Seriously I couldn’t help myself, I signed up for another credit card! This time it is the American Express Gold Rewards Card. This one was in an attempt to get more Marriott/SPG reward points so that I could travel hack accommodation in the Maldives and stay in an overwater bungalow (remember this bucket list dream of mine?) that would normally cost $380+ to $500+ a night. Unfortunately, there is Zika in the Maldives so in the interest of family planning, we are unable to go to the Maldives. I found this out of course after I overzealously applied for this card. I was crushed. I’ll figure somewhere else to go to that is Zika free.
Just like with the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, I’ve had this card a number of times previously, and usually, cancel before the First Year Free (FYF) is up. The last time I’ve had this card was over a few years ago.
I got prompted to get this card again from the credit card guru himself, Barry Choi from Money We Have.
The beauty of this card is that it is very flexible. The points can be transferred easily to other programs. The American Express MR Points can be transferred 1:1 to Aeroplan and 1:1.2 to Marriott/SPG points. They can also be transferred 1:1 to British Airways Avios. Ricky, from the Prince of Travel has a great post on how you can get the best bang for your American Express MR buck.
To summarize, the American Express MR Points can be transferred:
- 1:1 with Hilton Honors
- 1:1.2 Marriott/ Ritz Carlton/ SPG Rewards
- 1:1 Aeroplan
- 1:1 British Airways Avios (you can also transfer 1:0.75 to Asia Miles but seriously why would one do that?)
- 1:0.75 Delta SkyMiles, Etihad Guest, Alitalia Millemiglia, Asia Miles
The timeline to transfer your points is super fast. For example, to transfer 1000 MR Points to 1000 Aeroplan points, it only takes 30 minutes. To transfer 1:1.2 MR points to SPG it will only take 5 days.
Features of the American Express Gold Rewards Card
- You earn a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Reward points when you spend $1500 in the first 3 months of card membership. This is equivalent to $250 in travel credit on the card.
- You earn 2 points for every $1 in purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores
- You earn 2 points for every $1 in purchases for travel purchases, including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises
- Everywhere else, you earn 1 point for every $1 in purchases
- The MR Points don’t expire
- There is no limit to the number of Membership Reward Points you can get
- There is a free supplementary card, and additional supplementary cards are $50 each
The Insurance Features of the AMEX Gold Rewards Card
- Emergency Medical Insurance for the first 15 days for all insured persons under age 65, up to a maximum of $5,000,000
- Trip Interruption Insurance of up to $1500 per person and a total of $6000 if you charged your trip to this card
- Car Rental and Theft Insurance, it covers a car’s cost of up to MSRP $85,000 but you have to charge the car rental to this card
- $500 for Lost or Stolen Baggage, provided that you charge the flight with your credit card
- Flight and Baggage Delay Insurance of up to $500 combined as long as you purchase the items or hotel stay or food within 48 hours of the delay (the delay has to be more than 4 hours long)
- Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance of up to $500 (but cash is not included) and you have to pay for your stay with the Amex Gold Rewards Card
- $500,000 Common Carrier Travel Accident insurance (Accidental Death and Dismemberment)
- Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan– This extends your warranty by an additional year, but the item has to be purchased on the Amex Gold Rewards Card
- Purchase Protection Plan– This covers your item you purchased with your Amex Gold Rewards card against damage or theft
You have to be a Canadian resident and have a credit file. You also have to not be 13 years old. You have to be the age of majority in your province or territory. It doesn’t look like there is an annual income requirement.
Related: Transunion vs Equifax, Why Is there a 100 Point Difference?
The annual fee for the American Express Gold Rewards card is $150.
You may be shocked that I would pay a fee for this card.
I managed to get around it because I am a Perkopolis member!! That junk mail in my inbox that I delete often served as a great reminder that I was a Perkopolis member lol!
If you are a Perkopolis member (your employer may have you as a Perkopolis member, they are a provider of perk programs for employees in Canada), Perkopolis will give you a statement credit of $150 (so basically the card will be free) if you spend $1500 within the first three months of card membership for the first year.
It takes up to 10 weeks for the statement credit to happen.
American Express Gold Rewards Pros:
- It is a very flexible rewards program and the points can transfer to Aeroplan or Avios or Marriott rewards programs
- The points don’t expire
- There is a referral program where you can earn more points by referring your friends and family to the points card
American Express Gold Rewards Cons:
- The major con with ANY American Express card is that it is pretty much accepted not anywhere lol. I always have to ask places if they accept American Express and they usually say no.
- The annual fee is $150 now, in the past, this card has been free for the first year
- It is a charge card and not a credit card. Therefore the interest rate is even higher than a normal credit card. The balance must always be paid in full each month and if not, a 30% annual interest rate applies. This is a STEEP rate. So if you’re not good with paying your balance in full, I would steer clear from this card!
My Verdict on the American Express Gold Rewards Card:
After hitting the minimum spend on this card, I likely won’t be adding it to my daily spending pattern. This is mainly because not many places accept American Express in Canada. To me, this is purely a churnable card for my travel hacking purposes.
If you are a Perkopolis member (you can check with the HR department of your workplace) this is a great deal to get this card for free, otherwise, it is $150 for an annual fee.
Great Canadian Rebates often has a cash back offer if you sign up for this card through their site.
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Readers, do you have the American Express Gold Rewards card? What do you think of it?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.