Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express [In-Depth Review]

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The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express occupies an interesting middle ground between cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or The Platinum Card® from American Express.

On one end of the spectrum, you have a card with an annual fee of $95 while on the other end you’ll find $450-550 annual fees. The Premier Rewards Gold finds itself off on its own at $195 (waived the first year). Considering the benefits of the card, I think you’ll find its annual fee is just about right.

With the Premier Rewards Gold, you’ll not only be able to earn points quickly through several bonus categories but you’ll also be able to take advantage of Amex’s Membership Rewards program. Finally, this card also provides a number of perks that can help you save money on everyday purchases as well as travel expenses.

Let’s take a more in-depth look and see what it has to offer.

3X and 2X bonus categories

While the Amex Platinum is loaded with perks from hotel elite status to tons of lounge access to earning 5X on airfare purchased directly from airlines the Premier Rewards Gold just might come out ahead when it comes to earning Membership Rewards points.

These are the spending categories with the Premier Rewards Gold:

  • 3X on airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • 2X at US gas stations, US restaurants and US supermarkets
  • 2X on prepaid hotels, flights, vacation packages (flight + hotel) and cruise reservations via Amex Travel
  • 1X on all other purchases

For many people, earning 2X whenever you fill up your car with gas or go grocery shopping will be a big boost. Keep in mind that gas stations at warehouses, superstores and supermarkets will not earn 2X. Additionally, you will not earn 2X on grocery purchases at superstores and warehouses.

The restrictions Amex puts on bonus categories are what I find most frustrating. Think about it, just because you travel overseas means you won’t earn 2X when dining out. How does that make any sense for a travel card?

Personally, I’d find a place for this card in my sock drawer while traveling abroad.

Welcome bonus provides a nice chunk of points

American Express limits you to one welcome bonus per lifetime per product so, if you’ve received a welcome bonus on this card in the past, you won’t be eligible to receive one again. You can still get the card and earn Membership Rewards points, you just won’t get the welcome bonus.

Recently, Amex added a feature to its application process that will alert you if you’re not eligible to receive the welcome bonus so there shouldn’t be any confusion when you apply.

If you are eligible for a welcome bonus, you can expect to be between 25,000 and 50,000 Membership Rewards points with a minimum spend of $1,000 to $2,000 within 3 months of your application.

The ideal time to open the card, of course, is when the welcome bonus is 50,000 points. Before you submit your application, make sure you check the exact terms of the offer. It doesn’t hurt to take a screenshot either so you don’t forget!

Valuable Membership Rewards transfer partners

Access to the Membership Rewards program is easily my favorite part of this card. Sure, you can use your Membership Rewards points to book flights and hotels through Amex Travel, but there are so many fun options thanks to Amex’s 17 airline partners and 3 hotel partners.

You can transfer Amex points to many of these airline partners at a solid 1:1 ratio. With these partners, you’ll have access to flights across all three major airline alliances — Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance — as well as some lucrative individual airline partnerships.

If you need some help figuring out how to use your points to travel to a particular region of the world, you’re in luck. Check out my series on the best ways to use Membership Rewards points by region.

Membership Rewards Airline Partners

Amex’s 3 hotel partners don’t provide quite the same value, but Choice Privileges can be quite useful if you’re traveling through northern Europe and need a hotel.

Membership Rewards Hotel Partners

Amex Offers

Amex Offers can provide a great way to save some cash on purchases you need to make — don’t spend money just because you have a discount! Additionally, we often see Amex Offers that can help save money on hotel stays and even airfare.

As I write this, you can save $100 on a purchase of at least $500 with Aerolineas Argentinas. If you’re planning on traveling to Buenos Aires (EZE) or another Argentinian destination, this could be a great way to take advantage of a flight deal.

Amex Offer Aerolineas Argenetinas

You’ll also see Amex Offers that can help you earn bonus Membership Rewards points. Recently, Amex launched two airline offers that would earn 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points. If you spent $1,000 with either Air France or KLM, you would earn the 20,000 points. In fact, since they were separate offers, you could get 40,000 points if the flights fit your travel needs.

These two offers were certainly exciting, especially if you could find an economy fare deal for 2 people that would just clear the $1,000 threshold or even a cheap business class fare.

Air France KLM Amex Offers

Some of these deals are quite enticing. I mean, who doesn’t want to earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points when they book a cash ticket? However, I just want to reiterate the importance of not spending money just to take advantage of a deal. This is even more important if you already have miles and points to use for travel.

Other perks

The Premier Rewards Gold also comes with a number of perks that are worth your consideration.

Receive your card number instantly

Unlike many banks, Amex will provide you with a temporary card number instantly. This can be tremendously useful if you have a big purchase coming up and you see a great welcome bonus offer on the Premier Rewards Gold. As long as the purchase is online (re. you don’t need the physical card), you can use the temporary card number to pay.

