For a credit card that offers some of the most flexible and valuable rewards available, the is hard to beat.

With the backing of the American Express Membership Rewards program, you’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of high-value redemption options to suit your travelling taste.

And while it has been overshadowed by its younger brother, the , the Gold Rewards Card still offers great rewards and redemption options that its brother doesn’t.

So let’s review everything the Gold Rewards Card has to offer, and see why it’s still a good fit in your wallet, especially if you’re a travel aficionado.

Related: Best Travel Credit Cards In Canada For 2019

Amex Gold Rewards earn rates

First, let’s take a look at how many points you could potentially earn.

To get you started, Amex will let you earn 25,000 points as a welcome bonus after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months. This alone is enough to get you a free flight within Canada and the Continental U.S.

You’ll also earn lots of points on essentials as well as travel purchases:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, drugstores, and eligible travel purchases, and
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Based on a typical $2,000 monthly spend, you can expect to earn around 33,000 points per year.

And while this card does have a slightly higher annual fee of $150, it has no income requirements, making it easier to apply for. Plus, the first extra card is also free (subsequent cards are $50 per year).

Charge card vs regular card

This card isn’t a regular credit card – it’s a charge card, which has 2 key differences over a regular credit card:

  • you can’t carry a balance, you have to pay your bill in full, and
  • you don’t have a set credit limit.

If you’re someone who carries a balance, this card isn’t for you. Any amount of your balance that you don’t pay is subject to a 30% APR. Plus, your card account will be frozen until you make your payment.

Plus up to $300 travel bonus.
Ends October 25th.

American Express Membership Rewards

So now that you have the details, here’s an overview of the best ways to use your points. Travel redemptions will provide the best value, but your points can also be used in some other unique ways as well.

We’ll focus on the travel options as they provide the best value here. To see every which way you can use your points, our guide on Amex Membership Rewards has everything you need to know.

Transfer to airline partners – 2.5 cents per point

If you want the best value for your points, transferring to an airline partner is the way to go.

You have 6 airline programs you can transfer your points to:

Amex airline transfer options

There’s the option to transfer to at least one airline in all 3 major airline alliances. This is important, as these 3 alliances account for the majority of flights worldwide, and will make it easier for you to find a flight for where you want to go.

And because this card transfers points at a rate of 1:1 to Aeroplan, it’s actually our top rated Aeroplan card. Because of this, we consider it to have the highest earn rates of any Aeroplan credit card and will earn you more Aeroplan miles flat out than any Aeroplan branded card.

We value a typical Aeroplan mile at 2.5 cents each, which is what gives this card its great value. Or, if you want to save your points and redeem for a business class seat, you should be able to get a value of 3.5 cents without breaking a sweat.

In fact, on a first class flight, and on the right route, it’s possible to get a value of up to 12 cents per mile.

Fixed Points Travel Program – 1.75 cents per point

If you can’t find anything to your liking with the airline transfer options, there are other ways to redeem your points for flights.

The Fixed Points Travel Program will let you redeem a set amount of points for a flight to a set zone. There’s no blackout dates or airline restrictions. Simply log into your account, book your flight, and redeem your points.

But keep in mind the points only cover the base airfare – you have to pay any taxes, fees, and carrier surcharges.

Here’s the economy class chart:

amex Fixed Points Travel Program redemption chart

Select routes will give you a value of up to 2 cents per point, with any long haul Canada or U.S. flight giving a value of up to 1.75 cents per point.

Transfer to hotel partners – 1.16 cents per point

Airlines aren’t the only transfer options available. There are also 2 hotel partners you can transfer your points to as well:

Amex hotel transfer partners

The Marriott option can provide good value. We value a single Marriott Bonvoy point at 0.97 cents when redeemed for hotel stays. Since you get 20% more points when you transfer, that gives each Membership Rewards point a value of 1.16 cents.

Redeem for any travel – 1 cent per point

At the end of the day, if any of the above options aren’t giving a value of at least 1 cent per point, you can simply book any travel purchase you like, from any provider, charge it to your card, and use your points to pay for any portion of the purchase.

Each point is worth 1 cent when redeemed for any travel booking.

Other Gold Rewards perks

This card does come with a few other perks as well, if great redemption options weren’t enough for you.

The Hotel Collection

For extra comfort and convenience at hotels, the Hotel Collection will give you some great benefits at over 600 hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries around the world.

Simply book a hotel through The Hotel Collection and get these benefits as part of a 2 night stay:

  • up to $100 USD hotel credit, which can be used for hotel amenity charges on things like dining, spa visits, and golfing fees,
  • complimentary room upgrades at check in, when available.

Combined, these will make your stay more enjoyable and less expensive.

Hertz car rental benefit

Another perk this card gives is enrollment on Hertz Gold Plus Rewards.

You’ll get special privileges on Hertz rentals, including a car class upgrade on rentals of 5 days or more, and a fee waiver for an additional driver.

Insurance coverage

And finally, you’ll get some good insurance coverage.

This card will provide you with 10 types of coverage. Here are the full details on what’s offered:

The downsides

Everything seems great, but there is one downside to this card.

Unless you’re planning on using the airline transfer options (and getting good value from them), this card won’t give you the best total rewards in the Amex Membership Rewards program.

The just flat out earns more points, and has all the same redemption options as the Gold Rewards card, except for the airline transfers.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, the is still a great travel card for you to consider.

With flexible rewards, good earn rates, and no minimum income requirements, the Gold Rewards Card is one of the best travel cards on the market to earn rewards fast for the serious traveller.

And with the ability to earn 25,000 points after spending only $1,500 in the first 3 months, Amex makes it easy for you to give it a try.