The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is NOT the first card I’d recommend to folks new to the miles & points hobby. Mainly because the current public offer includes a sign-up bonus that’s less valuable than what you can earn on most other top travel rewards credit cards.
That said, some folks receive targeted offers for the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card with an opportunity to earn an increased sign-up bonus. Depending on your travel goals, it can make sense to take advantage of a better deal if you’re targeted. Because with this card, you earn flexible AMEX Membership Rewards points, which you can use to book award travel with any of the 20 AMEX airline or hotel partners.
I’ll share my full review of the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card. And let you know what alternatives to consider.
Review of the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold 25,000-Point Offer
When you sign-up for the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card, you’ll earn 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
You’re only eligible to earn AMEX sign-up bonuses once per card per lifetime. So it might be worth waiting to apply to see if you’re targeted for an increased sign-up bonus offer.
As an AMEX Premier Rewards Gold cardholder, you’ll also get:
- 3X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 when you book airfare directly with an airline
- 2X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets
- 2X AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 and a $75 hotel credit on eligible paid hotels stays booked through the AMEX Hotel Collection
- Up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, in-flight food & drink, etc.)
- AMEX Premium Roadside Assistance
- Bonus points or statement credits when taking advantage of an AMEX Offer
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership for free 2-day shipping at 140+ online retailers
- No foreign transaction fees
- Purchase protections, like extended warranty benefits and return protection
- Trip benefits, like lost luggage insurance
- Terms & limitations apply
The $100 statement credit for airline incidentals each calendar year is a popular perk of this card. But you must select an airline from the below list before making an eligible purchase to trigger the credit:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- United Airlines
You can use the credit for:
- Checked baggage
- In-flight food or beverages
- Lounge day passes
- Change or cancellation fees
- Seat assignments
And in my experience, some airline gift card purchases of $50 or less do get reimbursed. Then, you can use those gift cards for flights later on!
The AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card has a $195 annual fee, which is waived the first year. But it’s effectively $95 after the first year if you take advantage of the $100 in statement credits for airline incidentals ($195 annual fee – $100 credit). And you can easily offset the expense more with savings from AMEX Offers.
Keep in mind, this is a charge card, which is different from a credit card. This means you do NOT have a fixed spending limit. But that doesn’t mean that you can spend an unlimited amount on it. AMEX will evaluate the maximum purchase which you can make.
And with charge cards, you must pay your balance in full every month, which is something you should always do to avoid paying interest.
What Can You Do With 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards Points?
AMEX Membership Rewards points offer lots of travel flexibility. So if you don’t have set travel plans, these transferable points come in handy. Because you have the option to choose from multiple airline and hotel partners when you’re ready.
The AMEX Membership Rewards points program has 20 direct airline and hotel partners, including Delta, JetBlue, and others. Plus, you’ll get access to other indirect partners thanks to airline alliances and partnerships.
For example, you can transfer 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points to your JetBlue frequent flyer account. You’ll have 20,000 JetBlue points because of the 5:4 transfer ratio. And JetBlue points are worth ~1.4 cents each, which means you’ll get ~$280 worth of JetBlue airfare. Team member Keith loves using JetBlue points to save money on flights because the airline has no blackout dates!
And if you have multiple AMEX Membership Rewards points earning credit cards (personal and small business cards), the points you earn will accumulate in one account automatically. So the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold sign-up bonus could be a nice boost to your existing balance and help you get closer to achieving your next award.
Transferring points to partners will usually get you the most value for your points. But you can also redeem points for 1 cent each using AMEX Pay With Points for airfare through the AMEX Membership Rewards portal without having to worry about blackout dates. This means the 25,000-point AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card sign-up bonus is worth at least $250 in airfare savings.
Points are also worth 1 cent each when you buy gift cards (excludes AMEX gift cards).
In general, if you’re getting less than 1 cent per point for your AMEX Membership Rewards points, you’re NOT getting a good deal. That’s why I don’t recommend folks redeem points through the American Express shopping portal or for statement credits. You can check out this post with my least favorite ways to use AMEX Membership Rewards points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Is a Better Alternative for Big Travel With Small Money!
I’d recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred over the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card if you’re a beginner in the miles & points hobby. With the Sapphire Preferred, you earn my favorite type of flexible points. Then you can redeem for Big Travel, like Emily did to save ~$700 per night on a hotel stay at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo.
When you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.
You can redeem the sign-up bonus for $500 in cash back or $625 in travel when you book through the Chase portal. And potentially more value if you transfer points directly to airline and hotel partners like Hyatt or United Airlines.
With the Sapphire Preferred card, you also get:
- 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel and dining
- 5,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $50 in cash back) when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months
- Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage or theft to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card
- Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours
- NO foreign transaction fees
The card’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year, which means you can use the card for free for ~10 or ~11 months. Then, decide if you like the benefits enough to pay the annual fee. You also have the option of downgrading to a no-annual-fee card.
Just keep in mind, Chase will NOT approve you for their Ultimate Rewards points earning cards if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards).
Many folks receive targeted mailers for this card with an increased sign-up bonus. Remember, you’re only eligible to earn AMEX sign-up bonuses once per card per lifetime. So it might be worth waiting to apply to see if you’re targeted for a better deal.
I do like that this card comes with $100 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals (luggage fees, seat upgrades, etc.) with your selected airline. And you get access to AMEX Offers, which can be an easy way to earn bonus points or save money on purchase you’re already planning.
As a better card alternative, I’d recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is the #1 card I recommend to beginners in the miles & points hobby. The sign-up bonus is worth at least $625 in travel!