Why Amex Dropping Gas as a Bonus Category on the Gold Card Isn’t a Big Deal
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There is one spot of potentially bad news amid the avalanche of good news regarding the revamped American Express® Gold Card: The gas station bonus category has been eliminated.
The card formerly known as the Premier Rewards Gold Card previously offered 2x points at US gas stations (existing cardholders will keep that benefit until October 4, 2019). The new Amex Gold Card, however, will net just 1x points on all gas station spending.
That might seem like a reduction in benefits — and it is — but it’s really not that much of a loss because the Gold Card was never all that competitive when it comes to gas purchases in the first place. It wasn’t even the best Amex card for buying gas.
Those 2x points were worth 3.8 cents per dollar spent at gas stations, according to TPG’s most recent valuations. We found five credit cards that offer higher returns on fuel spending than the old Premier Rewards Gold Card paid, including the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express.
On the surface, Amex EveryDay Preferred appears to offer the same 2x rewards for purchases as US gas stations that the Premier Rewards Gold Card offered. But if you hit 30 monthly transactions with EveryDay Preferred, those 2 points per dollar spent turn into 3 points per dollar spent worth 5.7 cents in travel, making this among the most valuable card for gas purchases. The top card on our list, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card, offers up to 6.35 cents per dollar back in rewards.
What’s more, the old card’s annual fee of $195 made the Premier Rewards Gold cost-prohibitive when it came to fuel spending. There simply were too many cards available that charged a much smaller annual fee to make the PRG a go-to card at the pump. The Amex EveryDay Preferred charges a $95 annual fee, for example, while the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (card no longer available) charges no annual fee, while also offering 3x points on travel and transit, including gas stations. Those points are worth between 3 and 5.25 cents. You can increase the redemption value of your Propel card’s points if you combine them with the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card, which allows you to redeem your points at 1.5 cents each for airfare. And if you spend $50,000 in a calendar year on the Wells Fargo Visa, that redemption rate jumps to 1.75 cents per point, which would make the points earned on Propel Amex gas purchases worth as much as 5.25 cents per dollar when redeemed for airfare. (The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.)
Now that the new Amex Gold Card charges a $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) and offers a 1x return on fuel purchases, there’s no question you should be using a different card at the pump. The enhanced rewards on US supermarket spend and on dining are more than a fair tradeoff, anyway. The American Express Gold Card now offers the best rewards on dining out at restaurants and the second-best return we’ve seen on US supermarket spending.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
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