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How to Make the Most of American Express Premier Rewards Gold

May 31, 2016
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
How to Make the Most of Your Premier Rewards Gold Card From American Express
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This page is out of date

In October 2018, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express was rebranded as the American Express® Gold Card, reviving the original name of the product. The new card has an all-new suite of rewards and benefits, meaning this page is out of date. See our details page for the American Express® Gold Card for the current offer.

Making the most of the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — earning the most rewards, taking advantage of its perks — means using the card at the right places, on the right purchases.

You’ll earn the most rewards on airfare, but when you’re not jetting hither and yon, you can pile up points by shopping at U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Just make sure you redeem those rewards for travel through American Express, gift cards, charitable donations and Uber if you want to get the most value.

Spend smart on airfare

Book directly with the airline. Some cards earn points on all travel, while others specify flights and hotels. The American Express® Gold Card is a little more focused, earning 3 points per dollar on flights, but only those booked directly with an airline. So if you want to earn points on airfare with this card, be sure to book by logging on to an airline’s site, calling its reservations line, or going the old-fashioned route and buying at the airport.

Choose your airline wisely. In addition to earning rewards on airfare, the American Express® Gold Card also lets cardholders choose an airline on which to spend an annual $100 airline-fee credit. This perk covers charges such as baggage fees and services including airport lounge day passes and in-flight refreshments on select airlines. You can choose your favorite airline once per year. Once you’ve picked, you can’t switch until the following January. Charges must also come directly from the airline, so fees incurred on third-party services aboard the plane (wireless internet, for example) are not covered.

Approved carriers for the fee credit include Alaska Airlines, American, US Airways, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit, United, Southwest and AirTran. To opt in, which is required, you can either log in to your account online or call AmEx customer service. Just use your American Express® Gold Card on your next incidental charge, and the credit will be applied automatically to your account in two to four weeks.

Use your card at U.S. gas stations, U.S restaurants and U.S. supermarkets

The American Express® Gold Card earns 2 points per dollar on all three categories, meaning a cardholder could go out to dinner, fill up the gas tank, stop at the supermarket on the way home and earn bonus points the entire way. Earning bonus rewards comes with a few conditions:

  • Gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants must be in the U.S.
  • Gas must come from gas stations, not “superstores, supermarkets and warehouse stores that sell gasoline.”
  • Restaurants must be stand-alone restaurants. Those located inside hotels, casinos or event venues, for example, won’t earn bonus points.

Even if you don’t spend in any of the card’s bonus categories, you’ll still earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

How to redeem rewards on the American Express® Gold Card

Redeeming Membership Reward points is straightforward: Log in to your American Express account, click “Redeem Points” and choose from one of several options for redemption.

Maximize redemption value. Membership Reward points are worth the most, 1 cent a piece, when redeemed for travel through American Express, gift cards, charitable donations and Uber rides.

Points can also be redeemed at a lower rate for Amazon purchases (0.7 cent per point), statement credit (0.6 cent per point) and merchandise through AmEx’s site (0.5 cent per point). If you’re looking to maximize your redemption value, stick with the 1-cent redemptions.

Kevin Cash is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @kevin_cash.