The New American Express Gold Rewards Card: Up to 65,000 MR Points!

In July 2021, the American Express Gold Rewards Card was temporarily discontinued, and was poised to be reborn at an unspecified future date.

Now, we’re learning about all the details of the refreshed Gold Rewards Card here in Canada. Rose Gold is coming, new perks are being added, and there’s a new welcome bonus to celebrate. 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at what the future holds for one of the most iconic products in American Express’s lineup.

New Welcome Bonus of Up to 65,000 MR Points

The Gold Rewards Card is once again open for new applications. Cardholders will a new and improved welcome bonus along with all of the card’s new benefits.

The public offer is for 60,000 MR points:

  • Earn 50,000 MR points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Earn 10,000 MR points when you make a purchase in months 14–17

If you had signed up for the waitlist offer in early September, you can earn a further 5,000 MR points by accessing the application through the email that arrives in your inbox, for a total of 65,000 MR points.

Alternatively, you could also earn a total of 65,000 MR points by applying through a refer-a-friend link:

  • Earn 50,000 MR points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Earn 15,000 MR points when you make a purchase in months 14–17

Previously, the Gold Card offered 25,000–30,000 points, against an annual fee of $150. Now, the welcome bonus has doubled, with the net annual fee remaining the same (as we’ll discuss below).

Also, 50,000–65,000 MR points on the Gold Rewards Card puts it in the same range as the Platinum Card‘s old offers. Before the credit card market heated up in Summer 2021, the Platinum Card usually offered 50,000–70,000 points, but with a high net annual fee of $499.

Now, you can instead score the same haul on the Gold Rewards Card with a net annual fee of just $150!

Keep in mind that the second chunk of 10,000 or 15,000 MR points (when applying through public or refer-a-friend links, respectively) is only awarded upon making a purchase between months 14 and 17.

Since we’d value 10,000 or 15,000 MR points at $220 or $330, respectively, that outweighs the $150 net annual fee you’d pay in the second year, in case you were on the fence about keeping the card.

One additional item of note: the new Gold Rewards Card has transformed from a charge card to a credit card, with new applications being subject to a credit limit and having the ability to make monthly minimum payments.

This may also have implications in terms of American Express’s four credit card limit, as the Gold Rewards Card will presumably now count towards that limit – although further data points are needed to verify this.

Metal Card + Rose Gold Card

The new Gold Rewards Card will be a metal card in the signature gold colour. Existing cardholders will be issued a new metal card upon their current card’s expiry – or if they were to “lose” their current card. 

What’s more, new applicants to the Gold Rewards Card may now choose a distinctive Rose Gold colour in addition to the traditional Gold finish. The rollout of Rose Gold will be expanded to existing cardholders in early 2022. 

Annual Fee Increasing to $250

With this round of changes, the American Express Gold Rewards Card will be raising its annual fee from $150 to $250 for the year.

For existing cardholders, the $250 annual fee will be charged on their first cardholder anniversary date on or after October 18, 2021. For new applicants, the new $250 annual fee will be charged immediately.

However, this will be offset by a $100 statement credit that posts on the same date for existing cardholders, ensuring that they get to enjoy the new card’s elevated benefits for at least one year’s time while still paying a $150 annual fee before deciding whether to keep the card at a $250 annual fee. 

A 67% increase to the annual fee is necessarily bad news, right? Wrong, because it’s entirely offset by…

New $100 Annual Travel Credit

The Gold Rewards Card will offer a $100 annual travel credit, similar to the $200 annual travel credit offered on its premium counterpart, the Platinum Card. 

The $100 annual travel credit can be redeemed towards any booking of $100 or more through the Amex Travel online portal, including flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.

Since the travel credit also applies to refundable bookings, it’s effectively as good as cash, and it reduces your net annual fee back down to $150 in future years. 

Existing cardholders will be issued their first $100 annual travel credit on their next anniversary on or after October 18, 2021, at the same time that the higher $250 annual fee is charged for the first time (and a $100 statement credit gets posted for the first year). 

That means that existing cardholders can enjoy at least one year of continued usage on the Gold Rewards Card while only paying a $50 net fee, significantly sweetening the deal during this transition period.

New $50 NEXUS Credit

In addition to the $100 annual travel credit, the Gold Rewards Card is also introducing a $50 statement credit on NEXUS purchases.

