Maximizing Amex Post 11: Gold and Premier Rewards Gold Card Comparison

by on July 18, 2011 · 67 comments

in American Express, Card review, Credit Cards

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This is another installment in my Maximizing Amex series where I examine the benefits of American Express cards and Amex’s Membership Rewards Program. The articles include; Post 1: Understanding the Card Offering. Post 2: Understanding Membership Rewards. Post 3: Understanding Transfer Bonuses. Post 4: Platinum Card Review. Post 5: SkyTeam Transfer Partners. Post 6: Oneworld Transfer Partners. Post 7: Star Alliance Transfer Partners. Post 8:Understanding Emergency Travel Assistance and Travel Accident Insurance. Post 9: Purchase and Return Protection and Extended Warranty. Post 10: Car Rental Benefits. Post 11: Gold and Premier Rewards Gold Card Comparison.

This post is all about the American Express Gold and Premier Rewards Gold Card charge cards and the differentiating factors. To be honest, for a long time I didn’t even know the Premier Rewards card existed – it’s branding just blended in with the normal Gold card, but there are indeed some key differences – particularly related to spend bonuses.

High level details:

Annual Fees:
Gold $125
Premier Rewards Gold: $175 (currently waived for the first year for new applicants)

Card type: Charge card (both), which means there is no pre-set spending limit, but you have to pay it off every month or else you get hit with serious fees and high interest rates.

Membership Rewards (both). Transfer points to a number of airlines (see below) or use points to buy travel (1 point = 1 cent and tickets/hotels purchased this way earn miles and elite status)
Star Alliance: Air Canada Aeroplan, Continental (Until September 30, 2011), Singapore, ANA
Oneworld: British Airways, Iberia
Skyteam: Delta, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia, Aeromexico
Other: Airtran, Virgin Atlantic, El Al, Frontier, JetBlue, Hawaiian

Point Earning:
Gold:1 point per dollar spent, 2x points for travel, 4x through Amex Bonus Points Mall
Premier Rewards Gold: Earn 3X points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines, double points on gas and groceries**, and single points on virtually everything else.
*Only purchases of tickets on all major U.S. passenger airlines and many international airlines
** Charges at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and supermarkets, are eligible for bonus points. Charges at tour operators, charter flights, departments of superstores, or warehouse clubs are not eligible for bonus points.

Current sign-up bonus:
Gold: 10,000
Premier Rewards Gold: 25,000
It may be possible to bump both of these to 75,000 per the comments on this post.

Global Travel Assistance?: Yes (both). See benefit details here.

Lost Baggage Coverage?: Yes (both). See benefit details here.

Foreign Transaction Fees?: Yes (both), 2.7% on all foreign purchases.

Point Expiration?: American Express Membership Rewards points do not expire as long as you keep your card open and the account is in good standing. If you plan to cancel a card, I recommend transferring the points out into your frequent flyer account or redeem them for travel/giftcards.

So in summary, the Premier Rewards card is a much better card for only $50 more. I see no reason why (barring an exceptional targeted offer) someone would open a regular Gold card right now considering the sign-up bonus is less, the annual fee is not waived and the card comes with less benefits.

Additionally, the only time a regular Gold card might make sense is if you spend very little on your card and don’t buy travel, gas or groceries.

Feel free to share your thoughts on either of the cards or your experience bumping their sign-up bonuses to 75,000!

If you travel a lot – especially internationally, it might make sense to step up to the Platinum card.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mike L

    As an infrequent hotel stayer, I use Priceline a lot. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Priceline is categorized as Travel – Airlines… so hello 3x points for any charges made through PL! I find that very handy as I usually value discounted hotel stays over regular rates.

  • BostonFlyer

    Did they increase the cost of Premier Reward Gold Card, I think the annual fee is $175 not $195. Otherwise it a card I prefer over any other credit card out there for airfares and day to day purchase.

