After posting ‘How to Travel the World (Without Being a Millionaire)’, I went work to explore converting my everyday spend into a flight mile generator and look for the best credit card that could help me do just that.
I looked high and low for a credit card that offered flexibility and bonuses and after a lot of reading, I rang my chosen bank to find out more and then decided to take the plunge…
Photo: Taken in the Yasawas, Fiji…
*this is for UK residents.
- Bank: AMEX
- Card: GOLD Card
- Fees: £140/year (£0 for the first 12-months and, if your cancel/switch cards, after 6-months you can reapply and get 12 months free again)
- A second cardholder – maximise points earning potential for your household with a complimentary second card.
- All card spend generates points – direct debits, grocery shopping, petrol, trips on the tube to work, over the counter and internets shopping.
- 20,000 bonus points – If you spend £2,000 in the first 3 months you get bonus 20,000 points (20,000 Airmiles!) – book your next holiday and you’re pretty much done here.
- Cashback – I’m not one for going nuts shopping but if I do getting cashback would be great and with this card, there are regular offers that do just that. Currently, there is 10% at Nero, 2% Air Bnb, LoveTheatre, Jamie’s Italian, Ticketmaster, Debenhams – to name a few.
- Travel Lounge Access (valued @ circa £150/year) – included in a Lounge Club membership with 2 free visits per year (£15ppn per visit afterwards (£30 for non-members – other lounges can range from £35-40ppn per visit). They also have 350 lounges in over 200 airports.
- Double or Triple yours points when booking travel:
- Book travel via Amex Travel (flight, hotel, etc…) you get 3 points per £1 spent (spend times 3 in points!!!) – includes taxes & fees.
- Book directly with an Airline and get points equal to 2x spend – £1,000 flight = 2,000 points (Airmiles)
- Do your research – check option in Amex Travel, the Airlines and online – See post Travel Hacking: Finding Flights (That Don’t Break The Bank)
- Double points when you spend overseas – Dining out whilst travelling? Buying Souvenirs or local craft for your home? why not get double points? 2.99% conversion rate and No transaction fee which is on par with most banks
- Convert your points into Airmiles with a wide range of Airlines partners – I love this – A friend actually shared how useful this is with me. It means that you can sign up with all the partner airlines for their membership programs and, dependent on which method has the has the best deal (Airline direct, AMEX Travel or online search engines), transfer your points, make the purchase and anything you spend on top will be either doubled or tripled as per above (excluding via search engines – single points only).
- Travel Protection – Cover for Cardmembers, supplementary cardholders, partners of, and dependents under 25 whether travelling together or alone:
- Delays & Lost Luggage
- Up to £200 for missed departure due to accident or breakdown, travel delay, overbooking, or missed connection
- Up to £200 for baggage delayed by airline for 4 hours or more
- Additionally, up to £200 for extended baggage delay by airline
- Serious Injury
- Travel Accident Insurance provides up to £250,000 for loss of life, limb, sight, speech or hearing while travelling on a public vehicle where the ticket was purchased on your Preferred Rewards Gold Card.
- Delays & Lost Luggage
- Additional peace-of-mind benefits include:
- Purchase protection
- Emergency card replacement
- Fraud Guarantee
The only thing that they don’t do is credit balance transfers from other bank credit cards, which does seem like the right move as otherwise, they’d be giving free points away like candy.
Having said all that, if save for travel and supplementing your travel costs by earning points on the money you do spend to sounds like a great idea, then sign-up for your free year via this link and you’ll get a bonus 2,000 points on top of the 20,000 point you can earn when you spend your first £2,000 in 3 months. So, in total that’s 22,000 points you can earn in your first 3 months just by doing what you’re doing anyway. This equates to a round trip from London to over 100 destinations such as Marrakech!
I’m now halfway towards earning my 20,000 points. Sadly no-one referred me 😦 so I don’t get the extra 2,000 points as you will…
If you found this useful or otherwise, please do leave a comment. It’d be great to see what you think.
Happy hacking and happy travels.