New Premier Rewards Gold Card From American Express Benefits

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The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is one of the first cards I ever signed up for, and I’ve kept it ever since.

Back in the day the card was really unique, as it offered 3x points on airfare purchased with airlines, 2x points on gas purchased at US gas stations & groceries purchased at US supermarkets. In addition to that the card used to offer 15,000 Membership Rewards points for any year in which you spent $30,000 on the card.

In other words, $30,000 of airfare spend per year would net you 105,000 Membership Rewards points, which is a crazy good return.

Unfortunately since then a couple of things have changed which have decreased the value proposition of the card:

  • As of 2015, the annual 15,000 Membership Rewards point threshold bonus was eliminated, apparently because it was under-utilized
  • A lot of other compelling cards came into the market place:

Well, it looks like American Express will finally be making some changes to the Premier Rewards Gold Card to make it more competitive. So what are the changes?

Annual fee is increasing by $20

The new annual fee for the Premier Rewards Gold Card will be $195 effective June 1, 2015. The current annual fee is $175, so that represents an increase of $20 per year. Keep in mind that the annual fee is waived the first year, and that you can add up to five additional cards to the account at no additional cost.

$100 airline fee credit being added

The Premier Rewards Gold Card will offer a $100 airline fee credit as of June 1, 2015. That’s an important thing to note before getting too angry about the $20 hike in the annual fee.

Keep in mind that anecdotally American Express fee credits can often be used to purchase airline gift cards, so to me that’s “good as cash.”

Amex-Reimbursements
Airline gift card purchases often qualify towards the airline fee credit with American Express

I value that $100 fee credit at close to face value, so to me that basically knocks the annual fee down to $95 per year, for all practical purposes. Which is the same as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

Double points at restaurants

The Premier Rewards Gold Card will offer double points at restaurants starting June 1, 2015. This matches the double points offered for dining by the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi ThankYou Premier.

Restaurant-Bonus-Points
Soon you can earn double points at restaurants with the PRG Card

No foreign transaction fees

As of June 1, 2015, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card will no longer charge foreign transaction fees. This also puts them in line with the competition, and it’s an area where American Express has really been lagging, in my opinion.

TGV-Train-Brussels-Paris-02
Soon you can use the PRG Card abroad without paying foreign transaction fees

Bottom line

I think what American Express is doing here is brilliant. They’re basically offering very similar benefits to the mid-range Chase and Citi products, except they’re marketing it in a bit more premium of a way. Instead of having the annual fee be $95, they’re charging $100 more but also offering a $100 airline fee credit.

And I get why they’re doing that, because they don’t want to create too much overlap in their products, as the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has a $95 annual fee.

If you ask me, this is a pretty compelling card with the new benefits:

  • Receive triple points on airfare
  • Receive double points on gas, dining, and groceries
  • $195 annual fee, but you receive a $100 airline fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

This is one of the most comprehensive cards out there in terms of the category bonuses.

While I was about ready to dump the card given that they eliminated the threshold bonus last year, this is enough to make me hold onto the card.

How do you feel about the changes to the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express?

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Comments

  1. lucky –

    What do you think is the best AmEx product for lounge access and travel perks (points or miles) to get?

    I have the DELTA AmEx Reserve, but of course will lose my +1 SkyClub privileges March 1st.

    I want more lounge access for myself and wife plus travel benefits.

  2. Always wondered how they felt they could get away charging the foreign transaction fees when most of their competition did not. That’s a good change!

    I always saw this card as expensive (at $175) but agree that after $100 fee credit, it’s more in line with other cards now.

  3. will they retro active for people who had the card and sign up before this benefit goes into place ? also what about the business gold version ?

  4. Assuming these changes apply to the business version as well, this is very good news. I currently use this card almost exclusively for airfare, while I use other cards (mostly our Ink Bold) for everything else, especially since we travel overseas frequently. This change means I will use the AmEx on trips while eating out, and will now take it with me when traveling. Obviously one of AmEx’s main goals is to see their cards used more, and with these changes, that will be the effect.

  5. Lucky – Do you think the $100 airline fee credit will only apply to the account holder or will this benefit be extended to authorized users?

  6. “As of 2015, the annual 15,000 Membership Rewards point threshold bonus was eliminated, apparently because it was under-utilized”. Why would you eliminate a benefit just because it is under-utilized? Does it cost anything for them to keep it if someone uses it?

  7. @Daniel – “Always wondered how they felt they could get away charging the foreign transaction fees when most of their competition did not.”

    Because enough people used the card overseas for them to make $.

  8. @Santastico – “Why would you eliminate a benefit just because it is under-utilized?”

    If the goal of the benefit is to encourage use of the card, the goal of the benefit isn’t being met if people aren’t utilizing it.

  9. As much as I am happy about no f/t fees, that doesn’t change the fact that AMEX acceptance can be very hit or miss in many parts of the world. Not that it is ever advisable to travel overseas with just one card, but I would still be sure to also carry a Visa or Mastercard and good ole cash if I had this card.

  10. @ John DELTA — Well the only two options are the Amex Platinum and then the Delta co-brand products. The Amex Platinum is great for lounge access, though with Priority Pass and Delta you can’t bring in guests for free. You can at the American Express Centurion Lounges, though, which are awesome.

  11. are there decent signup bonuses for this personal card sometimes? I know the business version had 75k offers recently.

  12. I don’t see a reason to have CSP anymore. Restaurants 2x, airfare 3x and no FTF! not to mention bringing down the fee to compete with chase. We’ll played amex.

  13. @Rick CSP has way more bonus categories. Not just restaurants but all fast food and dining including Internet orders for delivery and carryout. Not just airfare but hotels, rental cars, and public transportation and car services.

  14. I agree, plus I find Chase points a bit easier to use than AMEX points, especially now with the Delta skypesos blues.

  15. I got targeted for a 50k points offer with this card two months ago. Was a nice surprise, and first time I was “targeted”. 🙂

  16. @Jason “CSP has way more bonus categories. Not just restaurants but all fast food and dining including Internet orders for delivery and carryout. Not just airfare but hotels, rental cars, and public transportation and car services.”

    Why do you assume fast food doesn’t get double points?

  17. Hi Lucky,

    Wonder if you knew, with the new benefit coming June 1, 2015, do we have to specify the airline to use the $100 airline fee credit (like Platinum does). Also if that fee includes cancelation fee?

    Thanks.

  18. @ Nat — Historically cancellation fees have typically counted towards the airline fee credit. Yes, you’ll have to designate an airline when the benefit kicks in.

  19. And the advantage of the AMEX Prem with it’s changes over the Citi Premier is?

  20. Hey Lucky!
    I was wondering if there are certain limited airlines you can pick to have designated or can you pick any airline you want? I would like to designate American Airlines if I do get this card. Thanks for letting me know and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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