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- The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express gets less attention than other Amex charge cards, but it actually earns rewards faster.
- The card earns 3x points on airfare, 2x on US-located supermarkets, US gas stations, and US restaurants, and 1x on everything else.
- The card also comes with some excellent perks that offset much of its annual fee (which is waived the first year).
While the Platinum Card from American Express is the better-known of Amex’s flagship rewards-earning charge cards, American Express issues a few other charge cards with lower fees and — in some cases — better rewards.
One of the best Amex cards to hold as an “anchor” within the company’s Membership Rewards program is the Premier Rewards Gold card. While the card doesn’t offer the same flashy and valuable perks as the Platinum card, it offers a better points-earning structure that can help you earn more points for your everyday spending.
Read on to see why the Premier Rewards Gold card — or simply “PRG” — is worth opening.
You can earn a big welcome bonus when you open a new account.
The Premier Rewards Gold offers new card members 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership. That’s a decent welcome bonus, especially considering that you can combine the points from all your Membership Rewards-earning cards, including the Platinum Card or the Amex Everyday. It’s possible that you can be targeted for a higher offer, too.
There are plenty of ways to use these points, including purchasing gift cards or products, using them to book travel, or transferring them to American Express’s frequent flyer and hotel loyalty partners — that’s the most valuable use.
There’s an annual fee after the first year, but you can get some of it back.
While the card’s annual fee is waived the first year, it’s $195 every year after that.
However, the Premier Rewards Gold offers a $100 airline fee credit each calendar year — including the first year. Once you earn that credit and subtract it from the annual fee, it’s effectively only $95 each year, the same as similar cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The way the airline fee credit works is simple. Every January, you select an airline for the credit to be applied to. Then, anytime you pay for a fee on that airline with your card, however much of the credit you have remaining will be applied against it.
The credit applies to things like checked bag fees, on-board food or drinks, lounge day passes, in some cases, change fees or upgrade fees, and more. While it doesn’t apply to airfare, it can sometimes be applied to gift cards for an airline, which can then be used for tickets. For example, I use my airline fee credit to buy $50 gift cards on Delta Airlines, which I use for tickets later on. Just make sure to search Google to make sure that the credit works with gift cards from whichever airline you’ve chosen.
An awesome feature of this perk is that it applies to every calendar year, not card member year. That means it resets each January. So, if you open a PRG in April, you can use the card once before December 31, and then again between January 1 and when your card renews. That’s $200 in value before you’ve paid a single annual fee.
You can earn points quickly on your everyday purchases.
The Premier Rewards Gold offers useful rewards on your everyday spending. You’ll earn 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines, 2x points on every dollar spent at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets, and 1x point on everything else. Travel website The Points Guy assigns a value of 1.9¢ to every Membership Reward point, so using that, you’ll earn a generous 5.7% back on flights, 3.8% on groceries, dining, and gas, and 1.9% on everything else.
Of course, that valuation is just a rough estimation, sort of a starting point from which to work. In practice, it’s possible to get even more value from the points when you transfer them to Amex’s 20 travel partners. You can read more about why transferring points is the most valuable way to use them, and how it unlocks incredible redemptions like flying from coast to coast in business class.
The PRG has other perks and benefits, too.
As a Premier Rewards Gold card holder, you’ll have access to American Express Travel’s exclusive Hotel Collection. When you book a stay at participating hotels through Amex, you’ll earn 2x Membership Rewards points, and you’ll receive a $75 credit to use at the hotel for things like drinks, dining, spa services, or activities. You’ll also get a room upgrade at check-in as long as it’s available.
The PRG comes with baggage insurance, as well. If your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged while you’re traveling with an airline, cruise, train line, or other common carrier, you’ll be covered for up to $1,250 for carry-on and $500 for checked bags, as long as you purchased your tickets with the card.
As with any American Express card, the PRG is eligible to receive Amex Offers. That’s a program that provides card holders with either discounts or extra points at a variety of retailers, restaurants, and service providers. Each person gets different offers, and offers even vary between each card, so the more Amex cards you have, the wider a range of offers you’ll receive.
The PRG features a complimentary ShopRunner membership. You’ll have to manually activate this perk, but once you do, you’ll receive free 2-day shipping at hundreds of online stores.
Beyond that, there are a number of other benefits including purchase protections and extended warranty, auto rental protection, return protections, and more.
The Premier Rewards Gold often gets lost behind the flair of the premium Platinum card. Although it’s certainly possible to get a ton of value from that higher-fee product, the PRG remains a solid mid-tier card, and an excellent way to earn more Membership Rewards points on daily expenses.