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Updated May 7, 2017

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express Review

10 Reasons Why Premier Rewards Gold Benefits are Worth the $195 Annual Fee
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If you spend a lot on airfare, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express may be worth considering. Read on for 10 reasons to consider this Amex card and 4 reasons to skip it.

Premier Rewards Gold Card
Apply Now

Overall Score

3.8

Rewards

4.5

Fees

2.5

Benefits

4.5
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Promotional points offer
  • Airline fee credit
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines. Terms Apply.
  • $195 annual fee

Bottom Line

Good rewards card for cardholders who fly frequently or eat out

Here's the deal: the Premier Rewards Gold offers 3X the points for flights booked directly with airlines; 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets; and 1X points on other purchases. (Terms Apply.)

It has a hefty $195 annual fee, but it might be worth it for certain kinds of spenders and travelers.

Let us explain.

The Premier Rewards Gold Card offers a nice balance between earning rewards and travel perks. The annual fee may seem a bit high, but it offers benefits that help justify the fee such as a $100 airline fee credit. You'll find more perks than what you'd get with many cards in the $95 annual fee range.

We'll cover all the reasons to consider the card and why to skip it. But before we do, let's do some quick math to give you an idea if this card is right for you.

Editors' Highlights

We've crunched the numbers for you to help you decide whether to go after this Amex card.

This card competes against other popular travel rewards cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred (which offers 2X the points on travel and dining) and Barclaycard Arrival Plus (which gives you 2X the points on everything).

If you spend over $10,000 per year (or $834/month) on flights booked directly through airlines, this card's reward rate beats the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Barclaycard Arrival Plus hands down, even with the $195 annual fee factored in.

Here's how we calculated that:

  • $10,000 spent on flights booked directly with airlines would earn you 30,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.
  • In comparison, that same amount spent with Chase Sapphire Preferred would earn you just 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Similarly, with Barclaycard Arrival Plus, you would earn 20,000 Barclaycard miles.

If you're thinking but I don't spend that much on airfare, there's one more factor that could make it easier to justify the $195 annual fee.

Cardholders get a $100 airline fee credit to cover up to $100 a year in incidental fees with one selected airline (like baggage fees for example). Neither Chase Sapphire Preferred nor Barclaycard Arrival Plus offer this feature.

Are you a big traveler but torn over whether this is the right card for you? Think of it this way: If you are more interested in travel benefits than travel rewards, consider the Platinum Card from American Express instead. The Platinum Card comes with travel-friendly perks such as airport club access and concierge service.

Why It's Not for Everyone

First, let's go over the reasons you may want to skip this card.

  • There is that $195 annual fee. While there is an introductory $0 annual fee for the first year, after that, it's $195 each year.

    This is on the high end for cards in general, but you may be able to justify it based on how often you'll use the card and where you'll use it (especially if you're a frequent traveler).

    If you prefer a credit card with no annual fee instead, check out this list.

  • You need excellent credit: Are you wondering how to qualify for an American Express Gold Card such as the Premier Rewards Gold?

    Generally speaking, you need excellent credit to qualify for most American Express cards.

  • This is a charge card: In other words, you pay off your balance in full each month. If you prefer a credit card instead, check out these credit cards for people with excellent credit.

  • It's not accepted everywhere: Not all merchants take American Express. No matter how good the benefits and rewards are, it doesn't matter if the merchant won't accept your card. If you only have room in your wallet for one credit card, consider a Visa or MasterCard instead. Otherwise, think about having an American Express credit card with a backup Visa or MasterCard.

Premier Rewards Gold Card Offer

Now here are 10 reasons why we think the Premier Rewards Gold is worth the $195 annual fee:

  • You fly frequently. If you're often in the air and tend to book your trip directly with airlines, consider this card. Instead of earning just one mile per dollar on airfare as you would with some other travel cards, you can use this card to earn 3X the points on flights booked directly with airlines.

    On top of that, you also get up to $100 in statement credits each year to cover incidental fees with your selected airline (it's called an airline fee credit). This can help cover costs like checked bags, in-flight food and entertainment, and lounge passes.

  • You want a deal. It can be tough waiting for rewards to accumulate when you have a brand new account. With this card, you will earn 25,000 Membership Rewards after you use your new card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. That's in addition to whatever other rewards you earn during that time period.

  • You are a big grocery shopper. This card earns you 2X the points at U.S. supermarkets.

