The American Express PRG card is a little hidden gem that I don’t think gets talked about enough. I mentioned it last year in a post where I brought up a good point that it earns 3x points for flights booked directly with the airline. This is actually better than most airline co-branded credit cards since most of them only offer 2x points.
Not everything is positive about this card. American Express eliminated the 15,000 Membership Rewards bonus if you made $30,000 or more in purchases each year. Amex claimed that not enough customers were qualifying for this perk, so they took it away completely.
More changes are coming to the card starting June 1, 2015, and they’re a great addition to the PRG card!
Changes American Express is making to the Personal PRG card:
- Increase in annual fee from $175 to $195
- $100 annual airline credit that can be used for incidental charges such as baggage fees.
- 2x Membership Rewards points at restaurants
- No foreign transaction fee
American Express PRG card members will continue to receive 2x Membership Rewards at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets. 1x Membership Rewards points will be earned on all other purchases.
My thoughts on the changes
I welcome the $20 increase in annual fee since Amex is providing a $100 annual airline credit. Officially Amex doesn’t allow airline gift cards to count towards the annual airline credit, but I imagine purchasing 2 $50 Delta gift cards on Delta.com will trigger a credit on your credit card statement. This essentially brings your annual fee down to $95 a year.
2x Membership Rewards points on dining is a nice perk! I have a feeling that Amex added this bonus category to compete with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which already earns 2x points.
Having no foreign transaction fees is nice, but your card may not even be accepted. American Express is not as widely accepted as Visa or MasterCard. Last year I visited London and Germany, and I was often asking in German “do you accept American Express?” I felt like it was a 50% chance that the merchant accepted Amex.
Manufactured spending with the PRG card
What I find really attractive about the PRG card is that it earns 2x Membership Rewards points in the supermarket category! If you follow my blog, then you already know that my local grocery store allows me to buy as many Visa gift cards to my heart’s content. Sometimes Teddy and I will walk in and buy only $5k, while other times we might buy $12k worth!
Earning 2x points by purchasing gift cards at my local grocery store would be a huge bonus! If you have the same option as me to do this, you may want to look into getting the Amex PRG card. You could earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points for only spending $12,500 on gift cards at a grocery store.
Amex Membership Rewards
I like the American Express Membership Rewards program because the extensive number of travel partners that are included in the program. 2 of my favorite partners are Delta and British Airways. Even though American Airlines isn’t included as a travel partner, I can still transfer my points to British Airways and book a ticket through them.
You also have the option to transfer your points to hotel partners or use your Membership Rewards points to book tickets directly through AmexTravel.com. However, to MAXIMIZE your earnings, you would want to transfer your points to an airline partner and then book an award ticket through the airline.
Should you signup for this card?
Right now the Amex PRG signup bonus is only offering 25,000 Membership Rewards points. I would wait until a 50,000 points offer comes around to maximize your earnings. Since you can only earn the bonus once per card per lifetime now, you always want to make sure you get a great signup offer from American Express!
But wait! The 50,000 points offer may already be available for you! Since you’re a Travel Hack Guy reader, you already know how to look for better credit offers by following my article here.
I think the PRG card is a worthy card to carry in your wallet if you like to travel. If you’re not loyal to one particular airline, the Membership Rewards program is a great way to transfer your points to a number of airlines.
The bonus categories along with the $100 airline credit make the Amex PRG card more attractive than the Chase Sapphire Preferred. American Express has some of the best customer service around and their warranty service is fantastic! I should know since I used it twice last year.