American Express® Gold Card review

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Best for travel rewards on dining

Annual Fee:
$250
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
See Pay Over Time APR
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Bankrate Rating

Best for travel rewards on dining

  • Rewards rate: 4X points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points), 3X points on flights and 2X points on rental cars through amextravel.com plus 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases within first six months
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR (for Pay Over Time): 15.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable

The American Express Gold Card is one of the premier cards for dining rewards, and the best for dining in Amex’s elite card portfolio.

Its high rewards rate, valuable benefits and up to $320 in total annual credits toward eligible dining, airline and hotel purchases make the annual fee well worth it.

Compared to Amex’s premier travel cardThe Platinum Card® from American Express—and similar top-tier rewards cards, the Amex Gold card is the best option for earning rewards outside airfare and hotel stays.

Current welcome offer

As a new cardholder, you have the chance to earn an impressive 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $4,000 in purchases within your first six months.

Considering Amex Membership Rewards Points are some of the most valuable rewards points on the market, this is an excellent welcome offer that should be easily accessible with its generous six-month window to qualify.

These points, worth 2 cents apiece according to The Points Guy’s latest valuation, add up to make this offer worth $1,200 toward travel and one of the best Amex welcome bonuses available.

Rewards

Out of all of American Express’ cards, the Amex Gold possibly provides the greatest number of point-earning opportunities (especially for frequent diners) with its categories that reward everyday spending on top of airfare.

Earning rewards

You can earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year on U.S. supermarkets, then 1X points), 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points per dollar on rental cars booked through the American Express Travel portal and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

This bonus category variety is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but there are two other supplementary ways to earn Membership Rewards points if you want to maximize your rewards. The Amex Offers program allows you to activate limited-time deals with participating retailers and earn bonus points (usually up to a spending cap).

Meanwhile, you can also earn a 10,000-point referral bonus (up to 55,000 points per year) as an Amex Gold cardmember by referring friends to any American Express card.

You won’t rake in a fortune in points with these latter two methods, but they can make a difference over time if you’re saving up rewards for future travel.

Redeeming rewards

When the time comes to redeem your Membership Rewards, booking travel or transferring your points to American Express travel partners (usually at a 1:1 value, but varies by partner) are the most valuable uses for your points. Otherwise, you might want to consider stockpiling your rewards for future trips.

Outside travel, these other redemption options typically eke out less than 1 cent of value per point:

  • Use points to cover card charges with a statement credit
  • Pay with points at checkout with select merchants and prepaid rental cars booked through Amex Travel
  • Redeem points for gift cards

How much are points worth?

American Express Membership Rewards points are prized as some of the most valuable travel rewards you can earn, thanks in part to a diverse list of travel partners.

They hold a 2-cent market value on average based on The Points Guy’s analysis, but you should use Amex’s rewards calculator before redeeming just in case. Your points’ value could shrink by half if they’re used for non-travel rewards.

Benefits

As one of American Express’s elite travel cards, the Amex Gold Card carries a range of premium travel and shopping benefits, including ongoing credits for dining, airline and hotel purchases.

$120 dining credit

The up to $120 annually in dining credits is a unique perk perfect for foodies. Each month, you can earn up to $10 in statement credits on eligible Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and eligible Shake Shack purchases.

$100 airline fee credit

Although it’s a slightly downgraded version of the Platinum Card’s $200 airline fee credit, you can also receive up to $100 in statement credits each calendar year for airline incidental fees with an airline you select each year. This perk can put money back in your pocket from many in-flight costs, including checked baggage or refreshments. Unfortunately, this benefit will be ending Dec. 31, 2021.

$100 hotel credit with The Hotel Collection

By booking two consecutive nights or more through the American Express Travel portal at any of 600+ eligible properties with your card, you can receive up to a $100 hotel credit in addition to a possible room upgrade if eligible. The expenses that this credit can cover varies by property, but you can expect money back on qualifying dining, spa services, resort activities and things of that nature.

You can also enjoy discounts and other perks with your complimentary membership into The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group.

Uber Eats benefits

Since Oct. 26, 2020, U.S. Amex Gold cardholders will receive up to 12 months of complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership, as long as users are enrolled by Dec. 31, 2021. Uber Eats Pass access usually costs $9.99 a month and grants members an unlimited $0 delivery fee for restaurant orders and 5 percent off restaurant orders over $15, along with a $0 deliver fee on select supermarket groceries over $30.

Plus, cardholders will get up to $120 in annual Uber Cash ($10 per month, expiring at the end of the month) toward Uber Eats orders and Uber rides.

