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If you want a flexible rewards credit card with a travel credit, spending bonuses and a low annual fee, you might like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. This Amex rewards card earns rewards on every purchase and is a cost-effective alternative to the Amex Platinum. Let’s see if the Amex PRG is the right card for you!
25,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus (Possibly More)
The Premier Rewards Gold earns the valuable Amex rewards currency called Membership Rewards points. You also have a very reasonable sign-up bonus of 25,000 points after spending $2,000. This is a pretty easy bonus to reach compared to other travel credit cards and the bonus is worth approximately $250 in award travel. Some people will see a different offer (I see 50,000 points) after clicking on the application link: Premier Rewards Gold Card
As an added bonus, the annual fee of $195 is waived for the first year.
Due to the “once in a lifetime” bonus offer policy used by American Express, you will only be able to earn the bonus once from the Amex PRG. It doesn’t matter if you cancel the card and wait two years to re-apply, you won’t get a second bonus under current American Express policy.
Earning Purchase Rewards
You will earn points with every purchase when you shop with the American Express Premier Rewards Gold using a 3-2-1 tiered rewards system.
- 3 points per $1 on airfare purchases directly from an airline
- 2 points per $1 on all U.S. dining, gas stations, and supermarket purchases
- 1 point per $1 for all remaining purchases
This tiered rewards system allows you to quickly earn points on your largest travel purchases and also on your most common everyday purchases. It would be nice if you could earn bonus points for hotel stays like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and other travel rewards cards, but, the 3x bonus on airfare can still be very valuable.
Redeeming American Express Premier Rewards Gold Points
Your American Express Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for a variety of rewards including award travel, gift cards, and merchandise. Redeemed points will have the highest value when redeemed for airline rewards, commercial taxi and Uber rides, and select gift cards. For these awards, each point is worth one penny each (10,000 points=$100).
As the Premier Rewards Gold is more intended for reward air travel, you will have the most success with booking award flights on Amex Travel or by transferring them to a 1:1 travel partner.
There are 14 airline travel partners that allow you to transfer points on a 1:1 basis.
Some of the more popular programs include:
While you might not fly directly on all these airlines, they have valuable partner flight options. For example, British Airways Avios can be used for American Airlines flights or for short-haul flights across Europe and Asia on British Airways.
You can also use Aeroplan and ANA miles to book less-expensive partner flights on United. These “back door” travel bookings can stretch your miles further than booking award flights directly from the domestic carriers.
In addition to transferring your miles to an airline loyalty program, they can also be transferred to the Hilton, Choice Privileges, and SPG hotel programs, but at a lower rate.
Annual $100 Travel Credit
You also get an annual $100 travel credit that will reimburse you for baggage fees and in-flight purchases on one airline each year. This credit also effectively drops the annual fee from $195 to $95 so you will be paying the same amount each year to own the Amex PRG as you would its main competition, the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
American Express does have the most rigid travel credit policy of all the credit cards. You can only designate which airline to apply the credit to once a year. Be sure to choose one that you will check bags or buy food and drinks from to use the credit in full every year.
$75 Hotel Credit
When you stay at a hotel within The Hotel Collection, you will receive a $75 credit for on-site dining, spa, and resort activities when you book a prepaid stay of at least two consecutive nights at participating properties. You will also earn two points per dollar on all Hotel Collection purchases.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express costs $195 a year. The annual fee is waived for the first year. Redeeming the $100 travel credit reduces the annual fee to $95.
There is also no annual fee for the first five additional cards.
And there is no foreign transaction fee.
Amex Premier Rewards Gold vs Amex Platinum
If you’re choosing between the Premier Rewards Gold and the Platinum Card, there are a few similarities between both cards, but, they are both sharply different.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold
The Amex PRG is the better option if you want to earn bonus points on airline purchases and everyday spending like gas, groceries, and restaurants for a lower annual fee.
It does have a few premium perks like the $100 travel credit and $75 Hotel Collection credits that add value to the card and offset the annual fee when used.
If getting airport lounge access, Uber credits, and a host of other travel perks isn’t worth the annual fee of $550 for the Amex Platinum, you can still earn points quickly with this card and redeem them for the same value through Amex Travel or transferring them to a travel partner.
If you want luxury and can absorb the $550 annual fee, the Platinum Card from American Express is the better option. Not only do you earn five points per $1 on airfare and hotels, you also get a $200 travel credit, $200 in Uber credits, complimentary airport lounge access to four different networks, and upgraded travel loyalty status for several travel rewards programs.
Premier Rewards Gold vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
If you’re only looking to compare the Premier Rewards Gold to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you need to look beyond the annual fee difference. On paper, the Amex PRG is $100 more expensive but that’s before you redeem the travel credit.
Both cards have similar purchase rewards programs, although you earn three points per dollar on airfare and two points on gas and groceries. The Sapphire Preferred only earns two points on travel and dining related purchases.
Your decisions might ultimately come down to how you can redeem your points. After all, a rewards card is no good if you don’t use the rewards.
Both cards have a few overlapping travel partners, but, Amex has 19 travel partners and Chase only has 11 travel partners. If redeeming points for award travel, Amex points are worth 1-cent each for award flights and Chase points are worth 1.25 cents each for all award travel.
Summary on the American Express Premier Rewards Gold
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express can be a good option if you’re not ready for the additional expenses and benefits of the Platinum Card from American Express. You can earn bonus points on most purchases that allow you to quickly redeem your hard-earned points for award flights. As a flexible travel credit card, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold is a solid option for award travel without a steep annual fee.
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