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Northpointe Bank Reviews: Savings, Checking, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Northpointe Bank savings account options

Ultimate Savings

The Ultimate Savings account has no monthly service fee or minimum deposit requirement.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount to Earn APY

0.25%

$100-$24,999.99

0.55%

$25,000-$999,999.99

0.55%

$1 million +

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • Overdraft fees: $29 plus an $8 automatic overdraft transfer charge

Northpointe Bank’s Ultimate Savings account comes with online banking capabilities and offers a decent annual percentage yield (APY). One thing it does not come with, however, is an ATM card.

Any transaction you make per month past six may incur a fee, which is standard for this type of account due to the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D. Federal law mandates certain types of telephone and electronic withdrawals, including transfers from savings accounts up to 6 per statement cycle. Go over six transactions and you’ll pay a $15 fee to the bank.

Taking into consideration the transaction limit, you’ll benefit the most from the Northpointe Bank’s Ultimate Savings account if you plan to put away cash you won’t need to access frequently. For example, rainy-day savings that you rarely dip into could find a suitable home in the Ultimate Savings account.

How to open a Northpointe Bank Ultimate Savings Account

You can complete the entire application for the Ultimate Savings account online. You’ll need to have basic information like your name, email access, an existing bank account to fund your new account, address and identifying documents, such as your driver’s license, state ID, passport or military ID.

Kids Savings

The Kids Savings account boasts a high interest rate, but can’t be opened online.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount to Earn APY

1.50% APY

Up to $1,000

1.11% APY

$1,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0

The Northpointe Bank Kids Savings account offers a two-tier interest rate. This account for kids actually has the highest interest rate among the bank’s basic savings accounts. It does not come with an ATM card. Regulation D applies here as with other savings accounts. Your child’s account will be charged a fee if you do more than six transactions in a month.

How to open a Northpointe Bank Kids Savings Account

Northpointe Bank Kids Savings accounts are for minors up to 18 years old. It’s one of the accounts that you can’t set up online with Northpointe Bank. You must call to complete the application or visit a local branch, or mail in a completed paper application.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

A savings account with tax benefits that people with a high-deductible health plan can use to stash away cash for health expenses.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount to Earn APY

0.50% APY

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None for both in-network and out-of-network ATMs. However, the owners of out-of-network ATMs may charge surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: None

The benefit of opening an HSA for medical expenses is that your contributions to that account reduce your taxable income. Tax benefits are a clear pro for this account. The Northpointe Bank Health Savings Account is an interest-bearing account as well — and free. You get an HSA debit card, which makes it convenient to pay medical expenses whenever necessary. As it is an HSA, you are not allowed to overdraft the account.

There are some guidelines for this and any other HSA account. You can only sign up for the HSA if you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). According to the IRS, 2020 HDHP plans are generally those that have a deductible of at least $1,400 for individuals and $2,800 for a family. The annual out-of-pocket expenses are capped at $6,900 for individuals or $13,800 for families, although these limits don’t apply to out-of-network services.

Thankfully, this isn’t a use-it or lose-it situation. You can roll over your HSA money year after year. Be aware that you may face a steep $50 fee to transfer your HSA funds to an account with a different bank.

Anyone who qualifies for an HSA account should at least review what it has to offer. Making contributions now can come in handy when you hit retirement. You can use money contributed to the HSA account on qualified medical costs including premiums, medical services, equipment, transportation and long-term care.

Review IRS guidelines carefully before withdrawing cash from the HSA account. You can incur tax penalties if you don’t use the account properly.

You can apply for the Northpointe Bank Health Savings Account online. Select the option to open an account at the top of the page — there’s a choice to select the Health Savings Account further into the application.

How to open a Northpointe Bank Health Savings Account

You can complete the entire application for the Health Savings account online. You’ll need to have basic information like your name, address, email, an existing bank account to fund your new account, and identifying documents, such as your driver’s license, state ID, passport or military ID.

