our view, the Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card is the most rewarding of American Express's Membership Rewards charge cards. It's most suited to bigger spenders, those who pay their balance in full each month and frequent travellers.
How Good are the Rewards?
How much can you earn in rewards? Cardholders earn 1, 2 or 3 Membership Rewards points per £1 of spend. Membership Rewards points are worth roughly £0.005 to £0.02 apiece. They're worth a minimum of 0.5p because that's the value you get for exchanging points for gift cards—that's the closest to a "cash value" you'll get. Cardholders may extract value of up to £0.02 or more by redeeming for flights, hotels and cars.
The points you earn translate into a rewards rate of approximately 1% on general spending, 2% on air and foreign currency purchases and 3% on American Express Travel arrangements at a bare minimum if you redeem points for gift cards. If you redeem for nights or flights instead, you're likely to double or even triple the rewards rates. For reference, compare these rates to other cards such as the Amex Platinum cashback card that returns 1% to 1.25% on general spending, with a 5% cashback welcome bonus.
Cardholders also get two complementary airport lounge visits a year, at over 700 airport lounges globally, which can make a holiday feel more special. Additional visits can be purchased at the prevailing rate.
The potential to earn a 10,000-point welcome bonus and 10,000-point annual bonuses (worth at least £50 each, but probably more like £100) add to the card's short and long-term value. The table below shows what a potential cardholder might earn in the first year with the Preferred Rewards Gold Card, assuming a Membership Rewards point is worth the minimum value of .5p, the gift card value.
|Sample Year 1 Rewards||Membership Rewards Points||Minimum Estimated Value (at 0.5p/point)|
|American Express Travel Spend of £2,000||6,000||£30|
|Airline Spend of £2,000||4,000||£200|
|General Spend of £20,000||20,000||£100|
|Annual Fee||£0 the first year|
|Total Year 1||60,000||£250|
The Preferred Rewards card annual fee is £140 a year, but it's waived in the first year. While the annual fee is hefty, the rewards can offset the cost. How much do you need to spend to earn back the annual fee? £15,000, at most. By spending £15,000 on general spending you'll earn the 10,000 annual bonus and 15,000 additional points, for a total of 25,000 points for the year. The value of 25,000 is at approximately £250 (but at least £140 if you redeem for gifts cards)—more than enough to make up for the annual fee. (The annual fee is waived the first year.)
Cardholders who redeem for air, hotel or car reward and get more value for their points will have a lower breakeven point, as will people who spend on travel and American Express travel and earn points at 2X and 3X the rate.
Bottom Line: The Preferred Rewards Gold Card by American Express can be a great card for frequent travelers looking for travel perks and to earn Membership Rewards points. Between the annual bonus and the 2X and 3X-points categories, the Preferred Rewards card is the most rewarding of the Membership Rewards charge cards. Those who are particularly attracted to the travel perks, like hotel upgrades and lounge visits, may find The Platinum Card more appealing.
The Preferred Rewards Gold Card by American Express Benefits & Features
The Preferred Rewards Gold Card rewards cardholders with Membership Rewards points whenever they make a purchase. Points are earned at a rate of 3 points for every £1 spent at American Express Travel, 2 points for every £1 spent directly with an airline or in a foreign currency, and 1 point for every other £1 spent. Additionally, cardholders can earn a 10,000 point welcome bonus by spending £3,000 in the first three months, plus an annual bonus of 10,000 points by spending £15,000 each year. Other benefits include two lounge visits a year.
|Preferred Rewards Gold Card Features|
|Transaction Fees||2.99% fee on non-Sterling transactions abroad|
|Welcome Bonus||10,000 Membership Rewards points Welcome Offer, when you spend £3,000 in first three months|
|Annual Bonus||Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend £15,000 a year|
|Annual Fee||£140 (£0 the first year)|
How Do Membership Rewards Points Work?
Membership Rewards is the American Express customer loyalty program. Cardholders earn Membership Rewards points when they spend on their participating charge cards. Membership Rewards points can then be used to pay for charges on your statement, shop at Amazon.co.uk, buy gift cards at Amex’s shopping partners, or pay for flights, cars, train or hotel stays. Cardholders generally get the most value from their points by transferring them to one of Amex’s partners rewards programmes.
|How can you spend your Amex Membership Rewards points?|
|Transfer to other rewards programmes|
|Airline partners||BA Executive Club, Emirates Skywards, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
|Hotel partners||Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson Rewards|
|Car and train partners||Hertz, Sixt, Eurostar|
|American Express Travel|
|Buy gift cards|
|Gift card partners||Costco, IKEA, Marks & Spencer, Currys PC World, Amazon.co.uk, buyagift.co.uk, Laithwaite's, Harrods, Net-a-Porter, Selfridges, Ted Baker, Waterstones, Topshop, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The May Fair|
What are Membership Rewards Points Worth?
