Review of the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Sep 04, 2017 | Updated Sep 11, 2017

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The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is a charge card with an annual fee designed for people with excellent credit. It makes the most sense for people who travel a lot, and if you typically spend over $3,000 per year on airfare this card might be a great addition to your wallet.

This is a mid-range travel card, offering points for travel purchases among other categories, along with a sizable introductory bonus. You’ll find some perks included that can make your trips cheaper and more comfortable.

You’ll need to pay an annual fee of $195 which may seem a bit high (though it’s waived for the first year), but if you travel enough and make use of the benefits you can definitely offset the cost and even end up profiting.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
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Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • 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.

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

We gave the Premier Rewards Gold Card 5 out of 5 Stars because it’s a great offer for the fee, letting you earn a relatively large number of points in quite a few categories. The extra benefits are pretty solid too, giving you more ways to save money and make your traveling more enjoyable. But this card is only meant for frequent travelers — infrequent travelers should go with a less expensive travel card.

It offers 3 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines, so you can earn points for practically any flight you need to take. The 2X point category is pretty broad for a travel card, including hotels, the ever-popular supermarket and gas categories, and restaurants. You’ll also be able to earn 25,000 bonus points, quite a nice perk. There’s also a yearly $100 airline fee credit and other benefits which will go a long way towards making up for the annual fee.

There’s no foreign transaction fee with this card, so you can use it to pay for your flights and then bring it along for expenses when traveling outside the country. You can also transfer points to a variety of frequent flier programs, which pairs nicely with the fact that you’ll earn 3X points when you purchase flights from them.

If you’re smart with this card, using it to earn 3 points per dollar, you’ll be able to earn up to 2.99% cash back when you redeem those points for flights and certain gift cards. And if you transfer those points to a frequent traveler service they can be even more valuable, reaching up past even 4% cash back.

Since this card has an annual fee of $195, you’ll need to spend a certain amount with it each year to make up for that. The cheapest way to do this is to spend nearly $3,400 on flights directly from airlines, which will earn you enough points to cover the fee. After that, your flight expenses and any other spending you do with the card will be all profit.

American Express is also known for their great customer service, so you’ll know you can get help if you have an issue of some kind. Overall, this card provides a nice set of rewards and benefits for the frequent traveler and can make your trips quite a bit more comfortable — as long as you’ll spend enough to cover the fee.

Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • You must be a frequent traveler to find this card worth the $195 annual fee, and that means spending at least $3,400 per year on flights or earning the points in a different way, and taking advantage of the extra benefits as well. If you’re in that spending range already this card could definitely save you some money and make your trips more enjoyable.
  • You probably don’t need more than one general-use travel rewards card with an annual fee in your wallet, because they tend to have similar benefits. Consider whether a travel card with more benefits and a higher annual fee or fewer benefits and a lower annual fee may be a better fit for you, depending on how much you travel.
  • This is a charge card, so you’ll need to pay your entire balance in full every month. Since you’ll need to spend a lot of money with it to make it worth the annual fee, be prepared to pay that much as you go.
  • Use the full $100 airline fee credit each year to offset the annual fee as much as possible. This will cover more than half of your annual fee each year if you can use it all. You’ll have to pick a particular airline each year to use this credit with, but you can switch every year.
  • You get a $75 credit and a potential room upgrade whenever you book two or more consecutive nights at hotels through the American Express Hotel Collection, so take advantage of this whenever possible to help offset the annual fee.
  • Transfer your Membership Rewards points earned with this card to a frequent traveler program to maximize their value, where they could be worth far more to you (especially when special offers are available). In some cases you can effectively get a value of over 4% cash back.
  • Usually it would make the most sense to use this card for your initial travel expenses on flights and hotel bookings, and use a regular reward credit card for other purchases, like gas, groceries, and at restaurants. However, if you don’t have another card to use you’ll still get 2 points per dollar for those purchases with this card, which isn’t too bad. You can also use it freely when traveling abroad because there’s no foreign transaction fee, but you’ll only earn 1 point per dollar for purchases outside the country.
  • This is a Chip-and-Signature card, so when traveling abroad you won’t be able to use it with terminals that only accept Chip-and-PIN. If you spend a lot in other countries, you may want to keep a Chip-and-PIN-compatible card in your wallet, too.