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How Northpointe Bank saving accounts compare

The Kids Savings account leads the pack with the highest interest rate — but it’s only for kids. The Ultimate Savings account for adults, despite its name, isn’t quite as ultimate as it could be. The rates are good but only if you pony up significant cash. The bottom line is you can get better rates on savings accounts listed on our site. There’s stiff competition when it comes to online-only savings accounts, which works to your favor. The Health Savings Account is a decent option, but only if you have the right health care plan.

Northpointe Bank checking account options

Interest Checking

Requires a pretty high balance to earn a so-so interest rate.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount to Earn APY

0.15% APY

$2,500 - $24,999.99

0.25% APY

$25,000 - $99,999.99

0.30% APY

$100,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None for both in-network and out-of-network ATMs. However, the owners of out-of-network ATMs may charge surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $15 per statement cycle
  • Overdraft fees: $29

Northpointe Bank’s Interest Checking account comes with online and mobile banking capabilities. The account also has a wide interest rate spread, depending on your balance. You can look forward to getting reimbursed up to the monthly limit if you use ATMs from other financial institutions.

Other fees include an overdraft fee of $29 per transaction, which isn’t unusual for a checking account. Keep tabs on your balance, and you won’t run into much trouble here.

When you try to make a transaction that would overdraw your account, some banks will cover the balance and charge a fee. The overdraft is essentially a courtesy — the institution is covering the transaction for you because you didn’t have the cash. Northpointe mentions in its disclosure agreement that it may honor withdrawal requests at its discretion that will put you into overdraft and a fee can be assessed.

The alternative is that some banks will just decline the transaction resulting in no fee. Of course, the no-fee course of action is ideal. Northpointe also has an option where you can connect your checking to savings account to avoid overdraft fees.

You must be able to maintain the daily balance necessary to earn interest from the Interest Checking account. You won’t earn interest otherwise, which isn’t good — your money should always be working for you when it’s sitting in an account.

How to open the Northpointe Bank Interest Checking account

You can apply online for this account right on the Northpointe Bank website. You’ll need to provide basic information like your name, address, email, an existing bank account to fund your new account, and identifying documents, such as your driver’s license or government-issued ID.

Free Checking

No fees or minimum balance required — no interest earned, either.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None for both in-network and out-of-network ATMs. However, the owners of out-of-network ATMs may charge surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $15 per statement cycle
  • Overdraft fees: $29

The Northpointe Bank Free Checking account is an all-round free account. You even get ATM fee reimbursement up to a certain limit when you get charged while using ATMs from other banks. The lack of fees is great news. The lack of interest is where the news isn’t so great. There are just too many other online bank accounts that offer you no fees with interest for you to go with this option.

This Free Checking account is also one of the many accounts that you can sign up for online through Northpointe Bank’s website. Check out our ranking of the best high-yield checking accounts.

How to open the Northpointe Bank Free Checking account

You can complete the entire application for the Free Checking account online. You’ll need to have basic information like your name, address, email, an existing bank account to fund your new account, and identifying documents, such as your driver’s license, state ID, passport or military ID.

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Northpointe Bank's website is secure

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How Northpointe Bank checking accounts compare

Overall, the Northpointe Bank checking accounts leave a lot to be desired in the interest rate department. The accounts listed in our round-up of the best online checking accounts offer higher APYs and may require lower minimum daily balances to earn them. The Interest Checking account, which does offer interest, makes you maintain a pretty high average daily balance to get any reward.

Northpointe Bank CD rates

Northpointe Bank has fixed-rate, fixed-term CDs with decent interest rates, although not the highest around. The CDs requires a high balance to earn APY, watch out for the fine print.

Term

APY

7-91 days

0.30%

92-182 days

0.30%

6-11 months

0.30%

12-17 months

0.50%

18-23 months

0.50%

19 month CD Special

2.05%

24-29 months

0.50%

30-35 months

0.50%

36-47 months

0.50%

48-59 months

0.65%

60+ months

2.70%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalties, which depend on the original term of the CD, are:
    • 7 to 179 days: 30 days’ interest penalty
    • 180 to 364 day: 90 days’ interest penalty
    • 1 to 3 years: 180 days’ interest penalty
    • 3 to 5 years: 240 days’ interest penalty
    • 5 years or more: 365 days’ interest penalty

A certificate of deposit (CD) is an account in which you can park your money for a set period and earn a fixed interest rate. When the CD matures, you have a certain amount of time to withdraw that money before the account renews.