    If you spend $187.50 a week at U.S. supermarkets, you will earn 19,500 Membership Rewards points in a year. Are 19,500 Membership Rewards points worth the $195 annual fee? You decide.

  • You eat out at least twice a week. Not everyone cooks, but we've all got to eat. This card earns 2X the points at U.S. restaurants.

    Let's say you spend $150 a week at U.S. restaurants - that would earn you 15,600 Membership Rewards in a year (enough to pay for another week of eating out if you redeem them for a gift card).

    Maybe you spend $100 a week at U.S. supermarkets and $90 a week at U.S. restaurants. Combined, that's $190/week - enough for 19,760 Membership Rewards points a year.

  • You commute by car. You get 2X the points at U.S. gas stations.

    Other credit cards offer 5 cents per gallon, but when gas is at $3 a gallon, 5 cents a gallon means only 1.5%. So you're better off with the Premier Gold in this scenario.

  • Flexible points redemption. In addition to the above rewards, you will earn 1X the points on other purchases.

    But points are only as good as what you can redeem them for. And with Membership Reward points, you have flexibility.

    If you're more of a vanilla ice cream fan, you can redeem points for a statement credit or gift cards.

    But if you prefer some more rocky road-style variety, you can transfer the Membership Rewards points to frequent flyer programs such as Delta SkyMiles or frequent hotel programs such as Choice. In our opinion, you can make your rewards go further when you go that route.

    Read this in-depth Beginner's Guide to Airline Miles and Points.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fee. Do you want to use your card overseas?

    When you take this card with you outside the U.S., you do not have to worry about foreign transaction fees (some other credit cards charge 2.7% to 3% on purchases made outside the U.S.).

    Thinking of traveling overseas? Here is what you need to know about foreign transaction fees before you go abroad.

  • No annual fee for additional cards (up to 5). You can get up to 5 additional cards for no annual fee. After that, the annual fee for 6 or more additional cards is $35 for each card. For instance, you can add your spouse as an Additional Card Member to your card account with no additional annual fee.

  • Hotel Collection. In our opinion, this perk can be quite valuable if you book at least two consecutive nights through American Express Travel. You can get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival if one is available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. See terms for exclusions.

  • You want to feel confident when you buy things or travel. Here are just a few of the benefits:

    • You get baggage insurance for eligible lost, damaged or stolen baggage, for up to $1,250 for carry-on luggage and $500 for checked baggage.
    • Renting a car? You get car rental loss and damage insurance on eligible car rentals (but note that it does not include liability coverage and is secondary coverage).
    • Taking a road trip? You get premium roadside assistance, which covers emergency services like towing (up to 10 miles), changing a flat tire or jumpstarting your car battery -- up to 4 times a year. Some exclusions apply.
    • Need to return an item? This card offers return protection. If a vendor will not accept your return within 90 days of purchase, American Express will refund the price to you for eligible purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
    • Plus, this card offers extended warranty protection for eligible purchases. And there's no enrollment required.

Want more reasons to get the card? Here is a link to American Express' website, which includes information on additional travel benefits and the online secure application.

3X FOR FLIGHTS BOOKED WITH AIRLINES

© Dave Herholz (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Keep in mind, you need to book directly with an airline to qualify. Third-parties, like online travel discount websites, don't count.

Note: This deal is for passenger flights only, not charters or private jets.

2X AT U.S. SUPERMARKETS

Qualifying supermarkets include Whole Foods, Meijer, Shoprite, Winn-Dixie, Stop and Shop, Vons, Pathmark, and online supermarket FreshDirect, among others.

So-called "big-box stores" like Wal-Mart and Target, online superstores like Amazon, and warehouses like Costco are NOT considered supermarkets. Your mom-and-pop corner grocery store or specialty shop that only sells cheese or meat are also NOT considered to be supermarkets. Chances are, if a store sells groceries in addition to clothes and electronics, it is not - in Amex's view - a supermarket.

2X AT U.S. GAS STATIONS

Gas stations like Shell, Mobil, Hess, Exxon, Gulf, and Murphy are some of the places where you can earn 2X the points with this card.

Generally speaking, American Express considers a gas stations to be a place in the United States that primarily sell gasoline. Supermarkets like Safeway and warehouse clubs like Costco do NOT fall under this category, even if they have their own pumps.

2X AT U.S. RESTAURANTS

© CreditDonkey

This is a recent addition to the Premier Rewards Gold Card. Purchases made within the United States at restaurants will get 2X points. Keep in mind that U.S. owned companies outside the U.S. do not count, i.e. the Hard Rock Café in Paris - even though the Hard Rock is owned by a U.S. company - would not be eligible for 2X the points.