You’ll earn a $50 (CAD) statement credit once every four years when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to the card. Since the NEXUS application or renewal fee is $50 (USD), this means that you’d still be on the hook for about $15 thanks to the exchange rate.

A NEXUS credit is a common feature on travel rewards credit cards, and you’ll also find similar credits on other cards in the market like the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite or the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite. 

Plaza Premium Lounge Visits + Priority Pass Membership

The American Express Gold Rewards Card will be adding airport lounge access to its suite of travel perks. 

Cardholders will receive four complimentary visits to Plaza Premium lounges in Canada every year, allowing you to make use of the Plaza Premium Lounges in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Edmonton – as well as the Air France Business Lounge in Montreal, which is managed by Plaza Premium. 

In addition, cardholders also receive complimentary membership with Priority Pass, although no free lounge visits are included; instead, every admission to a Priority Pass lounge will be subject to the prevailing rate of US$32 per visit. 

This is a weaker Priority Pass benefit compared to, say, the Platinum Card or the Business Platinum Card, which provide unlimited access to Priority Pass’s 1,200+ lounges around the world.

Still, with Priority Pass and Plaza Premium severing ties, the Gold Rewards Card’s stronger lounge access benefits on the Plaza Premium side does make a lot of sense, given Plaza Premium’s robust presence across Canadian airports.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

As a travel credit card, the previous edition of the Gold Rewards Cards had a notable weakness in that it lacked trip cancellation insurance.

That weakness is being addressed as part of the card’s relaunch, with trip cancellation insurance being added to the card’s insurance package as of September 21, 2021. The coverage will be up to $1,500 per insured person, per trip, up to a maximum of $3,000 for all insured persons combined. 

Trip cancellation supplements the card’s existing provisions:

  • Out-of-province emergency medical insurance
  • Lost or stolen baggage insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip interruption insurance
  • $500,000 travel accident insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • Hotel burglary insurance
  • Car rental theft and damage insurance

Earning Rates Staying the Same

While it had been speculated that the Gold Rewards Card’s earning rates may change in light of recent adjustments to the Cobalt Card, they will in fact be staying the same:

  • 2 MR points per dollar spent on travel, gas, groceries, and drugstores
  • 1 MR point per dollar spent on all other purchases

How Good Is the New Gold Rewards Card?

Just how much value will the new American Express Gold Rewards Card offer, and where does it fit in among American Express’s overall personal card lineup?

Compared to the previous edition of the product, the increased annual fee of $250 (up from $150) and the new $100 annual travel credit essentially cancel each other out. If you pay the higher annual fee and maximize the travel credit, you’re right back where you started having paid $150 out-of-pocket.

On the bright side, that means that the upcoming changes to the Gold Rewards Card can be viewed as strictly positive, because we’re getting an additional quadrennial $50 NEXUS credit, four Plaza Premium lounge visits per year, and trip cancellation insurance without any increase to the net annual fee.

However, with no changes to the earning rates, the new Gold Rewards Card does still appear to be weaker than the Cobalt Card, which commands a similar annual fee once you factor in the Gold Rewards Card’s annual travel credit ($150 net annual fee vs. $156.88 annual fee on the Cobalt).

The Cobalt’s 5-3-2-1 earning structure (including 5x points on food and drinks) blows the Gold Rewards Card’s 2x categories out of the water, especially now that the Cobalt earns points that can also be transferred to airline partners.

Going forward, it appears that the Cobalt Card is very much positioned as the perfect card for Canadian travellers looking to optimize their return on daily spend, while the Gold Rewards Card is more of a hybrid travel card that offers a travel credit, lounge passes, NEXUS credits every four years, and stronger travel insurance.


The refreshed American Express Gold Rewards Card is now open for new applications once again, and the changes will kick in for existing cardholders as of October 18, 2021. 

While the card’s new features aren’t wildly innovative, instead resembling a “lite” version of the Platinum Card, this welcome bonus is certainly something to behold. If you’re mostly looking for points via the welcome bonus, rather than perks or ongoing earning rates, the refreshed Gold Rewards Card is a strong contender for your next credit card application.

The card will be increasing its annual fee by $100, which is exactly offset by a new $100 travel credit. In addition, we’re getting Plaza Premium lounge access, NEXUS credits, and trip cancellation insurance, along with a shiny metallic finish in either Gold or Rose Gold.

