American Express is again promoting their newest flavor – the AmEx Premier Rewards Gold Card, which is slightly different from their other Gold/Zync/Platinum cards. This is a charge card, so it is intended for folks that pay off their balance in full each month (as all of you should do anyway). If you are not a current AmEx *charge* cardholder, then you are eligible for their current sign-up incentive: * Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards bonus points when you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card membership. MR points are very versatile, and can be converted to 15,000 frequent flier miles in a number of programs (or 10 Southwest credits), or you can simply get $150 in gift cards at several stores like Home Depot, Crate & Barrel, or Macy’s. You can use the mileage feature to top off your miles in a specific airline to reach an award tier, or just to keep some miles from expiring.
Historically, there have also been varying promotions for specific airlines, for example a 20% bonus for transfer to British Airways last year, and currently 50% additional miles for transfer to Delta Skymiles (25-40% link). This means you can be getting more than 1 mile per dollar spent. * No annual fee for your first year. This means you can get the sign-up bonus and also try out this card for free for a year. After the first year, the annual fee is a hefty $175. Mark your calendars, but if you do miss it, they do refund a pro-rated portion of any paid annual fees. * Offers 3X points on airfare, 2X points on gas and groceries, and 1X points on everything else. The traditional versions only offer 1 point per $ spent, so the double points on gas and groceries are an extra perk. The card gets much more interesting for those that charge a lot of airfare on their cards, since those can be some big bucks. It’d be perfect you get to charge airfare for business or family, and then get reimbursed for it. * Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards bonus points when you spend $30,000 per calendar year. This means that if you spend $30,000 in a year ($2,500 per month) that you’ll get at least 15,000 for sign-up + 30,000 on spending + 15,000 bonus = 60,000 points total, plus any extra for gas/groceries/airfare. That’s enough for 60,000 frequent flier miles (ignoring any promos) or 2.5 free flights on Southwest (40 credits). * Extended warranties and roadside assistance. As with all such “premium” AmEx charge cards, everything you buy with the cards comes with a free automatic extended warranty. AmEx will double the length of the original U.S. manufacturer’s warranty for up to one additional year on eligible purchases with warranties of 5 years or less. This can be very handy for electronics like home theater equipment and laptops. Read more at their official FAQ and at this Consumerist article about a guy who got a new laptop.
In summary, this card has some new features and a nice sign-up incentive, but the target demographic seems to be higher-income cardholders that are big spenders, especially on airfare.