Our bottom line
This card offers a high-end package in the form of a lucrative rewards program and travel benefits suited to those who enjoy travel and adventure. However, with the comparatively high price of £140 in the form of an annual fee, you should expect a card with all the trimmings.
Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
What I like
The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card gives you everything you would expect from a rewards card, plus a little bit more.
- Welcome offer – Looking to entice new customers in, for a limited time, American Express is offering new cardmembers 30,000 membership reward points (the equivalent of a £50 Amazon gift card) when they spend £3,000 in the first three months of having the card (terms apply). It’s a generous offer, but there is a danger of spending above your means in order to achieve it.
- Rewards program – The Membership Rewards program is the star of the show when it comes to this card. It offers cardholders the opportunity to earn rewards on everything they purchase. You receive 1 point for every £1 spent on purchases, 2 points for every £1 spent directly with airlines or in a foreign currency, and 3 points for every £1 spent at American Express Travel (an exclusive cardmember online travel site). Not only can you earn rewards on everything you spend, but there is a wide range of ways in which you can redeem the rewards. Compared with other schemes that only offer specific vouchers, the Membership Rewards program allows you to redeem your points against travel products, technology, experiences, gift cards, and even just against purchases already on your card.
- Fee – The card does come with the £140 annual fee, but the first year of membership is free. You can, therefore, take advantage of the welcome bonus and not immediately have to fork out for the annual fee.
- Travel perks – Behind the reward program, the second unique selling point of the Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card is the travel perks that come with it. As a cardmember you will receive access to airport lounges, hotel room upgrades with The Hotel Collection, plus travel inconvenience and travel accident protection for you and your supplementary cardmembers (subject to enrolment). Great if you like to travel.
- Other benefits – As the card is part of the American Express family, you can expect certain advantages such as one complimentary supplementary card, purchase and refund protection (subject to enrolment), and advance tickets to events. One other major perk is a friend referral scheme, through which you can earn at least 6,000 bonus points if the person is approved – up to a maximum of 90,000 points a year (terms apply).
- Worth knowing – You are not eligible for the welcome bonus if you hold or have held a personal American Express card in the past 24 months.
What could be improved?
This card carries a high price tag and still has charges that you may wish to avoid.
- Annual fee – There is no avoiding it, the card does have a comparatively high annual fee. Although you receive the first year free, £140 is a steep price to pay for a credit card. It is best to work out how much you plan to use the card and therefore whether the benefits it offers will offset the fee. If you are a high spender and plan to make the most of the Membership Rewards program, then it may well be worth it.
- Overseas usage – Strange for a card that sells itself on its travel perks, but it has a non-sterling transaction fee of 2.99%. This is definitely something to be aware of if you plan to use the card abroad or take advantage of the offer of two reward points for every £1 spent in a foreign currency.
- Introductory periods – The card offers no interest-free periods for purchases or balance transfers (beyond the standard 56 days on purchases if you pay your statement in full).
How does it stack up?
The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card is a high-end credit card. It offers beyond what standard credit cards have in the form of reward points, travel perks and access to high credit limits, but all of that comes at a price. With no introductory interest-free periods and carrying a non-sterling transaction fee, the card falls down when you compare it with even some basic travel credit cards on the market, but these are not reasons why you would not take out a card like this; in the world of high-end credit cards it stands out in terms of how much cardmembers can actually benefit from the card.
In order to be eligible to apply for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card you need to have no history of bad debt and a good/excellent credit score. Applicants are also required to be aged 18 or over, to be UK residents and to have a UK bank or building society account.
How do you apply?
Applications can be made through the American Express website. You will need to provide personal information, including your income and employment details, plus your bank or building society account number and sort code. The application will take around 5–10 minutes.
Is the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card a good choice for you?
If you are looking for a high-end credit card that offers you a lucrative rewards program, and are happy to pay, then the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card could be one to consider. As long as you are happy with the cost of a £140 annual fee, then there are advantages of having a card like this. The main benefit is the ability to earn reward points on all purchases and then redeem these against a range of items, rather than having a narrow and specific voucher system that some cards have. The card definitely lends itself to big spenders, so if you plan to use your credit card lots (and make sure you are not spending beyond your means), then you could really make the most of a card like this.
The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. Also, while we aim to feature some of the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. Any opinions or statements in this article belong to the author, and may be shared by The Motley Fool, however they were not provided or endorsed by our affiliate partners, unless expressly indicated.
The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Lloyds, Tesco and Barclays.