You’ve got a pocket full of cash, a desire to travel, and a love of food. With the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, you can satisfy these desires and more in style.
Having an American Express credit card (or charge card in this case) has always been somewhat of a status symbol, and the required annual fee is no drop in the bucket.
Regardless, this card is on the list of travel rewards cards to consider for those with some spending power.
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- Gas (Driving)
- Annual Fee
- Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.
- Rewards Center
- Foreign Transaction FeesNo Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Typical UsersBusiness Owners, Frequent Travelers, International Travelers
- Customer Service Number
1-800-528-4800 (Available 24/7)
- Login Link
- PartnersAmex benefits work with most airlines and hotels (as far as collecting points and upgrades). Amex transfer partners accept points at 1:1 ratio in participating airlines mileage and hotel points programs.
- Interest Rates ?
- None. This is a charge card, meaning that your full balance is due upon your statement.
- Late fees ?
- Up to $38
- $38 or 2.99% (whichever is greater) if using the Pay Over Time feature, which essentially acts like credit.
- Balance Transfers
- N/A since this is a charge card
- Cash Forwarding
- N/A since this is a charge card
The Ideal Cardholder
Sign-Up Bonus and Rewards Categories for Earning Points
Right now the card is offering bonus points in your American Express Rewards account for signing up and spending a certain amount in the allotted time (see above).
This Amex card competes with the likes of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Citi ThankYou Premier Card.
It offers 3x points on directly booked airfare, 2x points on U.S. gas stations, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. restaurants, and 1x points everywhere else.
The card does cost $195 per year, but the benefits are well worth it. For your first year, the fee is even waived, which makes for a nice transition period.
Card Benefits: Credits, Travel Perks and More
This card is positioned as a higher end card with its $195 annual fee, but it acts much like cards in the $95 annual fee category because of its easy to use $100 airline fee credit and Hotel Collection benefits (see Gritty Details).
To utilize the $100 reimbursement, you must select a partner airline to use the credit on. Then, when you accrue fees for things like checked bags and in-flight refreshments, your card will automatically credit your balance.
With the Hotel Collection benefit, you simply need to stay at a participating hotel for two consecutive nights.
On your third night, you can request an upgrade if one is available, and you will receive statement credit up to $75 for dining, spa, or resort activities.
Hotels must be booked through the Personal Travel Service or another channel like Amex Travel.
Even better, your $100 airline fee credit is available to you each calendar year, so you can use it immediately the year you get your card and again the next year, all before you get charged your $195 annual fee.
It won’t take long to accrue reward points if you’re traveling, eating out, and shopping at supermarkets a lot!
Business Owner Perks
Using the card as a business owner can really help you rack up the points. You can get up to five additional cards for your employees at absolutely no cost, and any card beyond that will just cost $35/card.
If you’re using those cards for traveling employees, putting travel expenses on the cards for tax benefits, and then redeeming the points for personal use, you can really maximize the benefits of this card.
This opportunity makes the card one of the best business credit cards with rewards for business owners, though you may also want to check out The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.
Using With The Platinum Card® from American Express
One thing to mention is that this card may work well with The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Although the fee for this card is $550 per year, if you are a business owner who travels often you’ll be able to use the benefits from this card to travel in style.
You don’t earn points as quickly with this card, however, which is where the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express comes into play. Put the majority of your spending on this card to earn points, while using The Platinum Card® from American Express for benefits!
Card Drawback: International Travel
The main caveat to points-earning here is that in the gas station, supermarket, and restaurant categories, purchases must be made in the U.S to get the bonuses.
So even though there’s no foreign transaction fee, you won’t be earning 2-3x reward program points anywhere you go overseas with this card. In these cases, you may be better off using your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, though you will still earn 1x points on your Amex.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
With a bunch of available benefits (see below for additional fringe benefits) and a variety of categories to earn points with, the Premier Rewards Gold Card is a solid choice for a new card.
Great Card If
- You’ve got plenty of cash to pay off any spending you do on the card and to pay for the annual fee
- You’ll be traveling around the U.S. a lot, eating out, shopping at supermarkets, and filling up cars with gas
- You pay for things on airlines like checked bags or the occasional (or frequent!) travel beverage
- You stay in hotels three nights or more at a time, and often eat there or want to take advantage or a spa or resort offering
Don't Get If
- You won’t be spending that much on the card (see the card math below)
- You don’t find much use for the offered benefits and fringe benefits of being an Amex member
- You spend heavily in one category over another, and there is a more beneficial card for your spending pattern. (For instance, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express would be better if you’re a heavy supermarket spender.)
