This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Credit Card Review

I make no bones about the fact that I love American Express’ Membership Rewards (MRs) Program and the reason for that love is the extreme flexibility of the points you earn.  You can take MRs and transfer them to the following programs:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan at a 1 to 1 ratio
  • British Airways Avios at a 1 to 1 ratio
  • Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles at a 1 to 0.75 a ratio
  • Alitalia’s MilleMiglia Miles at a 1 to a 0.75 ratio
  • Delta’s Skymiles at a 1 to 0.75 ratio
  • Etihad Guest Miles at a 1 to 0.75 ratio

Transfers are quick and easy and provide you with many options for your rewards.

The other great thing about Membership Rewards is that if travel isn’t your thing, you can take advantage of Points for Purchases Program.  This allows you to redeem points at 1¢/point for travel related expenses and 0.7¢/point for all other purchases.  I wouldn’t recommend using this program because you get much better value out of the transfers but if you are ever in a financial bind, just know you can convert these points into cash.


The current American Express Gold card offer provides you with 25,000 MR points after you spend $1,500 in the first 3 months.  The card itself is currently offered with No Annual Fee for the 1st Year (regularly $150).   Effective September 14, 2017, the American Express Gold Personal card no longer has a first year free waiver.  This card will now have an $150 Annual Fee.

You also have bonus categories with this card, which is exceedingly rare in Canada.  For every dollar spent in the bonus categories, you receive 2 MRs.  The following categories are eligible:

  • Gas station purchases (including items purchased in the convenience section of the gas station)
  • Grocery purchases
  • Drugstore purchases
  • Eligible travel purchases including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc.

As a premier card, you are are provided with lots of ancillary benefits including insurance coverage for travel such as:

  • Emergency Medical Insurance (out of province/country)
  • Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
  • $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance

On top of all those insurances, you are automatically given double the manufacturer’s original warranty (great for TVs and other electronics) as well as Purchase Protection which provides insurance against accidental physical damage and theft (great for the accidental cell phone drop or kid dropping coffee onto your new MacBook Air).  All you have to do to activate these insurances is to put the entire purchase on your American Express Gold Card.  This goes for all the other insurances as well.

Besides the fact that you receive 25,000 MRs, the card itself is an EXCELLENT everyday card.  In fact, it is my go to card for most everyday purchases … I only use an alternative card at locations that do not accept AMEX and for the record, most places accept it.  I would say that 90% of the retails I frequent accept AMEX so don’t let that dissuade you.  If you are looking for a card to use where AMEX is not accepted, look to the Capital One Aspire card.  I will blog about that card in the very near future.

Great Canadian Rebates

If you apply for the American Express Gold card through Great Canadian Rebates, you will receive $50 in cash back upon approval.  That will certainly take a lot of the sting out of the annual fee and all it takes is a click!  To receive $50 cash back, simply click the link below:

PointsNerd Referral

I very much appreciate your support and hope that this blog provides you with the tools required to help you realize your travel goals.  If it doesn’t, feel free to reach out to me through my Contact form.

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Jayce is the founder of PointsNerd, and avid traveller and a teacher by nature. He prides himself on flattening the learning curve through step-by-step guides because everyone needs to start somewhere.


  1. Hi Jayce, I have both Aspire MC (grandfathered) and AMEX GOLD. You mentioned that AMEX GOLD is your go to card so I assume you use it for non-travel / grocery purchases as well. I’d like to know the rational behind that. I have Aspire as primary card, and I find it hard to justify AMEX $150 annual fee for grocery / travel. I guess I am asking is 1 aeroplan point worth more than 2% cash back?

    • Hi Jason,

      I say that the AMEX Gold is my go to card because of the flexibility that it offers in terms of transfer partners. I personally have transferred my MRs to both Aeroplan and SPG so I love that it gives me the option. The Capital One Aspire card is my go to for fixed value points but I believe that Membership Rewards offers a higher value per point if you can use them correctly.

      For those that are a bit hesitant or don’t want to learn how to extract value from Aeroplan or SPG, it’s better to use Capital One points because you are always guaranteed 2c/point return on travel. Just as an example, my last mini-RTW through Aeroplan garnered me 15.5c/point, so you can get extreme value from an Aeroplan point (which you can get from converting MRs at a 1:1 ratio).

      Hope that answers your question. Cheers


  2. Just a question regarding purchase insurance,
    so if I put a deposit on an electronic purchase with, an SPG card for example, and pay the balance with AMEX Gold, the insurance would not apply since its two different cards?
    Would I need to pay the balance with the SPG card to get the insurance?
    I wanted to sue the Gold to meet minimum spend,but…?

    • Hi Jon,

      The insurance is actually provided by a partner of AMEX called Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. What Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada will cover is the amount that is charged to the AMEX Gold so if your deposit is large, then you could potentially only get a small amount back.

      Hope that helps.



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