Why You Might Not Want To Use Premier Rewards Gold Card From American Express For International Purchases

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On June 1, 2015, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express underwent a fantastic refresh, whereby several aspects of the card were changed:

  • A $100 annual airline fee credit was added
  • The card now offers double points at US restaurants
  • The card no longer has foreign transaction fees
  • The annual fee increased by $20 per year

AmEx-PRG

These are very exciting changes, and once again make the card much more competitive with the comparable offerings from Chase and Citi, namely the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

The fact that the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express no longer has foreign transaction fees is awesome news, since it makes it a much more competitive product for those traveling internationally with any frequency.

But there are a couple of important things to note about the category bonuses on the card, which I think many accidentally overlook. The card offers:

  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines (both US and international)
  • 2X points at US gas stations, US restaurants, and US supermarkets

Keeping in mind the category bonuses now being offered on the AmEx PRG, as well as the waived foreign transaction fees, here’s how my spend patterns have and haven’t changed on the card as a result of the refresh:

Air-Canada-Purchase

Bottom line

Admittedly this is a minor distinction, though I do think it’s worth making, because I had a reader email me last week asking why he didn’t earn double points on his AmEx PRG when dining abroad.

The refreshed Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is awesome, as I’m now putting all my airfare spend — both domestic and international — on the card. That being said, be sure you know the “fine print” of the other category bonuses before changing your spend patterns too much.

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Comments

  1. I have both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card but I put all of my airfare on the CSP rather than the PRG. I’ve found customer service and reimbursement for delayed travel better with Chase than with AMEX and to me that is worth more than an extra point per dollar.

    Also, I use the CSP for taxes/fees on award tickets because the CSP delayed/canceled flight coverage is provided even if you only pay the taxes with it, which is not true for the PRG or most other cards.

  2. @Lucky,

    My Amex PRG membership renewal is up this month. I was able to get the $100 travel credit earlier this month as well, and when I read my billing statement, I was only changed $175 for the membership fee instead of $195. Not sure why the increased annual fee didn’t take affect even though the new benefits did. Not that I’m complaining! 😉

    John

  3. Great points all around. I usually pay my award taxes and fees with my Barclay Arrival+ due to the ability to be reI’m bused for them later. How does their delayed/cancelled flight coverage compare with CSP’s?

  4. Chase Sapphire provides 2x on foreign restaurants, I believe. Good to know the Gold card does not. I have the Amex biz good, which has lost value relatice to the personal card this month.

  5. Amex is losing this battle.
    Gold card is mostly useless after you get the bonus in year 1. The only benefit that’s better than comparable cards is 3x airlines. How many people reading your blog book high value revenue tickets?
    2x groceries is pretty weak too. There are many other cards for grocery spend.

    TYP/CSP seem superior. My preference is towards CSP because what mwwalk.

  6. @qasr, it may be that Lucky values the MR partners more than the Citi TYP partners. Though there are a couple that they share (at least Asia Miles and Singapore).

  7. mwwalk – thank you for those data points – have CSP and was considering AmEx Gold but I’m not going to bother if CSP service and interruption is better

  8. @ qasr — I simply value Membership Rewards points more than ThankYou Rewards points. I’d say I value them at 1.8 and 1.6 cents, respectively. For TYP the only “really” useful partner is KrisFlyer, or you can redeem for travel on American at 1.6 cents each. However, for MR you have KrisFlyer, Executive Club, Aeroplan, ANA, SkyMiles, etc., all of which are useful under certain circumstances, in my opinion. They also sometimes have transfer bonuses.

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