Why I’m Canceling The Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card

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One of the first cards I applied for when I was 18 was the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. It’s a fantastic, well rounded card, and I think for a lot of people it’s one of the best options out there. The card’s $195 annual fee hit my account last month, and I think it’s time I finally cancel the card.

Amex-PRG

Let me explain:

Why the Premier Rewards Gold Card is awesome

The Premier Rewards Gold Card offers four great bonus categories:

  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2x points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets

This card is extremely well rounded thanks to it offering bonus points on restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, and airfare. Furthermore, this card was generous before most other cards were, as it had bonus categories even a decade ago, when most other cards didn’t.

The card has a $195 annual fee (waived the first year), though it offers a $100 annual airline credit. In practice I’ve been able to use that airline credit towards buying American airlines gift cards, so I value that at pretty close to face value.

amex-reimbursement-2

Furthermore, keep in mind that the credit is based on a calendar year rather than a cardmember year, so before your first cardmember year is up you should receive two of these credits.

The point is, long term I view the “out of pocket” on this card as being $95 or so per year.

The EveryDay Preferred and Platinum Card changed the game

A few years ago, Amex introduced The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, which in many ways became a substitute for the Premier Rewards Gold Card. The card has a $95 annual fee, and offers the following bonus categories:

  • 3x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 2x points at US gas stations

On top of that, you earn a 50% points bonus when you use your card to make 30 or more transactions per billing cycle. Assuming you can make that many transactions, you’re earning:

  • 4.5x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 3x points at US gas stations
  • 1.5x points on other purchases

With the introduction of that card, I was going back and forth about whether or not it’s worth holding onto the Premier Rewards Gold Card for the potential to earn bonus points on dining and airfare. However, late last year The Platinum Card® from American Express introduced 5x points on airfare, which has been a huge new bonus category for me.

Furthermore, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers double points on dining, and the Reserve even offers triple points.

So I’m at a point where there’s not a single spend category anymore where the Premier Rewards Gold Card is the best option for me.

Amex-Cards

Bottom line

The Premier Rewards Gold Card has served me well for nearly a decade. The card offered big bonus categories at a time when most other cards didn’t. This is the first time the annual fee on the card has come due where I realize that there’s not a single spend category anymore where this card offers the best return for my purposes, largely due to the strength of the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card and Amex Platinum Card.

Has anyone else had the Premier Rewards Gold Card and decided it doesn’t make sense anymore?


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Comments

  1. Don’t forget the personal Platinum now also comes with free standard Amex Gold authorized users. That card offers 2x MR on restaurants (US restaurants only, but still) so if you have the Platinum card and the Everyday Preferred you can match or beat what you were earning the Premier Rewards Gold. I’ve already requested a free Gold authorized user in my name that will be added to my wallet for restaurant purchases.

  2. I was thinking about it but last quarter of 2016 they had a (targeted I think) spend bonus, double points for every 5k charge and paired with the small biz bonus it made for a nice end of year opportunity to generate a lot of points. Going to wait til the end of this year and see if it happens again.

  3. Completely agree with the logic… been thinking about getting one for the signup bonus (with minimal recurring spend over the first year) but since Amex cards are once per lifetime (and trying to get under Chase’s 5/24,) I’m not in a rush.

    In a weird way, the 5/24 policy might be deterring me from making a transaction that hurts the profitability of a primary competitor to Chase.

  4. @Mike
    Would adding yourself as an authorized user for the PRC prevent you from getting the $100 airline credit each year? Just curious.

  5. For big grocery spenders it’s easy to push through the $6000 2X(plus 20% for 20 swipes/month) on free Everyday Card.
    Add in some AMEX deals to the $100 airline credit and the PRG an easy keep at $195/yr. We usually MAKE a bit on this card.

  6. This is the exact same reason why I cancelled my Rewards Gold Card last month. Combined with Amex EveryDay Preferred and Platinum Card and Chase CSP, it just doesn’t make sense. They did offer me a retention bonus of a $100 statement credit but I didn’t bite.

  7. I picked up PRG a few years ago and I keep thinking about cancelling as I don’t use this card for any of those categories anymore. However with AMEX offers and the statement credit, I have more than paid for the annual fee each year. Granted this is just really a refund but nets out. I did use the Fine Hotels perk once and got a crazy upgrade in Sante Fe. I now have the Platinum so covered there. I suppose I will finally cancel if/when I run into the 4 charge card limit.

  8. Called up retention the other day trying to see what offers I would get before cancelling, nada. The rep attitude was that they see I have other cards such as the platinum and the everyday card that are still earning me points, so they were happy to cancel my premier card without any offers. Bye Felicia, cancelled my card on the spot.

  9. A question on The Business Gold card. Do you get the $100 airline credit? I’ve checked and can’t find anything on this. Thanks

  10. I got the AMEX Everyday Preferred last month. We spend a lot on groceries so its helps to get 4.5 points! We also LOVE the challenge about meeting 30 transactions a month. Its like a game every month and it makes it fun!