This card is in a strange place in the credit card market. There aren’t many similar cards offered by other major banks with annual fees in this range. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® has the same fee, but you have to be totally committed to Delta for that card so it’s not really in the same category. Many popular travel-focused rewards cards with an annual fee cost around $100 per year, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

On the other hand, there is a lot of competition among cards with higher annual fees in the $300-$600 range with more travel benefits, like the Platinum Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve. This isn’t to say there’s something undesirable about the Premier Rewards Gold card. If you travel often, it very well may be a great fit for you. However, depending on how much you travel, you may want to look at the other two ends of the travel card spectrum.

The Rewards

The Premier Rewards Gold Card can provide the equivalent of .5% – 2.99% cash back, depending on what you buy and how you redeem your points.

Earning Points

The rewards program makes it clear that this card is designed for people who spend a lot on airline tickets.

You can earn:

  • 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly through airlines
  • 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar at US gas stations, US supermarkets, and US restaurants
  • 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Signup Bonus: 25,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

As you can see, you’ll be able to earn a lot of points with the Premier Rewards Gold card. The fact that you can earn 3X points on flights, without being limited to a single airline or travel service, means that you’ll have a very wide variety of options when planning your travel. Depending on how and where you spend the most money, the rewards alone could go a long way toward making this card worth the annual fee.

The Premier Rewards Gold Card also comes with a lot of potential bonus points: if you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening the card, you’ll get 25,000 Membership Rewards Points. This is pretty easy to do if you’re planning a big trip and want to get this card to pay for it.

So, how much do need to spend to earn enough Membership Rewards points to offset the annual fee of $195? Well, you’ll get a $100 airline credit every year for incidental fees, like baggage, so that will offset most of the annual fee if you can manage to use it all. You’re left with just $95 worth of points to earn. It turns out that you’ll need to earn 10,000 points, which you can trade in for a value of up to $100 in gift cards and flight expenses through Amex Travel. This will cover the fee with $5 extra, making this a profitable card to use.

That means you’ll need to spend a minimum of $3,333.34 to earn those points, assuming you spend it entirely on flights booked directly through airlines where you’ll earn 3 points per dollar. This is the cheapest way to get 10,000 points because you’ll be earning the most points per dollar. Other purchases will only provide 1 or 2 points per dollar, so it would take more spending to earn the required points.

By spending $3,333.34 you’ll earn 10,000 points, the equivalent of up to $100 when redeemed for certain gift cards and flight expenses. This means that you’re effectively earning 2.99% cash back, as long as you only make purchases that will provide 3 points per dollar. On the very low end, if you only make purchases that provide 1 point per dollar and redeem them for their minimum value, you’d only get of .5% cash back. This is obviously not recommended.

Do you think you’ll spend at least $3,333.34 every year on flights? Will you use this card for related travel purchases as well, making it even easier to hit that threshold? If so, this card has the potential to put some cash back in your wallet and make your entire travel experience a bit easier and more enjoyable.

Now, we didn’t even mention the signup bonus of 25,000 reward points, which you can get by spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. That’s because the signup bonus shouldn’t be the main factor you use to determine if a card is right for you. Think about your spending habits and the number of reward points you’re likely to earn from purchases normally to figure out if it’s smart to use a particular card.

That being said, it shouldn’t be too hard to hit that $2,000 mark in 3 months if you use the card for a big trip, and focus on using it enough to meet that requirement. Those 25,000 points are the equivalent of $250 when you redeem them for flight expenses through Amex and certain gift cards, so that will cover your annual fee for a year, and then some! That’s a pretty great value.

There is another way to gain value from your Membership Rewards points: by converting them to points in a frequent traveler program. We’ll go over how to do that and how much value you might expect to gain below.

Redeeming Points

American Express offers a number of ways to redeem your Membership Rewards points, and the value of those points can vary widely depending on how they’re redeemed.

