Executive Summary -
Update: We are no longer this card on our site: The Original Gold Card that was first launched in 19661. This is the first card I got in 1994 and was the card responsible for helping me build my credit history. This is a great card to get if you are in a job that requires lots of travel as you can transfer Membership Reward points you earn to airline miles.
My Experience - The American Express® Gold Card was the very first credit card that I got out of college. One of the reasons why I got the card was that the company I worked for gave me a corporate card (from American Express off course). Any travel or entertainment spending that I put on the corporate card earned me Membership Reward Points. So I thought that it was a good idea to get a personal card to earn more points.
Though there is an annual fee on the card, what I liked about the card is that the points that I earn can be used to fly on many airlines. Back then, the way to do it was to transfer points into air miles. These days, American Express has their own travel site (which is actually powered by Travelocity) where you can book your travel and you can either pay by cash or use your points. As I was comparing the reward program to others, it was pretty clear that Amex has more partners in their program than other reward programs.
So let's get down to the key benefits.
The reward program for this card is the Membership Rewards (MR). With this card, you earn one point for every dollar that you spend on the card. MR points do not expire. There are various ways which you can use or redeem your points and we will explain this in greater detail in the other sections of the reviews. But briefly, you can transfer points to airline and hotel partners and use your Membership Rewards for other things. You will also earn double points when you book your travel through Amex Travel Portal (though it means you will not be able to book directly with the airlines or hotels which some prefer).
Another great benefit that this card has is this feature called Gold Card Events. In fact, this feature is present in other versions of the Gold Card as well as their Platinum Card. American Express sponsors events and concerts every year. As a privilege of being a corporate sponsor, they are given some priority seats. To reward their card members, Amex will often offer early bird booking for the seats that they are allocated before booking is available to the general public. The also have their allotment of preferred seats so being a card members. For example, I have used Amex for early bookings to the Radio City Hall Christmas Rockette Show and other concerts. I have found this to be one of the best features of Amex Cards.
When this card came out decades ago, they offered features which were state of the art back then. But these have now become common features. What I am talking about are features like purchase protection, extended warranty, travel accident insurance, baggage insurance and car rental CDW insurance.
The annual fee for this card is $125 though it is waived for the first year. The fee for additional cards is $35 flat fee for the first five additional cards. Thereafter, it is $35 per additional card. The one thing to note is that this is a charge card and hence you have to pay your bills in full every month. This is similar to other Amex charge cards.
American Express - Our Story Part 3
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