I opened an American Express Gold Credit Card in August 2019 in order to add to a pot of Avios points we had already racked up.
We put some big purchases on it, for instance, a new bathroom suite and paid it off immediately, and spent enough to trigger a 10,000 point bonus.
I have since triggered another 10,000 point bonus for spending £15,000 on the card – but it says I can’t get them until August 2020 and only if I renew, which I didn’t realise.
Golden ticket: American Express’ Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card comes with a number of spending bonuses which offer enough air miles for a holiday on their own
However, the card comes with a £140 annual fee after the first year which I don’t want to pay for. Is there any way around this so I can still get the points?
Also, can I recommend my wife to open the card in the summer for the 6,000 refer a friend bonus – and will she also then be able to take advantage of the 10,000 bonus points on £3,000 spend, if the offer is still around?
George Nixon, This is Money, replies: The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card is often touted as one of the best air miles cards out there, largely because of the generous sign-up bonuses.
You can bag 10,000 American Express points, which convert 1:1 into Avios Air Miles or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles, when you spend £3,000 in the first three months of having the card and another 10,000 point bonus as you have outlined, without paying a fee in year one.
Those 20,000 bonus points converted into Avios would be more than enough for two peak time return flights to the likes of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich or Paris, or converted into Virgin Atlantic miles would be enough for one off-peak return flight to Delhi or New York.
Every pound you spend on the card also nets you one Amex point while it comes with a pair of airport lounge passes.
American Express points can be converted into Avios points, which can be used to book flights with British Airways and its partner airlines like Vueling and Iberia
However, due to its hefty 57.6 per cent APR and £140 subscription fee after a year, some may baulk at the cost.
With these cards, as we always point out, you must play by the rules or the credit card company wins.
Often, cards with good reward point bonuses do bake in these subscription fees so that holders have to pay them in order to get the pay off.
HSBC’s Premier World Elite Mastercard for example gives you 40,000 HSBC reward points – or 20,000 Avios – when you spend £12,000 within the first year of card membership, but you have to pay the £195 fee for the second year of membership before you get it.
But while you do have to stump up the £140 fee initially, you don’t necessarily have to pay all of it.
The 57.6% APR on the card and the £140 annual fee may put off some potential sign ups, but if you pay off your balance in full every month you won’t have any problems
Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer website Head for Points, explains: The reader is correct in that the 10,000 bonus points only appears at the year end.
Amex says you get them 60 days after renewal but my experience is that you get them after 30 days.
The good news is that Amex lets you get a pro-rata refund when you cancel.
Your reader should therefore wait until the 10,000 hits, redeem their rewards points and then close the card. They should get 11 of the 12 months of that annual fee back.
However, there are some reasons why you may not wish to cancel straightaway after the free first year.
Burgess adds: On renewal, you get another two free airport lounge passes. These are cancelled when you cancel your Amex Gold card, so if the reader has a flight coming up shortly after renewal they may want to hold on a bit longer.
These lounge passes are worth around £40.
An extra month of the Amex gold card would cost you around £11.67, meaning it is worth losing out on that much of a refund if you can take advantage of the lounge passes.
On top of that, when you close your card you need to transfer your Amex points out.
This might be fine if you only plan on using them for flights, but Amex points can be put towards a wide variety of things, including gift cards with Amazon, Currys PC World and Ikea.
Plus, you can benefit from up to 6,000 bonus points for referring friends to the card, earning yourself up to 90,000 points a year.
Provided your wife meets the criteria for getting the sign up bonus, she can begin spending £3,000 to earn 10,000 points, and then £15,000 in a year to earn another 10,000.
And so on.
However, just one word of warning. Aside from the expensive APR, you must clear your balance in full every month otherwise the points won’t make up for what you’re paying in interest.
While the Amex Gold card is considered one of the best cards out there when it comes to accumulating air miles, make sure you bring another credit card with you once you get on the plane.
This is because despite the fact you earn two Amex points for every £1 you spend abroad, the card comes with a 2.99 per cent non-sterling transaction fee.
If you are looking for a cheap fee-free foreign exchange card to take with you, This is Money has a guide to the best ones.
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST CREDIT CARDS
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