Update: As of September 2017, the First Year Annual Fee Waiver has been removed.
When delving into the Miles and Points game, or anything else in life for that matter, one must start somewhere. Undeniably so, you’ll want to start here – with the American Express Gold Rewards Card.
With its low barrier-to-entry as well as it’s earning power and generous sign-up bonus, there’s a very good reason why it’s regarded as the best card to get when starting out.
Welcome Bonus: up to 30,000 Membership Reward Points after spending $1500 within the first 3 months.
Annual Fee: $150 (First year annual fee waiver)
Supplementary Card: Up to 9; each worth a bonus of 1,000 MR points
Referral Power: 5,000 MR Points per successfully approved referral to any MR earning card (up to a Max. 75,000 MR Points/Calendar Year)
Earning Power: 2 MR Points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores and on travel and 1 MR per dollar on everything else.
Bells & Whistles:
The Gold Rewards Card offers a handsome Welcome Bonus of up to 30,000 Membership Reward Points when you apply through a referral. You’ll earn 25,000 MR Points after you spend $1,500 in the first 3 months as well as an additional 5,000 MR Points for adding a supplementary card during your application process. Note that the 5,000 bonus will only be issued if you add the supplemental card during your application and not after you receive your card. It’s an easy 5,000 points you don’t want to give up, so definitely do it! Also, you can add supplemental cards after the fact as well for 1,000 points each up to a maximum for 9. Wait a minute, do I have to pay an annual fee for these extras? Nope! First Year Waiver applies to those cards as well!
Earning Power on the Gold Rewards Card is pretty fantastic and can definitely come in handy for day-to-day spending.
Earn 2 MR Points per dollar at gas stations (not just limited to gas but items purchased in the station as well), drug stores as well as grocery stores within Canada
Earn 2 MR Points per dollar for eligible travel related purchases such as hotels, flights, cruises, car rentals, etc. Note: Earn an additional MR point per dollar if you purchase your travel through the American Express Travel portal on their website.
Earn 1 MR Point per dollar on all other purchases.
As mentioned above, you can earn 2 MR points for not only Gas purchases but any purchase made in the gas station itself. What do you usually find lingering around the cash area inside the gas station? Yeah, yeah, I know – gum, scratch tickets, magazines, and what’s that you say? Gift cards? Absolutely! “So what” you say? We’ll you remember that you can earn 2 MR points at gas stations, drug stores, grocery stores as well as travel. What if I’m a big spender at the liquor store/beer store or even the big home improvement center down the street. If I were to shop there I would only get 1 MR per dollar if I paid using my Gold Rewards Card. “Okay, I think I’m following. Are you saying there is a way to shop at these “all other purchases” retailers and gain 2 MR per dollar?” Absolutely! Now you’re thinking. You can effectively earn 2 MR per dollar spent on “all other purchases” by buying gift cards at locations that offer 2 MR per dollar (Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Drug Stores) and then using those gift cards when you do shop at those locations that normally offer 1 MR per dollar.
Buy a $50 gift card for the liquor store while your shopping at the grocery store and you will earn $50 x 2 MR Points = 100 MR Points
Spend $50 at the liquor store and only earn $50 x 1 MR Point = 50 MR Points
The Gold Rewards Card offers a slew of insurance and additional coverages.
For Travel Expenses charged to your card you will obtain the following:
Travel Accident Insurance: up to $500,000 which covers yourself, spouse as well as any dependant children under the age of 23.
Emergency Medical Insurance: Maximum of $5,000,000 per insured person under the age of 65 for the first 15 days of each out of province travel.
Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Baggage Insurance: up to $500 per trip
Baggage Delay Insurance: up to $500 coverage for all reasonable and necessary emergency purchases within 4 days if your baggage is delayed by 6 or more hours.
You’ll also have access to trip interruption, flight delay, hotel burglary and car rental theft and damage.
Lastly, (and such a great service to have!) Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan is also included which acts as an extended warranty on items you purchase with your card. This extended warranty doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to an additional year. In addition, you’ll also receive the Purchase Protection Plan which automatically insures your purchase in the event of accidental theft and damage.
The Gold Rewards Card should definitely be on your radar when you’re starting out in the Miles and Points game! With it’s fantastic sign-up bonus and earning potential (2 MR on travel, gas, grocery, drug store, and beyond) as well as a wide array of features and benefits including it’s comprehensive insurance coverage, it makes signing up for this card a no-brainer.
Applying for the Gold Rewards card through Great Canadian Rebates link above will score you $50 cash-back on top of the bonus already offered by American Express except for the 5,000 MR Point Supplemental Card bonus.
If you have any questions, you know the drill – either shoot me an email or a comment below!