Thursday, September 2, 2021

The revamped American Express Gold Rewards Card details are revealed!

 Back in May we had a post in our series on Canadian cards due for an overhaul that covered the American Express Gold Rewards card. At that time we had no knowledge of the changes that would happen to the Cobalt Card only a few short months later and heralded the fact the Gold Rewards Card was still one of the best in Canada. We actually put our opinion out there that the card was only due for a tweaking not an overhaul. However with the changes to the American Express Cobalt Card it pretty much made the Gold Rewards Card in its present form obsolete. There was speculation, even on our part based on emails we had received that the Gold Rewards card was going to be discontinued but that was quickly corrected that the card was only being paused for a revamp.

Originally I had stated the card should see increased earn rates like 4x points at drug stores and 3x points on groceries and that they should bring the Rose Gold version of the card to Canada like is seen the U.S. Well now that we had the Cobalt changes take place in August and with that card being such a strong point earning card I began to feel like Amex would head the other direction and focus more on travel with this card. And it turns out that is the case. Everything that is new on the card are enhanced travel benefits and insurances. No increased earn rates, but no decrease either - which makes sense seeing that the Cobalt Card is the primary big time earner in their portfolio but I did get one of my revamp ideas - and that's the Rose Gold card is coming to Canada! On the downside, yes there's always a downside, is like the Cobalt Card this card is seeing an increase to its annual fee. Access to these these benefits will begin on October 18, 2021.  Now let's jump into the details!

NEW $100 Annual Travel Credit

Those familiar with Amex's Platinum Card will know this benefit very well although those cardmembers get a $200 credit.This $100 Annual Travel Credit can be used towards any travel booked via American Express Travel:

The Cardmembers’ Annual Travel Credit will be issued on their next anniversary on or after October 18, 2021. Cardmembers can use this Annual Travel Credit towards any single travel booking made through Amex Travel Online of $100 or more charged to their Card, including flights, car rentals, hotels, and more.

The Annual Travel Credit renews every year on the Card’s anniversary date. To use the Annual Travel Credit, Cardmembers can book online at

The value of this travel credit equals the increase in the annual fee on the card so if you can use this benefit your annual cost for the card will work out to be the same as before the revamp

NEW Priority Pass Worldwide Airport Lounge Access + four (4) complimentary Plaza Premium visits per year

Yay! Lounge access! Now you may be saying well there isn't much value in Priority Pass anymore since they lost all of their Plaza Premium lounges in Canada but Amex fixed that! Seeing that Amex has a separate relationship with Plaza Premium they will also offer four Plaza Premium visits per year. This is good for those cities with Plaza Premium Lounges (Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal) while other cities like Calgary, Ottawa and Quebec City you can use the Priority Pass membership to access other lounges but will have to pay the US$32 entry fee.

American Express Gold Rewards Cardmembers can receive complimentary membership in Priority Pass. This allows them to relax before their flight in one of the 1,200 Priority Pass lounges around the world for a usage fee at the prevailing rate.

On top of this, Cardmembers can enjoy four complimentary visits per year to Plaza Premium Lounges across Canada. After your four complimentary visits have been used for the year, Cardmembers may continue to visit the Plaza Premium Lounges for a usage fee at the prevailing rate.

Priority Pass Membership costs US$99 per year (although you can typically get it at a discount - we even have a partnership with them whereby you can get it for US$79) and this new benefit will waive that membership fee. So at the very least it is a US$79 value and then you have your four free lounge visits which are worth about US$32 each. Combined value is no less than US$207 or about C$260.

NEW A $50 NEXUS Card Statement Credit

Following in the footsteps of CIBC and TD the revamped American Express Gold Rewards card will feature a statement credit for NEXUS memberships.

Cardmembers receive a $50 CAD statement credit once every four years when a NEXUS application or renewal fee is charged to their American Express Gold Rewards Card.

