Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum Card: Which personal Amex is a better choice for you?

May 23, 2020

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If you’re keen to earn valuable, transferrable points and miles, a card that earns Membership Rewards, the points currency of American Express, is a great option. They’re our favourite type of credit card points here at TPG U.K. because there are so many great options for redeeming them to truly maximise your travel.

While American Express offers a number of different cards in the U.K., two of the most popular are:

These cards are very different, but great choices for the two different customer types they appeal to. Interestingly, the eligibility requirement for both cards are the same – you don’t need a big income to be approved for either card. To summarise their differences:

Feature The Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card from American Express UK  The Platinum Card from American Express UK
Welcome Bonus 10,000 Membership Rewards points after spending £3,000 in the first six months of card membership (increased to 20,000 points for applications before 29 June 2020) 30,000 Membership Rewards points after spending £4,000 in the first six months of card membership
Annual Fee £0 in the first year, £140 for each year thereafter £575
Value of Welcome Bonus (based on TPG’s valuation of Membership Rewards) £140 for the normal welcome bonus, £280 for the limited-time increase £420
Earning Rate 3 Membership Rewards points per £1 spent on the American Express Travel portal;

2 points per £1 spent directly with airlines or spent in any currency other than pound sterling.

1 point per £1 spent on all other purchases.

2 Membership Rewards points per £1 spent on the American Express Travel portal;

1 point per £1 spent on all other purchases.

Anniversary Bonus 10,000 additional Membership Rewards points when you spend £15,000 each card membership year. None
Travel benefits
  • 2 lounge passes
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards car hire status
  • £10 a month Addison Lee credit
  • US$200 (~£150) credit on every private home rental with onefinestay
  • Centurion Lounge access
  • Amex Lounge Collection access
  • Full Priority Pass membership
  • Delta SkyClub lounge access
  • Amex Fine Hotels and Resort programme
  • Comprehensive travel insurance for your whole family
  • Elite hotel status: Gold with Hilton Honors, Gold with Marriott Bonvoy, Gold with Radisson Rewards, Gold with Melia Rewards as well as Jade with Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Elite car hire status: Avis Preferred and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards.
Representative Rate: 56.6% variable and a purchase rate of 22.2% variable with an assumed credit limit of £1,200 N/A as this is a charge card, not a credit card.

 

To summarise, the biggest differences between these two cards are:

  • The Gold Card has no annual fee for the first year and a small welcome bonus, whereas the Platinum Card has a huge annual fee and a more generous welcome bonus.
  • The Gold Card is a card designed for beginners, so it has limited travel benefits. The Platinum Card is designed for big spending, frequent travellers, so it comes with a long, valuable list of travel benefits. In particular, the comprehensive travel insurance and Priority Pass lounge membership are especially valuable if you travel regularly (or at least plan to following the coronavirus crisis).
  • The Gold Card is a credit card, meaning you will given a credit limit (as determined by American Express) and your available credit which must then be repaid (with interest applicable if not paid by the due date). The Platinum Card is a charge card so has no credit limit, but you must pay the full balance off each and every month.

Related: How credit and credit scores work

(Photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Liam Spencer/The Points Guy)

So, which is the best card for you?

The advice here is pretty clear cut. The Gold Card is a great card for beginners who want to dip their toe into the world of points and miles. It’s a simple card that is straightforward to understand, but you can get some really great value from it — those 20,000 Membership Rewards points can get you further than you might think. The two free lounge passes are great for someone who may not have been in an airport lounge before and wants to see what all the fuss is about, or wants to save the passes for a special occasion.

The Platinum Card is the exact opposite. You’re paying a hefty annual fee in the first year and each year after, so you’ll expect to get plenty of value. While the welcome bonus is higher, it’s the extensive travel benefits that make this card valuable for the more experienced, regular traveller. You can very easily earn back the annual fee in benefits each year. For example, you might use your Addison Lee credit to travel to the airport where you then relax in an airport lounge with your Priority Pass membership. You board your flight, paid for with redeemed Membership Rewards points and at your destination, receive an upgrade on your hire car with your elite car rental status. You drive to your Hilton group hotel where you can check-in early, receive a free room upgrade, and free breakfast thanks to your Hilton Honors Gold status. If something goes wrong you can make a claim on your comprehensive travel insurance.

Related: Why I’m keeping my Amex Platinum even though I’m not travelling

Bottom line

These two cards are marketed at the opposite ends of the travelling population. There’s no getting around the fact that the annual fee for the Platinum Card is big and will put off many travellers.

If you’re only travelling a few times a year, you probably won’t get a lot of value from the travel perks with The Platinum Card from American Express UK and The Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card from American Express UK is likely to be more suitable. But if you are travelling (or planning to travel) every month, you can really maximise your travel with the valuable perks of the Platinum Card. Of course, it depends on your personal spending habits and financial situation.

Featured image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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