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American Express Gold Rewards card is one of the best travel rewards credits in Canada and is currently one of my favourite cards on the market. It has an annual fee of $150, but comes with a huge signup bonus of 25,000 Membership Reward points. Here’s the thing, if you sign-up via a membership such as Perkopolis, Venngo, CPA Canada, eSurvus, etc. you’ll get a statement credit of $150 which essentially makes the card free for the first year.
I love how flexible Membership Rewards points are with their transfer partners. For context, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan on a 1:1 basis. That means your 25,000 signup points has a value of 25,000 Aeroplan Miles which are enough for a roundtrip ticket to anywhere in Canada and the continental United States. That ticket is easily worth $600, so even if you pay the annual fee, you come out ahead.
Keep reading my American Express Gold Rewards card review to find out other benefits are included and why it’s one of the best American Express credit cards in Canada.
American Express Gold Rewards card benefits
- $150 Annual fee – first year free when signing up via Perkopolis, Venngo, CPA Canada, eSurvus
- 25,000 Signup points after charging $1,500 in purchases
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on grocery, gas, pharmacy, and travel
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Comprehensive travel insurance package included
- 1 Free supplementary card ($50 value)
Okay, let’s address the annual fee. As mentioned, if you belong to a membership program, then you can get the special offer by signing up with an RSVP code. Truth be told, that RSVP code could likely be found with a little research, but you’d be cheating the system. The $150 annual fee is pretty reasonable considering the signup bonus.
Earning 2 points per $1 spent on grocery, gas, pharmacy, and travel is better than many similar cards/
Although the card comes with a comprehensive insurance package, it’s worth noting that trip cancellation is not included. I don’t consider this a deal breaker since trip cancellation is very specific and hard to claim, but if it’s important to you, you may want to consider a different card for your travel insurance needs.
Getting one free supplementary American Express Gold Rewards card is a nice touch since families can really increase their earnings potential.
One important thing to note, and it’s the biggest knock against American Express is the fact that it’s not accepted at all merchants. To be honest, more and more merchants aren’t accepting AMEX these days, so I use this card as a quick way to earn points.
How does American Express Memberships Rewards work?
To claim $1 in travel, you need 100 American Express Membership Rewards points. That means with the American Express Gold Rewards card, you’re earning 2% in points when spending on grocery, gas, pharmacy, and travel. All other purchases earn you 1% in points.
This isn’t bad, but it’s really the other features of Membership Rewards that should interest you.
With your points, you can transfer them to Aeroplan or British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio. In addition, Amex occassionally runs promotions where if you transfer 20,000 points, you get another 5,000 points for free which makes your ratio 1:1.25
Other airline programs where you can transfer your points include Alitalia MilleMiglia, Asia Miles, Delta SkyMiles, and Etihad Guest, but your transfer ratio 1:.75
If you prefer to transfer points to hotels, you can get exchange your Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.2 ratio or to Hilton Honors at a 1:1.
Claiming points for travel is easy, but you must make your reservation through the American Express TripFlex Program. This service does not have the prettiest interface, but you’ll be able to book any travel you need. What’s nice is that you can use your points to pay for fees and taxes so it’s possible to have no out of pocket expenses.
There’s also the Fixed Points Travel Program which can offer good value, but generally speaking, you’ll get more out of your points if you transfer them to airline partners and make your booking through their respective programs.
How the Amex Gold Rewards card compares to others
The best card to compare the Amex Gold Rewards card is the BMO World Elite Mastercard. With the BMO card, you earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel purchases, but you need 140 points to claim $1 in travel which makes your return 2.1% on travel purchases. All other purchases earn you 2 points per $1 spent or a 1.4% return.
When looking at the base earn, the BMO World Elite Mastercard is similar and you 4 annual airport lounge passes, but you have no transfer partners with BMO. Amex Membership Rewards are much more valuable since you can transfer your points to airlines and hotels.
Both cards made my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada, so it’s really a personal choice of which card you go with since they have similar features.
Overall my American Express Gold Rewards card review is positive. The Amex Membership Rewards program offers full flexibility since you can transfer to various loyalty programs. Also keep in mind that with Membership Rewards, you can combine your points if you have other Amex cards by calling customer service. Please use my referral link now if you plan on applying for the card.