Review of the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and American Express® Gold Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

May 31, 2016 | Updated Jun 27, 2016

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American Express offers this pair of travel-oriented reward charge cards, the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and the American Express® Gold Card.

The Premier Rewards card is the upgraded version of the Gold card. They both offer points for travel purchases, but you’ll get more points in more categories, along with a signup bonus, with the Premier Rewards.

These are both charge cards, not credit cards – this means that you’ll need to pay your balance in full every month, so there’s no interest to worry about.

Both of these cards have annual fees which are a bit high (though they’re waived for the first year), but if you travel enough and make use of the benefits they could definitely be worth the cost.

Keep reading to learn more about these cards, and how they could help you save money on flights around and outside the country.

Insider Tip: Looking for travel credit cards, instead of charge cards? Check out the Best Travel Credit Cards – 2016.

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

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 in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X points for flights booked with airlines.
  • Earn 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • New: There are no foreign transaction fees with yourPremier Rewards Gold Card.
  • New: $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year for incidental fees with your selected airline.
  • 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 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

American Express® Gold Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $160
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Paid in Full Monthly
Quick Card Facts
  • Access to Exclusive Benefits: Baggage Insurance Plan* when you travel, and shop with confidence with Extended Warranty* and Return Protection
  • Use points for gift cards for dining, entertainment, and shopping at over 300 merchants
  • Get discounts and low rates at hotels and resorts, plus a $75 hotel credit when you book through Gold Hotel Collection
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $125
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply

The Rewards

As you can see, you’ll get quite a bit more out of the Premier Rewards version of the Gold card. Not only is it useful while traveling, including an extra gas category, it’s also good to use at home for groceries.

You can redeem your points to pay for travel expenses, or transfer them to a frequent flyer program of your choice for a cost of $0.0006 per point.

Premier Rewards Gold Card

  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly through airlines
  • 2 points per dollar at gas stations, US supermarkets, and US restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 25,000 reward points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

Gold Card

  • 2 points per dollar on flights booked directly through airlines and US restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

The Benefits

Both of these cards offer a nice set of extra benefits that you can use to make traveling more enjoyable, and cheaper too.

The benefits for both cards are nearly the same. The only difference is that the regular Gold card doesn’t offer the $100 airline fee credit.

Perks

  • Room Upgrade & $75 Hotel Credit

    On eligible dining, spa or resort activities when you stay a minimum of two consecutive nights and spend at least $75.

  • $100 Airline Fee Credit

    Each year you’ll get a $100 statement credit to pay for incidental fees at the airline of your choice, including checked bags, in-flight refreshments, flight-change fees, airport lounge day-passes and more.

  • Amex Offers

    Get exclusive savings on dining, travel, entertainment, and other purchases.

  • American Express® Preferred Seating

    Access to premium seats at certain sports and cultural events.

  • Entertainment Access

    Discounts to card member-only events, concerts, sporting events, and shows.

Security

  • Dispute Resolution

    Help dealing with fraudulent transactions.

  • Zero Liability Protection

    You won’t be held liable for fraudulent transactions (contact customer service immediately).

Shopping

  • Extended Warranty

    For warranties of 5 years or less you can get up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Purchase Protection

    Items purchased with your card are protected against accidental damage and theft within 90 days of the purchase.

  • Return Protection

    If you can’t return an eligible item within 90 days from the date of purchase, American Express may refund the purchase price up to $300 per item, up to $1,000 per year.

Travel

  • Personalized Travel Service

    Includes assistance with finding destinations, making reservations at hotels and for travel, and planning for cruises and tours.

  • Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee

    If you book an eligible hotel through amextravel.com and find the same offer at a lower price elsewhere, you can be refunded the difference.

  • Global Assist® Hotline

    When you travel 100 miles or more from home you can get help with travel accidents such as a lost passport, the need for a lawyer, sudden illness, and more. You pay for all third-party service costs.

  • Travel Accident Insurance

    Added financial security if a death is caused when traveling by plane, train, ship, or bus.

  • Baggage Insurance Plan

    When traveling by common carrier, provides coverage for both checked ($500) and carry-on bags ($1,250).

  • Premium Roadside Assistance

    Provides free access to a variety of emergency auto services 4 times per year, including towing, tire change, and lockout services.

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

    Provides coverage for stolen or damaged vehicles, as long as you decline the rental company’s own insurance. Provides secondary coverage only, not liability coverage.

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Regular APR for Purchases Foreign Transaction Fee
Premier Rewards Gold Card $0 for the first year, then $195 N/A 0%
Gold Card $0 the first year, then $160 N/A 0%
Card Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Premier Rewards Gold Card Up to $38 or 2.99%, whichever is greater Up to $38
Gold Card Up to $38 or 2.99%, whichever is greater Up to $38

These are both charge cards, so you won’t find any interest rates here. You’ll need to pay off your entire balance in full every month.

The only fees on these cards are the annual fee and the late/returned payment fees. You won’t need to pay a foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the country with either 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 these cards is the annual fee (and that should be offset by the points and benefits you get).

Insider Tip: You may be able to get the annual fees on these cards waived after they kick in. Just call customer service and ask nicely to have it waived, explaining that you’ve been a good, responsible customer for some time. Or, if you’re thinking of canceling the card, you can let them know that you’d consider staying with them if they waive the fee. In some cases they may offer a different incentive, like bonus points.

And if you’re in the military on active duty, you can submit an online request for SCRA benefits, which will probably include having the annual fee waived.

The Bottom Line

The American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and the American Express Gold Card are both good travel charge cards, though it should be pretty obvious which one is better.

The Premier Rewards Gold card is only $35 more per year but it has much better rewards, offering 3 points per dollar for travel and including the supermarket category. You’ll also get the 25,000 bonus points and $100 airline fee credit, which would go a long way towards paying for the annual fee.

Think about your traveling and spending habits. Based on how much money you spend, would you earn enough points to make one of these cards worth it? Just remember to take advantage of your extra benefits whenever possible.

You’ll never have interest to pay, because you need to pay off your balance in full each month. So the annual fee should be the only cost for these cards, making them fairly cheap overall compared to a credit card that you’re paying interest on.

We gave the Premier Rewards Card 5 out of 5 Stars because it’s a great offer for the fee, letting you earn a good amount of points in quite a few categories. The extra benefits are pretty good too, giving you more ways to save money and make your traveling more enjoyable.

We gave the regular Gold Card 3 out of 5 Stars because it has a pretty high annual fee (only $35 less than the Premier Rewards) but doesn’t offer the same level of rewards, and it’s missing two valuable features: the 25,000 bonus points and the $100 airline fee credit. This makes it much less valuable than the Premier Rewards, as well as other travel cards, but for almost the same cost.

Do you use one of these cards? How do you like it? Click here to leave your own review of the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, or click here to leave a review of the American Express Gold Card, we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for other good charge cards? Then check out our picks for the Best Charge Cards – 2016!
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