I am a personally a big fan of American Express. Their customer service is world renowned, the Membership Rewards program is within the top three and their products are simply solid. Most of them anyway. I’ve had the American Express Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) card for almost a year now and I’ve always loved it, until I realized that the Amex Platinum had just cannibalized it.
What Makes The Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card Obsolete?
In short, other American Express cards. But before I elaborate, here is what the PRG has to offer:
- 25,000 points signup bonus (after spending $2,000 in purchases within 3 months)
- 3x points on airfare booked directly with the airline
- 2x points at US gas stations, supermarkets, restaurants and 1x points everywhere else
- $100 airline fee credit
- $195 annual fee (waived the first year and entirely for active duty service members with SCRA benefits)
- No foreign transaction fee
Not bad at first sight, which is exactly why I got the card in the first place. The 3x points on airfare was the most valuable feature to me, along with the airline fee credit. But then Amex announced a new benefit to the Platinum card last year, in response to the Chase Sapphire Reserve: 5x points on airfare! Well 5 is greater than 3, so I knew which card I’d be using for airfare from now on. That left the PRG with double points on gas, dining, and supermarket purchases, and of course the airline credit. I already had the Chase Sapphire Preferred for dining purchases so that was out too. But when I got the Amex Everyday Preferred, which earns 3x points on supermarket (up to $6,000 annually) and also double points on gas station purchases, in addition to a 50% points bonus for making 30 transactions per month or more, I was pretty much just left with the airline credit.
Sure, the PRG has additional travel benefits over the Everyday Preferred, such as Primary rental car coverage, personalized travel service and the lack of foreign transaction fees, but so do the Amex Platinum and SPG cards. The $100 airline credit does not offset the $195 annual fee, obviously, so I am basically only holding on to the PRG because of my SCRA benefits and the hope that Amex adds a few new features.
What New Features I’d Like To See
Rewards cards are changing, customers expect more, and more innovative benefits as well. American Express has always had some very classic and timeless card designs and features so ahead of their time, they rarely had to adapt. But even that’s changed; the Platinum card is now made out of stainless steel and Amex had to play “catch up” with Chase as far as premium credit card benefits. Here are some benefits I’d like to see on the Premier Rewards Gold card:
- Boingo internet access
- 3x points at gas stations
- All metall design
- Complimentary primary rental car coverage (currently around $20 per rental, varies by state)
- Award bonus points at foreign merchants
For most of us, points matter most, so the 3x points on gas would be a huge selling point. Also, the main reason I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred at restaurants is because I don’t have to worry about where I am to earn the 2x points. Amex is notorious about only awarding bonus points at domestic merchants (the Everyday Preferred has that same stipulation). This is particularly strange because Amex has such a strong international presence and is known for prestige worldwide.
Either way, credit cards have to complement one another. When their benefits start to overlap, they all lose value. I cannot foresee an owner of the Amex Platinum and EveryDay Preferred to still be interested in the Premier Rewards Gold card until the benefits change.
Do you have the Premier Rewards Gold card? Do you think it’s still as valuable as it once was, or is it becoming obsolete? Comment below or on our social media pages.