Best Charge Card: American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
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The American Express Gold Card maintains an air of status to this day. Its premium cost, premium benefits, and backing from one of the most respected credit card companies on the planet has made attaining the Gold card an aspiration for many. But, is it worth it for you? Here's our review of their newer version, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card.
But First, A Little History
American Express didn't invent the charge card, but they sure were one of the first to think about one (1946, by some accounts). No, Diners Club was the first company to issue a consumer charge card, in 1950, with an annual fee of $5. American Express finally released their first in 1958, with an annual fee of $6 to seem like a premium product. The American Express Gold Card didn't launch until 1966. In response to the ever increasing demand for rewards, American Express launched the Premier Rewards Gold Card in 2009.
How It Works
The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card is a charge card, not a credit card, which means you are required to pay your balance in full each month. Thus, there is no interest rate.
Here are some card highlights:
- Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Earn Points Faster: 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines and 2X points at US gas stations & US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- With the Membership Rewards® program, you can use points for rewards from over 500 leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise, or entertainment.
- You can also transfer points to our selection of frequent traveler programs.
- With The Hotel Collection, you can get up to a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges any time you use your Card to book a stay of at least two consecutive nights.
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year of Card Membership, then $175.
- Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Card Benefits: Points
The Premier Rewards Gold Card offers 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2x points for purchases at US gas stations, 2x points for purchases at US supermarkets, and 1x points on other purchases.
You can transfer these points to their selection of frequent traveler programs or use them for rewards from leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise, or entertainment.
There are plenty of other benefits associated with these Gold charge cards. For one, there's no preset spending limit, since these are charge cards. But, as I warned before, be sure to pay off your bill each month in its entirety!
I love the extended warranty that these cards offer. Every time that you buy an item that has a warranty of five years or less, you'll receive an extra year of warranty, just by buying it with the Premier Rewards Gold card. You'll also receive purchase and return protection. This means refunds, theft, and damage are covered for 90 days.
When you travel, you'll be covered by car rental insurance, baggage insurance, and their Global Assist Hotline. They also provide up to a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges and room upgrade at check-in any time you use your card to book a stay of at least two consecutive nights through The Hotel Collection.
The cost of all these benefits is not cheap, though. The card carries a $175 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. Transaction fees when you travel abroad still exist on these cards as well, at 2.7%.
I find that the major pro for this card is the triple points on airfare purchases. If you are someone who flies a lot, this card will reward you more than the typical airline co-branded credit card. This means you'll be flying for free on vacation that much faster!
Another big pro for me is the power of the Membership Rewards program. Its network of dozens of airlines and hotels makes travel planning that much more fun and rewarding. And, with many promotions during the year granting bonus points for transferring to specific programs, sometimes 50% or 100% bonuses, what's not to love?
I find that the $175 fee is steep after the first year. Unless you can take advantage of the bonus categories often, then this card is not for you.
Furthermore, the charge card situation is not for everyone. I could see many people not realizing that this card operates differently than other cards, and overspend in their first months. Be sure to read everything about your card before you apply!
Who This Card Is Best For
This card is best for the frequent air traveler. At three points per dollar spent on airline fares, there's really no better card out there for that purchase.
Terms and restrictions apply.
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 bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.