  • Anonymous

    TPG, I have the Amex Platinum card (got it from your link in April and got the 50K MR bonus bumped to 100K). If I apply for the Premier Rewards Gold card now, will Amex give me a 15K bonus when I meet the spend? If I ask, will Amex bump the bonus to 75K? Thx.

  • MarkJ

    I got both the 75,000 point sign up bonus on the Premier Rewards card and the 100,000 point bonus on the Platinum card with a few phone calls. What an incredible deal.

    I view the Premier Rewards card as a “core” card for me. I do all my airline [3x points] and gas and groceries [2x points] purchases on this card. I am targeting doing $30,000 of spend annually which I believe yields a 15,000 point bonus.

    I project that I will generate about 75,000 membership rewards points with $30,000 in spend annually with all the bonuses. If I get a nice transfer bonus when I use the points it is even a sweeter deal.

  • Bill

    I did the exact same thing as you. I got bumped to 100K for the Platinum and I recently received the PR Gold card. I sent them an email on June 30 before I even received the card and asked for the bump to 75K and they said to notify them once I hit the $1,000 spend and they’d grant me the points. I had heard the 75K expired on July 1, however, but I believe people are still getting the bump more recently. I’ll hit the $1,000 spend this week and plan to send the email requesting the additional points. Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry that was a type. It is indeed $175- I fixed the post- thanks!

  • Maury

    TPG: I clicked on the Premier Rewards link and all it gives is 10k points and not 15k. Please clarify and state whether you can bump 10k to 75k and what will I say to AMEX. Thanks

  • Rachel

    I am having trouble finding the instructions on how to get the bump to 75K points on this card. Can someone point me to the info? Is there an offer code needed? Thanks.

  • esque

    Premier Gold is triple points on airfare, but Platinum is … single??

  • Mike L

    Correct. Platinum gives you no bonus points (unless you count the shopping portal).

  • Latimer

    Here’s some info based on my experience… I used Offer ID 5894 (spend $500 in the first months) to bump my 10K offer to 75K for the Premier Rewards Gold. It took a couple of Secure messages (rejected both times) and a phone call just to have the offer noted on my account. Now, at this point, I didn’t get the bump yet. She explained that it would come 6-8 weeks after I met my spending requirements.

    Last week, I met my spending requirements and paid of the balance as well. I called Membership Rewards to have them expedite the points (so I could get it in my account for the current BA promo) and got rejected twice over the phone. I then sent a secure message during the day, but they rejected my request again. I deleted all of the messages in my inbox and sent another Secure Message overnight and finally got a approval for expediting my points. I prefaced my last message with a “I hope your day is going well” comment that could have been the difference maker. :)

    I’ve heard Offer ID 5894 might have expired on July 1st, but there’s been recent success with Offer ID 5985 (I think it’s spend $1000 in the first 3 months], so you can try that. Remember, both of these offers are targeted so don’t be disappointed if you get rejected on your first attempt. All-in-all, it took me three phone calls and three secure messages to get my 75K, but it was well worth it. My best advice would be to be persistent. Your experience may vary though.

    Good luck!

  • guest

    TPG, another great post. Thanks.
    One thing I am interested in Amex card is I don’t understand why so many people rank SPG card as the #1 credit card. I admit it is a good card, but don’t see much better benefit compared to other Amex card, or other credit cards. Can you explain or write a post just for SPG card?

  • Guest

    “Gold: 4x through Amex Bonus Points Mall”- don’t you mean Plat? Plat= 4x, Gold (all versions)= 3x

  • jjj0002

    Another great post, TPG.
    One thing about Amex card I always wonder is why so many people consider SPG card as the best CC. Compared to other Amex card or CC it doesn’t seem that SPG card has much btter benefit.
    Can you explain or write a post for SPG card?

  • CU

    Platinum gives you double points if you purchase flights thru — confirmed on the phone today.

  • Kunstschwein

    Can you earn points by putting your mortgage on AmEx? Per your post on the Premier Gold Card, I just called them and the person in new accounts said no.

