American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card review 2023
A premium rewards card with a variety of enticing perks to suit big spenders and frequent flyers.
There's no getting away from it: a gold Amex is quite a statement. In the Finder offices we call this one the "Am-Flex". If you use your credit card heavily but don't carry a balance from month to month, Amex's Preferred Rewards Gold Card really can offer meaningful benefits – including airport lounge access and reward points by the truckload.
- Airport lounge access: 4 complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge visits every year to use at over 1,300 airports globally.
- Fee: Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £160 per annum.
Earn 3 points
per £1 spent with select partners
Earn 1 point
per £1 spent elsewhere
Up to 20,000 points
|Representative APR||73.8% APR (variable)|
|Annual/monthly fees||Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £160 per annum|
|Incentive||2 points earned per £1 spent on travel related purchases and spending abroad. 3 points for every £1 spent when booking through American Express Travel.|
|Incentive on opening||Earn 20,000 points when you spend £3,000 within 3 months of account opening.|
|Additional Rewards Info||Access to tickets for must-see music, theatre and film events, often before they go on sale to the general public with American Express Experiences. Travel accident insurance on public transport when tickets are charged on the card. Global Assist support 24/7 when you travel outside of the UK. Eligible for American Express Connect where cardmembers can choose offers from selected retailers to obtain discounts or cashback. Cardmembers are eligible for two £5 vouchers per month (£10 total), when they spend at Deliveroo on their Gold Card.|
|Lounge access||4 complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge visits every year to use at over 1,300 airports globally.|
|Purchases interest-free period (days)||56|
|Doing its job||★★★★★|
|Overall Finder rating||★★★★★|
How premium is it?
When we received this card at the Finder office, there were some murmurs of “I thought it would be more… gold”. It’s a sort-of deep gold – less bling than it could have been, but when it catches the light you’ll want your sunnies at the ready.
Plenty of card issuers throw the terms “gold” or “platinum” around without really meaning it, but Amex’s Preferred Rewards Gold Card does stay true to the original concept. It offers meaningful rewards for people who use their credit card heavily and aren’t deterred by an annual fee. This is the network’s preferred card: they’d prefer you to take this one over one of the more entry-level products.
New applicants will benefit from a waived fee in the first year plus a lump sum of Membership Rewards points (subject to a minimum spend) that could potentially be redeemed for a free flight. From then on, it’s points on all purchases, annual anniversary bonuses and ongoing benefits like American Express Experiences. Frequent travellers can take advantage of perks including hotel room or car hire upgrades and airport lounge access.
You can track your spending in real time and watch your points piling up (hopefully!) in Amex’s very respectable mobile app. The app also lets you turn on/off a range of handy alerts – you can get updates whenever a purchase is made, when you’re within a specified amount (you choose the amount) from your credit limit, when your statement is ready and when a payment is due (again, you get to specify how much notice you want). You can also browse and activate offers for nearby merchants.
You can also hook the card up to Apple Pay, or just use Amex Pay if you’re on Android, but in our opinion this is a card that deserves to be seen!
How does the lounge access work?
Within a few days of your new card landing you’ll be sent another – your Priority Pass membership card. This is the one you’ll need to get into a lounge (not your credit card – that won’t work). Amex has a network of VIP lounges covering 300+ airports worldwide. Your first two lounge visits each year are on Amex. After that you’ll need to pay a small fee.
We put the lounge access deal to the test at Gatwick’s No.1 lounge and had no problems at all.
How do the points work?
Whenever you make purchases on the card, you’ll earn points – one for every pound. You’ll earn double points when you spend in a foreign currency (unfortunately the currency conversion fee of 2.99% will outweigh the effective 1% that you’ll earn in points) or directly with airlines and triple points when you spend through American Express Travel – the company’s in-house travel agency.
As well as all this there’s your hefty welcome bonus and anniversary bonus (both subject to a minimum spend requirement) plus a bonus if you refer a friend and they’re approved.
American Express Membership Rewards Points are perhaps the easiest and most versatile credit card points to redeem that you’ll find. When you pay online using your card you’ll get the option to cash-in points or in the app you can just pick charges from your statement and pay them with points. Alternatively, you can even switch your points to partner programmes including those of British Airways, Hilton and Virgin Atlantic.
We were impressed with the card issuer’s customer service, which you can contact if you have any questions about earning, redeeming or converting points. Alternatively we’ve put together an in-depth guide:
Membership Rewards points overview
Expected monthly card spend
You’d earn 9000 points over the year. The value of points varies depending on redemption opportunities, but that's worth around £45.
What else can it do?
Rather a lot! You’ll get access to American Express Experiences (discounts on event and film tickets), American Express Offers (discounts and cashback with specific merchants) and more.
There’s also travel accident insurance – although you’ll need to opt in to this one, as it’s not automatic.
Is it right for me?