  11. I’ve had the card almost a year, so the fee is coming up. I’ve been considering going down to the Everyday Preferred for essentially the same logic (CSR not AMEX plat). I’ve gotten some decent bonuses out of the AMEX offers, so that’s really my only incentive to keep the card. Are the AMEX offers comparable for the Everyday Preferred?

  12. Before cancelling check out DoC post about upgrade offers on this card. Lucky you might get an offer to upgrade this card to the platinum card and get 75k points.

  13. PRG is a gateway card – If you just want one card to start out, it’s not a bad choice. However, once you’re accumulating multiple cards, it becomes redundant. Your post is completely spot-on, but I would remind everyone that it serves a great one-size-fits-all purpose.

  14. Lucky, isn’t this gonna take a bite out of your credit score since you’ve had it for a long time? Or it doesn’t matter with Amex as they usually backdate other cards to that year? I couldn’t seem to find a good answer to this anywhere. I asked because my wife has an old Blue Sky that she got in 2004 that I wanna get rid of as it’s taking up “space”. She already has 5 Amex credit cards, but it was her very first credit card ever.

  15. Ben – I’ve been considering a related but different question. I currently have both the personal Platinum and the OPEN Small Business Platinum. With the upcoming increase in fees, I’m planning on bailing out of the SBP (I need to keep the personal Platinum with additional cards for a variety of personal reasons).

    I don’t really want to drop the card entirely, because I’ve had it for 20 years, so it looks good on my credit.

    What would you downgrade a Small Business Platinum to?

  16. @ greg — Hmmm, depends what you’re looking for. The Business Gold Rewards Card has a lower annual fee and better spend bonuses, so might be a good option to consider.

  17. @ Dino — I have quite a few old cards, so I’m not too worried, personally. I don’t think it’s generally worth holding onto a card just for that, unless you don’t have a great credit score, and you only have one old card.

  18. @Dino: The card, even if closed, will show up on your credit report for 7 years before it drops off. I’d assume by then you will have enough credit history that it won’t make a substantial difference in score, if any difference.

  19. @Lucky & @AlexS, Thank you! Ya, her credit score is over 800 so I’m guessing closing it shouldn’t affect her score much.

  20. Meh Even with 6 figure monthly Amex spend, I barely get in 30 swipes a month. Cancelled the card soon after I got it a few years ago because far too much trouble than it was worth. Perhaps if you only carry one card and are very low spender, it might make sense.

    PRG has signifcant advantages – 2x unlimited at grocery. Far and away the biggest advantage is that it’s a charge card and doesn’t take up valuable credit card slots.

  21. Literally made this decision yesterday too. With EDP and now CSR, all airlines and meals will go on CSR and then all supermarket and non-bonus spend on EDP for 1.5-4.5x. With no lifestyle benefits, status levels, or other perks – it’s literally pointless. But so hard to let go, it was always my favorite card!

  22. The gold business card has a slightly different reward structure that lets you choose x3 points on one of several categories. And one of those is advertising and includes facebook ads. That’s been really amazing for me since my business expenses allow me to hit the cap on that bonus reward very quickly.

  23. I’ve had my Amex Gold for decades. I switched it to PRG a few years ago. For me it’s hard to let go for the intangible not point earning reasons. I have had many ridiculous billing issues with vendors over those decades and they have been hassle free to me because amex went after those vendors with a vengence every time (for example, I had a massage appointment at mandalay once and the hotel said my appt was for sat and I said no it was sun. The hotel charged my card a $100 fee and would not relent. Amex asked them for proof of their claim and the hotel could not prove it so amex dismissed the charges. This is one of about a half dozen issues like it). So that’s worth it for me. Some of the other benefits (granted you may also find them with other cards) that I use is roadside assist instead of AAA membership so thats worth $50 to me. Amex’s 90 day replacement guarantee is a nice to have and I have used their price assurance many times as well. Add to it, their amex rewards is pretty nice though I would assume the everyday card also offers that. However, I have used the gold card to get incredible seats to concerts, sporting events and theater many many times even shows that are sold out, I have been able to get orchestra center (for a handsome price of course but the point is I had access).

  24. Unlike most, I’m considering returning to the AMEX Gold Rewards card from my current Platinum card. I see absolutely no value to paying $550 for $200 of Uber credits ($15 per 11 months, and $35 for December). Really?!

  25. Lucky, I have seen no mention of the Amex Blue for business? Yes, the 10X for restaurants goes away after spending $2K but all in getting 11.3X in restaurants and 2.3X on all other spend seem to make it more valuable than most. BTW my wife & I spend a lot on restaurants outside the US & the Amex gold 2X bonus is for US only. The CSR is my major travel card with 90% of my spend when traveling outside the US and even traveling in US. I have cut back on using the EDP because of the Blue but my wife uses her EDP at home 30+ times a billing period. These are the three current hot cards for us, CSR, EDP & Blue along with Hyatt when staying at HYATT’s & AS for nearly all US air travel as our paid US air is almost entirely on AS. Thoughts?