U.P. Pro Tips
This Amex rewards card is great for business travelers. You can get big points for flights, gas stations, and restaurants while you’re on the road.
Even if you’re just using it as a personal card but you still travel frequently, it still holds the same value!
How To Use This Rewards Card: The Upgraded Way
Best Way To Maximize Points
Overall, your best way to maximize reward points with this credit card is as a business owner with a few employees who will be using business cards.
However, any individual big spenders will find earning points pretty easy. Here are our tips for using the card to its fullest.
Tip #1: Purchase all airfare with this card directly through the airlines to get 3x pts.
Tip #2: Make all U.S. restaurant, gas station, and supermarket purchases with this credit card to get 2x points.
Tip #3: Put as much as you can under your business expense categories (company car, business lunches, company sponsored dinners) in order to keep racking up points on the card.
Tip #4: Find gift card deals at supermarkets; give them to employees as gifts or use them on your own to purchase things you need. You will rack up 2x points and will be “exchanging” cash while earning points!
Alternatively, use the card to buy food for the office at the supermarket.
Tip #5: Immediately get your five additional cards for five employees to use on all of their expenses, including gas, airfare, and business lunches for their clients. Make sure any company expense goes onto the card.
Tip #6: If you need a new car, consider using the Amex Auto Purchasing Program. You can get a potential deal on a car and put anywhere from $2,000 to the full purchase price on your card. That’ll rack up some points!
Tip #7: Use your card to book travel through the Amex travel portal and receive 1x bonus points on your purchase.* This may include reward points on top of your flight purchase!
*Note: There are restrictions: it doesn’t apply to rental cars or non-prepaid hotels. But on the positive side, you will additionally earn loyalty program points for the respective reservations (air miles, hotel points, etc.).
Best Way To Redeem Points
Your points will be most valuable when used for travel on domestic and international flights, or for transferring points to one of your loyalty programs where you can use them for additional upgrades or flight awards.
However, the credit card issuer does offer you multiple redemption options. Ways that you can redeem reward points include the following:
- Amazon.com (you must register your card to do this on your Amex account, but points are only worth $0.007 each)
- Membership Rewards Shop (found in your card account, used for gift cards and various other shop items; value varies but is typically between $0.005-$0.01 per point)
- Pay with Points (using your points for travel-related purchases through your account; basically a cash-back / statement credit option, but points are only worth $0.006)
- Ticketmaster.com (again, register through your account; it appears your points are worth $0.005 here)
- Uber (link your Membership Rewards account to pay for Uber rides at $0.01 per point)
- Members Give (Amex will give $10 to a charity of your choice for every 1,000 points you redeem…pretty awesome, and valued at $0.01 per point)
- Transfer points to a travel partner (see below)
Evaluating the Value of the Options
Amazon, Ticketmaster, and Pay with Points return a very poor value for your points, so we don’t recommend using them in these ways.
Uber, Members Give, and the Membership Rewards Shop all value at least $0.01 per reward point, which is pretty standard value and not bad.
Membership Rewards Shop may even give you a higher value if you wait for a deal (such as a movie ticket bundle).
Highest Value: Using for Travel and Transferring to Loyalty Partners
We have an article on redeeming with Amex points that can give you more information, but your highest value will be to transfer points and use them for hotel or airline reward programs.
See our guide to Membership Rewards for details on how to do it.
You can redeem points for between $0.02-0.08 per point! Additionally, sometimes Amex will give transfer bonuses, so keep an eye out for those.
A Caveat on Points Transferring: $0.0006 Transfer Fee
One thing to note about Membership Rewards points transfers: for each point you transfer, you actually get charged $0.0006, up to a maximum of $99.
Amex does this to cover the excise tax they must pay on their end. So know that it’s not 100% free, and a transfer of 10,000 points costs $6.
To maximize your value, simply try to transfer as many points in a transaction as possible to max out the $99 fee, making the rest of the transfer points free above that!
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express comes with access to all Amex Membership Rewards travel partners.
