American Express Gold Rewards Card Review

Sign Up Bonus Points
minimum spend of $1500 in the first 3 months
25,000
Sign Up Cash Value
$250
Annual Fee
$150
Recommended Credit Score
740 850 670 739 580 669 0 579
Good-Excellent
Supplementary Cards
$50*
Card type: charge card.Transfer points to Aeroplan 1:1 or pay for ANY travel with points. Bonus of 25,000 Rewards points (conditions apply), an approx. $250 cash value. First additional card is free!

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While not as well known as some of Canada’s other travel credit cards, we think the American Express Gold Rewards card is a hidden gem. Not only that, it is quietly Canada’s best Aeroplan credit card as well!

The Amex Gold Rewards card offers a huge sign-up bonus of up to 25,000 points (conditions apply), a rich reward rate of up to 2 points per dollar spent and the flexibility to book on any airline, any time or transfer points to a host of alternative airline loyalty programs, including Aeroplan at a 1:1 exchange rate. No other travel credit card in Canada gives you the opportunity to fly free faster or further with that type of flexibility – none.

American Express Gold Rewards Benefits

  • Up to 25,000-Point Welcome Bonus: The Gold Rewards Card offers a maximum 25,000-point welcome bonus, enough for a return long haul flight anywhere in continental North America – a huge welcome bonus. All you have to do is spend $1,500 within the first 3 months of having the card. Because you can transfer your points to Aeroplan 1:1, it’s a great way to stock-pile 25,000 Aeroplan points! Alternatively, you can redeem your 25,000 points as a $250 statement credit against any travel expense on your credit card statement. Conditions apply.
  • Earn DOUBLE points: The Gold Rewards Card allows you to earn 2 points per $1 spent on more categories than just about any other card, including gas, grocery, drugstores, flights, hotels, cruises, trains, and tour operators. Compare that to current Aeroplan cards in the market, where you’re only getting 1.25 points per dollar spent in the accelerated categories of gas, grocery and drugstore, and only 1 in travel. Because you can transfer Gold Rewards points to Aeroplan 1:1, it effectively makes it the richest Aeroplan card in Canada as well! You earn 1 point on all other purchases. There are no limits to the amount of points you can earn and your points will not expire as long as the card remains active.
  • Flexibility: Aside from benchmark point value, this card offers unparalleled flexibility and convenience when redeeming. Here’s what we mean:
  • Charge any travel you can find to your Card, with no blackouts or seat restrictions. Then call to redeem your points.
  • Your points can cover taxes and fees. You can also redeem points towards a travel charge up to 12 months after your trip or purchases.
  • Transfer your points instantly 1:1 to Aeroplan and Avios. You can also transfer your points to other frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs like Delta SkyMiles, Asia Miles, Starwood Preferred Guest and more. This last point is key. By being able to transfer your point to Aeroplan 1:1, the Amex Gold Rewards Card becomes the richest Aeroplan card available (a hidden gem). In effect, by getting the Gold Rewards Card, you get 25,000 Aeroplan points as your sign-up bonus, and you can earn 2 Aeroplan points per $1 spent for gas, grocery, drug store, flight, hotel, train, cruise and other travel purchases. No other Aeroplan card in Canada offers 2X multipliers in as many categories!

Insurance

The value of the insurance coverage included in the Gold Rewards card alone cover the cost of the annual fee. You get: emergency medical insurance, trip interruption insurance, flight delay insurance, car rental theft and damage insurance, lost or stolen baggage insurance, hotel / motel burglary insurance, $500K travel accident insurance, purchase protection and price protection. The value of  the insurance coverage can be well over $750 per year.

Amex Gold Rewards Sign-Up Bonus Cash Value

GreedyRates approximates the cash value of an Amex Membership Rewards point to be $0.01, so the cash value of this card’s maximum sign-up bonus is estimated to be $250.

Please note that the sign-up bonus is only available to *new* cardholders, not current or former cardholders.

Card Type and Interest Rate

The American Express Gold Rewards card is classified by Amex as a ‘charge card,’ and as such is recommended only to those who plan to pay their balances in full each month. Balances not paid in full will be subject to a 30% interest rate*. The card’s interest-free grace period is 28-31 days (a full calendar month) from the Closing Date of one statement to the Closing Date of the next.

American Express Gold Rewards Fees

Annual Fee$150
Additional Card Fee1st card free, $50/additional card
Foreign Transaction Fee2.5%
Funds AdvancedGreater of 3% of funds advanced or $0.75
Dishonoured Payment$25
Points Reinstatement$20/$30

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requires Canadian residency, a Canadian credit file and age of majority in the province or territory where you live. If you apply online you should get a response to your application in 60 seconds.

*American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link.

**This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

Article comments

10 comments
R. Gary White says:

I took the Amex gold card for the travel rewards points, only to find that not all hotels qualify for points redemption. For example Holiday Inn, Portland ME qualifies, but not Holiday Inns in Wadsworth, Ohio, or Quebec, Canada. Of the two IHG hotels I used, Staybridge Inns, Myrtle Beach, and Holiday Inn Express, neither qualified for points redemption.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Gary,

Appreciate your comments on the Amex Gold Rewards card. It’s one of the most flexible cards around, but it’s also true that as an Amex, you’ll sometimes encounter its limitations at certain merchants and businesses. This might include issues of acceptance but also how these businesses are categorized with Merchant Codes. If a hotel isn’t given the correct label by the issuer’s network then it won’t be considered eligible for the accelerated earn rate, and will therefore only earn at the base rate. It may also affect redemption, as you’ve found out.

