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Middle Age Miles

Amex Gold Retention Offer Data Points

american express amex gold personal premier rewards gold prg retention offer retention call
Amex Gold Card

Introduction

The Amex Gold personal card can be a very valuable card for many miles-and-points enthusiasts, with its 4x Membership Rewards (MR) point-earning bonus categories for restaurants worldwide and US supermarkets (up to a $25k cap). It also comes with a $10 monthly dining credit that’s good at a few places (we’ve used ours at Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris; others use Grubhub and/or Cheesecake factory) and a $100 annual airline fee credit. For new sign-ups, the card has an annual fee of $250, but many people are grandfathered in to an annual fee of $195 at least for this year, by virtue of having held the previous version of this card, the Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) card.

The conversion of this card from the legacy PRG version to the new Gold version occurred in early October 2018. In anticipation of the change-over, many people applied for the PRG card in the late September and early October 2018. For those people, their Gold card is now coming up for renewal, and the $195 annual fee is posting. As a result, there’s a lot of interest in retention offers on the Gold card.

We are in that position ourselves. We applied for the PRG card on the last day it was available (10/3/2018), and our card auto-converted to Gold shortly thereafter. Our $195 annual fee posted this week (10/28/2019). So, in anticipation of making a retention call on our card, we researched Amex Gold retention offers. In this article, we share what we’ve found. We’ll soon be making our own retention call(s), and we’ll report back in our forthcoming “Keep or Cancel” article about the Amex Gold card.

Hat Tip and Thanks!

Before we launch into the meat of the article, we’d like to give a huge hat tip say thank you to the Reddit Churning and FlyerTalk users who have contributed their data points on Amex Gold retention offers.

All data points that we cover in this article are from no earlier than 10/20/2019 (11 days ago).

Amex Gold Retention Offers – Overview

There are many data points of people receiving spend-based retention offers on the Amex Gold card. All of the spend-based offers are based on a certain amount of spend within the next 3 months.

Here are the retention offers that we’ve seen:

  • 30,000 MR points / $4,000 spend
  • 20,000 MR points / $3,000 spend
  • 15,000 MR points / $2,000 spend
  • Choice of 15,000 MR points or $100 statement credit / $2,000 spend
    • Given this choice, we would take the MR points, hands down
  • 10,000 MR points / $1,500 spend
  • No retention offer at all

Amex Gold Retention Offers – Insights and Patterns?

We’ve examined the available data points (somewhere around 20), to see if we can detect any pattern regarding the recent Amex Gold retention offers. Obviously, we’d like to know if there’s anything that can be done to help get a higher offer.

In general, I think we can say the following about the retention offer data points we’ve seen:

  • Many people have received good offers on their Amex Gold cards
    • Of course, we suspect that there’s very strong selection bias on what is reported – people who got good offers like to talk about them, and people who didn’t get anything aren’t likely to report
  • There seem to be two factors that have resulted in the highest 30k MR offers:
    • High spend on the card – at least $20-25k in the past year; and/or
    • Inability to use the dining and airfare credits (and probably actually not using them; Amex agents can easily check this)
      • One person said they lived hundreds of miles away from the nearest qualifying restaurant for the dining credits
  • As best we can tell, Amex seems to be looking more at total spend than whether the majority of spend was in bonus categories
    • In general, although not perfectly, higher spend seems to correlate to a better retention offer
    • We don’t see any instances where people were “penalized” for having most of their spend in the 4x categories, including the situation where they did most or all of their spend purchasing gift cards at US supermarkets to earn 4x MR points
  • We do not see any instances where a second retention call resulted in a person getting a higher retention offer
    • People who reported calling more than once received the same offer on their second call as they had received on their first call
  • The most recent data points on FlyerTalk (past 2-3 days) include some offers that seem to be lower than earlier data points (maybe 3-11 days ago)
    • The only data points for the lowest offers, 10k MR for $1.5k spend, are very recent
      • This includes one data point where the user reported spend of about $11,000 (compared to prior data points, we would have expected a higher offer for this level of spend)
  • In addition, the “worst” data point we’ve seen is a very recent one on FlyerTalk, where a user who reported $10,000 in spend made 2 calls and received no retention offer at all

Wrap-Up

With these data points, we’re relatively optimistic about our own upcoming retention call. We had about $22k in spend during the first year we held the card. The vast majority of our spend (95%+) has been in 4x bonus categories. You can count on one hand the number of transactions on our Amex Gold card that weren’t either earning 4x or redeeming an Amex Offer. Hopefully that won’t hurt us. We’ve also used our airline fee credits and most (but not all) of our dining credits.

As we mentioned earlier, we’ll report back later after our own retention call(s). In the meantime, good luck with your own calls!

Do you have data points regarding Amex Gold retention calls that you’d be willing to share with us? Please let us know in the Comments! Thank you!


