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American Express launches new reward credit card

Popular Preferred Rewards Gold Charge Card has been replaced with a credit card. Find out if it’s worth going for

American Express has launched a new premium rewards credit card offering 20,000 bonus points – enough for a return flight to more than 100 destinations with 12 different airline reward schemes.

The new American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card replaces the Preferred Rewards Gold Charge Card, which had no limit but didn’t allow you to borrow (as you had to clear your balance each month), and was not regulated under the Consumer Credit Act, meaning cardholders didn’t benefit from Section 75 protection.

Which? takes a look at whether the revamped premium deal is worth going for, and what you need to know if you have the Gold Charge Card and want to apply.

What does the Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card offer?

The Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card offers 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend £2,000 in the first three months after opening your account.

The card allows you to earn one point per £1 spent on everyday spending, two points per £1 spent on foreign currency or direct airline bookings and three points per £1 spent with American Express Travel.

You’ll also get an extra 10,000 points for every year that you spend more than £15,000 on the card, and if you recommend a friend you’ll get a further 9,000 points – an offer you can take advantage of up to 10 times.

The points can be swapped for the same value with 12 different airline reward schemes, including the British Airways Executive Club and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club or a range of other benefits including gift cards for Amazon, M&S and more.

Other perks include two airport lounge passes each year, free room and car-hire upgrades when booking through the Membership Rewards site, plus Amex Travel Inconvenience and Accident insurance, which provides cover for things such as flight delays and missed connections.

The card charges 22.9% on purchases. But because it has an annual fee of £140, the representative APR for this deal is a hefty 57.6%. However, Amex will waive this fee for the first year you have the card, so if you cancel in time you can avoid the charge.

Should you swap your charge card for the credit card?

The Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card offers the same level of rewards as the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Charge Card. However, the credit card version falls under the Consumer Credit Act which means you get protection under Section 75 for purchases worth between £100 and £30,000.

If you already have an Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Charge Card your existing product will remain the same. However, if you want to apply for the new Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card there are some things to consider.

First off, you won’t be eligible for the 20,000 welcome bonus points offer.

Second, if you continue to hold two cards you will be liable for two separate annual fees, as your existing charge card will not be automatically cancelled.

The cards look the same, so if you are going to continue using both make sure you are using the right card for each transaction.

You can find out more about how the cards differ here.

How does the Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card compare?

The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card is comparable to premium travel reward credit cards.

One of the closest rivals is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card, which offers 25,000 Avios. It awards more points than the Gold credit card, but you need to spend £3,000 within your first three months to get the reward.

You can also earn a higher ongoing rate of 1.5 Avios per £1 spent, and you can get a free companion voucher if you spend £10,000 in a year rather than just extra points. However, the card comes with a £195 fee.

Alternatively you could go for the recently revamped Virgin Atlantic credit cards.

The Virgin Atlantic Reward + Credit Card offers 15,000 Flying Club Miles on your first purchase (made within 90 days of opening the account) and 1.5 miles for every £1 you spend. It also offers a companion voucher or free upgrade when you spend £10,000.

Welcome offer Spend to trigger welcome offer Ongoing points on everyday spends Companion voucher? Annual fee Representative APR
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card 20,000 Membership Reward points £2,000 1 per £1 No: 10,000 extra points when you spend over £15,000 £140 (free in the first year) 57.6%
British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card 25,000 Avios £3,000 1.5 per £1 Yes: £10,000 spend £195 76%
Virgin Atlantic Reward + Credit Card 15,000 Flying Club Miles £1 1.5 per £1 Yes: £10,000 spend £160 63.9%

What’s the verdict?

Overall, the new American Express Rewards Gold Credit Card is cheaper than other premium travel reward credit cards in terms of the annual fee charged, especially if you cancel it before the end of your first year.

However, unlike specialist travel reward credit cards you don’t get a companion voucher as a reward for ongoing credit card spending, which can be valuable.

That said, the Membership Reward points can be used for a variety of rewards, such as Amazon vouchers, and can be used with 12 different airline reward schemes, which means you have more choice on where to go and who to fly with.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.

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