Amex Airline Travel Partners
|Amex Airline Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio|
(Amex > Partner)
|Air Canada||1:1||Almost Instant|
|British Airways||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Cathay Pacific||1:1||Up to 1 Week|
|Delta Air Lines||1:1||Almost Instant|
|EL AL||50:1||Almost Instant|
|Etihad Airways||1:1||Almost Instant|
|FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||1-2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic||2:1||1-2 days|
Amex Hotel Travel Partners
|Amex Hotel Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio|
(Amex > Partner)
|Choice Privileges||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Hilton Honors||1:1.5||Almost Instant|
|Starwood Preferred Guest||3:1||Almost Instant|
Calculating the true benefits of the card (using real numbers) is going to help determine whether or not it’s a good card for you.
This card’s value can be a bit more difficult to determine due to its fringe benefits and variety of offerings.
Let’s go through this step by step.
A Quick Recap on the Card Stats
First up, the cost/rewards recap:
|Annual fee||Points for airfare||Points for restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations (U.S. only)||Points for everything else|
|Waived first year, then $195||3x||2x||1x|
*Points total equivalent to break even = 19,500. Airfare must be purchased directly through the airline or on AmexTravel.com. Terms and Conditions Apply.
As long as you spend enough to earn 19,500 reward points in a year, you will break even. Certainly we’d want to reap value far above that if we can.
Using Our Model Families for Exploration of Value
Looking to our sample families for an idea about how this card may benefit you, we will fill in a table with their spending and the total points they would earn over the course of a year.
We will assume they put all spending on their card except for the “other” category (which includes things like rent or mortgages, which usually cannot be put on a credit card).
The following table shows the value of the card for each of the different families:
|Family||Airfare||U.S. Restaurants / Supermarkets / Gas Stations||Everything Else||Total Points Earned|
*The total spend of the model families across the different categories
The Final Value Calculated
This amount of spending covers the annual fee almost 3x over for all families, and that’s not even take into account the fringe benefits’ value.
That is a minimum of $100 for your airline credit (if used!) and additional value if you use the Hotel Collection benefits. The math only gets better if you can use your card for business purposes.
Also, be sure to calculate in the sign-up bonus, which helps cover the cost of the annual fee for a year.
If you add in the additional benefits to the value of the points (worth ~$450-855+ depending on how you redeem), you are looking at a minimum of $550 in value per year, up to well over $1000.
Math Conclusion and Final Thoughts
For spending at the levels of our model families, it’s clear you will have no problem finding value in the card. With the additional benefits of airline credit and Hotel Collection, you’ll further increase them.
Certainly, the business traveler will have no trouble taking advantage of the card to earn rewards.
If you use even more of the fringe benefits of the card, you’ll just continually make a better case for getting it.
You can purchase an automobile at select dealerships with the card (ideal for business cars), and you get roadside assistance and purchase protection that could very easily be worth more than $195 if you need them.
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
First, the signup bonus: the credit card issuer not only holds the right to deny you the points if you have already received this specific deal, but they also say they may not give you the bonus if you have any other American Express card(s).
There have been reports each way, so it will just depend; be sure to check with Amex to see if you will receive the award before you sign up. You will likely receive the reward points if you are getting targeted mail from them.
As always, make sure you also confirm the credit card category when making purchases.
For example, restaurants inside of hotels may not count as restaurants, and convenience stores may not be classified as gas stations.
Superstores will likely not count as supermarkets, and airfare must be purchased directly through the airline instead of a third party agent like Kayak or Travelocity.
Additional Cardmember Details
Remember that if you’re using employee cards, you get up to five for free. However, getting six or more will cost you $35 for each above the “five free” limit.
If you go this route, don’t be surprised when your annual fee comes back as more than the $195 you originally expected!
For your employee cards, you can also ask American Express to impose a limit so your employees cannot charge more than you expect.
Spending Limit and Balances
Overall, there is no set spending limit for cardholders that you’ll know about.
American Express likely has some type of algorithm or rules that they use based on your creditworthiness and history. They reference their Terms and Conditions, which don’t really specify anything besides the fact that they have the power to limit your spending if they choose.
Since this is a charge card, you need to be extra sure to pay off your balance each month.
While we always recommend doing so to maximize (and not completely negate) the value of your points, doing so with a regular credit card will just charge you some interest and keep your card open.
Here, though, not paying your balance will likely earn you a frozen account and a call from customer service.
Other Unique Features
This card with a slew of benefits! Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with them, so here’s a condensed list you can reference if necessary.
