Last week’s rumor becomes today’s breaking news. Today, American Express officially announced a rebrand of their Premier Rewards Gold Card — now simply American Express Gold — with a host of exciting new benefits. Also, there’s a rose gold colored card.
Significantly, American Express is blowing away just about every other card on the market in rewards on two major spending categories: four points per dollar spent at restaurants and supermarkets.
Offsetting the card’s $250 fee is a $120 worth of annual dining credits, dished out in $10 per month statement credits at Shake Shack locations, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Grubhub or Seamless. There’s a decent 25,000 point intro bonus after new cardholders spend $2,000 in three months, though we’ve seen higher before.
This card now becomes the most lucrative for frequent restaurant-goers and grocery-shoppers, with an amazing return on spend. Not only are these purchases earning four points per dollar, redeemable for travel at 1.25¢ each, Membership Rewards points which can be transferred to 17 airline frequent flyer programs and three hotel partners.
This redesign is a clear attack on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Not only are you getting one more point per dollar spent on dining (4x vs. 3x), but also groceries receive a whopping three more points per dollar spent (4x vs. 1x). However, keep in mind these bonus categories only work domestically on the Gold card while the Reserve’s benefits apply internationally.
And including Grubhub/Seamless in the dining credit is a huge win in attracting urbanites who are more likely to use delivery food services.
Existing Card Benefits
- 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines and at amextravel.com
- $100 airline fee credit for incidental items like baggage fees on one selected airline
- $75 hotel credit plus a room upgrade upon check-in (when available) when booking a stay of at least two nights at hotels as part of Amex’s Hotel Collection
- Amex’s “Personalized Travel Service” that can assist with bookings over the phone
What’s the Welcome Bonus & Annual Fee?
There’s a publicly available offer for 25,000 Membership Rewards points with the purchase of $2,000 within the first three months. Amex is also “Picking Up the Tip” on the first three months of card ownership by offering 20% back as a statement credit on restaurant purchases up to $100.
There is a $250 annual fee, up from $195, which is not waived for the first year. The increase is understandable considering the new benefits that this card offers. If you can make use of it, the $120 dining credit alone makes the slight increase worthwhile.
Although rebranded as the American Express Gold Card, this won’t be considered a new product, and anyone who has owned the Premier Rewards Gold card in the past won’t be eligible for the welcome bonus. However, with the added benefits, it may be a worthwhile addition even without a welcome bonus. On paper, $220 of the $250 is covered by both the dining and airline credits. Additionally, Amex is luring in the millennial crowd with a subtle-yet-gorgeous rose gold card.
While the Gold card seems to be marketed towards a younger crowd that values domestic eats over international travel, it can be a valuable addition for anyone that wants a stellar return on dining out and groceries. American Express might have a real winner on its hands here.
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