Recommended Credit Score
The gold standard for traveling food lovers.
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
The Amex Gold card is an incredible option for earning travel rewards on dining and U.S. supermarket purchases. But the annual fee and lower rewards value for non-travel options likely make this a poor fit for occasional travelers or households just looking for cash back on everyday spending.
Recommended Credit Score
The American Express Gold Card is considered one of the best travel rewards cards, thanks to the numerous food and travel perks that will appeal to big spenders who can afford its $250 annual fee. It offers generous ongoing rewards for airfare purchases and spending at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. It also comes with hundreds of dollars’ worth of annual credits that can help bring down the cost of monthly dining, Uber expenses and help cover qualifying purchases made at select hotels.
While these annual credits have the potential to be quite valuable, they come with restrictions. They also may not be as enticing as premium long-term perks found with other travel cards. And since the value of your rewards drops considerably if you don’t book airfare through the Amex travel portal, occasional travelers and anyone just looking for a way to bring down the cost of their grocery and dining purchases could get better value out of a different card.
This card has some of the best travel rewards rates on dining and groceries.
The annual bonus credits, worth up to $340, include dining and hotel credits that can help justify the annual fee.
It has solid travel and shopping protections and benefits, including complimentary hotel upgrades (if available) and a ShopRunner membership (enrollment required).
The $250 annual fee is steep and could be hard to justify if you don’t take advantage of the card’s top features.
The 3X-point travel rewards are only for flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, unlike other travel cards that also offer bonus rewards for hotel stays and rental cars.
Unlike premium travel rewards cards, it doesn’t offer lounge access, complimentary elite status at hotels or everyday rewards on transit purchases.
Points only redeem at a 1:1 rate for flights through the American Express Travel portal; covering dining purchases with a statement credit reduces your points to 0.6 cents each, reducing your long-term earning potential.
As a new cardholder, you can earn an impressive 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in purchases within your first six months of card membership. This welcome offer could be worth around $1,260 based on Bankrate’s latest point valuations, which give Amex points a value of around 2.1 cents per point, on average, when transferred to a high-value travel partner.
This is one of the best welcome offers available, and you’ll only need to spend about $667 per month to qualify for it. This is far more reasonable than other sign-up bonuses, like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which also has an impressive sign-up bonus but only gives you three months to meet the spend requirement.
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.
You can earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants (including eligible delivery services in the U.S. like Uber Eats) and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year on U.S. supermarkets, then 1X points), 3 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or 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 otherways to earn 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 cardholder 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.
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.
These other redemption options typically eke out less than 1 cent of value per point:
Read more: Bankrate’s full benefits guide for the Amex Gold Card.
When redeeming for flights or upgrading your airfare class through the American Express Travel portal, points are worth 1 cent each.
We estimate American Express Membership Rewards points are worth around an average of 2.1 cents each when you take advantage of one of the issuer’s highest-value travel transfer partners. These are prized as some of the most valuable travel rewards you can earn, thanks in part to a diverse list of travel partners. Based on our valuations, here’s how it stacks up against the other top credit card rewards programs:
|Rewards program||Baseline value||Bankrate value*||Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles|
|Bilt Rewards||1.25 cents||2.2 cents||$1,100|
|American Express Membership Rewards||1 cent||2.1 cents||$1,050|
|Capital One Miles||1 cent||2 cents||$1,000|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards (Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card)||1.25 cents||2 cents||$1,000|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards (Chase Sapphire Reserve)||1.5 cents||2 cents||$1,000|
* Based on an average of the issuer’s five highest-value transfer partners (if available).
Just be sure to calculate your point value before you transfer to ensure you’re getting more than 1 cent per point in value.
The value of your points could shrink by up to half if they’re used for other reward options, so it’s worth checking Amex’s rewards calculator before redeeming. For example, choosing a statement credit to cover your card charges waters down your points to 0.6 cents apiece. Points are even reduced to 0.7 cents when reserving travel other than flights through Amex, like hotel stays, prepaid rental cars, cruises and vacations.
It’s not unusual for travel cards to reduce point values for non-travel redemption options, but Amex’s reduced value even for other forms of travel outside of airfare booked through the Amex travel portal puts it at a disadvantage to other major rewards programs like the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
As one of American Express’s elite travel cards, the Amex Gold Card has various premium travel and shopping benefits, including ongoing credits for dining, Uber and hotel purchases. Keep in mind that two of the credits are doled out in smaller monthly increments. Since it’s unlikely these $10 monthly credits can cover a full meal, including tip and possible service fees, these perks may simply encourage some to use their Gold card more and will likely be less valuable compared to lump-sum credits that could have covered the entire cost of one or more meals.
The up to $120 annually in dining credits (enrollment required) is a unique perk perfect for foodies. Each month, you can earn up to $10 in statement credits on eligible Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack location purchases.
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 vary 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.
U.S. Amex Gold cardholders will 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. Eats orders. Just make sure that your Amex Gold card is linked to the Uber app to automatically receive your monthly Uber Cash.
This is a valuable perk for both dining delivery gourmands and frequent ridesharers, providing rich ongoing value making the American Express Gold one of the best cards for Uber.
The American Express Gold Card also offers a variety of useful travel and shopping features, including:
In February 2021, American Express brought back the fan-favorite Rose Gold alternative card art for both new applicants and current cardholders — permanently. This rose gold tint was previously only available for limited times and only through referral offers. You can choose either the traditional Gold or the Rose Gold art prior to submitting your application, or you may be eligible to request the Rose Gold art if you’re already an Amex Gold cardholder.