In a similar vain to the other two issuers this credit is available once every four years however Amex's credit comes in lower at only C$50. With NEXUS costing US$50 (and word of it increasing soon) the credit won't cover the full cost of the membership. Both CIBC and TD's cover up to C$100 which easily covers the exchange rate at this time but none will cover the proposed US$120 fee. Hopefully Amex revisits this and adjusts it to be more inline with the others.

NEW Trip Cancellation Insurance

This is an insurance benefit I has asked Amex about back in 2010 when they launched the Gold Rewards Card as we were starting to see on more cards in Canada. At the time, it was an expensive benefit to add to a card that was first year free but we do finally see it being added to card now:

We know that travels might not always go as planned. That’s why the Card continues to come with the same travel-related insurance coverages Cardmembers already enjoy. Plus, effective September 21, 2021, Cardmembers can enjoy new Trip Cancellation Insurance. For more information about the Card’s coverages, please visit

NEW Metal Card + Rose Gold Option

Metal cards are starting to become more popular in Canada and the Gold Rewards Card can be added to that list of cards. On top of being issued as a metal card you will be able to choose to get the Rose Gold metal card in the near future.

The enhanced Gold Rewards Card now comes in metal. Once Cardmembers’ current Card expires, they will automatically be issued a new metal Card in Gold. They can continue to use their current Card until they receive a new one. 
We are also excited to share that we will soon be phasing the rollout of the new Rose Gold metal in Canada. We are treating this initial period of availability as a small pilot for new Cardmembers and will be extending the rollout more broadly in early 2022 to include existing Gold Rewards Cardmembers. Existing Cardmembers can stay tuned for more from us about how they will be able to access the new Rose Gold metal.
The Rose Gold version of the U.S. Gold Rewards Card

Earn Rates and redemption remain unchanged

The card's earn rates remain the same:

  • 2x the points on eligible travel purchases
  • 2x the points on eligible gas, grocery and drugstore purchases 
  • 1 x the points on everything else 

And as the card earns Membership Rewards points and there haven't been any changes to the program since May (when they upped Use Points for Purchases non-travel to 1,000 points for $10) the redemption side of things remains the same. 

Annual Fee increase 

All these enhancements do come at a cost however and that cost is a $100 jump in the annual fee from $150 to $250. However existing Cardmembers will get a $100 credit towards that fee so that they only pay $150 for the first year with the revamped card to give it a try and see if they want to keep it,

The annual fee will be increasing to $250 on Cardmembers’ next Cardmembership anniversary date on or after October 18, 2021. For the first year, existing Cardmembers can experience all that their new Card has to offer at the same annual fee they have now. Cardmembers will receive a credit upon their next Cardmembership anniversary date after their new annual fee of $250 is billed.

Waitlist offer

Just like the relaunch of the Aeroplan cards in 2020 and the best ever offers on seven of their cards earlier this year, Amex will be putting out a waitlist offer for the revamped Gold Rewards Card. The waitlist offer will launch next week. The Waitlist offer is for an additional 5,000 points

Click here to join the waitlist


Wrapping it up

The revamped American Express Gold Rewards Card goes back to its roots as a card for travellers. When it launched 11 years ago it was the travel earn and burn aspect that set it apart but 11 years is a long time and during time the competition caught up to this card and even Amex in ways cannibalized the Gold Rewards card when when they launched the Cobalt Card. Now we have a card that is perfect fit for someone looking for greater travel benefits but not so much or so expensive as the Platinum Card from American Express. It fits nicely in-between the Cobalt Card and the Platinum Card as a rewarding true travel rewards card that should now appeal to those looking for benefits beyond earn and burn yet maintaining a decent value in that regard. I mean the card has held onto second place in our rankings for the last four years based on the earn and burn and that hasn't changed so you know its a good card. Still, selfishly I wish we did see an increase in the drug store earn rate so the card would be a leader in that category for us older people and for those purchases at London Drugs! ;-) One final note, we haven't heard anything yet as to what the welcome bonus will be on the card when it opens up for applications again so that remains to be revealed. Anyone care to take a guess at what we may see for a welcome bonus?

Images via American Express

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