I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
It’s a fast earning card, with some of the most valuable points, and it’s a great overall deal. You even make money (cash) in your first year while pocketing a signup bonus.
And yet it doesn’t get nearly the attention of flashy newcomers, or cards that have seen loads of changes and generated news.
The two reasons I think it gets short shrift – although it shouldn’t – are:
- It isn’t the big benefits cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express with its broad airport lounge access, comped elite statuses, and Uber credits.
- It isn’t the biggest up front bonus card. The standard initial bonus is 25,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
The card I have in mind though is the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. (Offer expired.)
It earns triple Membership Rewards points for airfare purchased directly from airlines and double points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets (terms and limitations apply and all that).
Most intriguingly, it comes with a $100 airline fee credit that it works in much the same way as the fee credit for the Platinum cards — you pick an airline from their available list for the credit and in some cases even online purchases of electronic airline gift cards will reimburse, even though they aren’t supposed to.
What’s especially interesting is that the card has a $0 annual fee the first year (then $195). During the first annual fee year it’s possible to get the $100 fee credit twice (once in each of two calendar years). So you’re actually making a profit on the card in my view.
And Membership Rewards has more transfer partners than anyone else:
- Airlines: JetBlue, Aeromexico, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, Hawaiian, Iberia, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic
- Hotels: Starwood, Hilton, Choice
The real winner here is ANA for its really great Star Alliance award chart — sure they require roundtrip bookings, but nothing wrong with a throwaway Tokyo – Honolulu coach return segment when booking first class US-Asia.
Etihad, Singapore, and Air France KLM have really useful spots though all participate with other transferable currencies. Etihad lets you book American Airlines awards at American’s pre-devaluation miles pricing. Singapore and Air France offer lots more award space to people using their miles instead of partner points.
Hawaiian is useful for booking their own metal flights to Hawaii, especially now that you can no longer use American miles to fly between the mainland and Hawaii on Hawaiian.
Pair this with no annual fee The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express which offers 2 points per dollar on your first $50,000 in purchases per year (1 point per dollar thereafter).
And of course The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with airlines.
Ultimately on the ‘underrated/overrated’ scale the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — with fast earning of valuable points and at a good price — is severely underrated. Which isn’t to say it’s the single best rewards card in the market, but it has to be in the top 15% and it’s rarely talked about.