What qualifies as a restaurant depends on how it registers on your card. A restaurant that's within a hotel may not be described as restaurant on your card and therefore wouldn't get you 2X the points.

HOW IT COMPARES

Chase Sapphire Preferred: You earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

This is a competitive card in terms of rewards. It has a higher spending threshold to get the signup bonus than Rewards Gold, but it has a lower annual fee. The annual fee (introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95) is easy to recoup if you use the Sapphire Preferred often to earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

Still can't decide? Take a look at Amex's Membership Rewards vs. Chase's Ultimate Rewardsto see which one seems easier to navigate and better for your needs.

 

Premier Rewards Gold Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Purchase APRN/A16.74% to 23.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APRN/A16.74% to 23.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual FeeIntroductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
See Rates & Fees 
 

Benefits and Features

Points DealIntroductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Travel Travel Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
AirlineAirline Rewards: Earn 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. Terms Apply.Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Hotel Hotel Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
PointsPoint Rewards: 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms Apply.Point Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Airline StatusAirline Status: $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline. 
GasGas Rewards: Earn 2X points at US gas stations. Terms Apply. 
GroceryGrocery Rewards: Earn 2X points at US supermarkets. Terms Apply. 
RestaurantDining Rewards: Earn 2X points at US restaurants. Terms Apply.Dining Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Airline Transfer PartnersAirline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Emirates, Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways and more.Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

Platinum Card from American Express: If the Gold Card's $195 annual fee doesn't scare you, then see how you feel about its sister card's $550 fee. With the Platinum card, you have the potential to earn 60,000 points if you spend $5,000 within the first three months (vs. the Gold Card's 25,000 bonus points on $2,000 in spending).

Because of its high price tag, the Platinum Card is best for frequent travelers who make good use of the platinum treatment they can get when using this card, including up to $200 in Uber savings and a $200 Airline Fee Credit each year plus access to five airport lounge networks.

 

Premier Rewards Gold Card

American Express Platinum

Annual FeeIntroductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195$550 annual fee
See Rates & FeesSee Rates & Fees
Points DealIntroductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Travel 
AirlineAirline Rewards: Earn 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. Terms Apply.Airline Rewards: 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
Hotel Hotel Rewards: 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
PointsPoint Rewards: 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms Apply.Point Rewards: Earn 1 point for virtually every dollar spent.
Airline StatusAirline Status: $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.Airline Status: $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
Access to 5 airport lounge networks including The Centurion® lounge network, The International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club® lounges, Priority Pass(TM) Select, and Airspace Lounge. Enrollment required for Priority Pass Select.
Hotel Status Hotel Status: Enroll for complimentary SPG Gold Status (Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Preferred Guest).
Enroll for complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status.

Fine Hotels & Resorts - book your stay through American Express FHR at one of 600 luxury hotels and you may get a room upgrade upon arrival, daily continental breakfast for 2, guaranteed 4pm late checkout and a special amenity unique to each property. Terms Apply.
GasGas Rewards: Earn 2X points at US gas stations. Terms Apply. 
GroceryGrocery Rewards: Earn 2X points at US supermarkets. Terms Apply. 
RestaurantDining Rewards: Earn 2X points at US restaurants. Terms Apply. 

For more information, read our in-depth AMEX Gold vs Platinum comparison.

BOTTOM LINE

In our opinion, the perks and rewards of the Premier Rewards Gold Card are extensive; in fact, we haven't even listed all the benefits of the card here. To learn more about what this card has to offer, visit American Express' online secure application.

Whether this card is right for you all comes down to the math. Will you be likely to use it at the supermarket, at restaurants, and gas stations? If so, the $195 annual fee may be just a blip in on your radar with the rewards far outweighing the expense.

In our opinion, the people who will really benefit from this card are frequent travelers. The 3X points on airfare when booked directly with airlines is tough to beat and redeeming them through the Amex's Membership Rewards can help take you far - literally.

Terms and limitations apply.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on June 1, 2012. This content may have been updated on May 7, 2017. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check American Express website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

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Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
Apply for Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsAirline RewardsPoint RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitDining RewardsEventsCar Rental Insurance Extended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionBaggage InsuranceTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityRoadside Assistance
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195

Compare Premier Rewards Gold Card to:

Compare Premier Rewards Gold Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

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