Always remember that a CD is a place to put money that you don’t regularly need because it can be pricey to withdraw early. There are pros and cons to locking into a fixed rate. You’re in the clear if offered rates decrease. Your money will continue to earn the interest rate you signed up for initially. On the other hand, you’re stuck with your CD rate until the end of the term, and out of luck if rates increase.

You’ll get the most from these CDs if your term is longer. The short-term CD rates are nothing to write home about, and are probably not worth the hassle of opening.

How to open Northpointe Bank CDs

To open a CD at Northpointe Bank, you’ll need to go to a branch. You’ll need to have basic information like your name, address, email, an existing bank account to fund your new account as well as identifying documents, such as your driver’s license, state ID, passport or military ID.

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How Northpointe Bank CDs compare

Northpointe Bank CD rates are lower than what you can get from other financial institutions. Check out our best CD rates roundup to see our top choices. Other accounts let you deposit a lower amount while still earning interest as well.

Northpointe Bank Money Market rates

Ultimate Money Market

This account doesn’t come with an ATM card, but you can purchase checks.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount to Earn APY

0.25%

$2,500-$24,999.99

0.55%

$25,000-$99,999.99

0.55%

$100k+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: No card
  • ATM fee refund: No card
  • Overdraft fee: $29

If you’re looking for a money market account with an ATM card, this account won’t be your first choice. Note, however, that the account has no monthly maintenance fee, which is a plus.

Keep in mind that there’s a limit to how many transactions you can make with this account, as well. The limit is six transactions due to the Fed’s Regulation D. Surpass six transactions and you’ll be charged a $15 fee per item. Take care to avoid this and you can enjoy this account with no fees.

The Ultimate Money Market account may be a good place to put savings that you need to have easily accessible because you can use checks. Be mindful of the starting minimum balance required.
The Ultimate Money Market account is another one offered by this bank that you can open online. You need to have the minimum deposit ready to get started.

How to open the Northpointe Bank Money Market account

You can complete the entire application for the money market account online. You’ll need to have basic information like your name, address, email, an existing bank account to fund your new account, and identifying documents, such as your driver’s license, state ID, passport or military ID.

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How the Northpointe Bank Ultimate Money Market account compares

The Northpointe Bank Ultimate Money Market account has an interest rate spread that’s pretty competitive compared to the money market accounts on our round-up.

Northpointe Bank IRA accounts

IRA CD Rates

A secure investment option to stash some retirement cash.

Term

APY

7-91 Days

0.30% APY

92-182 Days

0.30% APY

6-11 Months

0.30% APY

12-17 Months

0.50% APY

18-23 Months

0.50% APY

24-29 Months

0.50% APY

30-35 Months

0.50% APY

36-47 Months

0.50% APY

48-59 Months

0.65% APY

60+ Months

0.65% APY

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500 for fixed IRA CDs and $1,000 for IRA special CDs
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500 for fixed IRA CDs and $1,000 for IRA special CDs
  • Early withdrawal penalties, which depend on the original term of the CD, are:
    • 7 to 179 days: 30 days’ interest penalty
    • 180 to 364 day: 90 days’ interest penalty
    • 1 to 3 years: 180 days’ interest penalty
    • 3 to 5 years: 240 days’ interest penalty
    • 5 years or more: 365 days’ interest penalty

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) offer tax perks for people saving for their golden years. The money you deposit into an IRA account is tax-deductible and thus tax-deferred until you withdraw funds in retirement. Withdrawing money from an IRA before you reach the age of 59½ can cost you a pretty penny in income tax and other penalties. Northpointe Bank offers both IRA CDs and IRA savings accounts.

Northpointe Bank’s IRA CDs offer a wide spread of interest rates that get higher the longer you keep money in the account.

