Keith has written up an article on this card here, but be warned:
The Essential card earns points into Membership Rewards Gateway, not Membership Rewards Ascent.
Gateway has lower transfer rates out to a smaller number of partners than Ascent, with 1 Membership Rewards point equal to 0.75 airline points in Velocity Frequent Flyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and some others.
So as long as you’re OK with that, go ahead. Otherwise the Platinum Edge might be a better proposition as an entry into Amex MR program.
Hope that helps!
When I got my Plat Charge, they swept over all of my Ascent points over to Ascent Premium. I’m not ruling out the possibility that they might sweep your Gateway points over to Ascent / Ascent Premium when you upgrade in future.
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