Focus on: Could an Amex Gold charge card could suit you?

The MoneySuperMarket forum is home to a raft of savvy consumers, all exchanging ideas and advice based on their own experiences of making the most of their money.

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With no annual fee and double points on all petrol and supermarket purchases in the first year, the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card has recently been flagged as card that offers great value for consumers seeking rewards for spending. So we thought we’d take a closer look.

What’s the deal?

Like all charge cards, the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card comes with an annual fee, which in this case is £125. However, it is free for the first year, during which time you will also receive enhanced rewards.

These include double points on all petrol and major supermarket purchases, double points on all overseas purchases and two free complimentary VIP airport lounge passes.

If you spend £2,000 in the first three months, you will also get 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points – enough for two return flights from the UK to Paris.

Points earned on the cards can be used with 12 major frequent flyer and hotel schemes, while cardholders get access to the American Express invites ticket service and Purchase Protection, which will replace, repair or refund items bought on your card and stolen or damaged within 90 days.

Just remember that this is charge card, rather than a credit card, so it cannot be used to borrow money and must be paid off in full every month.

Who is it good for?

The Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Card is undoubtedly designed for people who like to travel. Because, as well as the travel-related benefits described above, the card also rewards users with double points on all their travel spend – from train fares to flights.

The card also comes with travel inconvenience insurance, which pays out if your flight is cancelled or your luggage is lost, and travel accident insurance, which covers you for accidents on public transport – as long as the trip was booked using your card.

VIP airport lounge passes will also come in handy for frequent fliers, as will the fact that all overseas spending earns double points too. Then there’s the TripFlex scheme, which allows you to use rewards points to pay for travel up to three months after paying by card.

The rewards scheme itself is also skewed towards those who enjoy travelling – although there are also “shopping” and “experience” rewards available.

For 20,000 points, for example, potential rewards include one return flight to Istanbul with British Airways and a £100 spa gift card that can be used in more than 400 UK spas.

Any catches?

The big sting in the tail of this rewards charge card is the annual fee, which kicks in after the first year.
There is a renewal bonus of 7,500 extra bonus points once you have held the card for a year, but after this point it is only worth having if you are sure that you will receive rewards in excess of £125 a year.

And this will be harder due to the double points deal on all petrol and supermarket purchases coming to an end.
Other potential catches include that you must have a household income of at least £20,000, as well as an excellent credit rating.

Anyone who has held any Membership Rewards enrolled American Express card within the last six months must also forgo the 20,000 points welcome bonus.

What’s the verdict?

The large range of competitive reward credit card deals available mean that a lot of people dismiss charge cards due to the annual fees charged.

But as long as you do not want to borrow money on a card (not generally the best idea with rewards cards that often offer short or no introductory 0% deals anyway), this card is a great alternative – particularly for the first 12 months.

Used intelligently, it could save you hundreds of pounds, especially if you travel a lot. For many people, however, the deal will become less attractive after the first 12 months.

Top tip

If you want to avoid charge cards, either due to the annual fees charged or because you prefer having the ability to borrow if necessary, the good news is that there are also some generous credit card rewards schemes available.

The Barclaycard Freedom Rewards Card, for example, gives you £30 of vouchers when you spend £300 in the first three months, making it a better choice for smaller spenders. also offers 0% on balance transfers for the first nine months.

But beware: the representative APR on this card is 18.9% (variable), and that means it will cost you dear if you run up debts or fail to clear the balance in full within that time.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct

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