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TPG reader Jonathan tweeted me with this question:
@thepointsguy — “With the recent changes to the Amex Premier Rewards Gold, is it worth switching from my Amex Platinum?”
The recent changes to the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card have been good, despite the $20 increase in annual fee which is now a $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195. Beginning June 1, 2015, you’ll get more points at restaurants, a new $100 airline fee credit, and no foreign transaction fees.
We’ve seen other issuers take away category spend bonuses recently, like the British Airways Visa Signature Card losing the 1x Avios bonus for each dollar spent on general purchases. I was happy to see the PRG card add another bonus rather than take it away, especially in an important category like dining.
However, the question at hand really isn’t the Platinum Card vs. Premier Rewards Gold. The PRG has always crushed the Amex Platinum in terms of earning points. In fact, I think the PRG is probably one of the best Amex cards you can get if you spend a lot in the bonus categories, and if not, the Amex Everyday Preferred credit card is probably your best bet.
The important thing to consider is that the Amex Platinum is all about perks, while Amex Premier Rewards Gold is all about points, and that seems to be steadfast despite the changes to the PRG. I’ve had both the Platinum and PRG cards for years, and I don’t plan on getting rid of either.
I like to use my Amex Platinum abroad for non-bonus category purchases because it has good purchase protections, a high credit line, and no foreign transaction fees. Typically I use my Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express for non-bonus purchases that are within the United States, since I value Starpoints highly, but that card does have foreign transaction fees.
In general, it’s valid to have both cards. The Platinum card is great for the $200 annual airline credit (which brings the annual fee down to just $250) as well as lounge access, especially with the great Centurion Lounges (I can’t wait for the Miami lounge to open soon). You also get the Global Entry credit, and Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts has its perks, which I used for my recent visit to Bali, and will use again for an upcoming trip for a free night stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Seoul. In general, the Platinum card pays for itself many times over for me.
The PRG also pays for itself; it now offers a $100 fee rebate, which basically brings the annual fee down to $95. Plus, you get three points per dollar on airfare, and two points per dollar at US supermarkets, US gas stations, and US restaurants. For those of us who travel and want perks, and who also spend in these categories and want points, having both cards is a smart option. However, if you aren’t interested in the perks of the Amex Platinum card, you’d be better off just getting the Premier Rewards Gold Card.
Know before you go.
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