This is one of those cards that we use (my wife got it) but I have not gotten for myself yet. My wife got in on the 75,000 Membership Reward offer last year with this card and I have been holding out for a similar offer (right now it is at 25,000 MR points). However, something recently changed that makes me ready to apply. I thought I would cover a little about this card now to give you an idea of what it can do for you and what recently changed.
First of all, the bullet points regarding the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card:
- Earn More: earn 25K Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2K during your first three months of Card membership; earn 15K points after you spend $30,000 in one calendar year
- Earn Fast: 3X points for flights booked with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- Use points for gift cards for dining, entertainment, and to shop over 300 of some of your favorite brands
- Access to Benefits: Baggage Insurance Plan* when you travel, and shop with confidence with Extended Warranty* and Return Protection.*Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company
- Book two consecutive hotel nights through American Express Travel and receive $75 back at checkout. Restrictions may apply
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
- Terms and Restrictions Apply
They have an abundance of transfer partners (not quite as attractive as some of the Ultimate Reward partners, but still very useful) and they are listed here:
- Delta Skymiles – 1:1
- Aeromexico – 1:1
- Air Canada Aeroplan – 1:1
- Alitalia Mile Miglia – 1:1
- ANA Airlines – 1:1
- Asia Miles – 1:1
- British Airways Avios – 1:1
- El Al – 1,000 Membership Reward points = 20 Matmid points
- Flying Blue (KLM and Air France) – 1:1
- Frontier – 1:1
- Hawaiian Airlines – 1:1
- Iberia Plus – 1:1
- Jetblue – 250 Membership Reward points = 200 TrueBlue points
- Singapore Airlines – 1:1
- Virgin America – 200 Membership Reward points = 100 Elevate points
- Virgin Atlantic – 1:1
- Best Western Rewards – 1:1
- Choice Privileges – 1:1
- Hilton HHonors – 1,000 Membership Reward points = 1,500 HHonor points
- Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts – 2,300 Membership Reward points = 100 Sirius points
- Priority Club (until June 30th) – 1:1
- Starwood Preferred Guest – 1,000 Membership Reward points = 333 Starpoints
As you can see, Membership Rewards Program has a healthy list of transfer partners. Many of them have periodic transfer bonuses (recently, Amex and British Airways had a 50% transfer bonus) – I personally took huge advantage within the last year of the 50% Delta transfer bonus and the 25% Flying Blue transfer bonus. It is always best to leave your Membership Reward points in your account until you have a need to transfer them or use them – unless you are going to cancel your Membership Rewards card, in which case you would lose your points. You never know what good bonuses might come up that would allow you to stretch your points a little further.
You can get very creative with how you use certain point transfers as well. For an example, Membership Reward points transfer to Hilton HHonors at a ratio of 1,000 MR points – 1,500 HHonor points. Instead of doing that, you could transfer your MR points to Hawaiian Airlines (which is a 1:1 transfer partner) and then transfer from Hawaiian to the HHonor program (which observes a 1:2 ratio). So, instead of getting 15,000 HHonor points for a 10,000 MR point transfer (if done directly), you could enjoy 20,000 HHonor points for that 10,000 MR points.
Another good use is with Flying Blue. They typically charge high surcharges for their award flights, but they do allow you to book award tickets on Delta flights (in which case the surcharges are dramatically lower). So, for example, if you were needing a one-way award ticket from JFK – LAX on Delta, you would need to use 25,000 miles if you booked with Delta (Delta does not offer one-way award tickets at half the miles, so a one-way is the same price as a round-trip). If you booked that same flight through Flying Blue, you would only need to use 12,500 miles. In addition, Flying Blue has lower mileage requirements to Europe, so you could book Delta flights through Flying Blue and actually save over booking the same flight with your Delta Skymiles.
As you can see, there is a lot that you can do with the Membership Rewards program. Do I recommend getting it? As I said at the beginning, I will actually be getting this card soon myself because of a recent addition in Amex’s bonus terms. They have inserted new language that says Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any other Consumer ZYNC®, Green or Gold Card or Platinum Card® account within the last 90 days. What that means to me is that if I get this card now and cancel it in 10 months, I could get the card again 12 months from that point and take advantage of whatever bonus offer is available at that time. That means I can go ahead and take advantage of the 25,000 MR bonus points now and get the card again in a couple of years without jeopardizing any bonus offers. To me, this is a good change and the one that pushed more towards getting the card now rather than waiting for some more lucrative offer to pop up.
Anyway, I would recommend getting the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card and then sitting on the points for the time being. In the next couple of weeks, I will show some details on some of the things that can be done within the different programs you can transfer to. This will give you a better opportunity to understand how to maximize your points.