You must keep your money in the IRA CD account for the entire term to avoid a penalty from Northpointe Bank and the IRS. There is one exception for early withdrawal penalties: You may catch a break if you have to withdraw money for hardship or medical expenses. Even with the possible loopholes for IRS-related penalties, people who will benefit from the IRA CD the most are those who will leave the money in the account for its entire term.

The IRA CD is a savings vehicle for retirement that earns a set amount of interest for an assigned period. An IRA CD may be the right addition to your retirement plan if you’re looking for a safe and predictable place to put your savings.

How to open a Northpointe Bank IRA CD

The IRA CD is one of the Northpointe Bank accounts that you can’t apply for online. You must call customer service to open this account, email the bank, or fill out and send a paper application.

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How Northpointe Bank IRA CDs compare

Most of the Northpointe Bank products have lower interest rates than those we list on our round-up of the best IRA CDs. Competitors offer comparably higher fixed interest rates for the shorter-term IRA CDs. You can also find accounts that let you earn APY with a lower balance.

Ultimate IRA Money Market

A place with potential tax benefits to put your retirement savings. IRS penalties can apply if you withdraw early.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount to Earn APY


0.20%

Up to $2,499.99

0.25%

$2,500-$24,999.99

0.55%

$25k-$1,000,000


0.50%

$1,000,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: No card
  • ATM fee refund: No card

The Ultimate IRA Money Market account is another place to put cash for retirement that comes with potential tax benefits.

The IRA CD discussed in the previous section has a fixed interest rate for a fixed term. This account does not have a fixed term, and the APY can change at any time. The Regulation D’s six-transactions-per-month limit applies here as well. Go over six transactions per month and you’ll encounter a $15 fee per item.

Ultimately, the money you contribute to an IRA is money you don’t plan to touch until retirement age to avoid penalties. Retirement could be years or even decades away for you. The interest rate on this account is pretty low if your money is going to be baking for quite a while. An IRA CD would probably be a better option to consider if you prefer to put some of your nest egg in a place that’s low risk.

How to open the Northpointe Bank Ultimate IRA Money Market account

The Liquid IRA Savings account is one that you can’t apply for online. You can call Northpointe Bank to set up this account instead.

Overall Review of Northpointe Bank’s banking products

Northpointe Bank gets high marks for its lack of fees, a variety of account offerings and good user experience. If you’re not located near a branch, you can apply for many of the accounts online from the comfort of your own home.

The accounts that can’t be applied for online can be done over the phone. Someone who wants to be loyal to one bank will likely benefit the most from doing business with Northpointe since there are so many account types available, and you can most likely fulfill all of your banking needs in one place.

Interest rates are where Northpointe Bank doesn’t quite stack up against the competition. The highest APY for a basic savings account is the Kids Savings account. There’s nothing remarkable about the APYs on other accounts that should sway you to bank here instead of other online banks that also have no fees and offer top-notch online services. As we have mentioned, there is not much information available on the bank’s website, so you’ll need to chase down any answers beyond the bare minimum of information online.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Chase Freedom or Discover it: Who is the King of 5% Bonus Cash?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Chase Freedom or Discover it: Who is the King of 5% Bonus Cash?

If you’re going to use a credit card, choosing one that rewards you for spending is a given. Choosing the right card? That’s another story. With so many cards offering similar cash back programs and terms it can be difficult to choose one over another.

For example, should you get the Chase Freedom® or Discover it® Cash Back?

Both offer 5% cash back categories that change each quarter, with that 5% limited to your first $1,500 in spending on those categories each quarter. Where they differ is in the actual 5% bonus categories, the introductory bonus offer, and some fine print.

In this post, we’re going to dissect both cards and how they stack up against each other.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

The information related to Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

With Chase Freedom®, you can Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Discover it® Cash Back

You earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online
shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. The 5% is limited to $1,500 spending per quarter, 1% after that.

  • January – March 2020Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
  • April – June 2020 – New! The Home Depot (June), Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and Wholesale Clubs
  • July – September 2020 – Restaurants and PayPal
  • October – December 2020 – Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com
All other purchases get unlimited 1% cash back, automatically. You can redeem cash back for gifts cards, statement credits, charitable donations, deposits to an account or merchandise.

