Lucrative bonus categories. You get 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines, and 2x points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations with no limits.
$100 airline credit. You get to choose one airline each year, and get $100 you can use toward bag fees, change fees, in-flight purchases, and other purchases you make directly from the airline. Unfortunately, airfare isn’t something you can apply the credit towards.
Points you can transfer. Amex Membership Rewards points can be transferred to over a dozen airline mile programs, including Delta SkyMiles, Air France Flying Blue, and Hawaiian Miles, letting you unlock lucrative awards.
Big annual fee. $195 isn’t easy to swallow unless you’re sure you can spend a good amount in the bonus earning categories.
Limited travel benefits. There’s no coverage for flight delays or trip cancellation, and no lounge access or status perks.
Whether or not the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card is worth the annual fee depends on how you use the card. It also depends on what other American Express Membership Reward-earning cards you already have, if any.
The American Express Premier Rewards Gold card earns 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare purchased directly from airlines, 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases.
To break even, you must be able to offset the $195 annual fee. Since most credit cards will earn you at least 1% cash back on purchases, you should really be able to earn at least $195 beyond the first percentage point that you could be earning from another credit card in order for this card to be worth it.
One of the benefits of the Premier Rewards Gold card is a $100 airline fee credit per calendar year. Assuming that you are able to use this benefit, you only need to recoup $95 in value (after considering the opportunity cost of a 1% cash back card) in order for this card to be worth having. You can use the credit to offset things like bag fees, change fees, and in-flight meals, but you can’t use it to offset airfare.
In order to break even after considering the 1% cash back opportunity cost, you would need to earn at least 19,000 American Express Membership Rewards points in a year. That works out to about $1,500 a month in spending on the card, and that’s before you include the boost from spending categories.
Consider that you might spend about $100 a month on airfare, $200 a month at restaurants, $200 a month at gas stations, and around $300 per year on groceries.
Even ignoring all un-bonused spend, you would still be earning over 20,000 Membership Rewards points per year with the bonus categories– more than enough to cover the annual fee – even if you redeem your points for basic flights on the Amex website (which is not the most valuable way to redeem them).
But you’ll want to see how it stacks up to other cards based on your spending habits using our calculator before you decide.
There are multiple ways you can use your American Express Membership Rewards points, and the value you are able to get out of your points is dependent on how you choose to use them.
In general, the way to get the most value out of your points is to transfer them to American Express’ hotel and airline transfer partners – and as a general rule the airline transfer partners are more valuable than the hotel transfer partners. We think Amex points are worth about 2 cents each (or more) when you use them to transfer to airline mile programs and book expensive international flights. So 10,000 points can be worth over $200 this way.
It’s also possible to redeem your Membership Rewards points at a rate of one cent each to book travel on the Amex website. This isn’t going to be the most valuable way to cash out of your points, but if you are in a pinch or don’t plan on using them any other way, it is an option.
The airlines that you can book tickets on with your Membership Rewards points is dependent on how you plan to use your points.
If you plan to transfer your points to one of American Express’ airline partners, you can book flights on that airline as well as any partner airlines that are accessible through that airlines’ miles.
As a reminder, American Express’ airline transfer partners are:
Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
If you choose to redeem your Membership Rewards points through their Travel Portal, you can book just about any airline and any flight that you see available there, though Southwest flights must be booked over the phone.
Our guide to Amex Membership Rewards points is filled with tips, and the options you have to book flights with your points are nearly limitless. If you have Delta Skymiles you’re probably going to want to transfer your Amex points to add to your miles, but here are a couple of less obvious options that leverage other transfer partners to get your mind going:
You can transfer your points to Air France Flying Blue which lets you book award tickets to Hawaii on Delta and Alaska Airlines for 30,000 miles roundtrip on flights that have award seats available.
Transfer your points to ANA Japan, and you can fly United or other Star Alliance airlines in Business Class for 88,000 points on flights that have award seats available.
The American Express Premier Rewards Gold card earns 3 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on airfare purchased directly from airlines, 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Airline ticket purchases through Orbitz, Expedia, etc, will not earn bonus Membership Rewards points.
It is also important to note purchases made abroad at restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets will not earn the extra points.
The Premier Rewards Gold card is far from best in class for travel protections.
