Is the Amex Gold worth it?

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Courtesy of American Express

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The American Express® Gold Card doesn’t offer as many travel benefits as The Platinum Card® from American Express. However, some would argue that the long-term rewards rate is significantly more generous on the Amex Gold Card and that the lower annual fee makes it a better deal.

The Amex Gold Card starts you off with a welcome bonus of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 on your card within six months of account opening. In terms of rewards structure, cardholders earn 4X points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery), 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 with AmexTravel.com and 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 and up to $120 in dining credits each year. Other Amex Gold Card benefits include the option to choose a rose gold color and several important purchase and travel protections.

Is the Amex Gold Card worth it? Only you can decide which card works best for your spending and goals, but there are several reasons we believe the Amex Gold Card offers outsized value.

Details of the Amex Gold Card

The Amex Gold Card gives cardholders the chance to earn generous rewards in popular categories like groceries, dining and airfare. A welcome bonus is also available for those who can meet a minimum spending requirement within six months of account opening.

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 within six months of account opening
  • Earn 4X points on restaurants, 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 viaAmexTravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases
  • $250 annual fee

Is the American Express Gold Card worth it?

As you’re trying to decide if the Amex 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.

Generous welcome bonus

Since American Express Membership Rewards points have a value of around 2 cents each when redeemed for travel with partners (according to recent points and miles valuations from The Points Guy), 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.

Spectacular earnings at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants

Keep in mind how much you could earn in rewards with this card. If you were able to max out the 4X points category with $25,000 in spending at U.S. supermarkets within a year, you would earn 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points. Plus, all your dining would net you 4X points, including delivery and takeout.

If you book airfare often and don’t mind booking directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com, you can also benefit from earning 2X points on these purchases.

Lucrative annual credits

Once you sign up for the Amex Gold Card, you’ll receive 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 are only good for purchases with Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations. Also, be aware that these credits don’t roll over from month to month.

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

If maximized and used every month, these two credits equate to up to $240 in value from your Amex Gold Card.

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.

Should I get the Amex Gold?

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

Here are some signs you should sign up for the Amex Gold Card, as well as signs 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
  • People who love the rose gold color option and want a good-looking credit card
  • Frequent travelers who want to earn American Express Membership Rewards points can transfer them to airline and hotel partners

Who should consider a different rewards credit card?

  • Travel enthusiasts who want a card with more travel benefits and may be better off with the Amex Platinum
  • 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

How to maximize your rewards with the Amex Gold

If you do decide to sign up for the Amex Gold Card, there are several steps you can take to earn more rewards over the course of a year. Make sure to do the following:

Earn the welcome bonus

Go out of your way to earn the welcome bonus on this card, which is currently at 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 within six months of account opening. This bonus should be fairly easy for most people to earn since you only have to spend $667 per month on average for six months to qualify.

Maximize bonus spending categories

Make sure you’re using your card for purchases at U.S. supermarkets, and that you’re paying with your Amex Gold Card any time you dine out or order in.

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or occasional traveler, you’ll also want to use your Amex Gold Card for flights booked direct or through AmexTravel.com. These purchases will earn you 3X points.

Don’t forget about Amex Offers

Finally, remember to check your account for Amex Offers you might want to use. These offers let you earn additional cash back or Membership Rewards points on eligible purchases you make with your American Express credit card. Amex Offers are free to use, and they are extremely easy to activate with the Amex mobile app or within your online account management page.

The bottom line

Is the American Express Gold Card worth it? Only you can decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.

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.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."
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Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News