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[ANALYSIS] American Express Gold Rewards Card

American Express has a promotion for 25,000 membership rewards points sign up bonus. This is the highest sign up bonus ever for the American Express Gold Rewards Card.

It does not specify when this promotion will expire, so now is the time to get this card. Keep in mind that this is a charged card, so you have to pay off your balance right away, there will not be a minimum payment option available. The highlights of the credit card are as follows:

  • $150 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • Earn 25,000 sign up bonus points after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on travel (flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc.), gas, groceries and drug stores purchases
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases

I have this card and I personally feel that the 2 points for every $1 spent is very under marketed because this earning ratio is what makes this card worthwhile. The $150 annual fee is steep, so ideally they should give us an incentive to retain the card the following year, such as waiving the annual fee again or getting additional bonus points.

In terms of the rewards, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points as follows (keep in mind that you have to transfer a minimum of 1,000 points and it increases in increments of 100 points afterwards):

Airline Partners

  • 1,000 Membership Rewards = 1,000 Aeroplan Miles
  • 1,000 Membership Rewards = 1,000 Avios (British Airways Executive Club)
  • 1,000 Membership Rewards = 750 MilleMiglia Miles (Italy)
  • 1,000 Membership Rewards = 750 Asia Miles
  • 1,000 Membership Rewards = 750 Delta SkyMiles
  • 1,000 Membership Rewards = 750 Etihad Guest Miles (United Arab Emirates)

Hotel Partners

  • 1,000 Membership Rewards = 1,000 HHonors Points
  • 1,000 Membership Rewards = 500 Starpoints (Starwood Preferred Guest)

The flexibility to transfer to so many different partners makes this such a great credit card. Furthermore, you can hoard your points as long as you continue to have an AMEX Membership Rewards credit card. So you would only need to transfer the points whenever you know you will fly on a specific airline or wanting to stay at one of the two hotel partners. The transfer should take up to 5 days before it appears on your account.

If none of the transfer partners suit your needs, you can always use your points straight up, 1 Membership Rewards points equals to 1 cent. I am waiting for a double dipping opportunity. Back in March 2013, they had a 50% transfer bonus to Avios. So 1,000 Membership Rewards = 1,500 Avios points, which is an amazing transfer rate. Hopefully there will be another similar soon.

I would also like the mention that Starwood has 31 transfer partners of its own. So you can always transfer your points to Starwood first, then transfer the points to another partner not listed above. Remember to take advantage of the 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints that you transfer.

Let’s face it though, the main selling point for this credit card is the first year annual fee waive, so even if you miss the 25,000 sign up bonus, as long as the annual fee is waived, the card is worthwhile to get because of the strong earning ratios. After one year of enjoying the perks, you can decide what you want to do with the credit card. Just remember to cash out all your points before cancelling.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

  • Ottawa | Vancouver
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