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:
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.
Also published on Medium.