Is The Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card Worth It?

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The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is one of Amex’s more well rounded travel rewards credit cards. View from the Wing suggests that this is “the most underappreciated credit card in America,” that it’s in the top 15% of cards out there, and that it isn’t talked about a lot.

I agree it’s not talked about a lot, and I suspect it’s also in the top 15% of credit cards (probably even better than that, because there are a lot of really bad credit cards out there), but is the card really underappreciated? I have a slightly different take than Gary.

The basics of the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express has a $195 annual fee (waived for the first 12 months), and offers pretty well rounded rewards — specifically, it offers 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations. There’s no limit to how many bonus points you can earn in those categories.

The card’s welcome bonus is 25,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first three months.

While the card has a $195 annual fee after the first year, it also offers a $100 annual airline fee credit. This can be used towards the cost of fees and incidentals on a designated airline. Assuming you can get full value out of that, it means your real “out of pocket” on the card is $95 per year (you pay the $195 annual fee, and you can potentially recover $100). Assuming you value the $100 credit at face value, then this card has a comparable cost to the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

How the Premier Rewards Gold Card has been outdone

I used to have the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, and finally canceled it last year. This is a card I had for years, and one that I found to be incredibly rewarding. But the problem is that so many other credit cards have upped their game, while this card mostly hasn’t. The Premier Rewards Gold Card went from one that I considered to be “best in class,” to one that no longer had any best in class bonus categories. In the case of my credit card portfolio:

I recognize I have way more credit cards than most, but for me this card went from one that was best in class in several categories, to one that I can’t justify putting spend on in any category.

Is this a good option for someone who just wants one card?

I think the argument in favor of the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is that it’s really well rounded. While it might not be best in any particular category, is this a good option for someone who just wants one card that’s useful across a lot of categories? Yes and no. Generally I think if you’re getting a travel rewards credit card, you want a card that’s well rounded for those who travel with some frequency. In the case of this card:

  • The card only offers bonus points on restaurants in the US, while other cards offer bonus points on restaurants abroad
  • While American Express is improving in this regard, generally they don’t have the global acceptance of other issuers, so this isn’t ideal as your “go to” card for international travel
  • The card doesn’t offer any sort of useful travel or car rental coverage

For a premium travel rewards credit card, those are all things I would be looking for. So if you do travel with any frequency, I think something like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card would still be useful to have, given the travel and car rental coverage, bonus points on dining and travel purchases, etc.

If you have one of those cards and want an Amex to complement it, I think the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express would be a much better complement, as you’d earn a lot more points at US supermarkets, US gas stations, and on everyday spend, which can go along nicely with the bonus points you earn on dining and travel with other cards.

The card I think is underrated

Gary thinks the Premier Rewards Gold Card is underappreciated, though I think the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is underappreciated. Why?

  • The card has a big welcome bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within the first three months
  • The card’s $95 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months
  • The card offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment
  • In addition to having lots of transfer partners, points on this card can also be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase (with the Premier Rewards Gold Card you can just redeem them for one cent each)
  • The card is a Mastercard, so has better global acceptance, and it also has solid travel protection

Bottom line

There’s no denying that the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is a well rounded rewards card with useful bonus categories. While the card has a high $195 annual fee, it offers a $100 airline fee credit that helps offset it.

However, I think in many ways this card hasn’t kept up with the times. Between the restrictions on bonus categories being US-only, the lack of travel and car rental coverage, the not-great welcome bonus, and the general improvement we’ve seen on other cards, I think the market for which the Premier Rewards Gold Card makes sense has shrunk quite a bit.

What do you guys think about the Premier Rewards Gold Card — is it worth it, and if so, for what kind of consumer?

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Comments

  1. “Is the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card worth it?”

    There’s a general rule in journalism that, when the headline is a question, the short answer is always “no”.

  2. thanks for this post. once i was targeted through the card match tool for a 50000 point bonus but decided not to sign up as i am trying to get under 5/24. ill probably stay away from it still.

  3. For me, this card is a “stepping stone” card. I just turned 20 last month so haven’t been able to have credit cards for very long, and am still building up my portfolio (Trying to manage 5/24, prioritizing applications for cards with bonuses for categories that I spend a lot in, while being sure not to apply for so many that I can’t meet the spend requirements for all the cards I open.) as well as my credit history. I got the PRG back in March and it’s what I use for restaurant and airline ticket purchases. I’m happy with the card although I doubt I’ll still have it 4-5 years from now when I move up to cards like the Platinum and/or Sapphire Reserve.

  4. You can use the Baidu trick to sometimes get the 50k/$2k PRG under offers, by the way. That said, I do agree that the EveryDay Preferred is a much more attractive card for everyday use (almost like they had that in mind when naming it!). 🙂

  5. 2nd on the 50,000 sign up offer after only $1,000 in spend. This offer seems pretty ubiquitous and makes the card that much more compelling. That’s only 10K MR points less than the Platinum signup for 20% of the spend. Plus in my experience this card has access to most of the awesome “Amex Offers” Platinum card holders do.

