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Why the Amex Gold is great for traveling foodies

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people eating dim sum
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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?

Card highlights

  • 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 all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Regular APR (for Pay Over Time): 18.24 percent to 25.24 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. These points could be worth up to $1,200 toward travel in the Amex travel portal (based on monthly valuations from The Points Guy). However, be sure to double-check your redemption value with Amex’s rewards calculator, just to be sure.

Earning rewards

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).

Then, not only can you earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel and 2X points on rental cars through Amex Travel, but you can get higher redemption values when booking through the portal, too.

Redeeming rewards

We already covered the higher redemption value by booking travel, which gives you the best value. But there are other redemption options to consider, like statement credits, gift cards, paying with points at checkout with select merchants and prepaid rental cars booked through Amex Travel. However, you should know that these redemption options will be significantly less valuable.

Additional card benefits

Annual credits

  • Up to $120 in annual dining credits: Earn up to $10 in statement credits per month on eligible Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and Shake Shack purchases.
  • 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 very 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 more than worth it to take this card overseas. 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 almost $350 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 Vivid Seats (until January 2023) and 1 percent back on everything else.

However, there aren’t many benefits for travel spending aside from the fact that the card has no 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.

However, 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.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
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Part of  Introduction to the American Express Gold Credit Card