For example, the basic redemption method includes offers for flights, certain gift cards, and services like Uber that will provide 1 cent per point. But you’ll also find deals offering as low as .5 cents per point, like Ticketmaster, Telecharge, and basic American Express gift cards. When you redeem for statement credits, which will simply reduce your balance, you’ll get a value of .6 cents per point.

Finally, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to one of American Express’ partner’s frequent traveler programs. There’s a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring to US airlines, and no fee for other transfers. You can usually find the highest values per point when you redeem your points this way, so it’s worth exploring. Check out our examples below to see how you can profit by transferring your points.

It’s important to remember that you can earn Membership Rewards points in different ways, and certain ways will net you more cash back when you redeem (as explained in the Earning section above). But the most profitable ways to cash in your points are to use a redemption method where you’ll gain 1 cent per point, or to transfer them to a valuable frequent traveler program.

Below, we’ve collected a variety of ways to redeem your Membership Rewards points, all assuming you have 10,000 points to trade in. We show you some of your options, what your points will be worth, and the cash back range you’ll be getting. The lower end of the range is the value if you earned just 1 point per dollar, while the upper end of the range is the value if you earned the maximum of 3 points per dollar.

With these normal redemption methods, not including transfers to frequent traveler programs, the lowest you can earn is .5% cash back while the most you can earn is 2.99% cash back. If you have a mix of spending, you’ll be somewhere in between. With the frequent traveler programs the value of your points will vary widely, as shown below.

You can take some time to browse the full selection of Membership Rewards point redemption options to see everything they have to offer.

Travel

To redeem for travel expenses you’ll have a few options, with the most valuable being for airline flights. The main way is to redeem through American Express Travel, though there are a couple other travel services you can use as well. You’ll be able to redeem 10,000 points in the following ways.

Redemption Method Travel Service Redemption Value Point Value (in cents) Cash Back Equivalent
Find Flights Amex Travel $100 1.0 1.0% – 2.99%
Reserve Prepaid Hotels Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7% – 2.1%
Plan Vacations Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7% – 2.1%
Take Cruises Amex Travel $70 0.7 0.7% – 2.1%
Airbnb Bookings Airbnb $70 0.7 0.7% – 2.1%
Flights and Hotels on Expedia Expedia $70 0.7 0.7% – 2.1%

Gift Cards

For 10,000 points, you can get a gift card of up to $100 for a variety of merchants. Here are just a few.

Merchant Gift Card Redemption Value Point Value (in cents) Cash Back Equivalent
Barnes & Noble $100 1.0 1.0% – 2.99%
Chili’s® Grill & Bar $100 1.0 1.0% – 2.99%
Enterprise Rent-A-Car® $100 1.0 1.0% – 2.99%
P.F. Chang’s® $100 1.0 1.0% – 2.99%
Victoria’s Secret $100 1.0 1.0% – 2.99%
iTunes® $85 0.85 0.85% – 2.55%
Macy’s $85 0.85 0.85% – 2.55%
Delta Air Lines $70 0.7 0.7% – 2.1%
Hilton $70 0.7 0.7% – 2.1%
American Express Gift Card $50 0.5 0.5% – 1.5%

Point of Sale and Entertainment

You can use your points at checkout with the following merchants. 10,000 points will get you:

Merchant Gift Card Redemption Value Point Value (in cents) Cash Back Equivalent
New York City Taxis $100 1.0 1.0% – 2.99%
Uber $100 1.0 1.0% – 2.99%
Rite Aid $70 0.7 0.7% – 2.1%
AXS $50 0.5 0.5% – 1.5%
Telecharge $50 0.5 0.5% – 1.5%
Ticketmaster $50 0.5 0.5% – 1.5%

Transferring to Loyalty Programs

American Express will allow you to transfer your Membership Rewards points to quite a nice selection of frequent traveler programs, which cover several popular airlines and hotel chains. The Plenti program is included as well.

There’s a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring to US airlines, but there’s no charge for any other transfers. The typical conversion rate is 1:1, though you’ll also find a few different offers and occasional special deals where you’ll find a different rate. Different programs will allow you to transfer points in different increments, for example 250 points at a time or 1,000 points at a time.

Here, we’ve collected some of the most popular frequent traveler program, including their transfer rates and a point conversion example for each. These are all offers that were available at the time this review was written; be aware that the current offers may have changed. Afterword, you’ll find some real-world examples of point transfers to different programs.

