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Why the Amex Gold is worth the $250 annual fee

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For those looking for a new rewards credit card, the question of whether or not the American Express® Gold Card is worth its $250 annual fee comes up frequently, and it’s easy to see why. After all, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card lets users earn the same type of rewards—in the form of Amex Membership Rewards points—with no annual fee at all. Then there’s The Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with far more perks despite its much higher annual fee of $695.

All things considered, the Amex Gold’s benefits can more than make up for the annual fee. Below, we’ll explore why the Amex Gold’s annual fee is worth paying—especially for the first year.

Amex Gold Card highlights

  • Welcome offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within six months of account opening
  • Rewards rate: 4X points on restaurants, Uber Eats and U.S. supermarket purchases (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
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Regular APR: 16.74 percent to 23.74 percent (variable)

American Express Gold Card benefits

While it’s easy to see how this card’s rewards rates alone makes it worth it, the card has numerous other benefits that add even more value and help you recoup that annual fee.

Up to $120 in Uber Cash

The Amex Gold Card provides up to $120 in Uber Cash each year for Uber and Uber Eats. It’s doled out in increments of $10 per month, and any unused cash expires at the end of the month.

Up to $120 dining credit

Cardholders can receive a dining credit worth up to $120 per year ($10 per month). This credit can be used for purchases at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations. Enrollment is required to receive this credit.

Up to $100 hotel credit

This card also comes with a hotel credit worth up to $100 when you book an eligible stay with The Hotel Collection. This credit is good for stays of at least two consecutive nights when you book with American Express Travel. It can be used for eligible dining, spa and resort activities, plus room upgrades after arrival (if available).

Consumer protections

The Amex Gold Card also comes with consumer protections to safeguard purchases and help users save money. Specifically, cardholders will receive purchase protection against damage or theft within 90 days of purchase. Another benefit is extended warranty coverage, which adds one additional year of protection to items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less.

Travel insurance perks

Additional Amex Gold Card benefits include car rental loss and damage insurance, access to a Global Assist emergency hotline, baggage insurance and trip delay insurance.

Is Amex Gold worth the annual fee?

Up to $340 in dining, rideshare and hotel credits

When you consider the above benefits, it’s easy to see how the Amex Gold Card is worth the annual fee. You can receive up to $240 in food and rideshare credits every year, and the $100 hotel credit can help you save money when you travel. That said, make sure you don’t forget about your benefits and let them expire. For example, the two main statement credit perks (up to $120 in dining credits and up to $120 in Uber Cash) are given out in increments of $10 per month, and they do not roll over from one month to the next.

Incredible welcome offer for new cardholders

The value proposition for this card is outstanding for the first year. If you earn the welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points, these points can be worth up to $1,200 in travel on their own according to recent valuations. And this doesn’t even take into account the generous rewards you earn on U.S. supermarket purchases, restaurant purchases, flights and more.

Other rewards credit cards to consider

If you can’t decide whether the Amex Gold annual fee is worth it, there are other cards with a lower annual fee or no annual fee that offer similar rewards or perks. Consider these options if you’re hoping to earn more rewards on groceries or dining, or if you want to earn Amex Membership Rewards points, without paying a high annual fee.

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card: Best no-fee alternative for earning Amex Membership Rewards

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card comes with no annual fee and lets users earn points in the American Express Membership Rewards program. New cardholders can earn 10,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. From there, they can earn 2X points on up to $6,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1X points), 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases. Plus, cardholders can receive a 20 percent boost in rewards if they use their card for 20 or more purchases within a billing cycle.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best lower-fee alternative for grocery rewards

To maximize rewards on grocery spending, consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It comes with a $95 annual fee, but that fee is waived for the first year. With the Blue Cash Preferred, new customers will receive a welcome offer of $300 after spending $3,000 within six months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 6 percent back on up to $6,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1 percent back), 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3 percent back at U.S. gas stations, 3 percent back on transit and 1 percent back on other purchases.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best lower-fee alternative for dining rewards

Consumers should consider the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card if they want to boost their rewards on dining. This card comes with a $95 annual fee and $300 in bonus cash for those who spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. From there, cardholders earn 8 percent back on purchases from Vivid Seats (until January 2023), 4 percent back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, 3 percent back at grocery stores and 1 percent back on other purchases.

The bottom line

For years, the Amex Gold has been one of the most popular rewards credit cards available, and it’s likely worth it for anyone who can maximize its perks. But if you’re unsure about the Amex Gold because its benefits are too specific—making it harder to recoup the annual fee—that’s perfectly understandable. There are plenty of other rewards credit cards to consider, including other American Express cards. After all, it never hurts to spend time comparing all of your options before you make a decision.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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