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This piece was last updated on Oct. 4, 2023, to reflect current credit card details.
If you’re a bonafide foodie with a penchant for travel, you’ve probably already figured out that keeping up with these hobbies can be quite expensive. If you can find a rewards credit card that allows you to earn and redeem rewards for these spending categories, it’s almost akin to striking gold.
Speaking of gold, the American Express® Gold Card is a great credit card option for this exact reason. With this card, you can earn rewards on dining, groceries and travel while taking advantage of boosted rewards redemption for travel spend through the Amex Travel portal.
If you’re considering nabbing the Amex Gold Card, here’s what you should know about the features and benefits that are great for the traveling foodie in you.
What does the Amex Gold Card offer?
- Rewards rate: 4X Membership Rewards points on restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.; 4X points on Uber Eats purchases; 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points); 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel; 2X points on rental cars booked through American Express Travel; 1X points on other eligible purchases
- Welcome offer: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership
- Annual fee: $250
- Regular APR (for Pay Over Time): 21.24 percent to 29.24 percent (variable)
The first benefit that pops out with the Amex Gold is the 60,000-point welcome offer you’ll get after spending $4,000 in the first six months of card membership. Bankrate estimates these points could be worth up to 2.0 cents per point if you strategically transfer them to high-value partners. This point value makes the card’s welcome offer worth an average of $1,200 in travel transfers. When redeeming directly through the American Express Travel portal, they’re worth $600 in flights, according to Amex’s rewards calculator.
As noted above, the rewards structure is particularly generous for foodies: You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants, including on takeout and delivery in the U.S., and on Uber Eats purchases, plus 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points).
Additionally, you earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel and 2X points on rental cars through Amex Travel.
We already covered the higher redemption value by booking travel and transferring to travel partners, the latter of which gives you the best potential value. But there are other redemption options to consider as well like statement credits, gift cards, paying with points at checkout with select merchants and more. However, you should know that most of these redemption options will net significantly less value.
Additional card benefits
- Up to $120 in annual dining credits: Earn up to $10 in statement credits per month on eligible Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack purchases (enrollment required).
- Up to a $100 hotel credit with The Hotel Collection: Book two or more consecutive nights with your card through the American Express travel portal (at any of the 600+ eligible properties) and get up to a $100 hotel credit.
- Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: Receive up to $120 in annual Uber Cash ($10 per month in Uber Cash, expiring at the end of the month) toward U.S. rides and U.S. Uber Eats orders.
Here, you can see exactly why this card makes sense for traveling foodies. Along with the rewards structure, the annual credits focused on travel and dining are attractive for someone with a hefty grocery and dining budget.
Travel and shopping protections
This card also makes sense for travelers due to the rewards structure and hotel credit, along with additional travel and shopping protections. These include:
- Trip delay insurance
- Baggage insurance
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Extended warranty coverage
- Purchase protection
Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees, making it a good choice to take on your journeys abroad. If you plan to earn rewards with travel, the Amex Gold is a great international travel companion to maximize your earnings on travel spend outside of the United States.
Should I get the Amex Gold Card?
Although this card works well for people who tend to spend a lot on groceries, dining and travel, it’s not for everyone. For one, there’s a $250 annual fee (which is not a bad deal for up to $340 in credits, plus the generous rewards structure and welcome bonus). However, if you won’t use this card often, don’t plan on using the credits or won’t redeem rewards strategically for travel, this could be a costly card to hold from year to year.
If the $250 annual fee is too much, you might consider a card in Capital One’s lineup of foodie-focused credit cards. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee and gets you 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), 8 percent back on purchases from Capital One Entertainment and 1 percent back on everything else.
However, there aren’t many benefits for travel spending aside from the card not charging foreign transaction fees.
If you’re more interested in a travel credit card with no annual fee, you could go for the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. With this card, you’ll get 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, plus an unlimited 1.25X miles on all other purchases. You can redeem rewards for general travel through Capital One’s travel portal, with some opportunities to get a boosted redemption rate with eligible Capital One travel partners, as well.
To combine your rewards on travel, dining and groceries, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a similar rewards structure to the Amex Gold, but with a nominal $95 annual fee. The Sapphire Preferred offers 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2X points on general travel and 1X points on all other purchases.
The Amex Gold offers slightly elevated rewards for these categories, but we still consider the Sapphire Preferred a respectable option for those who aren’t ready for a $250 annual fee.
The bottom line
The Amex Gold is a great card for those who enjoy dining out or cooking at home with groceries, but it only makes sense if you’re prepared to take advantage of strategic travel redemptions and conscientiously use those credits.
To see if you qualify for the Amex Gold or a similar card, consider checking out CardMatch to find credit card offers that match your credit profile. If you’re approved for the Amex Gold and don’t end up getting as much value as you’d like, you can always cancel or downgrade your American Express card in just a few steps.
Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.