Loyalty Program Type Transfer Rate You Give You Get
Asia Miles Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
British Airways Airline 1:1.4 1,000 1,400
Delta Air Lines Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Emirates Airline 1:1 1,000 1,000
Virgin America Airline  1:.5 1,000 500
Choice Privileges® Hotel 1:1 1,000 1,000
Hilton Honors™ Hotel 1:1.5 1,000 1,500
Starwood Preferred Guest Hotel 1:.33 1,000 333
Plenti Retail  1:1 1,000 1,000

Let’s go through some examples to illustrate the value of your points after you convert them to a frequent traveler program. Keep in mind that there are many factors that influence the price of flights and hotel rooms, including time of year, demand, availability, and special events. Airlines and hotel chains offer special deals and packages pretty frequently, which will also affect prices and point redemption values. While the following are actual real-world examples, the point transfer values you find for your flights and rooms may differ from what we show here.

Good Value — Delta Airlines SkyMiles

Say you and a fellow passenger want to take a nonstop Delta flight from the New York Laguardia Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On Monday, October 2nd, this would normally cost you $158.40 total, assuming you take the main cabin class. But what if you wanted to pay in Membership Rewards points, which you would transfer to Delta Skymiles?

According to Delta, you’ll need 11,000 Skymiles to pay for this particular trip, along with an extra $11.20 because you can only use miles in increments of 1,000 with Delta, so you need to pay a bit extra to cover the difference. Since Delta has a 1:1 point transfer, you’ll need to earn 11,000 Membership Rewards points. Using your Premier Rewards Gold Card, the most efficient way to earn those points is to spend $3,667 on flights directly from airlines, earning 3 points per dollar for a total of 11,001 — but let’s just call it 11,000.

Next, you’ll transfer those Membership Rewards points to Delta, and they’ll become 11,000 SkyMiles. Since there is a fee of $0.0006 per point transferred, you’ll be charged $6.60 for a transfer of this size. Now you can use your miles to pay for your flight.

To figure out the value of your miles, we subtract $11.20 from $158.40 to get the direct redemption value of 11,000 SkyMiles, which is $147.20. But we must also subtract the $6.60 fee you paid earlier, so we come to a total of $140.60. So for this particular flight 11,000 miles is equivalent to $140.60, meaning each mile is worth 1.28 cents.

So to sum it all up, you spend a total of $3,684.80 to earn those initial points, pay the redemption fee, and pay the remaining cost for the flight. For all that, you’ve earned a 2-passenger ticket valued at $158.40.

Overall, this particular deal provides the equivalent of 4.3% cash back. This is a great value, especially considering the most you can get through a normal Membership Rewards point redemption is 2.99% cash back.

Poor Value — Starwood Preferred Guest

One of the best ways to redeem hotel points in general and your Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points in particular is for free night stays. You’ll find a variety of these deals, depending on where and when you want to travel. SPG points are known as Starpoints.

For this example let’s imagine staying at the Sheraton Cerritos Hotel, in Cerritos, California. One basic night here in a standard room with two double beds will cost $195, for a total of $222 after all charges and taxes. This particular deal will cost 10,000 Starpoints before those charges and taxes, according to SPG. So, how much would you have to spend with your Premier Rewards Gold Card to pay for this using your Membership Rewards points?

The transfer rate for Membership Rewards points to Starpoints is 1:.33. Since you can only transfer in increments of 1,000 with SPG, you’ll need to trade in 31,000 Membership Rewards points to get 10,323 Starpoints.

The most efficient way to earn all those points is by purchasing flights directly from airlines, where you’ll earn 3 points per dollar. If you spend $10,334 in that way, you’ll earn your 31,000 points (with 2 extra). Remember, there is no fee when transferring to hotels, so this can save you a few bucks compared to airline mile transfers. Once you convert your Membership Rewards into Starpoints, you’ll be able to reserve your hotel room.

To figure out the value of your Starpoints, we can say that 10,000 Starpoints is equal to $195. This means that each Starpoint is worth 1.95 cents.

