If you aren’t happy with high interest rates, but you need a handy way to make purchases, then a charge card might be a good alternative to a regular credit card. A couple of charge cards that are widely accepted and have a rewards benefit are the American Express Gold card and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. So what’s so great about them?
If you like flexible rewards credit cards that allow you to rack up the points, then either the AmEx Gold or the AmEx Premier Rewards Gold Card may be of interest. In the case of the Gold Card, you can earn a point for almost every dollar you spend with this card. On the other hand, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card gives you a bit more by offering 25,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend $2,000 in 3 months. And as far as earning points, you’ll accumulate them faster as you spend on air travel (get 3X points) and groceries and gas (for 2X the points). By default, you’ll earn one point per dollar spent on all other items. The other difference between the classic Gold Card and the Premier Rewards Gold is that the former will cost $125 a year to carry and the latter charges $175 a year. Annual fees are waived for both cards on the first year.
Reviewing The American Express Gold Card vs Premier Rewards Gold Card
Here’s a summary of their features:
Both cards share some other benefits: you can buy goods and services at the Bonus Points Mall and you might encounter chances to earn double the rewards. Or you can think about buying points. After six months, you can use the Points Advance feature to buy the points you need to make your special purchases. Don’t worry about a cap on these points, either. You can earn as many as you want and they don’t expire. That way, you can save up for the larger rewards if you prefer.
Both American Express cards emphasize the exclusive experiences you can enjoy through Gold Card Events. If you’re big on concerts, sports events, and travel, either card could be a good choice for you. Thanks to the Membership Rewards features they have, you can turn your points into other rewards, such as gift cards for dining or shopping options: you can make redemptions for $50 gift cards from well-known brands such as William Sonoma and Pottery Barn. Or you can choose to build on your points in order to receive travel certificates, travel packages, dining and event experiences, merchandise and more. You also have the option to use the points to buy merchandise from shopAmex.com. Be sure to enroll in the Membership Rewards program to access this bonus.
When it comes to using your rewards points, you have several options. If you want to travel, you have the choice of Paying with Points. You won’t have seat restrictions or blackout dates, and you can pick your destination — you won’t be stuck with just a few choices. Also, if you already have a frequent flyer program, you might be able to transfer your Membership Rewards points to it. Check with AmEx and your frequent flyer program to be sure before you book travel.
Travel & Entertainment Benefits
In addition to the travel rewards, these Gold cards also offer help for travelers. You’ll be able to plan and book trips online, use the Global Assist Hotline if you run into an emergency situation, and there’s Roadside Assistance too. There’s car rental loss, as well as damage insurance. To protect your luggage, there’s a baggage insurance plan and there’s Premium Travel Insurance for the rest of your needs.
When it comes to your entertainment needs, members can access premium reserved seats at various events. You’ll also hear about advanced ticket sales. And if you’ve ever been stuck with tickets after a concert or play’s been canceled, then you might like the Event Ticket Protection Plan.
No Pre-set Spending Limit & Paying Off A Balance In Full
Another benefit to these cards is the lack of a pre-set spending limit. That means your credit limit has the potential to grow depending on factors like your credit history, how you use your card, and how well you handle your payments.
For your first year of card use, there is no fee. But as mentioned, after the first year, the annual fee for the Gold card is $125 (which works out to just over $10 a month) while the Premier Rewards Gold card will ring up $175. But since you pay the balance in full each month, you won’t have to sweat over interest rates. While I believe that being forced to pay your monthly bills in full so that you don’t carry a balance is a great thing, not everyone will agree with me. Charge cards actually keep you from getting mired in debt so they’re doing their customers a favor. But unfortunately, it’s not something that cardholders usually appreciate. And the annual fee? Again, it’s not the best thing out of AmEx, given the glut of no annual fee cards out there.
But wait, some of these features are not set in stone. Later on, you might become eligible for the Flexible Payment feature of the card. This would allow you to pay your balance over time, but expect to pick up interest on your balance.
As for consumer protection, you’ll be covered if you happen to come across odd or fraudulent charges on your account. Plus, they also have other benefits that are pretty common with many credit cards, such as purchase protection measures and extended warranties.
You can manage your account online or through your mobile phone, so you always have access to your balance. Foreign transactions will cost you 2.7% of the transaction amount in U.S. funds. Late fees will be either $35 or 2.99% of your past due balance, whichever amount is higher.
If you’re the type of consumer who prefers to pay off your credit card balances each month anyway, then a charge card like an American Express Gold or Premier Rewards Gold can benefit you. It’s a good thing when a card can give us something back through rewards and points without making it too easy for us to fall into debt.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.
Created August 24, 2010. Updated February 23, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.