Pros and Cons

Now, let’s dive into the pros and cons of both cash back programs.

Chase Freedom®

Pro: A competitive intro bonus for small spenders. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
This sign-on bonus is great perk for new customers.

Pro: Flexible points. While you can always use your points for cash back, the Freedom earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. That means you can also use them for travel, gift cards, and other items. In addition, if you have another card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points you can combine the points for more reward opportunities.

Con: You need to activate your 5% bonus. Another negative of the Chase Freedom® card is the 5% bonus category requires activation each quarter. If you forget to subscribe to the program, you’ll only get 1% cash back for all spending, so this is a card that you’ll have to actively manage. Plus, the 5% bonus categories are announced quarterly, so it can be difficult to plan ahead.

Discover it® Cash Back

Pro: A good introductory offer for big spenders. You can get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically (new cardmembers only). That can really add up if you tend to be a big spender, though the catch is that bonus double cash back doesn’t hit your account until the very end of your first year. The Chase Freedom®‘s introductory offer hits your account after just 3 months worth of spending.

Con: You need to activate your 5% bonus. Like the Chase Freedom® card, Discover it® makes you subscribe to the 5% bonus place each quarter. You can set up email reminders, but it’s still a hassle to actively opt-in instead of being about to set that on auto pilot. So, again, this isn’t a card where you can passively earn cash back.

When to Consider Both Cards

Now, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds if it makes sense.

You can get both cards and alternate use throughout quarters so you can take advantage of both card’s 5% bonus categories to get 5% on more of your spending.

Of course, you’ll have to remember to activate each bonus category and label the cards in your wallet to know which one to use at what time.

But, if you spend in these areas anyway why not earn cash back for doing so?

There’s no annual fee for either card.

Other Cash Back Card Options

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Regular Purchase APR
11.00% - 15.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter).

The Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union let you Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter). Rates are 11.00% - 15.00% Variable APR with no balance transfer fee. There’s an intro 5% APR Intro Rate for all Balance Transfers (first six cycles after card opening).

Even better, you don’t have to activate the categories each quarter. Here are the 5% cash back categories in detail:

  • January to March – Groceries and gas expenses
  • April to June – Movies, restaurants and home improvement
  • July to September – Gas and education expenses
  • October to December – Restaurants, hotels and airfare
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Regular Purchase APR
13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has a rewards program that’s a little different than all three offers above. With this card you can earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!

Which Card Will Benefit You the Most?

Overall, the Chase Freedom® and Discover it® Cash Backare similar cards. Both earn 5% cash back in revolving categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter you activate). If you’re making a choice of one over the other, your choice would ultimately depend on your spending habits, so you can use the card (or a combination of both cards) to maximize your regular purchases.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure

Credit Cards, Reviews

American Express Gold Card: Good Travel Rewards for a Fee

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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The American Express® Gold Card is an upgraded American Express charge card without a pre-set spending limit. It’s also a card that rewards cardholders with American Express Membership Rewards® Points for airfare, dining, gas, and grocery spending.

A charge card is one that you need to pay off completely each billing cycle, so there’s no interest. However, since there’s no pre-set spending limit either, you need to keep an eagle eye on spending activity to make sure you can pay off the statement in full at month’s end. Making a late payment can cause you to forfeit Membership Reward points earned during that billing cycle.

In this post, we’ll discuss the American Express® Gold Card terms and how to redeem points. Keep reading for an overview on:

  • American Express® Gold Card basics
  • How to redeem Membership Rewards points earned
  • The fine print details
  • The benefits and protections
  • The pros and cons

The basics of the American Express® Gold Card

3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).

$100 airline fee credit.

You can get up to $100 airline fee credit on your statement each calendar year to cover incidentals charged by an airline of your choosing. Qualifying incidentals are charges separate from your airline ticket like baggage fees and not ticket upgrades.

American Express® Gold Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply |  Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee
$250
Rewards Rate
3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

How to redeem Membership Rewards Points earned

Through Membership Rewards, cardholders can transfer points to participating travel and lodging loyalty programs or redeem points for travel bookings, gift cards, statement credits, and other rewards. The value of your points varies depending on how you choose to use them.

