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Overnight American Express announced two exciting new credit card products, both of which will launch on April 2, 2014. What’s awesome about these cards is that they’ll accrue Membership Rewards points, which I consider to be an extremely valuable points currency.
The basic details of the cards are as follows:
- Annual fee: $0
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 within three months
- Earnings rates: 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, for up to $6,000 per year of spend; 1x Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on everything else
- Spending bonus: If you use the card to make 20 or more purchases during a billing cycle you get 20% extra points on all those purchases
- Annual fee: $95
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 within three months
- Earnings rates: 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, for up to $6,000 per year of spend; 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. standalone gas stations; 1x Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on everything else
- Spending bonus: If you use the card to make 30 or more purchases during a billing cycle you get 50% extra points on all those purchases
As a point of comparison, the two other major cards earning Membership Rewards points come with the following benefits:
- Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195
- Sign-up bonus: 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within 90 days
- Earnings rates: 3x Membership Rewards points on airfare purchased directly with airlines; 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; 1x Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on everything else
- Annual fee: $450
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months (there’s also the Mercedes Benz Platinum Card from American Express version of the card with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus)
- Earnings rates: 1x Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on everything
- Other benefits: a $200 annual airline fee credit, lounge access with Delta and Priority Pass, Global Entry fee waiver, access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, etc.
My thoughts on the new Everyday and Everyday Preferred Cards
I’m thrilled to see a new card that accrues Membership Rewards points. While I like the Premier Rewards Gold Card and Platinum Card, I feel like American Express was missing out on a big part of the market. The Premier Rewards Gold Card is extremely rewarding though has a high annual fee, especially for a card with foreign transaction fees. Meanwhile the Platinum Card comes with great benefits, but there’s no reason to actually put any spend on the card, given that you just earn a straight point per dollar for all spend.
It’s great to have a no annual fee card that that accrues Membership Rewards points, and it’s awesome that there’s even a category bonus beyond that. You earn double points for supermarket purchases, and if you make 20 purchases in a billing cycle you’re really earning 1.2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent, and 2.4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at supermarkets.
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card also has the potential to be extremely valuable. You’re earning three points per dollar at supermarkets and two points per dollar at gas stations, plus you get a 50% bonus when you make 30 purchases in a billing cycle. That means you’re earning 4.5 points per dollar spent at supermarkets, 3.0 points per dollar spent at gas stations, and 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything else. That’s a pretty good return for a card with a $95 annual fee.
The Everyday Preferred Card is clearly intended to compete with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers double points on dining and travel and no foreign transaction fees. The annual fees on both cards are the same, at $95.
Oddly enough the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and American Express Everyday Preferred Cards are actually great complements. Between the two cards you can earn bonus points on dining, travel, gas stations, and grocery stores, plus have waived foreign transaction fees (through the Chase Sapphire Preferred). So it’s funny that American Express has created a competing product that’s actually kind of a complement to another one of my favorite cards out there which I don’t think is a bad thing necessarily, since it will shift some of my spend back to American Express.
What do you think of the new American Express Everyday and American Express Everyday Preferred Cards? Which one interests you more?