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Which Is Better For Getting More Points With Less Spend: The AmEx Gold Or The Citi Premier Card?


With so many credit cards out there, choosing the right one for you could get confusing.

Especially when so many of these cards offer you very similar benefits and points per dollar spent, how will you decide which one to choose?

One of my clients faced a similar situation and here’s how I helped him pick the right card to suit his needs.

Let’s call him Vikram.

What do you want out of your next card

For starters, Vikram had these requirements.

He knew he wanted to get more points quickly to plan his upcoming travel.

He also wanted a card that he could maximize daily.

He knew that AmEx Gold offered 4X per dollar on groceries, supermarkets, and dining.  

He also knew that the Citi Premier card offered 3X on the same categories.

So how should he pick his next card if he wanted more points with just regular spending?

Breaking it down further

After much back and forth to understand his needs better, we put the cards on a head-to-head battle.

The AmEx Gold, no doubt, is fantastic for everyday spending, and you can most certainly earn points faster with its 4X returns.

But, keep in mind that it has a high annual fee of $250 and its sign-on bonus ranges from 60,000 to 90,000 points.

The Citi Premier on the other hand will cost you $99. Its long-standing offer of 80,000 points upon sign-up makes it more lucrative than most cards on the market. 

Granted that the Citi Premier card only gives you 3X on the categories that AmEx gives you 4X.
But, this card still gives you triple the points for major categories including fuel too. 

While he was sold on Citi Premier’s bonus for daily spending, he was still attracted to AmEx’s 4X returns.

Wouldn’t AmEx Gold get you more points faster?

Yes and No.

Yes because for every dollar you spend, you get back 4 points on select categories. So definitely you will accumulate a substantial amount over time.

And no because it doesn’t offer you 4X returns on all categories of your regular spending.

I asked him if he would pick the 80,000 points Citi Premier sign-on bonus or a 75,000 points AmEx Gold bonus.

And I offered him an example as shown below.

Let's do some napkin mathematics

table comparing credit cards

For a sample monthly expenditure, as shown above, the Citi Premier card will give Vikram higher points because his monthly spending is travel focused. That includes hotels, airfare, and fuel.

It’s important to note that the sign-on bonus hits your account once you spend the required amount within the first 3 months of account opening.

Factoring in his monthly usage and immediate requirements of points for his upcoming travel, the Citi Premier card was the best choice for this client. 

While this looks overwhelming, it gets easier if you weigh your priorities. 

For all else, I can guide you. 

You know where to find me.

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