  6. Frankly, I think Amex travel cards, in general, are *over*-estimated.

    Look, Amex Platinum still doesn’t offer comparable travel coverage to Chase Preferred. Imagine that: you have better perks from a cheaper card.

    That aside, I feel like that Amex way really doesn’t scream “luxury.” To my ears, “luxury” means that customers don’t need to worry about the details, and that ambiguity always benefits the customers (think about a luxurious hotel: the hotel should take care of all little things for you).

    However, Amex does the reverse. The $200 cashback is such a chore to look into (as opposed to how Chase does it). The points are earned in very very specific type of expenses (again, as opposed to how Chase and Citi grant points: much wider categories). There seem to be a lot of small small opportunities (like special offers) to earn extra. Nothing wrong with that, but customer caring about details truly don’t scream luxury. It’s like you have to put your towels in a specific space in a hotel. Again, nothing wrong with these. But, luxury? More like coupon clipping.

  7. I agree with @magice about the general direction Amex is heading in. That said, I doubt many cards stateside screams “luxury” anymore these days – the competition has heated up so much that card companies are throwing themselves at people who in the years gone by would never have qualified. Think a millennial with $50,000 salary getting a CSR.

    If done correctly Amex cards can be immensely rewarding, especially through Amex offers.

  8. It was my first real points card.

    I called to cancel this year but they essentially eliminated my annual fee for a year.

    Ill probably cancel next year.

    The travel credit is a major PITA to redeem

  9. FYI, the 50,000 MR Gold elevated bonus is WAY easier to find than the 100,000 MR Plat bonus you have to gerry-rig into.

    And the $100 airline credit was extremely easy to redeem for 2 $50 AA gift cards.

  10. Is it bad that I’m trying to guess which mileage program you need points for based on referral links? Lol. Sorry.

    Seriously though, my Amex PRG has been good to me and I’m finally getting the hang of wringing as much value from it as possible. I especially love the Amex offers that offer plenty of points for relatively affordable purchases. The MRs I earn from those offers exceed my yearly haul of UR points, and my Chase cards are at the front of my wallet.

  11. Closed my PRG around 2 years ago. Downgraded my MB Plat Amex to Green Amex in March to store my MR points until I decided how to use them while paying a much lower annual fee. Transferred all but 122 MR points last week then called to cancel my Green Amex unless they could waive annual fee.

    First rep passed me to retention specialist who offered to upgrade me to PRG with 40k bonus for $2k spend (but with $195 annual fee not waived). I asked if my prior PRG prevented me from getting another bonus, and she confirmed not an issue on this upgrade offer. Done! No hard pull needed.

  12. I always found the Amex PRG worth it when I had it for several years. Before the Amex Plat had the 5x on airfare, it only offered 1x on airfare so for travelers it made sense to have the Amex PR gold card.
    Even though the annual fee is $195, the $100 travel credit (bought two $50 gift cards) makes the fee around $95. I found it’s the Amex offers that makes the remainder of the $95 annual fee worth it. I am not a big shopper but a lot of the amex offers are mainstream stores and restaurants that I go to from now and then and when added up, the savings I get annually is easily more than $300.
    I now have the Amex Plat because of the 5x on airfare and I travel so it makes sense for me. However, for those starting in the hobby, I’ve always found the Amex PRG to be a good intro charge card.

  13. This is a timely post for me, as I got the PRG about a year ago on a 50k offer and am now trying to decide what to do with it. I agree with most of the posters above that it’s not a card that I would ever put much spend on, and some of the benefits are laborious to fully take advantage of.

    That said, I’ve gotten some really good Amex Offers on this card, much better than on either of my other two Amex cards (Blue Cash Preferred and Delta). What I can’t figure out is whether this is because the PRG is considered a “premium” card (in which case I would keep), or whether it’s simply because it’s my only card to earn MR points (in which case I would just get an Everyday Preferred instead).

    I guess strategy will be to keep PRG for another year, get an Everyday Preferred, and then compare offers over the next 12 months.

  14. For those of us that live abroad and cannot make use of Centurion lounges or the Uber credits and cannot justify the high annual fee of the Platinum cards, PRG is a solid choice. I complement it with the Sapphire Preferred for dining and non-airline travel as well as the AMEX SPG for non-bonus spend (will stop using SPG after Aug 1). This meets all my needs with minimal annual fees.

  15. PRG and Blue Business Plus are SUCH a good combination, they are my go-to cards. Key is to actually have spend power.

  16. I got the Amex PRG in January with 50,000 MR bonus. I haven’t got the $100 credit yet but is on my to do list this weekend as well as on my Business Platinum. In the meantime I use the PRG for dinig for double points.

    I agree great Amex offers show up here.

    However, I cannot get the personal Platinum until I ditch this one, so maybe next year. I will cancel if can get 100,000 on the plat.

    I always use

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