Credit Card Review: American Express Premier Gold Rewards

A couple of months ago when I went on a card opening spree, one of the cards I opened was the American Express Premier Gold Reward. American Express recently changed some of the bonus categories and the bonus was large enough for me to pull the trigger and open one for myself and one for Kristin. The Premier Gold Reward card is not a credit card, it is a charge card. If you play this game, you should treat all your cards like charge cards. A charge card does not have a set limit, but anything you purchase, must be paid for when you receive your bill. Carrying a balance is not an option (it is very expensive if you were to try). With the positive changes of the American Express Premier Gold Rewards, should you get it?

 

Scores of typical users
Scores of typical users

Credit Score Needed:
According to Credit Karma, the average credit score for people with this card is 726, with a typical high of 804 and a low score of 676.

If your score is less than 700, I advise you not to play this game. There are credit cards out there to help you build your credit, so you can reach the 700’s and eventually play this game.

Sign Up Bonus:
This is where I feel some bloggers aren’t being completely honest…

The highest public offer you will find on the American Express website, if you searched right now, is 25,000 Membership Reward points for a $2,000 spending requirement. Take a look at the picture from Credit Karma above, see the offer? Not a terrible offer, but not great either. Especially when you consider some of the really solid offers out there. Now if you noticed, I said public offer…

If you were to put your browser in incognito mode, this is what you will find

That is a much better offer!
That is a much better offer!

Some people have reported, that they need to try a few times before the 50,000 offer comes up. I would say keep trying until you see it. It is well worth the effort! Is it public, I guess you could say it is, but you have to go looking for it. 🙂

Better earning rates than before
Better earning rates than before

Earning Rate:
In June, American Express finally stepped up and made their card better for daily purchases. You will earn 3 Membership Reward points per dollar spent when you book airline directly with the airlines. That means using sites like Orbitz, Priceline, or any other travel site, will not earn you 3x Membership Reward points when booking airfare. I prefer to use site like Orbitz, since I can use portals and earn even more back. For some, they might prefer booking directly with the airline.

You will earn 2 Membership Reward points per dollar spent on US gas stations, US supermarkets and US restaurants. Do you see the key word there? US…Using abroad will not earn extra bonus points.

All other purchases will earn 1 Membership Reward point per dollar spent.

Annual Fee:
When American Express made positive changes to their bonus categories, they made a slight negative change while adding a slight positive change. The annual fee went from $175 to $195 per year, with the first year being waived. The increase in fee is the negative, but there is a slight positive.

Now each year, after you select an airline, you will receive $100 airline credit toward that airline. They have a list of airlines that are included. The good news is you can purchase gift cards and that will count toward the airline credit, even though it says it won’t. Even better, since the airline credit is based on the calendar year and not your membership year, you should get 2 $100 credits before you pay any annual fee!

**When I opened one for Kristin and one for myself, I was able to get $200 in Southwest gift cards which I then used for her trip to Chicago. Once January rolls around, I’ll get another $200 in airline credits. I’ll gladly take $400 in total gift cards, in addition to the 50,000 bonus offer for each of us!**

The airline credit is suppose to help offset the increase in annual fee and do a point, I agree and at the same point I don’t. You are still going to pay $195 for the card, but you are going to get a gift card to an airline of your choice (or reimbursed for actual airline expenses). I would rather have the fee be $95 and I keep the $100 and be able to purchase a gift card for any airline I’d want instead of locking myself into a particular airline. So, yes you will offset the cost because you receive a $100 airline credit, but I view it more as a gift card you bought, just with American Express making it sound better.

Foreign Transaction Fees:
Finally! American Express jumped on the bandwagon and removed the foreign transaction fees. If your going to charge people close to $200 for your card, there better not be a fee if I use the card outside of the US!

This is a card you can consider to use internationally, but remember the bonus categories are for the US only.

Amex Offers:
This is by far my favorite perk of having American Express cards. These are a great way to save money on items you would buy anyways, or convince you to purchase the items you were on the fence to buy.

These offers are loaded onto your card either from American Express website or through social media like Twitter. When you use your card that is loaded with the Amex Offer, you will receive a credit statement and recently there have been offers to earn extra Membership Reward points on your purchases.

Recently, Mobil/Exxon had an offer for $5 off, $25 or more when I pay at the pump. We were lucky enough to have loaded this offer to our 8 cards. We buy a lot of gas since we drive a lot for work, so we will easily use all of those offers.

Reward Program:

Many ways to redeem your points!
Many ways to redeem your points!

Redeeming for gift cards, you will receive a value of 0.5 cents if you redeem for American Express gift cards and up to 1 cent for other gift cards. This is definitely not the best option, but redeeming for 1 cent per gift card is still a decent option.

You can redeem against your purchases, hotels through American Express Travel site, or credit statements, but this is roughly 0.6 cents per point. Again, not a great option and I would redeem for a gift card before I did this option.

If you booked airfare through their travel site, you would redeem your points for 1 cent per point and you would earn frequent flyer miles as well, this is a decent option for people who don’t want to deal with transferring to partners, but want to redeem for travel. Earning frequent flyer miles on top of this is always a nice benefit, unless it’s on Delta :-).

The real value from these points come when you transfer to one of 16 airlines partners and potentially from one of their 4 hotel partners:

Airline Transfer Partners
Airline Transfer Partners
Hotel transfer partners
Hotel transfer partners

 

Conclusion:

American Express made some positive changes to this card a few months ago and I think it is worth getting for the bonus alone. When you add in the fact you receive 2 $100 airline credits before you pay an annual fee and the large bonus of 50,000 points, this makes the overall sign up bonus worth about $1050. American Express should re-evaluate and make all gas purchases, restaurants and grocery store purchases 2x Membership Reward per dollar spent, because there are other cards that earn at a better rate when international.

I think this card is great for someone who values Membership Reward points and makes a lot of purchases directly through airlines. It is a good option for dining out as well.

Even with all the changes to this card, I do not think it is worth $195 and when it comes time to pay the fee, I will reach out to see what retention offers are available on this card.

What do you think, is this card worth getting? How about keeping for the long term?

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