American Express® Gold Card

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Claire Dickey @ClaireDickey  in  Travel How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Best for dining, food and travel

Annual Fee:
$250
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
See Rates & Fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Bankrate Rating

Commonly used for: Airline, Annual Travel Credit, Auto Rental Insurance, Charge card, Dining, Editor's Pick, EMV, Excellent Credit, Extended Warranty Program, Free Credit Score, Good Credit, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Mobile Pay Ready, No Foreign Transaction Fees, Points, Popular, Presale Tickets, Purchase Protection, Rewards, Roadside Assistance, Travel, Travel Assistance, Zero Fraud Liability.

This is one of the best offers from our partner American Express.

American Express® Gold Card: Details and benefits

With the American Express® Gold Card, you’ll get 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide, 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1x) and 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. You’ll additionally receive 1X points on all other purchases.

The card comes with a pretty generous 35,000-point welcome bonus when you spend $4,000 on purchases within your first three months. You’ll also have access to excellent perks, including:

  • Up to $100 airline fee credit per calendar year for incidentals charged to your Amex account
  • Up to $120 in annual savings (up to $10 monthly) when you use your Amex Gold on Boxed , Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations (enrollment required)
  •  The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group membership

This card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, so if you frequently travel outside of the United States, you won’t have to worry about fees eating into your earning potential.

Advantages
  • Sizeable welcome bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Up to $100 airline fee credit
  • Up to a total of $120 in dining credit (enrollment required)
  • Great redemption flexibility with 21 travel partners
  • No foreign transaction fees.
Disadvantages
  • $250 annual fee
  • No lounge membership (although you can buy passes)

Is it worth it for you?

First and foremost, this card is meant for those who travel often and spend quite a bit of money eating out, ordering in and grocery shopping. If you consider yourself a homebody, the American Express Gold Card might not strike your fancy.

There’s a hefty annual fee of $250, so it’s important to make sure you can comfortably pay this each year. Analyze your spending habits to determine whether the rewards you’ll earn from the Gold Card will cover the cost of the fee.

Get the most value from American Express Gold Card

The Gold Card offers more than a few additional perks, starting with American Express Preferred Seating. With Preferred Seating, you’ll have access to premium seats for select sporting and entertainment events.

With Amex’s Baggage Insurance Plan, American Express will cover any eligible lost, damaged or stolen baggage when you purchase the entire fare for a Common Carrier ticket. You can also enjoy travel perks like Premium Roadside Assistance and car rental loss and damage insurance.

The only bonus category with a cap is the 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1x). To make the most of this category, you’ll want to comfortably spend just under $2,100 a month on groceries.

If you fly often with a specific airline it will be easy to select an airline partner for your up to $100 airline expenses credit. The credit is valid with most major U.S. airlines, and after you use your Gold Card to pay,  you’ll receive the statement credit in two to four weeks.

As for the up to $120 dining credit, you must enroll in your online Amex account in order to start receiving up to $10 per month.

How much are the points worth?

Let’s take a look at how much your Membership Rewards® points would be worth with a spending example:

Card American Express® Gold Card
TPG April 2019 point valuation

2.0 (when redeemed for airfare)

1.0 (when redeemed for all other purchases)

Spending example

$2,000 * 12 months * 4X * $0.01 = $960

$2,083 * 12 months * 4X * $0.01 = $999.84

$3,000 * 12 months * 3X * $0.02 = $2,160

$1,000 * 12 months * 1X * $0.01 = $120

Welcome bonus 35,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months (worth $350)
First-year value  $4,589.84 (including welcome-offer)
Second-year value  $4,239.84

If you spent $2,000 a month at restaurants worldwide, $2,083 a month at U.S. supermarkets (therefore maxing out the yearly category cap), $3,000 a month on airfare and $1,000 a month on all other purchases, you’d earn $4,239.84 worth of Membership Rewards® points. When you include the welcome bonus, that bumps your earnings up to $4,589.84.

Keep in mind the worth of your Membership Rewards® points varies based on what you redeem them for. According to TPG’s point valuations, Membership Rewards® points redeemed for travel are worth 2 cents, whereas they’re normally valued at 1 cent.

Overall, you’ll get the most value out of your points by transferring them to one of AmEx’s travel partners.

How to redeem rewards

This card is great for redemption flexibility, as you can transfer your Membership Rewards® points to 21 travel partners (18 airlines, three hotels). You can also redeem for statement credits, shop online with points and make charitable donations, but you’ll usually get the most value from Membership Rewards® points when transferring to a travel partner.

See Bankrate’s Guide to American Express Membership Rewards for more details.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.