Flights, hotels, and vacations

You can pay with points for flights, hotels, and vacations on the American Express Travel site. Using points for flights offers excellent value.

Here’s the point value breakdown on travel and accommodations:

  • Flights: $10 per 1,000 points
  • Hotels, cruises, and vacation packages: $7 per 1,000 points

Transferring your Membership Rewards Points

If you choose to transfer your points to another program, generally, 1,000 Membership Rewards Points will transfer as 1,000 miles, points, or credits.

However, transfers that have a different value include (as of the publication date of this article):

  • British Airways and Iberia: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 Avios
  • El AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 20 Matmid points
  • Hilton: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,500 HHonors points
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 JetBlue TrueBlue points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 333 Starpoints
  • Virgin America: 200 Membership Rewards points = 100 Elevate points

Occasionally, there are transfer specials for participating loyalty programs.

Statement credit and gift cards

Using points to put a dent in your credit card bill won’t be the best use of your points. 1,000 points equals just $6 in a statement credit.

Several of the gift cards through Membership Rewards will give you more in cash value. For example, 1,000 points can get you a $10 gift card at restaurants, retail stores, and hotels including:

  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy
  • Seasons 52
  • Banana Republic
  • Crate and Barrel

There’s an entire list of the redemption values for gift cards on the Membership Rewards site.

Other rewards

Using points for shopping, charitable donations, and entertainment are other redemption options. But, again, these options won’t give you as much value for your points as redeeming for flights and gift cards.

The value of 1,000 points ranges from $5 to $7 when shopping at retailers through Membership Rewards or at Ticketmaster, Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, or Newegg.com.

The fine print

The American Express® Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. If you spend a lot of money on the card, the annual fee can be worthwhile. However, if you don’t spend a lot, you might want to consider a no annual fee option.

In addition – when you transfer points to a U.S. frequent flyer program, there’s a $0.0006 fee charged per point to compensate for the federal excise tax. Although this fee has a lot of zeros in it, the cost may still be impactful if you’re transferring a lot of points. For instance, 100,000 points transferred will cost you $60.

On the plus side, this card has no foreign transaction fees.

Benefits and protections

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

If you pay for a qualifying car rental with your American Express® Gold Card, the rental car is covered against damage and theft after declining the collision damage waiver. Rentals that won’t qualify for coverage are trucks, off-road vehicles, full-size sport vehicles, and exotic cars.

Purchase Protection

If an item you purchase is lost, stolen, or damaged within 90 days of purchase, you may be reimbursed for it.

Pros and cons

Pro: 3X points on travel. If you fly often for work or play, this card rewards you well each time you use it.

Con: The fee. The biggest con here is the annual fee. But, since there are several ways you can earn points in the 3X and 2X categories, you may be able to easily cover this fee throughout the year.

Pro: Membership Rewards. This card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards Points program and gives you many options for point redemption. The Membership Rewards site is also incredibly easy to navigate, and there’s no ambiguity in point value. The rewards portal shows examples of exactly what your points are worth for each redemption option.

Con: The fee to transfer points. The ability to transfer points to another program is a pro, but being charged for U.S. frequent flyer program transfers is a tiny gotcha in the fine print.

Pro: No foreign transaction fees. One area in the fees where you do catch a break is with foreign transaction fees. This aspect of the card is fitting since it’s one that rewards you for planning travel.

Who will benefit most from the American Express® Gold Card?

Your ability to earn enough points to surpass the fee will determine whether this is a good card for you.

And if you’re shopping around for a rewards program that will give you the most value for travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is an option you should compare to American Express Membership Rewards®.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, in particular, is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and allows you to transfer points to other travel partners as well. Plus, it has an offer that gives 1.25 cents per point for travel. This is slightly more value than what you get for flights with American Express Membership Rewards since 1,000 points per $10 works out to 1 cent per point.

Before signing up for any rewards card, you should do this type of comparison shopping to figure out which offer will give you the most value for your spending habits.

To see rates & fees for the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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