American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card Review

March 26, 2011

The Premier Rewards Gold is a rewards card with a fairly generous payout for purchases and some extra bonuses added in. The Premier Rewards Gold card does have some attractive features that help it stand out from other rewards cards; such as triple points on airfare, double points on gas and groceries, and a nice bonus.

Premier Rewards Gold Points
You’ll earn bonus points when you spend a certain amount during the first 3 months of owning the card. The amount you have to spend and the amount of bonus points you earn varies depending on the current promotion. Compared to other cards this card is very generous to start, so long as you spend fairly regularly or for a big ticket item when you first sign up for the card.

Additionally, this AmEx gold card gives you the opportunity to earn 3 times the points on airfare, 2 times the points on gas and groceries, and 1 point on everything else. So the card can almost be seen as a combination of a travel rewards card, a gas rewards card, and an everyday-purchase card. Having an all-in-one rewards card like this doesn’t always maximize your rewards per category but it does make earning usable points easier.

Redeeming Rewards
American Express has always been known for having quality rewards programs.  Although not every merchant will accept your card because American Express does charge higher merchant fees, you know that when you do use your AmEx you’re earning pretty decent rewards.

I’m a big fan of their Blue Savings rewards but they’re probably best know for their Membership Rewards program, which is the one that the Premier Rewards Gold card uses.  The nice thing about the program is that it is pretty flexible, you can use your points to get a wide range of rewards.

Travel Rewards
For example, using the Pay with Points feature you can redeem them for points on most airlines and not have to worry about blackout dates or restrictions. The way it works is that you buy your ticket using the AmEx Travel site and apply your membership points towards the price of the ticket.   You don’t have to wait until you have enough to cover the whole ticket, the remaining cost of the flight will be charged to your card.

I remember when I first signed up for the Gold card years ago they were offering a big bonus and I used my points to pay for a ticket to a conference I was attending.  I was actually looking online for flights to Vegas where the conference was held and I saw the ad for the bonus so I signed up for the card.

There is an alternative to booking through American Express – you can also transfer the rewards points you’ve earned to rewards programs at some of the major airlines.  The conversion from rewards points to frequent flier programs doesn’t always give you the best bang for your buck so be sure check what kind of value you’re getting out of the transfer.

American Express Membership Rewards

Using Points
If you’re not a big traveler you can use your points for discounts on other types of purchases or for gift cards.

One aspect of the Membership Rewards is a site called ShopAmex where you can use your points for purchases.  You can see in the graphic the number of items they have available in the different point ranges.  Similar to their travel site, if you don’t have enough points accumulated you can put the rest on your Gold card.

If you’re like me then you’re not a big fan of shopping and only buy something when you really need it.  I’m not a fan of browsing to buy something just for the fun of it.  In that case the gift cards might be a better option for you.  You can use your rewards points for dining or entertainment gift cards, AmEx also has retail gift cards available in their program.

Premier Rewards Gold Fees
Like other cards with a high-rebate offer, the American Express(R) Premier Rewards Gold Card does have an annual fee. The fee is higher than some of the other rewards cards you’ll find in the market. The good news is this fee is waived for the first year of the card.

No Interest
This card is a charge card, not a credit card, which means the balance must be paid off each month. Since you can’t carry a balance, you won’t build up credit card debt and won’t find yourself paying high interest fees month after month. Although this is a deterrent for people who have to carry a balance, it’s definitely a financially smart option for people who can afford to pay off their balance each month in full. There is no pre-set spending limit on the card so as long as you can afford to pay your balance you can put whatever you want on the card to earn rewards.

Conclusion
This American Express Gold card can definitely earn you a lot of rewards if you put a lot of purchases on your card. The first year of the card is certainly the most attractive thanks to the bonus rewards. However, even without the additional bonus points for a minimum annual spend, the 3-2-1 point system is an attractive rebate package for a wide variety of different purchases for the following years.

If you have horrible credit chances are you won’t be approved for this card but if you’ve done a reasonable job keeping up your credit score then you may be able to qualify for the charge card. There’s really only one way to know if you’re eligible for the bonus and the rewards that come with the card; apply for it and see what happens!  

This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program

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