No pre-set spending limit

Amex also distinguishes itself from other banks in that it has both charge cards and credit cards. The Premier Rewards Gold is a charge card which means you won’t have a pre-set spending limit — particularly useful if you need to make a big purchase.

Just make sure you pay off the entire balance by the payment due date.

$100 airline fee credit

Similar to the $200 airline fee credit that comes with the Amex Platinum, the Premier Rewards Gold has a $100 credit. In true Amex style, you must preselect an airline on which you can use the credit.

Still, if you know you’ll have checked baggage or overweight bag fees to cover, having a statement credit wipe out the charge can take some of the sting out of the annual fee.

Free Experian FICO credit score

Staying on top of your credit score is something you should be doing regularly. With the Premier Rewards Gold — and many other personal Amex cards, you’ll have access to your updated Experian FICO credit score each month.

Complimentary ShopRunner membership

Shipping costs that come with online purchases can be a pain but with a complimentary ShopRunner membership, you can take advantage of free 2-day shipping from 100+ merchants.

Who should consider the Premier Rewards Gold Card?

If you travel throughout the U.S., I think this card could make a lot of sense. Not only does it have 2X bonus categories (U.S. gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets) which allow you to earn points while at home but the 3X on flights purchased directly from airlines could be useful.

If you’re going to be traveling abroad and want to take advantage of a dining bonus category — and a broad travel category, you’ll want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve which earn 2X and 3X in those categories, respectively.

If you’re newer to points and haven’t hit 5/24, first read all about the Chase 5/24 rule and start with cards that earn Ultimate Rewards first. For those who have already hit 5/24, the Premier Rewards Gold could be a solid move for you.

Even with what I consider a big weakness, the ability to earn Membership Rewards points in the U.S. is a big selling point. Not to mention the fun you can have with Amex Offers and the ability to handle large purchase since it’s a charge card.

Bottom line

Is the Premier Rewards Gold a perfect card? Of course not but I don’t think there is even such a thing. What this card really offers is a way to earn Membership Rewards points a bit quicker from both the welcome bonus and the bonus categories.

While I wouldn’t prioritize it over Ultimate Rewards points at the beginning of your award travel journey, this is still a great way get into Membership Rewards points especially if you’re not in the mood to give Amex a $550 annual fee for the Amex Platinum.

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Comments

  1. You should write a bit about 5 cards everyone should have as the core holding.

    All the rest is about either for getting the bonus or pushing the cards.

    Build up the core. Everything else is fluff.

  2. The temporary card number also works in mobile wallets. Currently have my new Platinum in my iPhone to work toward bonus until I get the physical card. Very helpful!

  3. Don’t you get access to their Hotel Collection thing, too? Never used it but have been meaning to look into it.

  4. For those that carry the Platinum, question is whether 2x MR earnings on restaurants and supermarkets are worth the $195 fee after the first year. With a lot of options for those categories (CSP and Hilton Ascend for me), probably not. It would be better if the card were $95 and excluded the airline credit. I would also prefer if they added 2x MR earnings on restaurants to the Platinum (even if it meant a $50 fee increase).

    If you don’t carry the Platinum or can’t get the business cards, it is a decent card.

  5. Curious on clarification on the “one welcome bonus per lifetime per product” – so if one has Amex Gold and gets that welcome bonus can they later down the road get Platinum and get THAT bonus (a different “product”). And once at Platinum, can you then avoid paying the Gold yearly fee since you can get a fee-free Gold through your Platinum. I’m sort of new to the game and want to make sure I have it understood properly! Thanks!

  6. @Scooter PRG and PLAT are different products, so yes you can get the bonus for each.

    And you may be able to get the bonus more than once. AMEX recently mailed me an offer to get another PRG ( I canceled my first one a few years ago) and that offer didn’t have the “one bonus per lifetime” language. The AMEX CSR confirmed that I do qualify since it’s a “special offer”.

    Sadly Chase will offer you cards in various media where you don’t qualify for a bonus, due to the one bonus per two years exclusion. So it’s always worthwhile to closely study “special offers” banks give you.

  7. I’ve been getting the $100 airline credit for flight purchases. Used to be just incidentals but I’ve been getting flight credits for the last 3 years.

    Also, their roadside assist is very good. So I value that at $50 by skipping AAA. I’ve only used it 3 times in the last 5 years but in all 3 cases my wait time for assistance to show up was less than 15 minutes every time.

    And considering there are amex offers every month and I use them frequently, I don’t think this card has cost me anything in the last 4 years.

    Still I can see why its not worth it for some people. If you have CSR and amex plat or similar combo I don’t see a reason to own this card.

  8. if you can get the 50k bonus and you don’t snag this card then i don’t know what to tell ya.

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