Amex Appears to Make Huge, Positive Changes to Premier Rewards Gold Card
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The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express was at the top of the rewards card list in the early 2010s until its big brother, the Platinum Card® from American Express, upgraded its earning category to 5x on airfare. That came after the Chase Sapphire Reserve swooped in with 3x on all travel and dining, which took the cape from other categories. Since these changes, the Premier Rewards Gold card has largely sat in the shadows, and I’ve been waiting for Amex to decide what it’s going to do at the mid-tier.
However, interestingly today TPG reader Nicolas J. sent in a screenshot of the benefits page on his Amex account, showing a series of enhanced perks being added to the card, including increased bonus earning and a new dining credit. Amex has since removed the above page from card members’ accounts.
So, it appears that there will soon be a $120 yearly dining credit that will apply to charges made at food delivery services Grubhub and Seamless, as well as three restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations. It seems that the credit will be applied on a monthly basis, similar to how the Platinum Card’s Uber credits work in that you’ll receive $10 a month toward the listed restaurants and delivery services.
Additionally, it appears the card will keep its yearly $100 airline fee credit that covers incidental charges like baggage fees, upgrades and some airline gift cards.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card currently has a $195 annual fee, so if this information is accurate and you can maximize both credits, it appears that Amex would essentially be paying you $25 a year to hold this card. However, it’s possible the issuer will raise the annual fee to offset the new benefits, just like Amex did when it raised the annual fee of the Platinum card from $450 to $550 while adding monthly Uber credits.
On the earning side, we’re seeing some game-changing adjustments to the card’s category bonuses. Right now, the Premier Rewards Gold Card earns 3x Membership Rewards points on airfare and 2x points at US restaurants, US gas stations and US supermarkets.
Going forward, however, it seems that you’ll earn a whopping 4x points at US restaurants and US supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year. It’ll keep the 3x points on airfare, but does not list a category bonus for gas stations. According to TPG’s valuations you’d be earning 7.6% back on purchases made at US restaurants and US grocery stores.
The only card better for groceries is the The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, which earns 3x points on up to $6,000 in purchases a year, but gets a 50% point bonus if the card is used 30 times a month. This means you’re effectively earning 4.5x points on grocery purchases.
The big bummer here for international travelers is that this is limited to US locations, whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve includes 3x on all dining globally. With the Premier Rewards Gold card, international dining would only earn at 1x. For those who prefer cash back, the leading cash back card for dining (Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card) is the clear winner with its unlimited 4% return.
It’s unclear if these changes are effectively immediately. When contacted, Amex declined to comment on the situation. However, other Amex cardholders saw the new benefits in their account, too.
I’m not shocked to see these positive new changes, as I’ve been pushing Amex for years to clarify its strategy for this card. My gut says that since Amex wouldn’t comment on this today, these likely leaked out in advance, and there could be more to come for both benefits and annual fee changes.
Featured image by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.