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The American Express® Gold Rewards Card charges an annual fee of $250. But the card provides a generous welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards® points, which equates to a $600 value, which could offset the annual fee.
If you value flexible rewards that can transfer to other popular loyalty programs, such as Air Canada’s Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy—the Amex Membership Rewards® are as limber as a Yoga instructor. However, if your destinations often take you abroad, its 2.5% foreign transaction fee may be a deterrent.
Who is the Amex Gold card best for?
The Amex Gold is ideal for travellers willing to pay an annual fee for travel benefits and don’t want to mess around with the complexity of point collection categories. Thanks to the Membership Rewards® points flexibility, you don’t have to lock into any one loyalty program to access many of the best travel perks, such as Aeroplan, Air France British Airways, Hilton and Marriott.
Pros and cons
- Generous welcome bonus of up to 60,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Convertibility of Member Rewards® points to popular airline and hotel loyalty programs (e.g. Aeroplan, Marriott).
- Earn two points per dollar on travel, gas, grocery and drugstore purchases.
- $100 annual travel credit when booking through American Express® Travel online.
- Built-in travel medical insurance and trip coverage.
- $250 annual fee.
- 2.5% foreign transaction fee.
- Travel medical insurance only covers those under age 65.
- Earn up to 60,000 Membership Rewards® (MR) points as a welcome bonus.
- Achieve this by spending $1,000 for each monthly billing cycle for the first year.
- One free additional Gold Rewards Card ($50 annual for any extra)
- Earn two MR points per dollar on any travel from flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and more.
- Earn two MR points on everyday purchases like gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases.
- Earn one additional point when booking travel through the American Express Travel website.
- All other purchases earn one point per dollar (including superstores, wholesales clubs and alcohol retailers).
- Access to Priority Pass enrollment and worldwide airport lounges.
- Four complimentary Canadian Plaza Premium Lounge entries per calendar year.
- Convertibility of points to loyalty programs like Aeroplan, Avios and Marriott Bonvoy.
- $100 annual travel credit for bookings through American Express® Travel online.
To access this coverage, any bookings must be wholly charged to your American Express® Gold Card.
- Out of province/country emergency medical insurance: Up to $5,000,000 for eligible expenses for primary cardholders under 65 for the first 15 consecutive days.
- Travel accident insurance: Up to $500,000 for accidental death and dismemberment for the primary cardmember (your spouse and children can also be covered).
- Trip cancellation insurance: Up to $1,500 per insured person per trip up to a maximum of $3,000.
- Trip interruption insurance: Up to $1,500 per insured person per trip up to a maximum of $3,000 should your trip be interrupted or delayed for a covered reason.
- Flight delay insurance: Up to $500 (included with baggage delay insurance) for necessary and reasonable accommodations, restaurant expenses and toiletries purchases within 48 hours.
- Hotel burglary insurance: Up to $500 in coverage against the loss of personal items if your accommodation is burglarized (also check your home insurance coverage for more).
- Lost or stolen baggage insurance: Up to $500 per trip max for any loss or damage to your checked-in or carry-on baggage.
- Car rental theft and damage insurance: Up to $85,000 cars for 48 days or less for collision damage and loss damage (you must decline car rental coverage).
- Extended warranty coverage: Automatically extended the manufacturer’s original warranty for up to one year under the Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan from Amex.
- Purchase protection: Up to $1,000 90 days from the date of purchase for any accidental damage or theft.
- $50 credit towards NEXUS application or renewal fees.
- Available in gold or rose gold colour.
- Free second card for an authorised user.
What people have to say about this card
On Reddit, users have mixed opinions about the American Express® Gold Card. Some praise its rewards system and flexibility, while others are concerned about the annual fee and foreign transaction charges. One user, a frequent traveller, mentioned how the card's benefits, especially the lounge access, have been invaluable during their trips. Another user highlighted the excellent customer service they received from American Express®. However, some users felt that the card might not be the best option for those who primarily travel outside of Canada due to the foreign transaction fees.
How the Amex Gold Card compares
The American Express® Gold Rewards Card offers a balanced mix of travel benefits without being overly expensive. Here's how it stacks up against three competitors:
American Express® Gold Rewards Card Vs. Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card:
The Scotiabank Gold Amex, with a $120 annual fee and no foreign transaction fee, is appealing. It rewards users with Scene+ points, especially beneficial for those shopping at Sobeys or Safeway.
The Amex Gold asks for twice as much in an annual fee and nearly double for any additional cards.
So, is it worth it?
While both Welcome Bonuses are relatively the same in terms of cash value, the Scotiabank Gold Amex earns 6x Scene+™ on every $1 spent in Canada on groceries, dining and entertainment. Amex MR points are worth about the same as Scene+ points when booking travel, however, if you transfer your Amex MR points to one of their 20 airline and hotel partners (e.g. Aeroplan, Marriott), each point can be worth up to double, or nearly triple the value. So, if travel is your game, the Amex may win this battle.
American Express® Gold Rewards Card Vs. TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
Both cards are designed with travellers in mind, so maybe this is more Aeroplan vs. Membership Rewards points (though you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan at 1:1 rate). With that in mind, we’ll focus on annual fee, welcome bonus, earn rate and insurance coverage.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite: $139 (waived in the first year)
Amex Gold: $250 (+$100 travel credit)
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite: 50,000 Aeroplan points (full unlock upon renewal)
Amex Gold: 60,000 MR points (unlocked with $1,000 spent per month over 12 months)
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite: 1.5 points for every $1 spent on gas, groceries and Air Canada purchases
Amex Gold: 2 points for every $1 spent on travel AND everyday purchases
It’s a hard one. Depending on the category, Amex may give you more money up front (e.g. $5 million for emergency medical vs. $2 million from TD, but TD gives you 21 days vs. Amex’s 15). The answer really depends on who you’re travelling with and if you value length of coverage vs. amount of coverage.
Tie: Both cards offer excellent insurance packages.
If you can handle the $250 annual fee (with the annual travel credit), the winner here is the Amex for the extra intangible benefits like the flexibility of points (including transferring to Aeroplan at 1:1)
American Express® Gold Rewards Card Vs. American Express® The Platinum Card
The Platinum Card®, with its $799 annual fee, may put you off immediately. However, they give you an annual $200 travel credit and $200 dining credit, which brings the cost closer to $399. They also throw in a $100 NEXUS credit.
At the airport, you also unlock unlimited access to the American Express Global Lounge collection of more than 1,300 airport lounges across 140 countries. If you’re a high net worth individual, who travels often and enjoys the finer things in life, consider The Platinum. But know, to truly unlock its full benefits, it requires expensive tastes.
Is the Amex Gold worth it?
The American Express® Gold Rewards Card offers a good balance of rewards and benefits for its annual fee.
Its flexibility in point conversion and generous welcome bonus make it appealing. It holds its own against common competitors, especially if you value diverse loyalty program options. We recommend this card for frequent travellers and those who spend regularly on everyday expenses and want less math and more travel.
Is the American Express® Rewards Card hard to qualify for?+
While American Express® doesn't specify income or credit score requirements, it's generally understood that applicants should have a good to excellent credit score and a steady income source.
Is the American Express® Rewards Card annual fee worth it?+
The $250 annual fee could be worth it for those who value travel benefits, such as travel coverage and popular loyalty program conversions.
How does the American Express® Gold Rewards Card compare to other cards?+
The card offers a blend of travel benefits without being overly expensive. Its flexibility in point conversion and the ability to transfer to various loyalty programs make it stand out. However, the choice ultimately depends on individual spending habits and travel preferences.