A recent spate of minor changes to a popular American Express card and to the American Express Membership Rewards program probably won’t do much to change the value proposition of the ecosystem one way or the other, but they’re worth being aware of.
First, the good news. The popular American Express® Gold Card, already one of the best dining rewards cards out there with four points per dollar on U.S. dining purchases, is expanding that bonus category to cover restaurants around the world, as reported by The Points Guy. That brings it to parity with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve card, both of which have long offered bonus points (2x and 3x, respectively) on dining purchases, no matter what country they were made in. The card also added the online wholesaler club Boxed as an eligible merchant for its $120 annual ($10 per month) restaurant dining credit, even though it’s not, uh, a restaurant.
Now, the even better news: The limited edition Rose Gold Amex Gold option is back! As before, it’s only available for a limited time. Interestingly, this is your first chance ever to get the rose gold Amex Gold and a 35,000 point welcome bonus (after spending $2,000 in the first three months). When the color was initially offered, the welcome bonus was only 25,000 points.
Okay, time for the less great news. Starting September 1, you’ll need to wait 90 days after adding an authorized user to your card to transfer Membership Rewards points to their frequent flyer and/or hotel loyalty accounts. This appears to be a one-time waiting period, so it’s probably not a huge deal, but could cause some headaches when trying to book a specific redemption using a family member’s loyalty program if you only just recently added them to your account. Travel With Grant speculates that the change is meant to cut down on people selling Membership Rewards points.
Interestingly, starting on the same date, you’ll now forfeit any Membership Rewards points earned during a billing cycle if you don’t pay your bill by the due date. This doesn’t seem to mean that you have to pay off your entire balance (though you absolutely should, if you’re able), but you will have to at least pay your minimum by the due date to keep your points for the month. We can’t really say if this should count as good news or bad news—carrying a balance is a cardinal sin of point collecting, so ideally this won’t affect you at all—but its worth noting for anyone who has an American Express card or is planning to apply for one.
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