This card offers secondary coverable of up to $50,000 when rentals are less than 30 days. Primary coverage (up to $100,000 for 42 days) can be purchased for a flat fee of $16-$25 per rental. Once you enroll in primary coverage, it will automatically kick in when you use your credit card to pay for a rental vehicle, so make sure to cancel the coverage after each trip if it is not something you plan to use every time.
This card has no trip delay insurance.
This card has no trip cancellation or interruption insurance.
Whether the American Express Premier Rewards Gold makes sense for you over another card depends on your spending patterns. We’ll take a look at the Premier Rewards Gold and some common competitors based on the following monthly spending pattern:
With this spending pattern and only the Premier Rewards Gold card in your wallet, you would earn 3,800 Membership Rewards points per month.
The American Express Everyday Preferred card earns 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $6,000 in grocery purchases per year, 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on gas purchases, and 1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on all other purchases. In a month, you would earn at least 3,400 Membership Rewards point with this card based on the spending pattern above.
You can actually do better with this card if you make at least 30 purchases each month. If you do, you will earn a 50% bonus on all points earned, including in bonus categories. If you do that, you’ll earn 5,100 Membership Rewards points in a month which handily beats the Premier Rewards Gold.
This card has a $95 annual fee.
The American Express Everyday card is the no annual fee version of the Everyday Preferred. Since it doesn’t have an annual fee, it has slightly lower earning rates. This card earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at grocery stores on the first $6,000 in purchases each year and 1 Membership Reward point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Based on the spending pattern above, this card would earn at least 2,700 Membership Rewards points in a month.
This card also offers a 20% bonus if you make 20 or more purchases on your card in a month. If you do this, those 2,700 Membership Rewards points would turn into 3,240 Membership Rewards points.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred in your wallet, you’ll earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and 1 Ultimate Reward point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Based on the spending pattern above, you would earn 2,900 Ultimate Rewards in a month.
It also has much better travel protection benefits, including trip delay coverage and trip cancellation insurance.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is very similar to the Sapphire Preferred, but earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and 1 Ultimate Reward point per dollar spent on all other purchases. In a month you would earn 3,600 Ultimate Rewards based on the spending pattern above, but this card comes with a heftier annual fee of $450.
If you have the The Platinum Card from American Express, you’ll pay $550 annual fee, but you’ll also get a big 5x points on airfare (vs 3x with the Premier Rewards Gold), a $200 annual airline fee credit (vs $100 for the Premier Rewards Gold), and a great package of lounge access and travel benefits. Basically, you’re spending an extra $255 a year over the Premier Rewards Gold (including the value of the $200 airline fee credit) to get lounge access and travel perks, plus 2 extra points per dollar (5x vs 3x) on airfare.
It’s a better card for frequent fliers because of the big 5x points on airfare and lounge access, but if you’re a big diner you may want to carry the Premier Rewards Gold in tandem. Using the spending pattern above, you’ll earn 3,000 points a month with The Platinum Card, thanks to the 5x points on airfare.
Yes. The American Express Premier Rewards Gold card is a person credit card and it will report information on a monthly basis to the credit bureau.
It is possible to share Membership Rewards points in some situations. It isn’t possible to share Membership Rewards points directly, but it is possible to transfer your points to the airline or hotel account of an authorized user of your credit card. Read our full article to find out more about sharing Membership Rewards points with others.
If you have other credit cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points, you don’t need to worry about combining your points because they are automatically combined into the same Membership Rewards account.
Having multiple Membership Rewards cards is a lucrative way to take advantage of different spending category bonuses, like 5x points on airfare with The Platinum Card.
No. The American Express Premier Rewards Gold card does not have Chip + PIN functionality.
If you cancel your credit card and you do not have another credit card that earns Membership Rewards points, you will forfeit all of your unredeemed points. Redeem them before you cancel your card. If you do have another credit card that earns Membership Rewards points, you don’t need to worry about your points when you cancel your card.
You can get the annual fee refunded for up to 30 days from the closing date of the billing cycle in which the fee was posted.
The current offer available for the Premier Rewards Gold card is 25,000 Membership Rewards after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. This card has reached a signup bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards points in the past, though 50,000 points is also a solid bonus that comes around more often.
There is no airport lounge access that is complimentary with the Premier Rewards Gold card.
No. Transfers only go in one direction. You can transfer your Membership Rewards points to Delta but you cannot transfer your Delta miles to Membership Rewards.
Yes, you can (and should!) go through a shopping portal whenever you are shopping online to earn miles or cash back in addition to your category bonus.
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