However, the full cost of the room was $222 with the extra charges and tax — that’s an extra $27 you’ll need to pay when you cash in those Starpoints for this room. So to sum everything up, you spend a total of $10,356 to earn a free room valued at $222.

Overall, this particular deal provides the equivalent of only 2.14% cash back. When it comes down to it you’re not getting a very good cash back value, especially when you compare it to the Delta example above where you’re getting twice as much cash back. Take note that even though your Starpoints here end up being worth more per point than the Delta SkyMiles above, making it seem like a good deal, the overall cash back equivalent is much less for the Starpoints.

The Benefits

This card offers a nice set of extra benefits that you can use to make traveling more enjoyable, and cheaper too. Keep track of them carefully, because some might end up saving you a nice chunk of cash. We’ve listed some of the most valuable benefits in the following sections, but there are also others to explore that could come in handy. You’ll find those linked below.

$100 Airline Fee Credit

If you’re able to use this full $100 credit each year, that will go a long way in covering the annual fee. However, there are some limitations to this credit. First of all, you must pick just one of the participating airlines where you want to apply the credit each year — you can’t split it up between airlines, but you can pick a different airline each year.

Also, this credit is only for incidental fees, like baggage, not for airfare itself. But with the price of flying with baggage what it is ($25 for the first bag with Delta, at the time of this writing) it shouldn’t be too hard to use up that credit if you fly several times per year.

Some other cards provide travel credits that are more flexible. For example, some issuers will automatically apply travel credits to any travel purchases, including airfare or train tickets, and do not restrict you to just one airline.

$75 Hotel Credits

American Express has their own travel booking site and partnerships with certain hotels, known as The Hotel Collection. Every time you book a minimum of two consecutive nights at one of these hotels through this service, you can get a $75 credit toward certain qualifying purchases at that hotel, like meals and spas. You’ll also get a room upgrade if possible.

If you’re able to use this $75 credit one or more times per year, it could go a long way toward covering the cost of your annual fee. This benefit is a little restricted, but you probably travel and stay in hotels a lot if you’re considering this card. So you might be able to adjust your plans a little to stay in one of these hotels (if you’re not already) and make the most of this credit.

Amex Offers

You’ll have access to discounts at a wide variety of merchants — there are 73 different offers available at the time of writing, and the selection changes now and then.

You just need to head to the Amex Offers program and click ‘Add to Card’ for the deals you want. Then, just use your card as you normally would to make a purchase with that merchant. Your savings will appear as a statement credit later on, reducing your account balance. You may or may not earn additional rewards at the regular rate — this will depend on the particular offer.

Many of the deals can be quite valuable, saving you from $5 up through more than $100 for some of them. For most of them, you’ll need to spend a certain amount to get a certain discount. Some of the current offers include:

Merchant Need to Spend Cash Back Maximum Savings
PuritansPride $30 $10 33.33%
Sling TV $15 $5 33.33%
Glasses.com $200 $50 25%
1-800-CONTACTS $200 $40 20%
MGM Resorts $250 $50 20%
Ray-Ban Sunglasses $175 $35 20%
Wine Enthusiast $250 $50 20%
Raymour & Flanigan $750 $115 15.33%
Dollar Shave Club $70 $5 7.14%

So, let’s go through an example. Say you want to take advantage of the offer with Wine Enthusiast, because you’re hosting a dinner party in a few weeks and you want to impress your guests. A fancy vintage from Italy or Napa Valley should do the trick.

First, find the offer from Wine Enthusiast by logging into your account online and scrolling to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find the ‘Amex Offers & Benefits’ section. When you find the offer in question, just click the button that says ‘Add to Card.’ This will activate the offer, and it will automatically be applied when you make an eligible purchase.

For this offer you’ll need to spend $250 to be eligible for the $50 cash back, so we’re not talking about grape juice here: you’re in the market for some high-quality wine. For this party let’s go with two different sampler packages, for a presentation that is sure to delight any wine snob. Two perfect candidates are the ‘Italian Titans 1/2 Case Gift Sampler,’ coming in at $159, and the ‘Pinot Perfection Gift Sampler,’ for a price of $107. That’s a total of $266, which means you’ll be eligible for this offer.

