Understanding the Premier Rewards Gold card (and American Express customer service)

The American Express Premier Rewards Gold card has been my “go to” card for quite a while now. I wrote about the benefits on TravelSort, and also mentioned here that it was replacing the Starwood American Express credit card in my wallet for the time being (though that’s an awesome card as well).

Basically, you earn three points per dollar spent on airfare, two points per dollar on gas and groceries, and one point per dollar on everything else. In addition to that, if you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, you earn an additional 15,000 Membership Rewards points. The card does come with a $175 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. That being said, for the benefits I get with the card, I’ll gladly pay the fee when I’m up for renewal in a few months.

But the earnings ratio above is only half of the equation. I’ve earned about 100,000 Membership Rewards points over the past year through non-spend means, and that’s not taking into account the 75,000 point sign-up bonus I received.

American Express customer service is also very, very generous, both in terms of the promotions they run, and in terms of honoring promotions for those not targeted if you act fast enough. For example, a while back I was offered 10,000 Membership Rewards points for downloading a toolbar, through which I didn’t even have to make a purchase.

Or just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about the potential to earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points for each authorized user you add to the card. The way these deals seem to surface is that someone makes a post on FlyerTalk with a four digit bonus ID, and then hundreds of people call Membership Rewards to have it applied to their account. As it turns out, this bonus was actually meant for cardmembers in Argentina, though American Express didn’t realize that for a while. Based on past experience, those that managed to register by phone or secure message through Membership Rewards should have this bonus honored. I know I made my purchases and am just waiting the 6-8 weeks for the points to post (or to call, if need be).

So I’m sure eventually they’ll get more strict, but in the meantime these opportunities are amazing, like earning 50,000 Membership Rewards points (which I value at $1,000) for a phone call.

While the current sign-up bonus is 10,000-15,000 points, they let you apply a bonus ID to a new card. So if you apply for the Premier Rewards Gold card under any current offer, you can send them a secure message requesting bonus ID 6661 be applied to your account, which will earn you 75,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $1,000 in the first three months of being a cardmember. Anecdotally, this card also seems to be very easy to be approved for — I rarely get instantly approved anymore, though was for this card.

If you’re an existing cardmember you can also log into your account online and refer someone for 10,000 Membership Rewards points.

Obviously I’d be thrilled if anyone would let me refer them, though I’ll throw something in there to sweeten the pot — I’ll send emails to those that let me refer them as soon as I hear of a “promotion” (I generally blog about it, but not all of them are “major” enough)Ā and I’ll be your personal secure message writer. How does that sound? šŸ˜‰

If anyone’s interested just email me your full name and email address to onemileatatime@hotmail.com and I’ll have an invite sent over.

Regardless, you can’t go wrong this card. I’ve earned well over 250,000 Membership Rewards points through this card over the past 10-or-so months, and I still use it everyday.

Comments

  1. Do you have the Platinum and the Gold AMEX? I have Plat now, thinking of downgrading upon renewal since I really do not take advantage of the Plat benefits enough… (Have not been a lounge once this year, still don’t know what to redeem by $200 airline credit for, etc.)

    Where do you value Hilton points? I recently received the AMEX HH Surpass card – 9 points per $$ at Hilton, 6 points per $$ Gas and groceries, 3 points per $ for everything else.

    This is a great earning ratio, of course then limited to redemptions at Hilton properties..

  2. Damn it! My churn date is today so at around 2am PST I applied for four cards, this being one of them. I was able to bump it using 6661 but if I’d known about the referral bonus I would have used you. Is it too late to call and say “a friend told me to sign up for this card, but he didn’t tell me he received a bonus for doing so and I’d like to make sure he gets it.”

    What info do I need (or you need from me) for this to work?

  3. @ Lark — I have the Premier Rewards Gold card and am just an additional cardholder on my dad’s Platinum card (I pay my portion of the annual fee and only use it for the lounge benefits, Global Entry fee waiver, etc.). For your $200 fee credit, consider buying airline gift cards in small increments. Can’t guarantee it’s still the case, but I was able to purchase four $50 American gift cards, and the fee was waived. The reimbursement seems to be triggered by transactions being small, as opposed to what they’re actually for.

    As far as Hilton points go, that’s a toughie. I tend to value them at around 0.6-0.8 cents each. Some people place a higher value on them, though that’s about my limit. So it’s definitely not a bad card, but not the best either, IMO.

  4. Thanks for the insights…

    I have not pulled the trigger on moving to the dAArkside yet – SFO is tough on AA elites – so I’ll go buy a $50 UA gift card and see what happens…

    I got the HH Surpass card with 40,000 pt sign up bonus and 2500 per stay for first 8 stays, so I am still glad I got it. I agree with you though – for daily spend I am thinking I can get better value elsewhere. (However, I will always use it for my Hilton stays at 9 points / $$.)