    Or is there another VISA that you can–Chase VISA only allows cash advances to pay mortgages which don’t earn points.


  • Anonymous

    Some companies will let you process payments like rent and mortgage, but they usually charge about 3% which will negate the value of the miles/points you earn

  • Anonymous

    Will definitely cover SPG. In general its the ability to transfer to a ton of partners at a 25% bonus (when you transfer in increments of 20,000) along with the ability to use for hotel options. I’ll cover in a future post- especially since Amex is starting to run some lucrative promos with the card!

  • Anonymous

    Will definitely cover SPG. In general its the ability to transfer to a ton of partners at a 25% bonus (when you transfer in increments of 20,000) along with the ability to use for hotel options. I’ll cover in a future post- especially since Amex is starting to run some lucrative promos with the card!

  • Andrew Fielding

    What if my card says Rewards Plus? Which one would that be?

  • Guest

    Can you signup for both the gold & gold rewards cards at the same time and get the bonus for both? or 1 gold & 1 platinum? Also does anyone know if you signup for both cards at the same time will this count at 1 credit pull?

  • guest

    Thank you, TPG.
    In the post if you can compare SPG with other transfer cards (membership Rewards cards, Chase, etc) that will be great.
    Also a lot of people seems to be happy to see the new offer of 30000 points for SPG when there are tons of 50000+ bonus cards out there. I am interested to see what you think.

  • Jenniferpurdon

    15K bonus expired

  • Anonymous

    No it didn’t, you just need to be logged out of your Amex account when you click the link (and possibly clear cookies) and then you’ll see the 15k offer

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  • esque

    Even in a new browser, I haven’t gotten this to work.

  • Angel

    Yesterday I applied for the Premier Reward Card with the existing 15k MR points promotion with the intention of bumping that to 75K points. I called MR today and tried to get them to apply code #5894 which they said expired on 7/1/11. The CSR was really helpful and looked for another 75K promotional code and found #6661. He put a note on my account and asked me to call them back 8 weeks after I reach the spending requirements ($1,000 in 90 days). As other people reported, I’ll call them the very next day I reach that goal since it is well known that they can manually adjust the points balance on the spot.
    I’d also like to point out that I applied for the Amex Platinum about 3 months ago using the 50k promo and successfully got them to match the 100k promotion. So it can be done, just be polite while talking and if you get a “no” as an answer, thank them, hang up and call again hoping to get a nicer CSR :)
    Last resource, of course, is to send a secure message asking for the matching (I did that with the Amex Platinum and it took 1hr to get a satisfactory answer).
    That’s all folks! Happy churning!!! :)

  • Sagar

    I got a similar promo for Premier Rewards Gold Card last year (March 2010) and cancelled the card earlier this year. Can I apply again and try to get the 75k rewards or will they limit me as I had the card last year?

  • Anonymous

    Is the 15,000 spending bonus every CALENDAR year or MEMBERSHIP year?

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I guess it can’t hurt to try, but I bet the offer is for first time cardholders only.

  • Jacob Peterson

    Hey! I just called and it was a quick one- 5 min conversation. I got the PRG card in Dec 2010 with a 10k bonus. Played nice with the rep and gave her bonus id 5985. Not sure if that one worked but she put me on hold for 2 min and then BOOM 65k instantly into my acct. JACKPOT. Thank you TPG, additionally i am eligible for the 50% bonus to delta &25k MQM. MY day just got so much better!

  • Anonymous

    Hey! So for what it’s worth, I just applied and was approved for the Premier Rewards gold card just a few days ago (and I did it through your link — thanks Points Guy!). I phoned in even before I got my card (as soon as it showed up on my MR page), asked about the better offer, and was told that I absolutely qualified.