While I’m pleased to see that the much-anticipated changes to the Amex Gold are strictly positive, I do feel like it’s a bit of a missed opportunity for American Express to spruce up the card even more – perhaps with stronger earning rates (like its US counterpart’s 4x points on worldwide dining).

Then again, it may be because American Express has set the bar so high with all of their moves so far in 2021 that I feel somewhat mellow about these changes, and the elevated welcome bonus of up to 60,000 MR points (plus 5,000 MR points via the waitlist) does indeed make up for things.

  1. Bhargav

    Are supplementary cards metal too?

    1. John

      Just received my Gold supplementary card (to a Gold primary card) and it’s the old plastic design unfortunately.

  2. Xian Montinola

    I have this card since last year and was my primary until the upgraded cobalt. I think it was said that I get a $100 rebate for previously owning the card to let me give it a try.
    I love my cobalt card so much, I am planning to switch to it permanently after I have tried out the new gold (I actually just want the rose gold to collect). Since I am keeping my coblat, any tips on what how to “safely” get rid of my gold? Should I downgrade (can I) and if I can, is there a way I can earn MR points bonus for doing so? Should I just cancel after a year? What should I do? Any tips please?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Cancelling after a year should be fine. If you cancel after the annual fee posts and then get a refund, it’s a more “credible” cancellation in the sense that you’ve truly decided not to renew the card. There’s no downgrade path.

  3. JY

    As someone already having the Plat (got it with that insane 150k MR summer offer yoo-hoo), will have to think about getting this one. Probably after finishing up with the Plat welcome bonus.

    But outside of getting that 65k welcome bonus, seems pretty weak. Probably will get that cool-looking Rose Gold Card, meet the MSR, finish the bonus in year 2, and then cancel (and keep that Rose Gold as a souvenir lol).

  4. Torah

    Thinking about this new card compared to the cobalt. Any thoughts?

    1. Ezequiel

      With little spending about $1000 a month in my case I’d have 10k more points if going the Cobalt way. It depends on you, if you travel two or three times a year I think the Gold would make more sense.

  5. Brian

    Anyone knows if I apply for a rose gold version, will I be able to request to have an additional card for myself in gold to separate personal and business transactions?

  6. Tom Devlin

    Are there any data points as to what constitutes a “new” applicant?

    I had the Gold card approx. 5 years ago.

    Will I receive the bonus if I apply for the card now?



    1. Ricky YVR

      Technically it’s the same product as before, so the once-in-a-lifetime rule still applies. However, I feel like Amex may be keen to welcome back new applicants for this relaunched card, so perhaps that might help your chances. It’s still a gamble, though.

      1. Tom Devlin

        Thanks for the response.

        I will come back and post the results if I do decide to take the gamble.


    2. Marco

      Anyone know if this offer expires? Don’t see an expiry date so might take advantage of other offers first like TD FCT

      1. Ricky YVR

        No expiry date. Given that this is the launch offer, I’d expect to see it last until at least the end of the year and likely well into Q1 2022.

    3. Leigh

      Wondering this as well!

  7. Daniel

    Hi Ricky. Do we know how this affect Gold cards that are issued as supplemental to Platinum card holder?

  8. Joel

    Is it a “credit card” or a “charge card”? No option to carry a balance on a charge card but a good way to stay out of debt. Amex definitely want their customers to pay interest $$$

    1. Ricky YVR

      Update: I was wrong. While there was no indication at the time, it’s now confirmed the Gold Rewards Card is a credit card going forward upon its relaunch and reopening to new applications.

    2. Ricky YVR

      It’ll remain a charge card.

  9. Santiago

    Will existing Cardholders receive four complimentary visits to Plaza Premium lounges ?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Yes, as of October 18.

  10. MichaelK

    Earning rate needs to improve for me to keep this card given I have the Plat, Aeroplan Reserve and Cobalt. Was waiting to see what the new offer was before making a decision, nothing worth the wait given the earn rates on Cobalt and the new $100 credit for Nexus on Plat

  11. Daniel

    Thanks for the update. Do you know what is happening with the BUSINESS Amex Gold? I have one and the 3 preferred vendor program will be discontinued soon as you’ve reported. TIA

    1. Ricky YVR

      No confirmed updates at this time but I’d expect to see more changes to that card soon too.