It’s difficult to determine (without a fair bit of legwork) which cards will be accepted at every merchant you frequent, so it’s easier to pick a credit card that you like and then to adjust your purchasing habits if necessary. This is part of any strong rewards program, like the best hotel rewards card (and great for travel too) the Marriott Bonvoy Amex. You’ll only earn at the card’s most accelerated rewards rate (5 points per $1 spent) at Marriott network properties only. However, there are over 6,000 of them from popular brands like Starwood, Ritz-Carlton and more. You’ll also earn a lot of points from other purchases, get a generous bonus worth 4 free nights, and can spend points outside of hotels (transfer them to airline rewards programs for instance).

If saving costs on hotels and getting extra perks are your preference, there’s no card that’s better. However, if you’re looking for a broader travel redemption model then try BMO’s World Elite Mastercard. If these options don’t suffice, let us know why! We’re available to help.

GreedyRates

Glenn says:

I am a small business electrical contractor and I just got an airmiles amex and I also just got the gold amex…I don’t need two of these cards… which one is better for me???

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Glenn,

Thanks for coming to GreedyRates. This is a good question, and we think it will be relatively simple to answer. In most cases, as a primary credit card the better option is the Air Miles Amex, which is a credit card (not a charge card) and offers a more broadly-accessible rewards model. Charge cards must be repaid in full each month and penalize you with exorbitant rates (30%) when you miss a payment, so this is a central consideration for anyone—especially for a small business owner who might need more cash flow flexibility.

The Air Miles Amex card also has no annual fee, so you won’t be paying $150 per year, which is pretty expensive for a card you’re not sure you want. More than that, though, the Air Miles card earns Miles exclusively, which are worth more in travel than Membership Rewards points. The only reason why you’d prefer the Gold Amex card is if you needed travel medical insurance, which the Air Miles card does not have. But is that worth paying the annual fee? It’s ultimately your choice. Good luck!

GreedyRates

Bruno A says:

This is a good card for earning points, but you have to take the promise of 2 for 1 points on travel expenses with a grain of salt. Travel companies do not count as travel, for example. On the other hand when I go to my local ski mountain everything is doubled as travel, even my lunch. I use a small cruise line based in Seattle, and my deposit counts as travel, my subsequent full payment is not travel, and my on board expenses are travel. It’s completely nuts, but you still end up with lots of points.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Bruno,

Interesting comment. You’ve outlined a phenomenon that we at GreedyRates have also seen with many banks, in that they’re able to strategically define the merchants and retailers in their network into certain purchase categories. While customers will still earn frequently and in high volume most of the time, some things are mislabeled either purposely or unintentionally that affects how much you’d otherwise earn. Learning about these exceptions and definitions is always a work in progress, as they’re internal for the bank, so oftentimes a cardholder will have to look at their rewards account and bill side-by-side to figure it out. In this way it’s possible to optimize how you shop based on where you get the most rewards.

GreedyRates Staff

Paul says:

If I opened a “Scotiabank Gold American Express Card” last year will this make me not eligible for this sign-up bonus?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Paul,

We know that the cards look similar, and grant perks that are reminiscent of the other, but the Scotiabank Gold Amex card is different than the Gold card offered by American Express. For one, the former card rewards Scotiabank Rewards points instead of Membership Rewards points, and the one issued by Amex is a charge card and not a credit card. Though Scotiabank’s fine print indicates that existing cardholders are ineligible, remember that you’re not applying for a Scotiabank card so you’re free to forge ahead without worry. Good luck!

GreedyRates

Pierre Malouin says:

What is the maximum age, if any, for the insurance coverage

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Pierre,

Your comment is much appreciated. If you’re worried about being ineligible for the Gold Reward Amex card’s travel medical insurance coverage, then you shouldn’t be too worried until you reach age 65. At this point, you’ll have to consider a card that extends your coverage, which we’ll get to after we address a few other things. Amex’s fine print states that you’re covered for “eligible emergency medical expenses incurred while traveling outside your Canadian province or territory of residence, for the first 15 consecutive days of each trip, up to a maximum of $5,000,000 per insured person, [and] for all insured persons under the age of 65.” That’s a lot of criteria, but the wording makes it clear that after 65, you won’t be covered at all.

Instead, people who put a premium on their medical coverage while travelling look towards the Desjardins Odyssey Gold card. Funnily enough, Desjardins cardholders who are age 65 to 75 get the same 15 days of out-of-province medical emergency coverage as the Gold Amex card. They’ll even have the option to buy extra coverage once they’re above age 75 through Desjardins, making it by far the best options for insurance coverage for older travellers. If you’re between 60 and 64 you’re covered for 31 consecutive days, and if you’re under 59—60 full days of coverage. Other insurance for travellers, a fast system for earning BONUSDOLLARS on your most common purchases, and other perks are the icing on the cake. Enjoy!

GreedyRates