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10 thoughts on “Amex Gold Retention Offer Data Points

  1. Bob

    Let me be a most recent data point. I called to cancel my Gold card this last weekend. I had spent just over $6k on the card. Almost half to meet min spend for the initial bonus and the rest mainly cashing in on AMEX offers, following racking up extra bonus points by adding 3 AUs. Like you, I used all of the $100 airline reimbursement fee credit (SW gift card) and most of the dining credits (via Grubhub). A very lucrative first year with the card, but I did not see a future with it, given other cards I value over it in its bonus categories (i.e., Prestige for dining, AMEX Everday Preferred for groceries). I was offered either 20k points or a $200 statement credit with $3k spend in 3 months. I was going to cancel the card, but quickly accepted the 20k bonus points offer. Now I’m devising a strategy to spend the $100 airline fee credit (as my wife and I have several other cards (i.e., another Gold, 1 Plat, a Biz Plat, 2 Aspires, and 1 Ritz) with similar credits for a total of over $1,300 airline fee credits to use during 2020. Perhaps an in-depth article on airline fee credit strategies to use now that almost all airline gift cards are a no go. My initial thoughts are to purchase day passes and put all onboard purchases on the cards. Also thinking about purchasing a yearly lounge pass (AA, UA, or Alaska) as a part of this. Anyway, the retention offer was too good to pass up and now I have a whole set of other issues to ponder . . .

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Bob – Many thanks for the thorough DP, and congrats on the nice retention offer! The 20k bonus MR points easily turns the Gold into a profitable card to hold, even for someone like you who has great other options for dining and groceries.

      Totally agreed on the challenges with the airline fee credits. An AA or AS annual lounge membership could be a good solution, especially if they let you split the payment so you can use multiple credits. Despite AA and AS continuing to drift further away from one another, a full membership in the Admiral’s Club or Alaska Lounge gets the member and a guest (I think 2 guests; I’m not 100% sure offhand) into the other’s lounges. We use this benefit a fair bit. Philly has a full Admiral’s Club membership by virtue of holding the Citi AA Executive card, so she often gets us into an Alaska Lounge when we’re departing SEA.

      Thanks again for the Comment! ~Craig

      1. Bob

        Thanks for the feedback, Craig. I just finished charting all of my next year’s trips and mapping them against airline lounges. Besides using my Biz seat Lounge privileges, Platinum cards (Centurion Lounges) and Priority Pass Select where available, there still are enough opportunities to use day passes at AA, AS, and UA lounges. Most cost effective (because of the new rules about having to be using a carrier/partner of the Lounge host to get Lounge access) seems to be the day pass route (vice the annual membership) in using the airline fee reimbursements. That said, this route still leaves almost $750 in fee reimbursements for me to find uses for during 2020. Love the suggestion below (even if it’s risky in terms of qualifying), as well as looking at trying to get a Delta award cancellation miles redeposit fee ($150) honored for reimbursement. The issue in all this that keeps coming up is the grey areas where its not certain whether AMEX (or Chase for the Ritz card) will authorize the reimbursement. Again, I think a more in-depth article on this would be most helpful. Thanks again, for your reply.

    2. HS

      For the Plats ($200 annually) and Aspire ($250 annually), the $350 cash portion of upgrade on AA from PE to Business on Trans-Atlantic is something that I have been keeping my eye on. According to the written rules, an upgrade like this should not be reimbursed automatically by Amex, and yet it seems to happen. Coincidentally, there was just another confirmatory DP on FT yesterday: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31686150-post2182.html

      Getting further off topic still, but earlier this year my wife had no trouble clearing the $300 on the Ritz-Carlton Visa for this purchase.

      1. Bob

        @HS: Thanks so much for that info. I have a planned point and cash upgrade on AA next March and May (trans-Pacific). Perhaps this would be a great use of the fee reimbursement benefit, if it clears.

      2. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

        Hi HS – Thanks for the excellent DPs on using the Amex airline fee credit on AA for the cash portion of cash + miles upgrades! Same for the RC Visa credit – nicely played all around! ~Craig

  2. Ron

    You’re not seriously considering closing the best MR-earning card are you? 4x grocery is an easy 100K MRs. I have several golds and will downgrade a Plat for my 3rd Gold. If I could get 20 of them I would. But it’s always a good idea to check for retention offers – however Amex won’t give another retention offer on the same card within 13 months (effectively every other year)

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Ron – Thanks for the comment. For those who know how to MS by purchasing GCs at US supermarkets and liquidating efficiently, I’d say your analysis is right on-point. ~Craig

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Franz – You can try to call for retention on both. Some people will tell you that Amex will only give 1 retention bonus in a rolling 13-month period across all cards. I’m not positive that this is a hard-and-fast data point. That said, don’t be surprised if you can get only one offer. I have seen data points of people getting as high as 50k MR points as a retention offer on the Platinum, so you might try that one first? No harm to try calling on each card, though. You can always weigh which offer you like better before you accept one. ~Craig

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