In September 2021, the American Express Gold Rewards Card was reborn after being briefly discontinued. The relaunch saw some new perks, an all-time-high welcome bonus, and a snazzy option to order your card in the metal Rose Gold colour.
Now, the card has improved its welcome bonus yet again, through May 11, 2022. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer from one of the most iconic products in the American Express lineup.
New Welcome Bonus of Up to 75,000 MR Points
When you apply via a refer-a-friend link and are approved for a Gold Rewards Card, you’ll get an improved welcome bonus worth up to 75,000 MR points:
- Earn 55,000 MR points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
- Earn 10 MR points per dollar spent on travel expenses in the first six months, up to 20,000 MR points
For the full bonus, you’d have to spend $2,000 on travel purchases. You’ll have six months to hit this target, so don’t worry if you’re not ready to make travel plans quite yet.
However, consider that any travel purchases within the first three months will also count towards the card’s $3,000 threshold requirement to earn the main part of the welcome bonus.
Travel expenses may include cash fares for flights, taxes and fees paid directly to the airline, hotels and alternatives like Airbnb, car rentals, cruises, and so forth. You could, say, book your accommodation using your new Gold Rewards Card, then use those points for a high-value Aeroplan booking to get there.
(Note that the welcome bonus component of 10x bonus points earned on travel encompasses the base rate of 2 points per dollar spent in that category. Thus you’ll earn 10 points per dollar spent on travel up to $2,000 spent, then 2 points per dollar spent once you’ve hit the limit.)
Also, there’s no more anniversary bonus in “months 14–17” – now, you’ll earn the full bonus in the first year. That gives you the option to decide whether or not to renew the card in its second year based on the ongoing value you’re getting, without worrying about forgoing part of the bonus.
In the past, the Gold Card had historically offered welcome bonuses in the range of 25,000–30,000 points, against an annual fee of $150. Now, the welcome bonus has rapidly grown, with the net annual fee remaining the same (as we’ll discuss below).
Also, 55,000–75,000 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!
40,00055,000 MR points upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
- Plus, earn an additional 10x points on eats & drinks in the first three months, up to 20,000 MR points
- Also, receive an annual $100 travel credit and a $50 NEXUS credit
- Transfer MR points to Aeroplan and other frequent flyer programs for premium flights
- Plaza Premium membership with four annual lounge passes
- Credits and rebates for daily expenses throughout the year with Amex Offers
- Bonus MR points for referring family and friends
- Annual fee: $250
Metal Card + Rose Gold Card
The Gold Rewards Card is a metal card in the signature gold colour. What’s more, new applicants to the Gold Rewards Card may choose a distinctive Rose Gold colour in addition to the traditional Gold finish.
Amex Gold Rewards Card: Perks & Benefits
The Gold Rewards Card now offers a $100 annual travel credit, similar to the $200 annual travel credit 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 addition, the American Express Gold Rewards Card has added 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.
Finally, there’s also a $50 statement credit on NEXUS purchases, valid once every four years when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to the card.
In terms of everyday earning rates, the Gold Rewards Card offers the following:
- 2 MR points per dollar spent on travel, gas, groceries, and drugstores
- 1 MR point per dollar spent on all other purchases
These earning rates 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 5-2-1 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 has upped its offer once again, continuing to shine as brightly as its new metal veneer.
It’s now offering an all-time high of 75,000 MR points, through May 11, 2022. The grand total is more than before, as is the amount awarded in the first year, even if you skip the travel spending.
While the card’s new features since its relaunch 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.