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In this article, we’ll go through the rivals’ similarities and differences so you can select the option that’s best for you, your spending habits and your travel goals.
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The American Express® Gold Card and the Citi Premier Card don’t currently overlap all that much when it comes to earning points and miles. But thanks to some recent changes, they’ll soon be competing for customers who look to restaurant and grocery spend for bonus points.
If that’s you, you might be wondering which of the two cards you should be using for those dining dollars. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll go through the rivals’ similarities and differences so you can select the option that’s best for you, your spending habits and your travel goals.
A card’s welcome bonus should always factor into the equation when taking out a new card, as it’s the single best points-earning opportunity out there.
New Amex Gold cardholders can score a welcome bonus that’s often between 35,000 and 50,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership.
While that sum can easily score you an international one-way ticket in economy class—and maybe even get you round trip, depending on where in that range your bonus offer falls—the Citi Premier’s welcome bonus is higher. You’ll currently net 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Of course, an extra 10,000 points might not be a deal breaker if you’ll earn more points with the Gold Card in the long term. Read on and we’ll go into how to assess whether that’s the case!
Unlike some of its competitors, American Express offers products not just on the ends of the annual fee spectrum—which hover around $95 and $550—but in the middle, too. The American Express Gold is one such card. With a $250 fee, it’s nowhere near as pricey as its $695 sister card, The Platinum Card® from American Express. (Rates and fees)
That said, it’s still a big jump up from the $95 Citi Premier. And while its credits and benefits might offset that difference for you, if you’re comparing the two cards based on annual fee alone, the Citi Premier will come out on top.
If accruing a large sum of points quickly is necessary, you might lean in favor of the Citi Premier, depending on where the Amex Gold bonus is sitting amid that 35,000-50,0000-point range.
Earning Points: Gold Card vs. Citi Premier
While the Gold Card may lag a little bit in the welcome bonus department, it may just wind up earning you more points in the long run than its competitors would. With the Gold Card, you’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets up to $25,000 each year, as well as 4X Membership Rewards points on dining out.
And that’s not all. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar when you book flights directly with an airline or with Amex Travel, along with the standard 1X point per dollar on all other purchases.
That 4X multiple on food makes the Gold Card one of the strongest cards out there for dining and groceries. The Citi Premier, in comparison, offers just 3X points per dollar at restaurants and supermarkets after its refresh last year.
The thing is, the Premier will be offering other bonus categories, too—and they’re plentiful. In all, the card will award 3X points per dollar spent on air travel, hotels, gas, restaurants and supermarkets and 1X point per dollar on all other purchases.
As it stands, it’s not possible to crown an outright winner in this department. If you spend heavily on food, the Amex Gold might get the edge. But if you travel frequently—and not just by plane—it might be worth sacrificing the extra point per dollar on dining and groceries to pick up bonuses on hotels and gas.
Redeeming Points: Membership Rewards vs. ThankYou Points
Of course, your points are only as valuable as the trips you’ll spend them on, so it’s important to factor in where you want to go and how you want to get there when deciding which currency will serve you best. Both cards’ points can be transferred to a range of partners at what’s almost always a 1:1 rate, but they each have different partners to choose from.
That’s not to say their lists don’t have some overlap. Both Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points transfer to Avianca, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and Air France-KLM Flying Blue.
But only Citi partners with Turkish Miles & Smiles, which can be handy for booking Star Alliance awards. Amex, on the other hand, counts British Airways as a partner, which has some unique sweet spots on its distance-based award chart.
Both programs also allow you to use points to book travel through their travel portals. In doing so, though, you’ll only get 1 cent per point in value, which is generally well below the value you’ll get if you transfer.
Other Benefits and Perks
There’s more to credit card perks than points-earning, which both the Amex Gold and Citi Premier illustrate. For starters, neither charges foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S., and both come with access to ticket presales that can help get you into high-demand concerts or sporting events. But in the benefits arena, it’s the Amex Gold that really shines.
If you have another Amex card, you’ll know the issuer loves to offset its fees with credits, and the Gold is no exception. Keeping with the foodie-friendly theme, the card offers a $10 monthly credit for dining at restaurants —for purchases from Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.
On the travel side, you’ll find a $100 hotel credit to cover qualifying purchases when you book a stay of two or more consecutive nights through The Hotel Collection.
And the benefits don’t stop at credits. The Amex Gold also comes with secondary car rental insurance, as well as travel and purchase protections that include baggage insurance, an extended warranty on consumer goods and purchase protection for 90 days that will cover you if an item is damaged, lost or stolen.
Citi, on the other hand, stripped away nearly all of its travel and shopping protections last year, so if those are features you’re looking for, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Which One Is Right For You?
With ultra-useful bonus categories—we all need to eat, right?—you’ve got two great options on your hands no matter which way you slice it. But drilling down into the details will help you make the final call.
If accruing a large sum of points quickly is necessary, you might lean in favor of the Citi Premier, depending on where the Amex Gold bonus is sitting amid that 35,000-50,0000-point range. Those who aren’t ready to pony up $250 per year might want to go that route, too.
But if its benefits beyond points alone that you’re looking for, the Gold could make a better choice, with its credits and travel and shopping protections. The card also pairs well with other members of the Amex portfolio, giving you plenty of options if you really want to lean into Membership Rewards.
No matter which card you go with, you’ll be earning plenty of points in no time. If you’re looking to earn a bonus on a broader range of purchases, the Citi Premier’s got you covered—and if you’d rather earn more points per dollar on food, the Amex Gold is a solid selection.
Before you make your verdict, don’t forget to consider each program’s list of transfer partners, the current welcome bonuses and whether you’ll use any extra perks included with the card. But remember—you can’t lose!
New to the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card to start with.
With a best-ever bonus of 100,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.