American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card Review

Nov 29, 2016 | Be First to Comment!

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When it comes to chooseing a travel rewards credit card, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is often up for consideration. This card is designed for travelers who want to maximize their rewards rate while enjoying some added travel perks. For example, you can receive a $100 airline fee credit each year. This can go toward baggage fees, in-flight purchases, and more.

Cardholders also have access to all the benefits of the Membership Rewards® program. That includes being able to transfer your points to selected airline and hotel partners. There’s no foreign transaction fee and an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year. After that, it increases to $195.

Depending on how often you travel, you could easily earn the fee back in rewards. Still not sure if the cost is worth it? Here are the most important things you need to know about the card before you apply.

Premium Travel Rewards

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express steps it up a notch in the rewards department. This card offers 3 points per dollar on airfare booked directly through the airline.

Members also earn 2 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, gas stations, and restaurants. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. Because of how credit card rewards, there are interesting ways that you can earn more Membership Rewards points.

This card normally has an introductory points bonus for eligible new members. To qualify, you’ll need to make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Tip: Check out MyBankTracker’s helpful hints on how to reach your minimum spending requirement.

Earn 2X points on other travel purchases

If you’re planning to book a hotel on your next trip, you have an opportunity to increase your points on those purchases. You’ll earn 2 Membership Rewards® points per dollar when you book at least two consecutive nights at participating properties in The Hotel Collection. You also get a $75 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa and resort activities during your stay.

The same two points per dollar rewards rate applies when you book travel through the Membership Rewards® program. That includes flights, cruises, or flight and hotel combination packages. The advantage of booking through Membership Rewards® is that there are no blackout dates. Even better, you can still earn frequent flyer miles when you book.

Making the most of points with Membership Rewards®

The Membership Rewards® program gives you several ways to put your points to work. For example, you can redeem points for:

  • Gift cards from selected merchants
  • Merchandise from participating retailers
  • Shopping at Amazon.com
  • Tickets to sporting events, concerts or Broadway shows
  • Uber rides and New York City taxi fares
  • Charitable donations
  • Statement credit

The program also allows you to Pay With Points for travel purchases. You can use points to book a cruise, charge a vacation package, find flights, reserve prepaid hotels or cover an Airbnb stay. Perhaps the program’s most appealing feature is the ability to transfer points to other travel loyalty programs.

Travel partners include:

One thing to keep in mind is that points don’t always transfer on a 1:1 basis. For instance, 1,000 Membership Rewards® points are equal to 333 Starpoints®. If you’re transferring rewards to the British Airways Executive Club, 250 points would be equal to 200 Avios. Understanding how your points transfer is a must so you know what kind of value you’re getting.

The same goes if you’re using points for something other than partner airline or hotel travel. Let’s say you have 10,000 points you want to redeem. That amount of points would get you a $100 gift card to Bonefish Grill. If you prefer Starbucks instead, 10,000 points would be enough for a $70 gift card.

Tip: Review the terms of the Membership Rewards® program and compare redemption options. That way, you can make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck.

Top Shelf Travel Benefits Make Every Trip Better

The rewards program takes center stage but there’s even more for travelers to like.

$100 annual airline fee credit

We mentioned this earlier but it’s worth repeating. Each calendar year, card members are eligible to receive a $100 airline fee credit. It is a statement credit is good towards incidentals like baggage fees or in-flight purchases. The charges have to be made with your card on a qualifying airline so again, pay close attention to the fine print.

Other travel benefits and protections

Personalized Travel Service is included with your account. If you to book a flight, make hotel arrangements or reserve a rental car, help is just a phone call away. The Global Assist® Hotline is also on standby if you run into trouble when you’re more than 100 miles from home.

This program connects you with 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial and other emergency assistance services. For instance, if you need to have cash wired to where you are or get your passport replaced in a pinch, the hotline can make it happen. Just remember that you’re responsible for paying any fees charged by third-party service providers.

Additional travel features include:

  • Baggage insurance
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Premium roadside assistance

Shopping and entertainment benefits

While the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is primarily a travel rewards card, it also covers you when you’re hitting the stores or catching a show. Return protection and an extended warranty program are included, along with purchase protection for the things you buy.

You can find deals on shopping, dining and more through Amex Offers and you’ll get free two-day shipping from more than 140 online stores with your complimentary ShopRunner membership. On the entertainment side, members enjoy preferred seating and exclusive access to selected events.

Pay No Interest on Purchases

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is a charge card, meaning your balance is due in full each month. That’s good news if you want to avoid paying interest on what you spend. On the other hand, that might make you think twice about this card if you need the flexibility of being able to pay over time.

In terms of fees, they’re minimal. There’s no foreign transaction fee and the fee for late or returned payments tops out at $38. The $195 is a bit on the higher side, compared to what other travel rewards cards charge. How quickly you recoup that cost in rewards ultimately depends on how frequently you’re using the card.

Premier Rewards Gold Card vs. Other Top Amex Cards

American Express offers more than just the Premier Rewards Gold Card. Here are three other picks that may be suited to your spending habits.

Gold Card from American Express

Gold Card from American ExpressThe Gold Card from American Express is a slightly scaled-down version of the Premier Rewards Gold Card. With this one, you’ll earn two points per dollar on airfare booked through the airline, instead of three points. You also earn two points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and one point per dollar on all other purchases.

This card is also part of the Membership Rewards® program so you can still Pay With Points, enjoy The Hotel Collection benefits and redeem points for gift cards, shopping and more. The annual fee is lower, at $160. Again, there’s a $0 introductory annual fee the first year.

Most crucially, this card doesn’t have the $100 airline fee credit. We believe that there is no reason to get the regular Gold Card when the Premier Rewards Gold Card costs just $30 more.

Platinum Card® from American Express

Platinum Card<sup>®</sup> from American ExpressIf you prefer luxury travel, the Platinum Card® from American Express may catch your eye. This card allows you to earn an impressive five points per dollar on flights booked through the airline or American Express Travel. You also earn two points per dollar on Hotel Collection purchases when you book two or more consecutive nights.

Where this card really shines are the travel extras. For instance, there’s a $100 statement credit towards Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application fees. Members also enjoy complimentary Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status and Hilton HHonors Gold Status. Complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge and a $200 annual airline fee credit are included. The only catch is a $450 annual fee but the value of the card’s travel benefits makes up for it.

Blue Sky from American Express®

Blue Sky from American Express<sup>®</sup>Blue Sky from American Express® is a simplified alternative for earning travel rewards. This card offers a flat one point per dollar on every purchase with no annual fee. Every 7,500 points you earn can be redeemed for a $100 statement credit toward airfare, hotels, car rentals or cruises.

There’s no introductory points bonus offer but you can carry a balance with this one. Remember to consider the APR since a higher rate could mean paying more in interest on the things you charge. The card also has no annual fee, so there's no pressure to use the card enough to compensate for that cost.

Credit Card: American Express Travel Cards

Credit Card Travel
American Express Blue Sky Earn rewards points for travel statement credit
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card Earn bonus rewards points on airlines, dining, gas, and groceries. Get a $100 airline credit.
American Express Platinum Card Get access to premium travel perks including unlimited access to 900+ airport lounges, elite status with hotel loyalty programs, and more.

For Travelers Who Pay Incidental Airline Fees

To get the most from the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, you should have the following habits:

  • Able to pay in full each month
  • Tend to pay incidental airline fees (e.g., checked baggage, in-flight purchases, change fees, etc.) of at least $100 per year
  • Want the flexibility to travel with different airlines and hotel brands

With these habits, you’ll best positioned to get the most value from the card’s annual fee.

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