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Last week we saw the introduction of the new American Express® Gold Card, which offers 3-4x points in some popular categories. With this card you can earn:
- 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. restaurants
- 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 in purchases annually
- 3x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
While the card has a $250 annual fee it has some great perks that help offset it, including a $100 annual airline fee credit, as well as a $120 annual dining credit, valid at select partner restaurants.
One other thing that makes this card interesting is that it’s a charge card and not a credit card, so let’s talk about the significance of that.
What’s the difference between a charge card & credit card?
If you pay your balance in full every month (which you absolutely should do if you’re using a points earning credit card), then the difference isn’t huge.
The basic distinction is that a credit card allows you to finance charges over time, while a charge card requires you to pay off your balance in full each month.
Furthermore, while credit cards have a credit limit, charge cards don’t. That’s not to say that you can charge an unlimited amount (they’ll cut you off at some point), though there isn’t a published limit.
Why should you care about Amex charge cards?
In general there are a couple of restrictions when it comes to applying for American Express credit cards:
- Typically you can have at most five American Express credit cards at a time
- Typically you can get approved for at most two American Express credit cards in a 90 day period
American Express charge cards are not subjected to this limit. This means that you could be approved for the American Express® Gold Card even if you already have five American Express credit cards, and even if you’ve already applied for two American Express credit cards in the past 90 days.
So that’s hopefully another thing that makes it easier for people to pick up this card.
However, do keep in mind that the welcome bonus on this card is only available to those who have never had this card or the Premier Rewards Gold Card before. For those of us who had the Premier Rewards Gold Card in the past (like me) I think it could absolutely still be worth getting this card for the ongoing return that it offers on spend, even without a bonus.