I’ve been writing about credit cards for several years now. And when I went looking for a new travel rewards card for my girlfriend and me, the American Express® Gold Card included everything we were looking for.

Not only does the card offer valuable rewards, generous earning rates and bonus categories that align with our everyday spending, but its monthly statement credits and other features provide a great excuse to plan elaborate nights out or cozy nights in.

Although the card comes with a relatively hefty annual fee and isn’t entirely viable for international travel, its combination of boosted rewards, benefits and free authorized users makes it the best card for couples who want to spoil each other and share experiences like dining, travel and at-home cooking.

Here’s what we love about it:

Why the Amex Gold is great for couples

Many people might be hesitant to share financial information with their partner. But in my experience, adding my girlfriend as an authorized user on my Gold Card has helped us to create common spending habits, quickly build a rewards balance and even raise both of our credit scores.

American Express also has one of the most valuable credit card rewards currencies — Membership Rewards — available, and the Amex Gold makes building a points balance quick and easy. Couples who spend a lot on dining, take-out, traveling or at U.S. supermarkets can make the most of this card with their regular spending habits.

Boosted points for dining and U.S. supermarket purchases

Food is a staple in nearly everyone’s budget, and as food prices have increased, it’s taking up a larger share of our spending. Any credit card that offers boosted rewards rates for U.S. supermarkets, restaurants or both is likely a worthwhile addition to your credit card rewards strategy if the value of the rewards it offers can help offset even a sliver of your spending.

Earning 4X points at restaurants, as the Amex Gold does, is nothing to shrug at, especially when two people or more are on the bill. According to the 2022 Consumer Expenditures report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average consumer spends almost $3,700 annually on food purchased away from home — equating to 40 percent of their total average annual food spending.

Spending just over $300 per month on restaurants may seem fairly high, but that number can be even higher for couples who share their spending. And although everyone’s budget is different — and your restaurant budget might not be this high — suppose you and your partner spend $600 monthly on qualified restaurants. With the Amex Gold, you’d net 2,400 American Express Membership Rewards points per month.

If you include U.S. supermarket spending from the same report, you’ll add $950 in monthly expenditures, which would net another 3,800 Amex Membership Rewards points per month since Gold cardholders earn 4X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 spent annually.

As a result, a couple maximizing the Amex Gold in these two categories, at this spending volume, could earn over 74,000 Amex points annually, worth at least $446.40 upon redemption for eligible statement credits at a redemption rate of 0.06 cents per point. This is easily enough to offset the card’s annual fee of $250; however, the value of Amex Membership Rewards points has a much higher ceiling with suitable travel redemptions.

Fund getaways with rewards points

American Express Membership Rewards are among the most valuable credit card rewards currencies because they offer flexible travel redemptions that provide users with plenty of high-value transfer options. Cardholders can transfer points to partner airlines or hotels, making travel planning easy without sacrificing value in exchange for flexibility. You may even be able to substantially boost the value of your Membership Rewards with a strategic travel transfer.

According to Bankrate’s points and miles valuations, Membership Rewards currently have an estimated value of 2.0 cents per point when transferred to a high-value partner, giving them a potential value twice as high as their baseline.

As an example, my girlfriend and I have planned a trip to Ireland for this upcoming August using Membership Rewards points that we transferred to Aer Lingus Avios.

  • Our airfare, which would have cost about $1,250 for two people from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Dublin Airport, cost 80,000 Avios (plus taxes and fees).
  • At this cost, our Aer Lingus Avios were worth roughly 1.5 cents each — a decent value we both thought was reasonable.
  • As long as we can get $1,250 in value every five years, we can justify holding the card — a feat we can likely achieve every two years at the rate we accumulate Amex Membership Rewards points.

Considering roughly one-third of surveyed Americans plan to take on debt for summer travel in 2024, leveraging credit card rewards in your travel spending can be a decent way to mitigate debt or avoid overspending. Although you’ll still need to pay for hotel stays and food while traveling, flying without spending a dime could cut the cost of your travel in half, depending on how long your stay is.

Generous monthly statement credits

The Amex Gold has up to $240 in monthly statement credits for select dining and take-out services that can make planning your next date night convenient. You’ll receive $10 monthly as Uber Cash, and a $10 statement credit every month you make an eligible purchase on select dining (activation required).

It might sound silly to plan a date night around a statement credit that your credit card provides you, but the Amex Gold’s monthly statement credits for Uber Eats and select dining have made treating ourselves to dining experiences and take-out more comfortable.

