One of Amex’s iconic products, the American Express Gold Rewards Card is in many ways a “lite” version of the famous Platinum Card. The Gold Rewards Card comes with many of the same features and fees, albeit scaled down for those who many not be able to take advantage of everything the Platinum Card has to offer.
While there may be better options for everyday earning rates and other benefits, the Gold Rewards Card is a good choice if you want a modest amount of premium perks without paying full premium annual fees.
Bonuses & Fees
The Gold Rewards Card offers up to 70,000 Membership Rewards points when applying with a referral link. The public link offers 10,000 fewer points as a signup bonus. The points are earned as follows:
- 10,000 MR points upon spending $4,000 in the first three months
- 5,000 MR points upon spending $1,000 in each of the first 12 months, for a total of up to 60,000 MR points
The annual fee of $250 is quite reasonable when you subtract the annual $100 travel credit, making the “effective” annual fee $150 per year.
Furthermore, as a cardholder, you’ll earn 7,500 MR points for every referral you make to any card in the Membership Rewards family, up to a maximum of 112,500 MR points per calendar year.
Not only does the Gold Rewards Card come with a generous welcome bonus, it’s a good card to use on a daily basis for earning rewards. You’ll earn:
- 2 MR per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and drugstores in Canada
- 2 MR per dollar spent on travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals, vacations, cruises, etc.
- Earn 1 additional MR per dollar spent when booking your hotel or car rental through American Express Travel
- 1 MR per dollar spent everywhere else
Indeed, this is one of the only credit cards in the market that offers an accelerated earn rate for shopping at drugstores. If you have a large amount of spend at drugstores, the American Express Gold Rewards Card can be a worthwhile addition to your wallet.
The Membership Rewards program offers outstanding redemption opportunities as well. This is primarily because it’s a flexible, transferable rewards currency.
You can transfer your MR points at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan and British Airways Avios, as well as a host of other global frequent flyer programs (including Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Air France-KLM Flying Blue) at a 1:0.75 ratio. Moreover, you also have the option of converting points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.2 ratio for booking hotel stays.
Furthermore, you can redeem MR points directly for flights through the Amex Fixed Points Travel reward chart, although these are limited to round-trip flights departing from Canada.
Essentially, you can use a fixed amount of points towards the base ticket price of a regular cash ticket, up to a certain maximum. The number of points required and the maximum ticket price depends on the geographical region you are visiting (you can only book round-trip flights that originate in Canada).
Lastly, you have the option of redeeming MR points directly against travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent per point (cpp), although this is typically not recommended, as the value pales in comparison to what you could get by booking flights through Aeroplan, Avios, or even the Fixed Points Travel chart.
Perks & Benefits
The Gold Rewards Card has a handful of benefits, in many ways a slimmed-down version of what the Platinum Card offers.
For airport lounge access, you’ll get four complimentary visits to Plaza Premium lounges each year, a useful perk at many Canadian airports. You’ll also get a Priority Pass membership, although it doesn’t come with any free visits – you’ll have to pay to enter.
You’ll also get a $50 (CAD) NEXUS credit once every four years. This credit will be automatically applied to NEXUS application or renewal charges. Keep in mind that you’d still be on the hook for the rest of the fees, as it costs $50 (USD) for an application.
Additionally, you’ll get all of the standard perks of being an American Express cardholder, including Front of the Line event presale tickets, American Express Invites to exclusive experiences, and Amex Offers for extra everyday value when you use your card.
Finally, the card has a slick metal finish. You have the option to select the traditional Gold colour, or the distinct Rose Gold tone.
Charge your travel purchases to your American Express Gold Rewards Card, and you’ll automatically enjoy a wide array of coverage, such as:
- Emergency medical insurance, for the first 15 days of each out-of-province trip, up to a maximum of $5,000,000 per insured person under 65
- Trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance: for Trip Cancellation, up to $1,500 of coverage per insured person, with a maximum of $3,000 for all insured persons, and for Trip Interruption, up to $1,500 of coverage per insured person, with a maximum of $6,000 for all insured persons on the same covered trip.
- Lost, stolen, or damaged baggage insurance, up to $500 per trip
- Travel accident insurance, up to $500,000, for you, your spouse, and any dependent children under 23
- Auto rental collision/loss damage insurance: Comprehensive coverage for up to 48 consecutive days for cars with an MSRP of up to $85,000, which can help you save on the insurance fees that the car rental company would otherwise charge.
Additionally, the card also offers Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Protection, covering most eligible items you’ve purchased with your card should they be stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase, as well as an extended one-year warranty period compared to the manufacturer’s warranty.