American Express® Gold Card review

 in  Travel
How we rate our cards  | 

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict editorial integrity, this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for how we make money.

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

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

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

 

American Express® Gold Card Overview

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 $340 in total annual credits toward eligible dining, Uber and hotel purchases make the annual fee well worth it.

Compared to Amex’s premier travel card—The 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.

Want more details? Jump to the following sections:

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages

  • 4X points at restaurants (including Uber Eats purchases) 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 (enrollment required) and up $100 in hotel credits for qualifying activities every year when you book The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel.
  • Solid travel and shopping protections and benefits, including complimentary hotel upgrades (if available) and a ShopRunner membership (enrollment required)

Disadvantages

  • $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

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, plus, earn 4X points for Uber Eats purchases and 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 on amextravel.com 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 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.

Plus, new cardholders will also have the chance to obtain the alternate Rose Gold art, which has been locked behind limited-time referral offers until earlier this year. The rosy finish doesn’t offer any different features from the Amex Gold card’s normal specs, but the extra pizazz is a neat option.

The rewards rate

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 (including eligible delivery services 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 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

Read more: Bankrate’s full benefits guide for the Amex Gold Card.

How much are the rewards 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.

However, a special offer allows select cardholders to be able to redeem reward points at a boosted 1 cent-per-point rate to cover card charges — a 40 percent increase from the standard 0.6 cent redemption value for statement credits. Travel might still be a more valuable use of your rewards, but it’s an offer worth considering if your travel plans are on hold for now.

Lesser-known cardholder perks

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, Uber and hotel purchases.

$120 dining credit

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, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and eligible Shake Shack purchases.

$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

U.S. Amex Gold cardholders receive up to 12 months of complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership (worth up to $119 annually, based on an estimated $9.99 monthly price for 12 months), as long as users are enrolled by Dec. 31, 2021 (Terms Apply). Uber Eats Pass access usually costs $9.99 a month and grants members an unlimited $0 delivery fee for eligible restaurant purchases and 5 percent off eligible restaurant orders over $15, along with a $0 deliver fee on select supermarket groceries over $30 (taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward order minimum).

You’ll start being auto-billed at the then-current rate for Uber Eats Pass after your 12 months of complimentary membership are up, so make sure you cancel before then if you don’t wish to continue the service.

What’s more, cardholders will also get 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.

Together, these perks make the American Express Gold one of the best cards for Uber.

Travel and shopping features

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

Alternate Rose Gold card art

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.

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 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 at 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. Luckily, the Amex Green Card (and Platinum Card) also carry the same complimentary Uber Eats Pass 12-month membership.

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 $695 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.

Feature American Express® Gold Card The Platinum Card® from American Express Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual Fee $250 $695 $550
Rewards Rate
  • 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants
  • 4X points 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 on amextravel.com
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on up to $500,000 spent on directly booked airfare and flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X points on prepaid rental cars booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on eligible dining and travel worldwide (after earning your $300 travel credit)
  • 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Offer 60,000 points
(after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first six months)
100,000 points
(after spending $6,000 within the first six months)
50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points
(after spending $4,000 within the first three months)

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–which earns unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases–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 card, but you can’t justify getting a top-tier rewards card with a $400+ annual fee.

Learn More: Is the Amex Gold worth it?

The information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

about the author
Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit ...
about the editor
Nouri Zarrugh is a writer and editor for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com, focusing on product news, guides and reviews. His areas of expertise include credit card strategy, rewards programs, point valuation and credit scores, and his stories on building credit have been cited by Mic.com, LifeHacker, People.com and more. Through his thorough card reviews and...