    I was told that because that’s not the promo code I used to sign up for the card that the additional miles would not post automatically. Therefore, they wrote a note in my file that said that I should be eligible for the given promo and that I should call back 6-8 weeks after meeting my spend requirement (only $500 for 5894, amazingly enough) — so around the time the 15k posts — and to mention that “I got a better offer” and to give them the promo code (5894).

    I should say that while I haven’t been an Amex customer for all that long (around a year), I have absolutely nothing bad to say about them. I have their car and travel insurance, and personal savings. Their customer service is beyond reproach, and I would recommend them to anyone. This is one card I’m planning to keep for a very long time.

  • sil

    Just applied using the 15k link for the Premier Reward Card. Got instant approval..When should I call to ask for bump to 75k

  • sil

    Received my expedited PRG and Amex Platinum today. Called MR about applying code 5748 and 5985. 1st CS said “no” bumping and you get what you applied for. Said “thank you” , hung up, called 2 minutes later and spoke to a nice man who said he will note the 2 codes on my account.

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  • Arlene Lepore

    Can you transfer awards points on the gold card to the Premier card? Does the gold card guarantee you an airline ticket with no blackout dates, etc. like the premier card does. Thanks.

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  • Mjpunc

    I actually just received the card (9/6) and called the MR rep and was able to get the 75k bonus (bonus id: 6939)

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  • Mark

    just used your link to apply and was approved!

  • Mark

    unfortunately, it specifically states that online travel agents do not receive bonus points.

  • JV

    Today I applied and was accepted for the Gold card (3x2x1, $1000 spent in 1st 90 days, waived fees for 1 year) through the link on this site. Called to check the status of the application and got an agent (in New Deli). Asked if he might be able to apply the code #6661 to my application. Took him a while, but he said he could see the offer 6661 was still valid, but that I could not have it applied to my card until I activated it. He suggested that I call CS, activate the card and then ask them to “link” my card to that promotion. He said they “should” be able to do it… 75K potential and I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Cankk1

    What # did you call ?

  • JV


  • Mike

    My wife just received a 50,000 point offer in the mail for the Premiere Rewards Gold card. We would like to maximize our sign up bonuses by both getting the 50,000 points. I figure that we would most likely have to apply separately and have two separate accounts, in order to each get the 50,000 points.

    But, I figured I would check to see if there was anyway to merge the accounts so that all of our spend goes towards the same MR pool and we only have one account to manage, while still getting two signup bonuses.

  • Daniel

    TPG, (I am a Delta Medallion & AMEX Premier Rewards card holder) do you recommend purchasing airline tickets through AMEX travel or directly through the site? Do you still get the Medallion perks if you purchase your ticket through AMEX travel? Sorry for the elementary post, but I have never tried out AMEX travel.

  • Anonymous

    yep you get full benefits when purchasing through Amex. The only thing you fore go is the 24 hour risk free cancellation policy and Amex travel flights may be a little more expensive. Otherwise, if its an expensive flight, it may very well be worth it to get 4x points per dollar!

  • Anonymous

    Hey TPG, if I were to downgrade my Platinum card to PRG would I still be eligible for the bonus? Also how does this effect my credit? Thank you so much.

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  • Nadiaalamir

    question: im currently a regular gold card member. im going to apply as a new app for the premier rewards gold, but what happens to my existing points? and is there still a way to find a promo code to up the 25k points to 75k? thanks!

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  • Dave

    Hey Points Guy/Everyone,

    So I’ve had my Amex Zinc card for about 16 months now, and I recently got myself a Gold card. I read and was told that they won’t give you the sign up bonus since I already had my account. Is there anyway around this? Has anyone had any success in getting the bonus points for “being a great card holder.” I’d love any help!

  • Steve

    Is there a way to compare the AX Corporate Membership Rewards Program to the AX Business Membership Rewards Program?

  • thepointsguy

    Business cards have Open Rewards benefits. Most corporate cards are the equivalent of green/basic cards. The points all pool into the same program

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  • Andrejustin

    Brian I recently got a PRG card. Is there a current code for the 75k bump?

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