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Amex Gold Rewards Card: Goodbye For Now

Update (July 16): It appears that the discontinuation of the Amex Gold Rewards Card may be much more short-lived, and its relaunch taking place much sooner, than we had anticipated. Watch this space for further developments on the future of the product.

As we mentioned in our Sunday newsletter this past weekend, the American Express Gold Rewards Card will be discontinued to new applicants imminently. 

If you’re interested in the current signup bonus of 30,000 MR points for a $150 annual fee, you should take action and apply as soon as possible.

The Gold Rewards Card Will Be Temporarily Discontinued

When American Express announced sweeping changes to the Cobalt Card last week, many of us believed that the Gold Rewards Card would inevitably undergo large-scale changes as well. 

After all, the new-generation Cobalt Card as of August 16 will effectively cannibalize the Gold Rewards Card in the same $150-annual-fee segment of the market, along with a far more powerful 5x earning rate on points that can be transferred to airlines and hotels. 

American Express Gold Rewards Card
Welcome Bonus
N/A
Annual Fee
$150

Instead of boosting the value proposition on the Gold Rewards Card, however, American Express has decided to temporarily phase out the product altogether.

The Gold Rewards Card will be decommissioned in its current form, although existing cardholders will most likely continue to be able to use their cards under the current terms.

There’s no confirmed end date for the discontinuation of the product. However, we can take a clue from the verbiage on the refer-a-friend offer for existing Gold Rewards Card holders. 

In order to earn the referral bonus of 5,000 MR points, potential referees must apply for the card by July 21, 2021. That strikes me as very likely date for the final day that the American Express Gold Rewards Card, as we know it, will be available to new applications. 

(There’s no guarantee that July 21 will be the final date, of course, but this notice tells us that it won’t be anytime before July 21.)

Either way, I think it’s safe to treat July 21 as a reliable deadline for submitting your application if you’re interested in picking up the Gold Rewards Card under its current form and taking its welcome bonus for a spin. 

After all, American Express welcome bonuses are intended for individuals who haven’t held the card before. Usually, this means that it’s best to wait for historically high welcome bonuses before jumping on a new Amex card (like we’re seeing on the Amex Platinum, Bonvoy, and Aeroplan products at the moment), but when a card is about to be phased out, it’s more of a “now or never” mentality.

The current best signup offer is for 30,000 MR points when you apply via a referral link and add a supplementary card at the time of the application, and then spend $1,500 on the card in the first three months.

Since the annual fee is $150 in the first year, you’re effectively buying points at 0.5 cents per point, which is an excellent deal.

Once you’ve gotten the card, it’s your decision how long you’d like to keep it for. The Gold Rewards Card does offer some unique elevated earning rates, such as 2x MR points on drugstores – but for all of its other categories, including travel, gas, and groceries, it’s looking set to be eclipsed by the Cobalt Card instead. 

Could the Gold Rewards Card Be Brought Back?

Even though the Gold Rewards Card is being decommissioned for now, it could always return in the future. Indeed, we’ve seen American Express reinstate long-lost products in Canada before, such as the American Express Choice Card late last year.

(In fact, the Choice Card is set to become the new American Express Green Card on August 16, which is itself a reinstatement of a long-lost Green Card from decades ago.)

I’d say that the Gold Rewards Card is fairly likely to make a return at some point in the future, given its iconic standing among the American Express personal credit card lineup. When the average person thinks about American Express as a company, the Centurion, Platinum, and Gold cards all instantly come to mind.

In fact, we can look to our neighbours to the south for a recent real-life example: the American Express US Premier Rewards Gold Card was also discontinued a few years ago, only to be relaunched in a years’ time as the new-look American Express US Gold Card. 

I think it’s quite possible that, not too long from now, we in Canada might also see a similar relaunch of the “American Express Gold Card” without the “Rewards” moniker.

We’d quite possibly see entirely refreshed earning rates, card benefits, welcome bonuses, and annual fees (likely in the $250 range, based on both the Amex US precedent and our own Cobalt Card’s newfound standing). Who knows, there may even be a new metal card design or a rose gold flavour. 

Of course, this is all merely speculation for the time being. The Gold Rewards Card as we know it is coming to an end soon, and the best way to pay tribute to it is to apply and earn its signup bonus if you haven’t already. 

Conclusion

The American Express Gold Rewards Card will be temporarily discontinued to new applicants very soon, with July 21 appearing to be a notable date in the card’s future.

If you’re interested in earning an easy 30,000 MR points for spending $1,500 in the first three months and a $150 annual fee, you have just over a week’s time to make it happen.

I’d like to take a moment and pay tribute to the Amex Gold, since it was one of the first cards that kickstarted my own credit card journey back in 2014. At the time, there was an ongoing First Year Free offer, and it’s safe to say that the sweet satisfaction of pocketing 25,000 MR points for no first-year annual fee absolutely left me craving more.

I’d certainly love to see the Gold Rewards Card relaunched in Canada sometime soon, following in the footsteps of American Express US a couple of years ago. Until then, it will be missed.