Amex Auto Purchase – With qualified retailers around the country, you can put the purchase of a new car on your card. Amex guarantees that you can put at least $2,000 on it, but in some cases you may be able to put the full value of the car on your card!
However, realize that by doing this you’re locking yourself into paying the balance in full at the end of the month, so make sure you’ll have the cash on hand.
$100 Airline Fee Credit – This is a great new benefit that gives you $100 in credit each year toward airline fees. While this can’t be used on the airfare itself, you can use it for in-flight purchases (drinks, WiFi, etc.), checked bags, lounge passes, and more.
The Hotel Collection – With this benefit, each year you get a $75 credit toward hotel amenities like spas, dining, or activities. You also get a complimentary upgrade if you stay a minimum of two nights.
The upgrade benefit is unlimited, so be sure to maximize your use of that!
Entertainment Access – Amex pre-purchases tickets to specific events and offers them to their cardmembers. These can include Broadway shows, concerts, VIP tickets, and so on.
If you can’t find a ticket to an event, you may be able to find one here. Or you might be able to get tickets ahead of the normal crowd.
American Express Preferred Seating – Similar to the Entertainment Access, Amex has premium seats for some sporting events and other cultural events. Check the site to find out what’s available.
Membership Rewards Shop – Your reward program shop is linked to your account, where you can buy gift cards and many other things. There may occasionally be special offers.
Dispute Resolution – American Express will work with you and the vendor to ensure there are no fraudulent charges to your account.
You will be reimbursed for anything you are not liable for, but Amex does not guarantee you’ll be reimbursed like some other cards do.
Global Assist Hotline – If you get into trouble when you’re abroad, the Global Assist Hotline can help you. Whether it’s just an illness, or something big like legal action, this service helps you coordinate the necessary things to get your trip back on track or get you home. You are responsible for third party charges.
Personalized Travel Service – A hotline that allows you to use a travel agent to book things for you.
All services like this may have third party fees, so if you’re someone who would rather pay a person to do all that for you than book it yourself, this service is for you. Amex uses other providers to fulfill your request, and thus charges you for their service.
Baggage Insurance Plan – Many cards hold some type of baggage insurance. This one covers you for a maximum of $1,250 (carry on) or $500 (checked bags), and it also applies to your covered companions (i.e. people you paid for on your card).
Premium Roadside Assistance – With this benefit, you can get towed up to 4x per year for up to 10 miles each occurrence. This also includes winching, jump starts, and flat tire changes…hopefully you have your spare!
It even covers a lockout service if you lock in your key, and delivery of up to two gallons of fuel if you run out. The cardmember will be charged for the costs of towing in excess of 10 miles and any other additional services.
However, this service does not extend to rental vehicles, motorcycles, taxicabs, unlicensed vehicles, tractors, and trucks over 10,000 lbs gross vehicle weight.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance – Here’s where the rental car users get some love. When you book your reservation entirely on your card and decline the agency’s policy, you get coverage on your rental for any damages or accident costs.
It doesn’t specify a particular limit, but rather indicates it will be the lesser of a list of items. Also, it doesn’t cover cars that cost more than $50,000 retail, exotic cars, and more.
ShopRunner – ShopRunner is a storefront that offers free two-day shipping and returns on eligible items at certain online stores.
Purchase Protection – If something you buy breaks or is stolen, this insurance benefit may cover you for up to 90 days. It’s worth $1,000 for one item or up to $50,000 per year. Always be sure to have receipts and any information about the incident.
Return Protection – Similarly, you can get Return Protection within 90 days of purchase for up to $300/item ($1,000 per year maximum). The item is eligible if it is “like new” but non-returnable to the original merchant.
You may be required to send the purchased item to Amex, who will reimburse for the shipping cost if so. There are, of course, more specific terms and a long list of exceptions.
You’ll also need to have your original receipt and copy of the charge from your statement.
Extended Warranty – Another common service, you can get up to one additional year added to your original warranty (for warranties of five years or less). There are some restrictions, but it covers up to $10,000.
You have to call within 30 days of the loss or damage, and make sure you still have all the original warranty information.
Photo Credits / Credit/Copyright Attribution:
High Status Man: Nejron Photo/Shutterstock
Business Traveling Woman: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
Online Booking: Pincasso/Shutterstock
In Flight Service: withGod/Shutterstock
While it has a high annual fee of $195, the card is a very solid card for those who spend in the right categories and travel often.
