- AMEX Flexible Points ProgramThe Flexible Points Program is great for those who want to find deals on their own (whether online, through a travel agent, or via Airbnb). Every 1,000 Membership Rewards points you redeem gets you a $10 credit on your statement, which you can use towards eligible travel transactions; that includes flights on any airline to hotels and car rentals. With a value of $0.01 per point, this is a strong option for the traveller who wants to book travel on their terms, without being tied to a specific airline or blackout dates. The 25,000-point welcome bonus equals a $250 credit on eligible travel transactions.
- AMEX’s Fixed Points ProgramWhen used strategically, the Fixed Points Program can offer you a slightly better incentive. This option follows a regional redemption chart, enabling you to book travel domestically and internationally at competitive points redemption rates. Depending on the destination and seat class desired, you can strategically redeem fewer points for travel (up to $0.02 per point on some short-haul flights domestically). Note, though, the Fixed Points Program only applies to the base ticket price, not taxes and fees—but you can cover those charges using the Flexible Points Program and avoid paying anything out of pocket.
4. Travel insurance
Travel insurance is a big reason to pick the American Express Gold Rewards Card. A generous $5 million in travel medical emergency coverage is included for trips up to 15 days, while rental car collision, loss and damage waiver insurance will cover vehicles of up to $80,000. That’s well above the standard $60,000 offered by similar cards. Plus, lost and delayed baggage insurance covers checked and carry-on baggage while in transit for up to a maximum of $500 per trip.
5. You’ll get AMEX Perks
American Express is known to host curated events through American Express Invites, and for its exclusive cardmember offers. Find access to discounts in your area on their website, or take advantage of offers to save on everyday purchases. Plus—the big one for many—Front of Line access gives American Express customers an early chance to purchase tickets for concerts, shows and local events.
6. You’ll get hotel upgrades
Cardholders get a credit of up to $100 USD for qualifying hotel amenities charged to the room during stays at eligible Hotel Collection properties. This gives you a chance to save on upgrades and experiences, like dining, spa services and golf. The credit can’t be applied to the cost of a hotel stay, but you can use it to elevate your experience once you’re at your destination. It’s important to note that taxes and fees are still charged to your card.
7. The American Express Gold Rewards Card is a charge card
Unlike a credit card, American Express Gold Rewards is a charge card. This means there isn’t a preset card limit, which allows for flexibility if you need to make a big purchase; however, the statement balance must be paid in full each month. The approval of transactions is based on your customer record, how long you’ve had the account, and whether you pay your balances on time.
8. Fees and income requirements
The annual fee for the American Express Gold Rewards Card is $150, which is $30 more than similar travel cards. The premium is justified by the hefty welcome bonus, flexible earn and redemption model, and robust travel insurance offerings. The card offers a free first authorized user (whereas other cards charge you upwards of $50 per card, per year), and there is no specified minimum income requirement to qualify, making it more accessible to a wide range of people looking for premium travel rewards.
Are there any drawbacks to the AMEX Gold Rewards Card?
Acceptance is still one of the biggest limitations of any American Express card. While the company is actively improving access to pay with small businesses and offering an easy search feature within their mobile app and website, AMEX cards still aren’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard. While American Express maintains a very large network of merchants, it is wise to also carry a second no-fee Visa or Mastercard credit card in case a store or other vendor doesn’t accept AMEX.
Additionally, while the AMEX Gold Rewards Card offers access to more points-transfer partners than competitor cards, you can find higher accelerator rates on categories like grocery, dining and entertaining on the American Express Cobalt Card (up to 5 points per $1 spent, compared to the maximum of 2 points per $1 spent on AMEX Gold Rewards). However, the American Express Cobalt doesn’t offer the same airline transfer options as the AMEX Gold Rewards Card.
Finally, if you typically carry a balance, you may want to consider a different card, like the AMEX Cobalt or Scotiabank Gold American Express, which operates as a credit card and not a charge card.