    Where is the next installment of your trip report? We’re waiting… šŸ™‚

    Take it easy,

    Lark

  5. Hi. I also signed up..got the bump bonus to 75K, the Insite 10K, the 40K for 4 users and am working to see if they will honor the 10K for 15 transactions they have noted…

    But I can’t seem to get $1000 value for 50K like you noted. Where did you get that figure? Can’t get it in gift certs or tranfers to Hilton, SPG or Hyatt. Are you getting your “value” from using them on an airline? 50K will give me two anytime tickets on United/Contintal. Not worth $1000. Maybe on a Milesaver 1st class ticket. Then yes.. I see the value. But I find I am going to get a better all around value with the Chase Sapphire preferred…

  6. @Kelly – Maximize the MR points with the transfer promotions frequently offered by BA and Delta. that should get you well over a $1,000 in value, even in coach.

  7. Bit off topic, but been reading quite a few of your trip reports, Lucky, and just now an old post about transferring amex points to SQ.

    You seem to bash SQ’s ground experience quite alot, saying that it doesn’t compete with LH, TG or even VA. Was wondering if you’d been to the Private Room in Singapore, cos that’s more of a comparison to LH’s FCT than simply the First Lounge….

  8. Just trying to confirm the proper sequence of events before I do this.

    1) As a current Amex Gold Card holder, I refer another person to get the card. If they’re approved, I get a 10K bonus. Do I need a code to get the bonus?

    2) The person I referred gets the card, then sends Amex a message with code 6661, asking for their 75K bonus miles once they spend 1K in 3 months.

    Is this all there is to it?!

  9. i want to refer someone to an amex gold but amex says there is no 10k bonus only for SPG biz card referal.Where do specifically I find this 10k memebership rewards referal?

  10. @ Kelly — That’s what I value their points at, given that I redeem for premium cabin redemptions. They recently had a 50% transfer bonus, so if you value Membership Rewards points at 2.0 cents each, that’s like valuing British Airways miles at 1.3 cents each. Business class to South American is only 80,000 miles in business class, and I value that at ~$1,000.

  11. @ Sean — A bit off topic? šŸ˜€

    I have been in the Private Room, and in my opinion it’s nothing special. At best, it puts them on the same level as British Airways when it comes to the ground experience. And to me there’s just no way they can compete with Lufthansa or Thai in that area.

  12. @ Peter — That’s correct, though the way to refer someone is by logging into your online account and sending a referral there.

    @ ashley — Log into your account summary and you should see a link there.

  13. Ben, love your blog and haven’t missed a trip report yet, definetely one of the best out there. my question is how long do you think they will run this 75,000pt promotion. amex always send their rsvp offer to me to sign up but i never did. i would love to refer you too thanks. paying off my tuition is always about 15k a year. thanks

  14. Lucky,

    There are two offers out there (that I know of): one for 10K and one for 15K. You even allude to that yourself in your post (“…the current sign-up bonus is 10,000-15,000 points…”). Which one is your referral for? And will either one work with the “bump” to 75K?

    I’ve been eyeing this card for a while now, but despite my excellent credit, I’m worried of being denied, because I already have a Platinum card, a Starwood, and a Starwood Business. Not sure if I should go for it…

  15. @ A. S. — As far as I know, the 15K offer has expired, so the referral is for the 10K promo. Either should work with the 75K bump.

  16. The LH FCT rocks! Until SQ drives me in a porsche on the tarmac and the driver literally walks me from the vehicle to the first class cabin, there is no comparison.

  17. Lucky,

    I just sent a secure message for the 75K bumpup, and got the following response:

    Dear xxx,

    While we appreciate your interest in the offer you mentioned, please understand that this is an offer only for solicited non-Cardmembers.

    I understand that this may be disappointing to you, but because many of our offers are targeted to specific types of Cardmembers, you can expect to see various promotions throughout the year for which you may be eligible.

    We continue to appreciate you as a Cardmember, and we strive to demonstrate this by providing the superior level of service that you deserve.

    Sincerely,

    Jitendra Punjabi
    Manager, Email Servicing Team
    American Express Interactive Services

  18. I just got that same message myself. I replied by telling them to cancel me, so we’ll see what happens.

  19. Tried bumping both via secure message and by phone using code 6939 and neither worked. Reps said that once a promotion code (in this case, for 10K) is entered it can’t be changed, CSR has no authority to change it.

  20. Any update on this promotion? I am considering applying for the card this week if it is still a good deal. Thanks!

  21. @ MillValleyMom — The card is still a great value in terms of the rate you can earn points, though getting the sign-up bonus “bumped” seems to be a thing of the past.

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