Specifically, this would be a good card for business travelers. You earn 2-3x points in U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, at U.S. gas stations, and on airfare purchased directly through the airline.
Benefits on this card are numerous, including a $100 airline fee credit each year that can be used to offset some travel costs. You'll also get the Hotel Collection benefit, which allows you to upgrade any room after two nights plus a $75 credit each stay.
If you stay in a lot of hotels, that itself is incredible!
You are allowed five extra cards at no cost, which allows you to rack up reward points even more quickly.
The insurances and fringe benefits that come with the card are excellent, including the Auto Purchase Program, multiple rewards shops, and a variety of travel-related insurances.
Finally, you get access to Membership Rewards and all of its travel options and partners. Points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to a ton of different airlines and hotels, and you can use your points for travel through their portal.
With this card, you'll earn between 1-3x points per dollar. The points accrue in Membership Rewards, allowing you to utilize them to shop in the portals and purchase travel, as well as transfer points to travel partners.
Each year, you get a $100 airline fee credit along with the Hotel Collection benefit.
After staying two nights, the Hotel Collection benefit allows you to upgrade any room and gives you a $75 credit to spend on the room and services.
If you own a business, you can get up to five additional free cards for employees so you can earn points more quickly.
The card allows you to utilize the Auto Purchase Program and gives you access to a variety of travel insurances, including car rental and baggage insurances.
You get a premium roadside assistance option and personalized travel services. Finally, you have the Global Assist Hotline to help you while traveling.
There is no pre-set limit to the spending, and it will be set per person, per situation. The important thing that should act as a limit is the fact that your balance must be paid off in full each month.
The spending categories are pre-set and you can't change them; your 3x category is airlines. With The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, you get to choose which category you want 3x in.
Potential categories include airfare, advertising in select U.S. media, U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping, or U.S. computer services. Then, you get 2x points in the rest of these categories. The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN costs $175 per year versus $195 for the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.
The Amex PRG also includes the $100 airline fee credit and the Hotel Collection benefit, which The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN does not.
Finally, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN comes with some specific business-related tools and software, which the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express does not. Both cards share the majority of other benefits.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is like an upgraded version of the PRG.
The Platinum Card® costs $550 per year and has a $200 airline fee credit, while the Amex Premier Rewards Gold costs $195 and comes with a $100 credit.
Both cards include Hotel Collection benefits, but The Platinum Card® from American Express also includes automatic Honors and SPG Gold Status. In addition, this card awards you access to over 800 lounges.
Continuing on with extras, The Platinum Card® from American Express also offers a credit toward Global Entry or TSA-PreCheck, Centurion Lounge Access, Boingo hotspot access, car rental program status, and a companion savings ticket when you purchase international First or Business class.
You can always switch. Give your Amex customer service representative a call for more information on switching between the various card levels. If you switch, you will get new physical card.
With this benefit, you'll get $100 per year in airline credits, which can be used for anything related to the airline: bags, tickets, fees, in-flight purchases, and so on.
To use the credit, you must select a partner airline through the card, and once you incur these fees they will be automatically refunded.
Both of these cards are similar in that they are probably the most popular card for earning reward points in their respective bank loyalty programs. Who they are marketed to is the big difference.
With a higher annual fee ($195) and more benefits, the Premier Rewards Gold targets a higher-end market.
Middle-market consumers are the goal for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, with a $95 annual fee and no fringe benefits like Amex's.
Both cards earn points in their rewards portals and can be used for shopping, travel, and transferring points to loyalty programs.
If you can afford it and like the higher-end benefits offered by the Amex PRG, it is a very good card. However, if you won't utilize the extra travel benefits and just want to earn points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the better choice for you.
There is no foreign transaction fee on the card.
Unfortunately not. If you want access to the variety of airport lounges, you will need The Platinum Card® from American Express instead (or as well).
You have access to Membership Rewards partners that include both airlines and hotels. Hotel partners are SPG, Honors, and Choice Privileges. See a full list of Amex transfer partners here.
You'll find the sign-in for the card at the normal American Express login page.
No. It is a charge card, meaning the balance is due in full each month.
They do allow grace periods on a case by case basis; at this point the card will act like a typical credit card that allows you to carry a balance for the price of interest.