Key takeaways

  • The American Express® Gold Card is worth it for foodies, Uber lovers and frequent travelers.
  • The Amex Gold card is not worth it for anyone who would prefer to earn cash back or anyone who doesn’t want to pay an annual fee.
  • Additionally, anyone looking for luxury travel benefits, like airport lounge access or travel credits, should opt for a premium travel credit card instead.

The American Express® Gold Card can be well worth it even though it doesn’t offer as many travel benefits as The Platinum Card® from American Express. In fact, some would argue that the long-term rewards rate is significantly more generous on the Amex Gold Card or that the lower annual fee makes it a better deal.

The Amex Gold Card starts you off with a welcome offer of 60,000 points when you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases on your card within six months of card membership. In terms of rewards structure, cardholders earn

  • 4X points at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.)
  • 4X points on up to $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1X points)
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel
  • 1X points on all other purchases

While this premium rewards credit card charges a $250 annual fee, several Amex Gold benefits make paying this fee well worth it. These include up to $120 in Uber Cash annually (as $10 in monthly Uber Cash), up to $120 in dining credits each year at select restaurants and up to $100 in experience credits with The Hotel Collection each year (minimum two-night stay required). Other Amex Gold Card benefits include the option to choose a rose gold card color, as well as several important purchase protections and travel insurances. (Enrollment required for some benefits.)

Only you can decide which card works best for your spending and goals, but there are several reasons we believe the Amex Gold Card could offer outsized value in the right circumstances. There are also scenarios where the Amex Gold Card isn’t worth it, which we’ll explain in more detail below.

When is the Amex Gold Card worth it?

As you’re trying to decide if the American Express Gold Card is worth it, it can help to take a closer look at the cardholder benefits and how they work. This American Express credit card really stands out due to the following features and its rewards potential, which can help you net thousands of dollars in travel (or other rewards) each year.

You want to earn a generous welcome bonus

Since American Express Membership Rewards points have a value of around 2.0 cents apiece toward high-value transfer partner travel (according to Bankrate valuations), the welcome bonus on this card could be worth as much as $1,200 on its own. This bonus makes this card’s $250 annual fee an exceptional deal for the first year.

You spend a ton at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants

Keep in mind how much you could earn in rewards with this card. If you’re able to max out the 4X points category with $25,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets within a year, you could earn 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points (worth up to around $2,000 toward transfer partner travel). Plus, all your dining would net you 4X points, including delivery and takeout in the U.S.

By and large, it’s difficult to find other rewards cards that offer this exceptionally high rate on food and dining purchases. If these are areas where you spend a lot already, the Amex Gold card could truly leave you ahead.

You can use the lucrative annual credits

Once you sign up for the Amex Gold Card, you’ll have access to up to $120 in dining credits per year, which are offered on a monthly basis in increments of $10. Enrollment is required, and these credits only apply for purchases with Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and participating Shake Shack locations. Also, be aware that these credits don’t roll over from month to month, and enrollment is required.

Cardholders are also eligible for up to $120 in Uber Cash per year, which is good for Uber Eats food deliveries or Uber rides. These credits are also offered in increments of $10 per month and will expire if you don’t use them.

If maximized and used every month, these two dining-focused credits equate to up to $240 in value annually from your Amex Gold Card. Add in the up to $100 experience credit with The Hotel Collection (available when you book two or more consecutive nights through the American Express travel portal) and that’s up to $340 in value from annual credits across the board.

The Amex Gold provides valuable credits, but make sure you aren’t using them only to justify the card’s annual fee. I found myself in this exact situation, ordering delivery twice a month just to avoid missing out on the credits. That created expenses I wouldn’t otherwise have. I ended up canceling the card because without the credits, my spending alone wasn’t enough to offset the $250 fee. — Ana Staples, Bankrate Lead Credit Cards Writer

You want protective benefits

This card offers several insurance benefits and consumer protections, including American Express purchase protection, extended warranties, a baggage insurance plan and secondary auto rental coverage. These benefits are complimentary for cardholders.

When is the Amex Gold Card not worth it?

While all the scenarios above are ones where the Amex Gold Card could deserve a space in your wallet, there are instances where you would be better off with a different card. Here are a few to think about:

You rarely travel and prefer to earn cash back

While American Express Membership Rewards points can be worth approximately 2.0 cents each when transferred to high-value partners and used for premium travel redemptions, you’ll get a lot less for your points if you use them in other ways.

For example, you can get 1 cent per point when redeeming your Amex points for gift cards, yet you’ll only get 0.6 cents per point in value when redeeming rewards to cover charges to your account and 0.7 cents per point if you use your rewards for travel other than flights through AmexTravel.com.

A premium travel credit card suits your tastes better

Maybe you want premium travel perks like airport lounge access, annual credits for travel purchases or elite status with hotel brands. In that case, a premium travel credit card like The Platinum Card from American Express may suit you better, despite its much higher annual fee.

You don’t want to pay an annual fee

Speaking of annual fees, not everyone wants to pay one to carry a rewards credit card. The Amex Gold Card charges $250 per year for members, and this fee is not waived the first year.

Meanwhile, there are many cash back credit cards and general rewards cards that don’t charge an annual fee at all — and some of the best American Express credit cards even fall into this category.

Should you get the Amex Gold Card?

While the Amex Gold Card could be a winner for almost anyone, there are specific consumers it would benefit more. There are also certain cardholders who might be better off with a different credit card altogether.

Here are some points you should consider before signing up for the Amex Gold Card, as well as signs that you should look elsewhere:

Who should get the Amex Gold Card?

  • Foodies who spend a lot on dining and at U.S. supermarkets each year
  • Anyone who frequently uses Uber Eats and is able to use the dining credits this card offers
  • Frequent travelers who want to earn American Express Membership Rewards points so they can transfer them to Amex airline and hotel partners

Who should consider a different rewards credit card?

  • Travel enthusiasts who want a card with elite benefits like airport lounge access
  • Anyone who is averse to paying an annual fee for a credit card
  • People who spend very little on groceries, dining or food delivery
  • Someone who prefers to earn cash back or statement credits instead of flexible rewards points

The bottom line

Is the American Express Gold Card worth it? Only you can decide if the juice is worth the squeeze. However, if you’re a person that loves food more than travel, the Amex Gold may be a good option for you.

Remember, there are plenty of other rewards credit cards to consider, including ones with no annual fee. Several other American Express credit cards let you earn points in the American Express Membership Rewards program as well, so make sure to compare all your options before you apply.