$120 Uber Cash on Gold

You might imagine that the Amex Gold’s $10 monthly credit for Uber and Uber Eats would provoke us into using those services more frequently. But it has actually had the opposite effect in our experience. While the credit does give us an excuse to use Uber Eats — a service we probably would not otherwise use — it has made using the service without the credit an almost forbidden, unspeakable thing, which has kept us disciplined in planning our purchases wisely.

We use the Uber credit every month on one Uber Eats order, and then we don’t use the service until the following month when the credit is automatically added to our Uber account. Fees can add up quickly in Uber Eats, and neither of us feel the cost is worth it without the credit. While not substantial, $10 usually offsets the service and delivery fees, the tip and part of our order. It’s especially handy because one of us is vegan, and we’ll often order from different places (if one doesn’t have plant-based options).

$120 Dining Credit

The Amex Gold’s dining credit can be trickier for us to maximize, because it’s only available at certain restaurants and retailers. However, because Grubhub is on the list, we typically use the dining credit the same way we use the Uber Eats credit. You could even use the dining and Uber credits on the same outings if you wanted to. The monthly Uber credit applies to rides, too, so you can use it to splurge on a night out to a restaurant that is eligible for the dining credit.

Free authorized users

A recent Bankrate survey found that just over 40 percent of U.S. adults married or living with a partner kept a financial secret. Although the survey’s findings don’t indicate this results from a lack of trust as much as it does a desire for privacy, sharing a credit card account and combining your spending in key categories like groceries, dining and travel could help to establish financial trust between you and a partner.

If you trust your partner enough, you can add them as an authorized user to your Amex Gold account at no additional cost. This perk can benefit all couples and families, but it’s really convenient for couples when one partner can’t qualify for the best rewards cards but still wants to make the most of their spending.

Being an authorized user of a financially responsible person’s credit card account reflects well on your credit history. It can help improve your score by establishing a credit history and a credit limit. Your score will improve steadily as long as the primary cardholder makes on-time, in-full payments.

If you’re serious about your partner, and you’re both serious about your finances, it could be worth merging your spending monthly by adding an authorized user to a credit card like the Amex Gold card. This only requires one of you to have a qualifying credit score, and you could both benefit from building your credit scores responsibly while combining your spending power on one of the best cards for everyday spending.

When the Amex Gold isn’t a good idea for couples

The card is incredibly rewarding for everyday spending and the ideal card for traveling foodies, but like most credit cards, it isn’t for everyone.

While the annual fee is worth it if you make the most of its features and rewards categories, you might struggle to squeeze more value from your points if your travel aspirations don’t involve transferring points to partnering airlines. There can be several reasons why a card isn’t a good fit for you, but two stand out the most for the Amex Gold.

Limited international acceptance

If you plan to hold only one credit card but want to travel abroad, this card may not be a good pick because of American Express’s limited worldwide acceptance. It doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which is great, but this is a useless benefit if the merchant doesn’t accept Amex in the first place.

The Amex Gold can be an excellent card for couples who want to build a points balance with everyday spending, but when you arrive at your international destination — whether you made the most of point transfers or not — your Amex Gold might need to take a backseat to another credit card. Visa and Mastercard currently boast the best worldwide acceptance rates, so choosing a backup travel card or a flat-rate rewards card with no foreign transaction fees will help keep you from awkward encounters at the checkout counter.

Annual fee

This card’s annual fee is higher than the annual fees on many other travel cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, for example, each charge $95 annual fees. Although these cards have different rewards programs and benefits, they’re far more affordable and also include free authorized users.

If you and a partner don’t spend at least $6,250 annually on food at restaurants or U.S. supermarkets, you might not accrue enough points to offset the Amex Gold’s annual fee with a base redemption value of 1 cent per point.

You could use this card primarily for travel purchases to earn 3X points, but you’d need to purchase directly from airlines or through Amex Travel. This limitation can restrict your options and may lead you to pay more for travel than if you were to book through a third-party travel website.

The bottom line

Talking about money with a partner can be a big step in a relationship, but sharing a credit card account is a solid precursor to opening the way to more significant money talks down the line. The Amex Gold is a great pick for couples because you can share the burden of its high annual fee while combining your everyday spending power to build a significant points balance that can fund future travel.

However, it might not be a good fit if you and a partner aren’t spending the volume needed to offset its annual fee with rewards value. Consider looking into more affordable or no-annual-fee credit cards that offer free authorized users if you want an alternative.