Travel and shopping features

The American Express Gold Card also offers a variety of useful travel and shopping features, including:

Rates and fees

If you plan on traveling in the future and you dine out or shop at supermarkets often, the rewards you earn will easily offset the $250 annual fee. In fact, you only need to spend $261 across your 4X-point bonus categories each month to cover it.

Other than that, there isn’t anything out of the ordinary fee-wise. Naturally, there are no foreign transaction fees with this travel card. And since it isn’t a traditional credit card, there isn’t an ongoing APR since you’ll need to pay off your balance every billing cycle. However, there is a 15.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable ongoing APR if you need to carry a balance with the Pay Over Time feature.

How the American Express Gold Card compares to other travel cards

The Amex Gold is perhaps the best all-rounder of the American Express premium travel cards, considering its travel credits and upgraded rewards on everyday categories. But there are other options if it doesn’t line up with your spending.

The American Express® Green Card offers slightly downgraded 3X points in restaurants, but it could be a better pick if you prefer its cheaper $150 annual fee and 3X points on transit and tolls over the Gold card’s 4X U.S. supermarket rewards.

However, the American Express Platinum card could be a better choice if its luxury benefits and top-tier 5X points on eligible travel and hotels would be more lucrative for you. Just make sure your spending will make the $550 annual fee worth it first.

Outside American Express, there aren’t many comparable cards available in the $250 annual fee ballpark. This middle-ground pricing makes the Amex Gold card a fantastic pick if you need a half-measure between the $99 annual fee-level premium card and elite cards in the $450+ annual fee range.

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus Other details
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • 5X Membership Rewards points directly booked airfare and flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points on prepaid rental cars booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards points on all other purchases
$550 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within first six months.
  • Up to $200 in airline fee credits (annually) for incidentals with a select airline
  • Up to $100 to $200 in annual statement credits toward Uber rides and delivery, Saks Fifth Avenue purchases and qualifying hotel purchases
  • Access to Priority Pass Select lounges, The Centurion Lounge, The International American Express Lounge and Delta Sky Clubs (for Delta flights only)
  • Up to a $100 reimbursement credit (every five years) for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees
American Express® Green Card
  • 3X Membership Rewards points on restaurant and travel purchases, including flights, hotels, transit, tours, taxis and ride-shares
  • 2X Membership Rewards points on prepaid rental cars booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards on all other purchases
$150 30,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first three months.
  • Up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits for your CLEAR travel security program membership when paying with your card
  • Up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for your LoungeBuddy lounge access when paying with your card
  • Travel and shopping protections including trip delay insurance, baggage insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance, extended warranty coverage and purchase protection
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on eligible dining and travel worldwide (after earning your $300 travel credit)
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
$550 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within first three months.
  • Special benefits at top locations in Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • 50 percent boosted rewards value when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Access to the Priority Pass Select lounges
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits

 

Best cards to pair with the American Express Gold Card

The best Amex Gold combo is the American Express trifecta—a strategic combination of cards that maximize your rewards across as much of your spending as possible.

By adding the American Express Platinum card to your arsenal, you gain a higher rewards rate on travel and hotels, as well as more extensive travel benefits like lounge access. Then, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express can earn 2X points on the first $50,000 you spend on your card each year, then 1X points—to help cover purchases that don’t fall in a bonus category.

But if the Platinum Card is too expensive or you don’t qualify for a business credit card, getting another flat-rate card could still earn more rewards on any purchases that don’t fall within the Gold card’s categories. If you want to stick with Amex, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card is a good choice.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the American Express Gold Card worth it?

The American Express Gold Card could be the best American Express card if you’re looking for travel rewards on everyday expenses like U.S. supermarket purchases, but it’s an especially wise pick if you’re a restaurant regular.

The dining credits and other valuable benefits make it a clear choice over less expensive American Express cards, and the annual fee is low enough that you can easily offset it with regular spending and a high rewards rate.

All of these factors add up to make the Amex Gold one of the best (and only) rewards cards if you need a step above an “entry-level” premium credit card, but you can’t justify getting a top-tier rewards card with a $400+ annual fee.

Pros

  • 4X points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 2X points on rental cars through amextravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases
  • Up to $120 in dining credits, $100 in hotel credits and $100 in airline credits every year
  • Solid travel and shopping protections and benefits, including complimentary hotel upgrades (if available) and a ShopRunner membership

Cons

  • $250 annual fee
  • The 3X-point travel rewards are only for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • Doesn’t offer lounge access, complimentary elite status at hotels or everyday rewards on transit purchases

All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.