Canadian Travel Rewards At Its Best: The American Express Gold Rewards Card
The American Express Gold Rewards Card has a lot going for it, not the least of which are a strong sign-up bonus, 2 points per dollar spent, points conversion flexibility and robust insurance. We consider it to be one of the best rewards and travel credit cards out there, in large part because of the rich points value and flexibility of the rewards program.
The American Express Gold Rewards Card is the all in one rewards credit card for Canada. It allows you to earn American Express Tripflex rewards points, and it allows you to convert those points into any one of Aeroplan, Starwood SPG, British Airways Avios, Delta, Asia Miles or Hilton Honours points. But here’s the great rub. The Gold Rewards card earns two points per dollar spent on gas, grocery, pharmacy, air, hotel, holiday packages, cruises and car rentals. You then get to transfer your points 1:1 for Aeroplan or British Airways Avios points, so that you end up with two Aeroplan and/or Avios points per dollar spent in those same categories. That makes the Amex Gold Rewards Card the richest Aeroplan card available on the market when you consider that the CIBC Aerogold Infinite card only gives 1.5 points per dollar spent and only on gas, grocery and pharmacy with no multipliers on travel expenses.
The American Express Gold Rewards Card is also great if you’re looking for the flexibility of being able to use your points for any travel, and not have to worry about where and when you have to redeem your points. The way Tripflex points works, you pay for your flight and hotel in advance with your card, and then redeem your points up to 12 months thereafter to pay for your flight and hotel, including your taxes. All you have to do is go online or call American Express and tell them how many of your points you want to be applied as a credit to your eligible expenses. Every 1,000 points equals $10. Real simple. If you have 30,000 points, you can apply $300 to any travel related expenses, or you can convert those points to Aeroplan or Avios at 1:1 for 30,000 of their respective points.
The value of each Tripflex point, as we can see from the math above is $.01 per point or 1%. Which means that cardholders are receiving $.02 or 2% per dollar spent on gas, grocery, pharmacy and all travel related expenses because of the 2X multiplier for those categories, making it one of the top earning cards on the market. However, when you consider that an Aeroplan point is valued at approximately $.022 or 2.2% per dollar spent, if you transfer your points to Aeroplan at 1:1, you’re getting $.044 or 4.4% per dollar spent on gas, grocery, pharmacy and all travel related expenses. That’s phenomenal value, best in the market.
Sign-Up Bonus Points
The sign-up bonus of 25,000 points, if you spend $500 within the first three months, is on par with most of the other major travel cards. However,given that a Tripflex point is worth $.01 and an Aeroplan point is worth $.022 you’re better off converting those points to Aeroplan if you can get the flight you want, when you want. If you can’t, you’ll have the option and flexibility of booking anywhere and applying your Tripflex points to the expense, which is the beauty of the card.
One of the other nice attributes of the American Express Gold Rewards Card is its strong insurance program. It offers Emergency Medical, Trip Interruption, Lost or Stolen Baggage, Car Rental, Flight Delay and Travel Accident Insurance. It also offers Hotel Burglary Insurance, which is not all premium rewards cards offer. In case you didn’t know it, rental car collision insurance alone can cost between $20-40 per day and travel medical coverage can cost up to $75 per trip, let alone trip interruption and flight delay insurance, which can cost over $100 per trip. The only insurance coverage it’s missing is trip cancellation insurance.
In summary the American Express Gold Rewards Card offers great rewards earning power and flexibility. No other card offers you the ability to transfer your points to as many different partners as the Gold Rewards Card, and none offer the ability to transfer points at a 1:1 rate, when offering 2X points on gas, groceries, drug and ALL travel. There’s no reason not to sign-up for the card as long as you can handle the $150 annual fee.