New American Express Gold Rewards Card

FYI: I have no affiliation with American Express, nor do I earn any compensation from them in any way from this post, or if you sign up for this card.

A few weeks ago, American Express extended an invitation to me to join them for a dinner at the Canadian Air and Space Museum. At first, I was hesitant. I’ve never written about specific charge or credit cards and their various features. I’m just not that knowledgeable about them, to be honest. There are so many options out there that I’ve just tried to pick ONE rewards program and funnel my purchases through ONE card to increase the probability of actually collecting on meaningful rewards over time. I’ve always been of the philosophy that you don’t want to diversify your reward program participation because you’ll never earn enough points on any one to collect. Sometimes, new cards come out which seem to have better features and benefits, but what do you do with all the reward points you’ve collected until then?

I decided to attend and I’m glad I did. First, I got to see the Canadian Air and Space Museum which is great. They have a life sized replica of an Avro Arrow – right there, my attendance was validated. I also chatted at length with the curator and his passion for aerospace was evident. If you get nothing else from this post, you should click here to view the website for the museum and if you are an aerospace enthusiast, or history buff, go check them out: time well spent.

At the event, they presented the new American Express Gold Rewards Card – aimed at travel rewards. I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you what impressed me with this card: you earn points as usual (1 point per dollar spent, with “accelerators” for travel purchases put on the card and daily groceries, etc. which bumps you to 2 points per dollar spent) . But, when you want to book travel, you can book it through anywhere (think KAYAK, Travelocity, Expedia, etc.) and find the absolute lowest possible price and then make your purchase on the card. Up to 12 months thereafter, you can use your points to rebate partially or in whole, the amount spent on that travel purchase.

So basically, you might not accumulate points the absolute fastest compared to everything out there, but it’s comprimable. BUT since you have the flexibility to book your travel through the cheapest means you can find, spending those points is more efficient. That was pretty innovative I thought.

Additional Notes

It’s a CHARGE CARD – not a credit card. That means you are expected to pay your balance in full every month.

You can transfer your points to Aeroplan or many frequent flyer programs.

You get your standard gold card benefits, like trip interruption insurance, out of country medical, car rental insurance, etc.

First year fee is waived, then $150 per year thereafter (so make sure you spend enough to make it worthwhile, but don’t spend for the sake of spending).

You can click here to visit their website for more details. (Again, not an affiliate link.)

Conclusion

If you like to travel, this card is worth taking a look at.

Do you guys have any recommendations for cards to consider (for travelers)? As I mentioned before, I’m not very knowledgeable about all the options out there and their various features and benefits. I like this one because it’s simple, no blackouts or restrictions, and it accumulates points in line with industry standards, but depletes them more slowly.

Preet Banerjee
Preet Banerjee
...is an independent consultant to the financial services industry and a personal finance commentator. You can learn more about Preet at his personal website and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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Showing 8 comments
  • Justin

    TD Travel Rewards VISA card is cheaper, has the same benefits, redeems the same way, and is a credit card, so you can keep a balance if you choose. And VISA is probably accepted in more places than Amex.

    • Preet

      Thanks Justin – I’ll check them out!

      • Akip

        I’m with Justin.

        We use a TD Travel Rewards Card for both our home and business expenses, and accumulate approximately $800-1000/year between them. (We are not big spenders, but we try to put all purchases through on them. We accumulate the rewards, and its easy to keep track of our purchases all on one statement!) Its also nice that you can use your “travel” credit towards hotel rooms, lift tickets etc. not just flights.

        The card does come with a $149 annual fee, but this can be waived with the right chequing account and minimum balances. (Keeping a $5000 minimum balance in the account for the free banking and annual fees on credit cards waived has resulted in a better return on our $ than many investments as of late!)

  • Huy

    Unless the points are worth MORE $0.01 each, then you are better off with cash-back cards that give you 1% on purchases made with the card. The money returned can be used to purchase whatever you want (that includes travel!).

    Be careful as some cash-back cards are tiered, so you must spend above a certain amount per year before the 1% cash-back is applied — think of it as a hidden annual fee.

    The best card I’ve seen to date and use currently is the Smart Cash Platinum Plus from MBNA. It gives you 1% on all purchases, and 3% for gas/groceries. And best of all, NO ANNUAL FEE. Plus you get Platinum benefits like car rental insurance. They send you a cheque every time you earn over $50 in cash-back reward, then take it an put it in your vacation fund. I will never give up this card.

    • dj

      Thanks for this info….now if can get Preet back on investment tips,I.E. Div. tax play for Oct 31

    • Jordan

      The original American Express Gold Reward card trumps all. It has no annual fee, as long as you spend $5k/year it gives you 2% back on all purchases. I use it as much as possible and usually get $300-400 back each year.

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