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.
Pros and Cons
- Promotional points offer
- Airline fee credit
- 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines. Terms Apply.
- $195 annual fee
Good rewards card for cardholders who fly frequently or eat out
Here's the deal: the Premier Rewards Gold offers 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.
But it has a $195 annual fee. So why bother with this card?
Let us explain.
It offers a nice balance between earning rewards and travel perks. The annual fee seems high, but it offers benefits that can help justify the fee such as the $100 airline fee credit (which we'll explain below). You’ll find more perks than what you’d get with many cards in the $95 annual fee range.
We'll cover the reasons to consider the card and reasons 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.
We’ve done some number crunching to help you decide whether to go after this Amex card.
Our opinion: considering the annual fee, if you spend over $10,000 per year (~$834/month) booking flights with airlines, this card's reward rate beats the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Barclaycard Arrival Plus hands down.
Still with us?
You may think... but I don't spend that much on airfare. There’s one more factor that could make it easier to swallow the $195 annual fee.
Cardholders get a $100 airline fee credit, to cover up to $100 a year in incidental fees at one selected airline (such as baggage fees). Neither Chase Sapphire Preferred nor Barclaycard Arrival Plus offer this feature.
And there are a few other perks that might still make it still worthwhile. We’ll explain below.
Why It's Not for Everyone
First, let's go over the reasons you may want to skip over this card.
- There is a $195 annual fee. While there is an introductory $0 annual fee for the first year, after that, it's $195.
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).
Is the $195 annual fee worth what you will get in return? Hopefully the reasons below will help you answer that question.
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 have to 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 you shop at 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 going from place to place and tend to book your trip directly with the airlines, consider this card. Instead of earning just 1 mile per dollar on airfare as you would get with some other travel cards, you can use this card to earn 3x points on flights booked directly with the airlines.
On top of that, you also get up to $100 statement credit each year to cover incidental fees with your selected airline (it’s called an airline fee credit). This can help cover costs like when you have to pay extra for checking luggage, 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 rewards you earn during that time period.
- You are a weekly grocery shopper. This card earns 2x points at U.S. supermarkets.
How much do you spend on groceries a year? Look at it this way: if you spend $187.50 a week at U.S. supermarkets, you will earn 19,500 Membership Rewards in a year. Is 19,500 Membership Rewards points worth the $195 annual fee? You decide.
- You eat out at least twice a week. Not everybody cooks at home, but we all have to eat somehow, right?
This card earns 2x points at U.S. restaurants.
How much do you spend eating out a year, including the occasional fast food? 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 redeemed 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. Some gas credit cards offer 5 cents a gallon. Is that a better deal?
Here's a little math: when gas is $3 a gallon, 5 cents a gallon means 1.5%. But compare that to the 2x points you get at U.S. gas stations with the Premier Rewards Gold Card.
- Flexible points redemption. In addition to the above rewards, you will earn 1x 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 the vanilla ice cream buyer, you can redeem points for a statement credit or gift cards.
But if you prefer some variety, consider transferring the Membership Rewards points to other 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? This card does not charge a foreign transaction fee.
Take this card with you outside the U.S. and 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 travel 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.
- Hotel Collection. In our opinion, this perk can be quite valuable if you book at least 2 consecutive nights through American Express Travel. You can get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if 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 roadtrip? 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 order directly with the airline to qualify (going through a third-party like an online travel discount website does not count).
2X AT U.S. SUPERMARKETS
Supermarkets that qualify include Whole Foods, Meijer, Shoprite, Winn-Dixie, Stop and Shop, Vons, Pathmark, and online supermarket FreshDirect, among others.
2X AT U.S. GAS STATIONS
Gas stations like Shell, Mobil, Hess, Exxon, Gulf, and Murphy are some of the places you can earn 2x points with this card.
2X AT U.S. RESTAURANTS
This is a recent addition to the Premier Rewards Gold Card. Only purchases made within the United States using your card will get 2x points (the Hard Rock Café in Paris — even though the Hard Rock is owned by a U.S. company — would not count, for example).
HOW IT COMPARES
Chase Sapphire Preferred: 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 comes with a higher spending threshold for getting the signup bonus, 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.
Interest Rates and Fees
|Purchase APR||N/A||16.49% to 23.49% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors|
|Balance Transfers APR||N/A||16.49% to 23.49% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors|
|Annual Fee||Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195||Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95|
|See Rates & Fees|
Benefits and Features
|Points Deal||Introductory 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
|Airline||Airline 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|
|Points||Point 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 Status||Airline Status: $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.|
|Gas||Gas Rewards: Earn 2X points at US gas stations. Terms Apply.|
|Grocery||Grocery Rewards: Earn 2X points at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.|
|Restaurant||Dining 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 Partners||Airline 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.|
In our opinion, the perks and rewards of the Premier Rewards Gold Card are extensive; in fact, we haven’t listed all the benefits of the card here. To learn more, visit American Express' online secure application.
Whether this card is the right one for you depends on the math. Will you be likely to use it when you go to the supermarket, go out to eat, and pump gas? If so, the $195 annual fee may be just a blip in your yearly expenses and the rewards may help justify the expense.
In our opinion, the people who will really benefit from this card are frequent travelers; 3x points on airfare (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.
David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to David R at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions.
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 October 30, 2016. 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.