Whether or not this card is a smart bet for you will come down to how much you stand to benefit from the card’s introductory and ongoing rewards. If you anticipate carrying a balance from month-to-month, it’s possible that the interest and fees could outweigh the value of the rewards. Big spenders who travel frequently and clear their balance in full each month stand to benefit the most because they’ll hit the minimum spend requirements that lead to lump-sum points bonuses and will also be able to take advantage of the complimentary lounge visits. Realistically, merchant acceptance of Amex remains a bit of an issue (but this is getting better), so your Amex shouldn’t be the only means of payment you carry around day-to-day.
Getting the very best out of this card takes a bit of active engagement on your own part. There’s a fairly mind-blowing spread of perks to be unlocked, and some – like collecting points – don’t require you to do anything other than just use your card. Others – like getting a free bottle of wine on your next meal, cashback at specific stores or a discount on your next gig ticket – require you to have a mooch around the app or to visit the website once in a while. It’s quite fun actually, if you’re into that sort of thing!
Some of the more ruthless credit card users out there might choose to ditch their Gold Amex after the first year, but the ongoing anniversary points bonuses, the complimentary lounge visits in each cardmembership year and the ever-changing partner offers are pretty persuasive reasons not to.
What’s good or bad about it?
- It's a gold Amex... enough said. OK, not enough said – a good credit card has to do more than just look the part – but it's certainly a card that raises a few eyebrows.
- The array of benefits the card offers is enormous. This could be Amex trying to keep customers on board after year one, because there's a decent chance cardholders will still be uncovering new benefits at 12 months in!
- Amex customer service is refreshingly good. When we put it to the test there was no waiting on hold and no being transferred from pillar to post.
- The app is better than many we've seen and gives you a good deal of control.
- Despite the network's recent "Shop small" campaign, if you're in the sticks and paying at a small independent merchant, Amex could well be off the table. To its credit, Amex is trying to fix this (you could earn cashback on your spending at participating small businesses), but it's not going to change overnight. Carry a decent back-up option and it's not really a problem.
- Some of the card's perks take a bit of research and "activating" on your own part. It's all about getting cardholders engaged.
- That annual fee... it's not small. However you can use year one to try the card on for size, and to get an idea of the true value to you personally of all those perks, points and offers.
What can I do in the app?
You can make manual repayments through American Express's app by logging in to your online banking or over the phone (0800 700 222). Alternatively, you may wish to set up a direct debit.
A direct debit protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and either damaging your credit score, getting hit with a penalty fee (£12) or losing any promotional rates as a result.
You can arrange a direct debit for repayments when you apply for the credit card. The table below shows the options available.
Choose from the following direct debit options for your monthly repayments:
|Minimum amount||Fixed amount||Fixed percentage||Full amount|
Where do I sign-up?
First, you can use Finder's eligibility checker to find out if you'd be likely to get approved for the American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card. This won't impact your credit score. If it's good news, you can then proceed to American Express's online application, which takes 10–15 minutes to complete.
As you’d expect, credit limits are tailored to the individual applicant. You can apply for a credit limit increase (or decrease, for that matter) at any time, and again, this will be subject to Amex’s approval.
How does it compare to other Amex point-earners?
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Approval for any credit card depends on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances, the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
If you’re looking for a statement premium rewards card, it’s hard to look past the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card. As you’d expect from a card with this many adjectives in its name, it’s a truly premium offering, with meaningful rewards and a hefty annual fee to match.
As such, it’s really designed for big-spending customers who are confident they’ll not carry a balance from month to month, and who are serious about getting as much as possible from their credit card. For everyone else, there’s plenty of other Amex options out there.
Frequently asked questions
Does the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card offer airport lounge access?
Yes. While not quite boasting the same benefits as the Platinum card, it does nonetheless come with membership of the Priority Pass programme. Through Priority Pass you'll be able to access over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. You'll enjoy two complimentary airport lounge visits per membership year, after which each additional visit to a lounge will cost £20. Your Priority Pass membership card will be arrive separately to your Amex card within 28 days, and it's the Priority Pass card (not your Amex) that you'll need to present at the lounge door in order to get in!
Does the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card come with travel insurance?
Subject to enrolment, you'll benefit from travel inconvenience and travel accident protection with this card. If you're heading overseas, you may also want to consider a dedicated travel credit card to avoid non-sterling transaction fees when spending abroad.
Does your Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card balance have to be paid off each month?
There's no obligation to pay off your full balance each month (you only need to make a minimum monthly payment), but it's definitely a good thing to aim to do. This is because the card's interest rates and fees are likely to outweigh any benefits if your balance is carried over from month to month. If you're looking for a card with lower interest rates, here's our guide. As with most credit cards, the Preferred Rewards Gold card offers various options allowing you to set up automated repayments, ensuring you never miss a repayment.
Does the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card have a credit limit?
While your credit limit will vary depending on your circumstances, the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card has a minimum credit limit of around £700 and an unspecified maximum limit. For more info, including details regarding annual and monthly fees, cash advances and an interest-free purchases period, here's our rundown.
Finder credit card ratings
Our experts score rewards credit cards to determine their value against similar products on the market. We look at a number of important factors, like welcome bonuses, introductory and ongoing earn-rates, any caps or restrictions on the points you can earn, plus the potential costs involved with running the card both in the short and longer term.
You can read more about our scoring criteria on our credit card methodology page.