  12. John

    The lounge pass is weak. Calgary doesn’t even have a plaza premium lounge absolutely crap compare to lounge key and priority pass which works in almost every lounge. Very sad American Express.

  13. Diego

    I wish that the Plaza Premium Lounge access was for all PP lounges as there are some great PP lounges outside of Canada, and it would be great to be able to access the lounge on the way back from an international trip as well.

  14. Matthew

    Any idea if the Platinum card is next up for some changes? It would be nice to see no FX fees, the mobile insurance and maybe the Nexus.

  15. CM

    Any idea if the supplementary card(s) will still be free? Or is there going to be a change to those as well?

    I am still contemplating if the new and improved card will work for me.


  16. Kenny

    For those (including myself) who had cancelled the gold card within the past few months, and now given this is being billed as a new product launch; if I were to apply again would I be eligible for the WB?

    1. Joshua

      The card is not a bad proposition overall for 150 dollars. Still don’t understand the purpose of this card in lieu of the new cobalt’s earning and transfer ratios though. Guess the four plaza premium passes will lure some, but you can get four free passes with the Cibc Aventura for free.

    2. Wayne Williams

      As I live in Europe (spain) I struggle to find retail outlets who accept the card thus reward points are scarce. The increase in yearly fee is a real deterent…I need to rethink as I also have a supplement card

      1. AG

        Great review, one thing I noted was that of my four Amex cards, the Gold (I have the CPA) offered both the most, and most relevant special offers. I saved a bunch on this card which was free as a CPA, to subsidize fees on others…this value point is sometimes missed. I would love to know how Amex allocates these offers amongst cards.

  17. DM

    I agree with the sentiments that the updates are disappointing, especially with the earnings rate. So many cards come with the NEXUS fee credit that it’s not a differentiating factor anyway and it’s only applicable once in 4 years – WOW. I am glad I convinced my wife to take up the upgrade offer to Platinum earlier this summer. The platinum card, in it’s current form, is providing substantially high value already and we are yet to use it at any airport or hotel!

  18. BG

    Any news for business gold? Now that 2x plastic is canceled?

    1. Oslerscodes

      Just looking fo clarification on the plastiq changes. I keep my Business Gold exclusively for plastiq and annual fee is approaching. Your comment seems to indicate that it is changing but the sentence ends in a question mark.

    2. Ricky YVR

      I’m expecting some meaningful changes to the business version at some point in the not-too-distant future as well.

  19. CT

    What about signing up bonus MR? Are there MR points for new applications later?
    My wife’s Gold card just expired a few days ago, and I see in her account 2500 MR points automatically added with a $150 annual fee, retention bonus points I guess!

    1. Ricky YVR

      The signup bonus is yet to be announced. I’m hopeful that the card can somewhat mitigate these mellow changes by setting a new standard for signup bonuses – say 60,000 or 75,000 MR points for the $250 annual fee price point? I certainly can’t see it being lower than the Cobalt’s 50K, and if it is, that speaks volumes about which product American Express is choosing to emphasize more.

  20. Tammy

    Hmmmmm. Disappointed. I have the AMEX platinum and was keeping the AMEX Gold because my children (under 18) were additional card holders. The 2X groceries, gas and drug stores was also a key selling point for me. Will definitely have to think this one through. Thanks Ricky for the thorough analysis.

  21. Santiago

    My worry is about the Platinum AF being increased soon

  22. EH

    You can enjoy the same fee you’re currently paying for the first year. Your annual fee will be increasing to $250 on your next Cardmembership anniversary date on or after October 18, 2021. We want you to experience all that your new Card has to offer for the same fee you currently pay by issuing you a statement credit after your annual fee of $250 is billed. This means for the first year, you will enjoy the updated American Express Gold Rewards Card for the same fee as today.
    I am a bit confused. Does it mean AMEX will issue an additional $100 statement credit (not travel credit) to offset the increased annual fee for the first year?

  23. steve

    Absolute crap. This is the best they could come up with? No increased earning rate – a complete joke. Keep in mind that NEXUS is so far behind it will take forever to catch up to get you into an interview. I’ll be cancelling upon renewal. I will wait to see what the Plat card overhaul will be before deciding on that one.

    1. Ezequiel

      Same thoughts. Will cancel and get Cobalt. The earning rate is just a joke.

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