Since you’ve already activated the offer, all you need to do is checkout and pay with your Premier Rewards Gold Card. Since you’ve reached the $250 threshold, you’ll earn $50 cash back on your purchase, for a nice discount of over 18%. Your cash back will come in the form of a statement credit. In this example you would only be spending a total of $216, after you get your discount. You won’t earn regular Membership Rewards points on this particular purchase because it’s a special deal through Amex Offers.

Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed

If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through Amex Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference. You must submit your claim before the check-in date, and be sure to check your card details because some restrictions apply.

Free 2-Day Shipping and Returns

Cardholders will have access to free 2-day shipping and returns through the ShopRunner service. This benefit includes over 140 merchants and brands, which you can easily browse.

You must manually enroll in this benefit to make use of it.

Save 10% on Some Utilities

Occasionally you’ll be given the opportunity to save 10% on your cable, satellite TV, or cell phone bills. Just find the offer and click ‘Add to Card,’ and then use your card to pay for the utility as normal.

American Express Personal Loans

Cardholders have the opportunity to apply for a loan through American Express (but only if they have been pre-approved). Loans are offered from $3,500 to $25,000, with fixed interest rates from as low as 6.90% up to 19.97%.

Other Benefits and Perks

This card has quite a few other benefits which could come in quite useful to you. These include a variety of shopping and travel benefits, like purchase protection, a personalized travel service, travel and bag insurance, and premium roadside assistance. Check out the full range of benefits for the Premier Rewards Gold Card here.

The Costs & Fees

As would be expected on a mid-range travel-focused card like this, you won’t need to pay a foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S. This means you can use it to pay for your initial travel expenses to get you going, and then bring it along with you to make purchases no matter where you go.

This is a charge card, which means you must pay your entire balance each month, so you won’t find any interest rates here. However, American Express does offer a “Pay Over Time” feature to some customers on some of their charge cards. This feature allows the cardholder to pay off certain charges over time for a fee, so it behaves more like a credit card.

So, as long as you’re paying off your balance in full and on time each month, the only expense you’ll need to pay for this card is the annual fee.

Annual Fee Regular APR for Purchases Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 for the first year, then $195 N/A 0%
Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Up to $38 or 2.99%, whichever is greater Up to $38

The Bottom Line

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is a pretty rewarding mid-range travel card, offering a good overall value for the $195 annual fee. Remember that this card is for frequent travelers, who consistently spend over $3,000 per year on flights and can make those purchases directly from the airlines. If you travel enough and spend enough, this card will help you profit; if you don’t spend enough, it could end up costing you money instead.

Would this card fit nicely into your shopping habits, and your lifestyle? When you read through the benefits, did you think “hey, I could use that?” If so, examine your spending: would you earn enough points every year to offset the annual fee? Although you can get a nice signup point bonus, you still want to make sure this card is a smart long term investment.

There are a lot of features to this card, so be sure to explore it thoroughly. Don’t forget that this is a charge card, so you’ll need to pay your entire balance in full each month. You won’t have the option to revolve a balance like a credit card, unless Amex decides to offer you the “Pay Over Time” feature. However, we recommend that you always avoid interest entirely by paying off your balance in full.

Is this the card for you, or are you still not sure? Take a look below, where we compare the Premier Rewards Gold to some of its closest competitors. You might find exactly what you’re looking for.

How to Apply for the Premier Rewards Gold Card

You can apply for this card by submitting an application to American Express. It’s designed for people with excellent credit, so if your credit is not great you probably don’t have a good chance of getting approved. You can also check to see if you’re pre-qualified for any credit cards from American Express, which may get you a better offer.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
Apply Now

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • 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.

Alternatives to the Premier Rewards Gold Card

There are a few other cards that you might want to check out if you’re looking at this card:

Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express (Review) has an annual fee of $550, which is much higher than this card, but it has the potential to earn many more points (5x instead of 2x or 3x) on airfare booked directly with airlines.

The Platinum Card comes with a $200 airline fee credit, which has the same use restrictions as the airline fee credit found on the Premier Rewards Gold Card, but is twice as big. The Platinum Card also comes with up to $200 in Uber credits per year, and a credit for the $100 application fee for Global Entry (or TSA PreCheck), which could save you lots of time at customs or TSA security lines if you travel frequently.

