The American Express Gold Card remains one of the very best tools for the value traveller. Crucially, it’s free for the first year, and offers possibly the most competitive sign-up bonuses of all the UK credit cards.
Once you’ve secured that bonus, the points can be easily converted into a range of points and miles.
Pricing up the Platinum
At £450 a year (including year one), the American Express Platinum Card is a substantially more expensive option. However, Amex have lightened the relative financial load by launching an American Express Platinum upgrade promo, offering 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points if you upgrade to Platinum and spend £1,000 on the card in the first three months.
The Platinum benefits
While you’ll therefore be instantly liable to the £450 fee, you’ll get the benefit of the sign up bonus, plus the other key benefits of the Platinum card over the Amex Gold card, which include:
- free access for you and a guest into Priority Pass lounges, with no limits
- Gold status in Starwood Preferred Guest (and so Marriott Rewards too)
- Gold status in Club Carlson
- Gold status in Hilton Honors (which we love)
- Jade status in Shangri-La Golden Circle
- Gold status in Melia Rewards
£450 a year too much?
If the £450 fee is an insurmountable issue for you, you can of course upgrade to the Platinum Card, bag the 20,000 point bonus, and then downgrade to the Gold card again.
You will then receive a pro rata refund of the £450 fee when you downgrade. You’ll also retain your hotel statuses, but the lounge access will revert to just two entries a year.