Although the Rose Gold card is the exact same card as the normal American Express Gold (except for the paint job), this rosy finish could be a quaint benefit if the previously limited-time opportunities slipped through your fingers.
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. There are no foreign transaction fees with this travel card, but there is a 20.74 percent to 28.74 percent variable ongoing APR if you need to carry a balance. And if you make a late payment, you could get hit with a penalty APR of 29.99 percent, which will last at least six months.
The American Express Gold Card offers great value, both in its first year and on an ongoing basis. Generous offers from American Express add plenty of value with dining credits, Uber Cash and hotel experience credits. These three perks could be worth up to $340, which would more than help make up for the $250 annual fee.
The card’s ongoing rewards potential should give you plenty of chances to offset the annual fee. The average spender* will earn about $417 in yearly rewards value, but it only takes spending at least $521 across your two 4X categories (restaurants and U.S. supermarkets) to break even on the annual fee if you redeem your points toward Amex air travel.
Your first year with the Amex Gold is no doubt where you’ll see the most value because of its generous welcome offer — an up to $600 value through the issuer — and essentially double the ongoing value of the card.
|Benefits and Costs||First-year value||Ongoing value (no welcome offers)|
|Welcome offers||+$600 value (60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership)||—|
|Perks (of monetary value)||
*Based on our formula used to calculate each card’s average rewards rates and average ongoing rewards value, using Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data and an assumed $15,900 yearly spend over three years ($1,325 per month).
According to Emily Sherman, former Bankrate Senior Editor and credit card product news team expert, the American Express Gold is well worth the annual fee. When she’s not using the $10 in Uber Eats credits every month or the $10 dining credit toward Grubhub for even more deliveries, she’s taking advantage of the card’s generous bonus categories:
The American Express Gold Card is by far my favorite rewards credit card. Not only does it reward me handsomely in categories I spend the most (restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, primarily), but it is packed with credits that easily make up for its $250 annual fee.
— Emily Sherman,Former Bankrate Senior Editor
The Amex Gold is a solid pick for a travel rewards card if you can take full advantage of the bonus rewards categories and credits. But there are other options that could provide a more rewarding experience, especially if you’re looking for luxury travel perks or want better value for your travel rewards.
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Compared to the Amex Gold card, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card comes with a higher $395 annual fee and doesn’t offer bonus rewards for dining or U.S. supermarket purchases. You also won’t earn maximum bonus miles if you book airfare directly with an airline. These disadvantages may not matter, though, especially if you take advantage of all the card’s features.
When you book travel through the Capital One Travel portal, you get more chances to quickly rake in rewards: 10X miles on hotels and rental cars and 5X miles on flights. Your general purchases will earn 2X miles — twice as much as the 1X points the Gold card offers for general purchases.
The Venture X also comes with an annual credit worth up to $300 for travel booked through Capital One Travel, a credit worth up to $100 to cover the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and 10,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary (once your annual fee is paid). To top it off, you also get access to Capital One and Priority Pass lounges. These perks have the potential to easily offset the Venture X’s annual fee and help the card outshine the Amex Gold card, especially if you pair it with a no-annual-fee dining or grocery rewards card.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a more versatile travel card compared to the Amex Gold card. The Sapphire Preferred carries a much smaller $95 annual fee, saving you more than $150 a year compared to the Gold card’s annual fee. It offers higher bonus rewards on more travel options besides airfare, as long as you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You can also earn bonus rewards on dining, select streaming services, online grocery purchases, Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025) and travel purchases made outside the Chase travel portal. Depending on your spending habits, the sheer number of categories that earn bonus rewards could make up for the Sapphire Preferred’s slightly smaller dining and grocery rewards limitations.
The Sapphire Preferred is one of the rare travel rewards cards that offers great value for a variety of redemption options — even non-travel redemptions. Your points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for cash back options like statement credits and 1.25 cents when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
That means 10,000 points with the Sapphire Preferred card will get you a $100 statement credit or $125 for travel booked through the Chase travel portal. On the other hand, 10,000 points with the Amex Gold card will only get you a $60 statement credit or $100 for travel booked through the American Express Travel portal. Plus, when you transfer your points, we estimate Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece, which is comparable to the Amex Gold card’s 2.1-cent-per-point valuation.
The Sapphire Preferred only has one $50 hotel credit, which can’t match the overall value offered by the Amex Gold card’s credits. But when you take the Sapphire Preferred’s hotel credit and factor it in with the smaller annual fee, outstanding rewards program, and potential for greater value when redeeming your rewards, it’s possible for this mid-level travel card to outshine the Amex Gold card’s potential.
Best cards to pair with this card
Since the Amex Gold’s bonus rewards for travel only cover airfare, frequent travelers may want to pair it with another travel card, especially if you’re loyal to one particular hotel brand. A hotel rewards card could help you rake in a lot of bonus rewards on hotel stays. Some, like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card come with an impressive number of perks like automatic elite status and anniversary free night awards, which can help you save money and enjoy enhanced stays.
Another option is to pair the Amex Gold card with a cash back card. If you have a lot of spending that falls outside the Gold card’s bonus rewards categories, instead of settling for only 1X points on those purchases, you can double that amount with the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which offers 2 percent cash rewards on purchases.
The American Express Gold Card is a great choice if you’re looking for travel rewards for airfare and on everyday expenses like restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases. Add in the credits, which could potentially be worth more than the $250 annual fee, and this card offers a unique food-and-travel experience you may not find with another card. But it’s not as versatile as other travel cards. Some travel cards offer premium perks that may be more appealing or let you redeem your rewards for better value.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the the Platinum Card® from American Express , please click here.
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.
The information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.
* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.