Additionally, if you spend a lot of time in airports, the Platinum Card may be worth the higher cost since it comes with access to many airport lounges around the world.

If you spend $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months you can earn an extra 60,000 Membership Rewards points, compared to 25,000 for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months with the Premier Rewards Gold Card. Since you can earn points at a 5X rate with this card, you’ll be able to get a value of 5% cash back when redeeming for flights, certain gift cards, and some other methods. This is quite a step up from the 2.99% you’ll get from the Premier Rewards Gold.

The Platinum Card is made of metal, unlike the Gold Card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred (Review) has a lower annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year.

It doesn’t come with any travel credits, but earns 2x points on travel and dining, so if you don’t spend enough on travel each year to make the Gold Card worth it, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be a good option for earning rewards. If you spend more on dining or travel not booked directly with an airline, this option could easily be better than the Gold Card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, which ends up being worth $625 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You’ll have the option to trade your points to frequent traveler programs, just like the Premier Rewards Gold card.

Also, when you redeem Ultimate Rewards points through Chase’s travel portal, you’ll get an extra 25% bonus. That means when you get 2 points per dollar you’ll effectively be earning 2.5% cash back.

This card is also made of metal, unlike the Gold Card.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite (Review) has an $89 annual fee, which is also waived the first year. It has a simple but effective rewards program, earning 2 points per dollar on all purchases with a 5% bonus every time you redeem. If you don’t spend enough on airfare to make the Gold Card worth it, and just want a card that will help you save money on travel through everyday spending, the Arrival Plus might be a better fit for you.

The Arrival Plus earns 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening the card, which is valued at $500 when redeemed for a statement credit. This means you’ll be earning 2% cash back on all your purchases when you redeem for statement credits, no matter what you’re buying.

This card is unique compared to the other cards listed here because it offers Chip-and-PIN technology in addition to Chip-and-Signature, which means it may be accepted in more places outside the U.S.

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred (Review) is a very different card than the others listed here because it’s a cash back card rather than a card that earns points. It has a lower annual fee of $95, making it easier to offset this cost.

If you spend a lot on groceries and gas, you probably found the supermarket and gas station categories pretty appealing. Consider, then, the Blue Cash Preferred. It gets a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, although that’s limited to the first $6,000 in purchases per year. It also earns 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. So with this card, it’s easy to understand exactly how much cash back you’ll be getting for any particular purchase.

Rather than an alternative, this card could complement your Premier Rewards Gold card pretty well. Just use the Premier Rewards Gold for all your travel expenses, and use the Blue Cash Preferred to get 6% and 3% back on purchases in those categories.

MasterCard® Titanium Card™

The MasterCard® Titanium Card™ (Review) is relatively new to the credit card market, and it’s the lowest-end card in the MasterCard Luxury Card family. It’s one of the only other cards available with an annual fee in the $150-$200 range, so let’s see how it compares.

First of all, the annual fee is the same as the Premium Rewards Gold Card at $195, but it’s not waived the first year. And, there’s no introductory opportunity to earn bonus points like there is with the Premium Rewards Gold Card.

The Titanium Card effectively earns 1% cash back on all purchases that are redeemed for statement credits, and 2% on purchases that are redeemed for airfare through the Luxury Card travel portal.

When redeeming points for statement credits, the value per point is higher with the Titanium Card than the Premier Rewards Gold card, but if you’re looking to get cash back in the form of statement credit there are better cards on the market for that. The Premier Rewards Gold, with the same annual fee, comes out ahead of the Titanium Card when earning points on airfare and redeeming them for flights or gift cards, or transferring them to a partner airline.

The Titanium Card is made of stainless steel, unlike the Premier Rewards Gold from American Express, but that’s probably not reason enough to get this card over it.

Read our comparison of the MasterCard® Titanium Card™, Gold Card™, and Black Card™, or an in-depth review of the MasterCard® Black Card™.

Do you use this card? How do you like it? Leave your review of the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for other travel credit cards? Check out our picks for the Best Travel Credit Cards.
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