Only a few short hours ago, I presented the difference between the Amex Green Card and Gold Card.
It turned out the two cards were pretty darn similar. Sadly, my analysis doesn’t stop there.
American Express also offers the so-called “Premier Rewards Gold Card,” which is a tricked out version of the standard Gold Card.
That said, let’s take a look at what Premier Rewards Gold offers that the others don’t.
50,000 Bonus Points = $500 Value
The biggest draw to the Amex Premier Rewards Gold is the 50,000 Membership Rewards points offered as a bonus to new cardholders.
As long as you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months of cardmembership, you get that healthy bonus.
If you convert those points into gift cards, you’re looking at a $500 value. But if you transfer them to airline partners, their value could be worth thousands!
With the plain old Gold Card, you don’t get any upfront bonus whatsoever. So advantage Premier Rewards on this front.
Additionally, the Premier Rewards version waives the annual fee for the first year, as the regular Gold does.
However, Premier Rewards Gold carries an annual fee of $195 after the first fee-free year. Ouch! It just increased from $175 on June 1st, 2015.
3X Points on Airfare, 2X Points on Gas and Groceries
But there’s a reason the annual fee is steeper. You get an actual rewards card, unlike the standard Gold Card, which only offers one point per dollar spent. Lame.
With the Premier Rewards version, you get triple points on airfare, double points on gas purchases made at U.S. stand-alone gas stations, and double points at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets. And the categories stay put, unlike the rotating ones tied to other rewards credit cards like Chase Freedom and Discover it.
So all of a sudden the Premier Rewards Gold Card shows why is it indeed premier – it’s a rewards card with a big opening bonus that blows the standard Gold Card away.
For the record, you also get a point for every dollar spent elsewhere, just like Gold and Green.
When using the Gold/Green cards, you can earn an extra point per dollar spent when you book on the American Express Travel website.
Update: The Premier Rewards Gold Card now offers 2X points at restaurants too! And a $100 incidental airline credit annually similar to the one offered with Amex Platinum.
Get Another 15,000 Bonus Points When You’re a Big Spender
It doesn’t stop there folks – if you spend at least $30,000 per calendar year ($2,500/month), you get an additional 15,000 bonus points.
Seeing that they’re valued at $150 if you redeem for gift cards, you could walk away with $500 in bonuses in the first year alone.
Factor in the $30,000 in spending, and you’ve got a total of $700+ in Membership Points, depending on where you use the card most.
25,000 Opening Bonus = $250
15,000 Spending Bonus = $150
30,000 in Annual Spending = $300+
Total: $700+ in points value
This is why the Premier Rewards Gold kicks the crap out of the regular Gold Card. And it only costs an additional $35 per year in the way of annual fee.
Your $500 opening bonus covers you for 14 years if you look at the difference in annual fee alone (14x$35=$490).
Other than that, we’ve pretty much covered the difference between the Premier Rewards Gold Card and the regular Gold Card.
You get the same perks, like hotel/resort credits and upgrades at Gold Hotel Collection properties, as well as Equinox gym discounts and benefits.
Additionally, you get all sorts of insurance, from baggage to car rental to travel accident, as well as purchase protection, extended warranty, and dispute resolution.
There’s also the roadside assistance with no mileage limits, just like the standard Gold Card. One downside to this card is that it does carry foreign transaction fees (2.7%), which is a bummer for such a pricey card.
To sum it up, if you charge a decent amount each month, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold is clearly the card to go with compared to the Gold and Green versions for the opening bonus alone.
Also be on the lookout for the Business Gold Rewards Card, which offers a bonus of 75,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. That should be enough to fly in style just about anywhere in the world!