The value of Membership Rewards points depends on how you redeem them, but ranges from .5p up to 2.4p. The best use of points is using them to pay for travel arrangements, such as flight tickets, flight upgrades, and hotels. We generally don't recommend redeeming points for statement credit; if you won't redeem for travel you can get more from gift cards than statement credits. After analyzing data on some popular uses of Membership Rewards points, we compiled the following table that shows the approximate value you can achieve across some different categories:
|Possible Uses of Membership Rewards Points||Points Required||Value of Points|
|Redeem for statement credit||~£0.004|
|Shop with points at Amazon.co.uk||£0.005|
|Gift cards (e.g., Harrods, Net-a-Porter, Laithwaites Wine, etc.)||£0.005|
|A night at Radisson Blu Hotel, Lisbon||10,000||£0.007|
|Five nights at the Royal Hawaiin in Waikiki||100,000||£0.013|
|Return economy flight from London to Dubai on Virgin Atlantic||40,000||£0.006|
|Upgrade from Premium Economy to Business on BA, LHR-NYC||48,000||£0.024|
If you're wondering how much your points will get you in gift vouchers, which is really the minimum value you can get for Membership Rewards, check out the following table:
|How much are Amex Membership Rewards points worth in gift vouchers?|
Global Assist Helpline
The Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card gives cardholders access to American Express’s Global Assist program. If all goes well, you will never need it! But in case of trouble while you abroad, Global Assist provides access to an English-speaking doctor or lawyer, 24 hours a day. They can also put you in touch with an embassy or consulate, if necessary; or provide local medical assistance by arranging hospitalization, finding a specialist, or delivering hard-to-find supplies (e.g., contact lenses or prescriptions).
Up to £200 for additional travel, refreshment and accommodation costs if your flight is delayed, cancelled, or overbooked and no alternative is made within 4 hours of your original departure time. Up to £200 per person for essential items if your bags are delayed at your destination by more than 4 hours.
Purchase Protection is another perk of The Preferred Rewards Gold Card that you will hopefully never need. If anything you buy on your card is damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase, American Express will repair it, replace it, or refund you (up to £2,500 per item). This affords a level of protection especially to larger purchases.
American Express Experiences
American Express Experiences gives you access to advance tickets and specially reserved seats to upcoming events. Whether you taste leans to the National Theatre or Justin Bieber, you’ll have the chance to get tickets before they go on general sale.
How does The Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card by American Express Compare to Other Credit Cards?
To better understand the value of The Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card you need to look at it in the context of other available options. We’ve compared this card to other rewards cards so you can see which has more earning potential for you.
The Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card by American Express vs The Platinum Card by American Express
The Platinum Card is a premium card tailored to attract those who like to travel in style. Although you do earn Membership Rewards points on the Platinum Card, the real attraction is the suite of features like unlimited Priority Pass airport lounge access and the Platinum Concierge service. The Platinum Card does charge a whopping £575 a year, but those who make use of the benefits can get that value back.
Quick Takeaway: If your goal is to earn as many Membership Rewards points as possible, perhaps to pay for a holiday, then the Preferred Rewards Gold Card is your best bet, as it offers a welcome bonus, annual bonuses, and rewards on general spending of any Amex card. On the other hand, if your focus is access to high-end perks like the Platinum Concierge service and unlimited access to Priority Pass airport lounges to enhance your travel experience, then you may find the The Platinum Card to be worth the annual fee. It depends what you are looking for in a card.
Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card vs Platinum Cashback Card by American Express
The Platinum Cashback Credit Card from American Express is one of our favourite rewards cards for solid, straightforward cashback on your purchases. The ongoing rewards rate is between 1% and 1.25% across all categories, depending on how much you spend—not to mention the 5% intro cashback rate. Cashback on the Platinum Cashback card is distributed once a year in the form of statement credits—some people might not waiting a year to get rewards, but on the plus side they are more substantial when you get a year's worth at a time. Cardholders need to spend £2,500 a year on the card to offset the £25 annual fee, and there is a minimum spend requirement of £3,000 a year to receive cashback rewards.
Quick Takeaway: While the Preferred Rewards Gold Card and the Platinum Cashback Card both offer attractive rewards, the manner in which they do so is very different. The Gold card is suited to frequent travellers who can take advantage of preferential rewards rates on travel bookings and travel perks like lounge access. On the other hand the Platinum Cashback card will attract those looking for a no-hassle, cashback rewards card.
Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card vs The American Express Card
The American Express Card is the least rewarding of Amex's Membership Rewards charge cards. Unfortunately, the American Express card only gives cardholders 1 Membership Rewards point for every £1 spent, with no bonus categories, no welcome bonus and no annual bonus. Additionally, the American Express Card is a charge card not a credit card so all purchases need to be paid off every month.
Bottom Line: The Preferred Rewards Gold Card can create much more short and long-term value for your wallet. From generous welcome and annual bonuses to higher rewards rates on some travel-related spending, the Gold card is likely to be worth the annual fee compared to the American Express card for moderate spenders.