  26. It’s almost creepy reading this because it sounds as though I wrote it myself.
    I literally closed my gold account last week and signed up for everyday preferred instead for the same reasons. The rewards just weren’t worth it the annual and 6% cash back on my groceries is

  27. I’ll be doing the same once i see a decent bonus for the everyday preferred. I spend a lot on groceries and the rest on dining, travel, and Amazon. The CSR has better points bonuses for travel and other perks for about the same price and EDP is better for groceries, so I don’t really have a reason to keep the PRG.

  28. Chase Sapphire Resever is really a 4.5% travel and dining card. Easy-to-use travel credit. Transfer partners 1:1 ratio. No charge. Free primary car rental insurance. Book every thing yourself from any site. Visa accepted everywhere. Why people want American Express Platinum?

  29. @Mark @Lucky

    I was informed by AMEX that adding a Gold Card as an authorized user to a Platinum account would still earn points the at the Platinum Card rate. Among other things, this means a no-go on 2x points for US restaurants. Have you also heard this, or was the agent I spoke with misinformed?

  30. I also was told that via chat that the additional Gold cards would not earn the 2x for US Restaurants. I added myself and then my wife as additional users under my Platinum account (Gold Cards), as well as was upgraded to the Preferred from my EveryDay. I will see what the result is after I get them, and if push comes to shove, I too, may cancel my PRG account as the AF is due this month. I already cashed out the 100 airline fee for the year, and not sure how the 2x US Restaurants will be missed.

  31. I came to the same conclusion. The PRG is obsolete! The only reason I’m holding onto it is because of my SCRA benefits with Amex, but this card is past due for an update. Even just 3x on gas could make it relevant again.

  32. @Ron C: For the 5x points on airfare and lounge access. The CSR is great for points but doesn’t have the same amount of perks.

  33. This post was a while back but I’m going to tell my horror story with amex and why I’m cancelling both my platinum and PGR in a couple of months when my yearly fee post. I first applied for the PGR on July 2015 i got the 50k bonus point offer in the mail so i went ahead and applied. I started to get into the miles/points game and decided to get the Ameriprise platinum card a couple of months after my PGR. for more than 2 years i had been a loyal amex user and don’t get me wrong i have gotten a tremendous value out of my cards, the first year i got both cards for no fee and with the $200 and $100 yearly airline credit; that first cycle year i got $600 worth of AA gift cards. I added 3 family members to my Ameriprise Platinum card for free for the first year and they all got global entry for free and this year when amex added the free gold card another family member got the global entry for free. Last year when the fee was due they offered me to cover the fees for both my cards. Since 2015 i have been able to get out of the cards a total of more than $1400 dollars ($900 in airline credits and $500 in Global Entry fees along with the new Uber credit that I’ve used since it came out) not including the times I’ve spent at the centurion lounge and other lounges with priority pass. Along with those cards i also got the Amex everyday card a while back and my initial credit limit was $10k. Following the amex CLI i got my card up to $30k in credit limit. I have never ever even been close to utilize my credit limit. My history with amex is immaculate. I never missed a payment in my accounts and through out all my cards I’ve spent well over $200K with them in 2 years. a couple of month ago i made a 3000 dollar purchase on eBay(PayPal) with my platinum, card(i had done similar transactions in the past countless times) and a couple of days later all my accounts were blocked. Yes, I got the famous Financial Review everyone is scared off. Before getting it myself i was not even aware anything like this existed. So i called amex and if your not familiar with a FR your account is handled by the same FR specialist so that person is the only one you are going to speak to until the matters are resolved. I was told that because i made that PayPal purchase my account was flagged by the system. The representative handling my case reviewed my history with amex and saw it was perfect so she told me that she was only going to require from me the 2 previous months bank statements that i use to pay my cards and that I should not worry, that my cards would be reinstated shortly. My account linked to my amex account is not my primary checking account (i never have high balances in that account) and she told me that i could only use the account linked with my amex account. Me being naive and a stranger to anything regarding a FR(it was my fault for not researching what to do while getting a FR at the moment) I went ahead and sent my statements. In that account i had roughly $50k (don’t remember the exact number at this moment) and i had no balances on my amex cards or other credit cards for that matter at the moment. The next day i woke up with all my accounts reinstated but with a HUGE surprise. My platinum got a $5000 limit my PGR had a $4000 limit and what was worse for me, my Amex everyday card limit had been reduced from 30,000 to $3,100. You can imagine what i felt at the moment. I called multiple times to try and resolve the matter asking if i could send a statement of my primary checking account with a lot more liquidity than the one i use to pay my cards with no success. I called maybe 6-5 times and every time i was told the same thing, “since the FR is closed nothing can be done and your accounts will begin to be monitored for a reconsideration in 6-12 months but we can’t promise an exact date”. After this experience I decided to pull the trigger and get myself some chase cards which are now my primary cards and will no longer do any business with amex other than using the 200k MR points that i currently have but they are safe since i will not cancel my Amex everyday card (no annual fee). I know the post is long but i hope my story helps someone. Amex is not a bad company but they can be a$@#holes to say the least.

  34. Hi, Im from Spain and there is this offer to sign up for a Gold American Express card without paying fee the first year. My friend gave me his link so he is rewarded with 10K points for himself. If I sign up, can I cancel my registration after one day without any charges?

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