Review: Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card

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Update: These offers for The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express and the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


Over the past couple of weeks I’ve reviewed a few of Amex’s most popular business cards, including The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (review here), The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express (review here), and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (review here).

Now I wanted to look at a few of Amex’s most popular personal cards, starting with the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. This is a well rounded card that has great bonus categories, so for someone who just wants one or two cards to help them maximize their points, this is a great option.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of the card:

Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card welcome bonus

The Premier Rewards Gold Card has a welcome bonus of 25,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first three months. That’s not a huge  bonus, though in general Membership Rewards branded cards don’t have huge introductory bonuses nowadays.

We do sometimes see bigger targeted welcome bonuses, though there’s not much that can be done to “force” that. So some might want to wait for the card to have a bigger bonus, while others will value getting the card sooner rather than later to be able to maximize the bonus category.

There’s another aspect to the bonus in the form of an airline fee credit, which I’ll explain below.

Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card annual fee

The Premier Rewards Gold Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, and it’s $195 per year thereafter. The real out of pocket on the annual fee isn’t nearly as high as it seems, thanks to the annual airline fee credit offered by the card.

Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card return on spend

The Premier Rewards Gold Card has some really well rounded bonus categories. Specifically, the card offers 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations. Those are categories in which many Americans spend a significant amount of money. There’s no limit to any of these bonus categories, so you can earn bonus points for unlimited spend in the above categories.

I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each (given all of Amex’s airline and hotel transfer partners), so to me that’s like earning a return of 5.1% on airfare spend, and 3.4% on spend at US restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations.

This is one of the few cards earning Membership Rewards points that offers bonus points on restaurants, which is worth pointing out.

Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card perks

In addition to the great return that the Premier Rewards Gold Card offers on spend, the single best perk of the card is that it offers a $100 airline fee credit every calendar year. This benefit works much in the same way as the perk on The Platinum Card® from American Express, except the benefit is for $100 rather than $200.

So you can designate an airline, and then be reimbursed for fees incurred with that airline.

If you’re like me and value this anywhere close to face value, that basically lowers the out of pocket on the card to ~$95 per year, which is a very reasonable annual fee for a mid-range card.

Also keep in mind that the card has the annual fee waived for the first year, so you’ll get two of these $100 credits before you pay your first year’s annual fee — one through December 31, and one as of January 1. You can add that to the overall value that the initial bonus offers.

Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card approval odds

The Premier Rewards Gold Card is a charge card, meaning you have to pay your balance off in full each month. While Amex typically limits you to five credit cards, the great thing is that this limit doesn’t include charge cards. So if you’re otherwise maxed out in terms of the number of Amex credit cards you can get, this is a fantastic card to consider.

On top of that, for those with excellent credit, I find Amex charge cards to be easy to be approved for. Anecdotally most people I’ve heard from have reported instant approvals on this card, so it really shouldn’t be very tough to be approved for.

Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card best complement

The Premier Rewards Gold Card earns Membership Rewards points, so there are lots of other great cards you could get that would nicely complement the points earning potential on this card. Membership Rewards points can all easily be pooled across cards belonging to the same user, so some of the following cards are potentially great complements:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 5x points on airfare, so if you’re someone who spends a lot on airfare like I do, it’s a great way to supplement your points earning (though this is a $550 annual fee card that comes with lots of great perks, which is the main reason to get it)
  • The no annual fee Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers 2x points on the first $6,000 spent annually at US supermarkets, plus a 20% points bonus when you make 20 or more purchases per billing cycle; so you could use the Premier Rewards Gold Card at restaurants, gas stations, and on airfare, and then use the EveryDay Card to earn 1.2x points on everyday spend and 2.4x points at supermarkets
  • The $95 annual fee Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card offers 3x points on the first $6,000 spent annually at US supermarkets, 2x points at US gas stations, plus a 50% points bonus when you make 30 or more purchases per billing cycle; so you could use the Premier Rewards Gold Card for dining and airfare, and then use the EveryDay Preferred to earn 1.5x points on everyday spend, 3x points at gas stations, and 4.5x points at supermarkets

Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card best substitute

I tend to think that the mid-range cards offered by Chase and Citi are the most direct competitors to the Premier Rewards Gold Card, given the bonus categories and annual “out of pocket.” Specifically:

Bottom line

The Premier Rewards Gold Card is one of Amex’s most well rounded cards when it comes to the return it offers on spend. Getting triple points on airfare and double points on US gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets, is a great return. While the welcome bonus isn’t huge, keep in mind that you’re potentially getting $200 in airline fee credits before you pay your first annual fee on the card.

The other positive thing to keep in mind about the card is that it’s a charge card and not a credit card, so if you’re in a position where you’re maxed out on American Express credit cards, this won’t count towards that limit.

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Comments

  1. Compared to Chase, Amex is incredibly stingy on what is a “supermarket” or “restaurant.”

    Fred Meyer (Kroger’s brand in the PacNW) will code as warehouse and you won’t get 3x on your groceries.

    Lots of restaurants will code as something else and you’ll only get 1x. Lots of smaller shops and any restaurants within other establishments will fall into this bucket, even if you get 2x/3x on Chase. e.g. the cafeterias as work all code as 3x on my CSR, but only 1x on PRG. Any restaurant in a hotel will code as 1x.

  2. One thing you did not mention that has high value for those with cars is the premium roadside coverage. The representative value on this is similar to the 24/7 roadside coverage obtained from the likes of AAA or your insurance provider, with the added benefit of covering all your authorized users.

    Depending on your authorized user coverage, this benefit alone typically recoups the annual fee of the card by itself.

  3. This is a good card, but I think it really lags behind the everyday preferred as a generator of membership rewards points for most people. For the premier rewards gold card to outperform the everyday preferred card you would have to spend significantly on airfare (about $18k). At that level of spend, it would make more sense to pair the everyday preferred with the platinum rather than having a premier rewards gold card. Aside from the look, which I prefer, there’s not a strong value proposition for the PRG over the everyday preferred.

  4. I have had this card for decades since it was just a plain gold card to premiere rewards. If you just go by how much it returns in discounts and points then you may question it’s worth but the card has a lot more going for it. While @anameofaguy says amex is stingier on how it codes restaurants & supermarkets I find the complete opposite having both this card and CSR. So I’m guessing its by region.

    I ditched my AAA for amex’s own coverage which I have relied on for the past several years. Most of my issues have been dead car battery. I have never waited more than 30 minutes on any of those incidences and several were in different states so I find that to be a worthwhile saving. The amex offers are also quite nice like the current whole foods 3x points and 2x on some retailers.

    Then there are the less tangibles. One of the things I have loved about this card is the ability to gain access to shows that have been sold out. The tix are not cheap mind you but the seats are prime seating. Also, the number of times over the years where they resolved billing disputes on my behalf has been fantastic. I hate dealing with phone drones who don’t understand their own billing.

    The one thing I wish they did was not restrict the $100 credit to a preselected airline. At least lately they seem to apply the credit to plane ticket purchases.

  5. If the card had primary auto rental insurance, it would be a good Amex choice for those of us who find the Platinum Card overpriced due to the dumb Uber Benefit (which I would never use).

    As it is, it is my backup to my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

  6. Does anyone know if the name in this AX card has recently changed? Wasn’t this the card that previously had a 50K MR signup bonus?

  7. I assume the answer is no, but does the gold card still get the $100 airline credit if it comes free with the Amex platinum?

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