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American Express® Gold Card review: The gold standard for foodies

Excellent everyday categories and monthly credits make this card a top contender.

 /  16 min
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Bankrate rating
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Bottom line

The Amex Gold card is an incredible option for earning travel rewards at restaurants 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.

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  • Rewards value
    Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
    4.7 / 5
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    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
    5 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Recommended Credit

Intro offer



Offer valuation


3X - 4X

Rewards rate


Annual fee

Regular APR

American Express® Gold Card Overview

The American Express® Gold Card is one of the best travel rewards cards thanks to the numerous dining and travel perks that appeal to big spenders who can afford its $250 annual fee. It offers generous ongoing rewards for airfare, restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases. It also comes with hundreds of dollars worth of monthly credits that can help offset the annual fee.

While these credits can be valuable, they come with restrictions and can be difficult to fully utilize depending on your spending habits. Since Membership Rewards are most valuable when you redeem them for travel, occasional travelers may consider different card.

  • Credit Card Cash Back


    • 4X points on restaurant (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $25,000 in supermarket purchases per year, then 1X points)
    • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel 
    • 1X points on all other purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Exceptional
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • 60,000 points after spending $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

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    Rates and fees

    • $250 annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No intro APR on purchases or balance transfers
    • 21.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable ongoing APR (Pay Over Time)

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Up to $120 in annual dining credits (as up to $10 in monthly statement credits) for purchases with GrubHub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly,, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
    • Up to $120 annual credits for Uber Cash (as $10 in automatic monthly Uber Cash) toward Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S.
    • Up to $100 in experience credits with The Hotel Collection stays you book through American Express Travel (minimum two-night stay required)
    • Carries several travel protections, including baggage insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance
    • Issuer-exclusive benefits
    • Complimentary Shoprunner membership (enrollment required)

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

American Express Gold pros and cons


  • Checkmark

    This card has some of the best travel rewards rates on dining and groceries, and the bonus credits help justify the annual fee.

  • Checkmark

    The card’s welcome offer is impressive, and you have six months to meet the spending requirements.

  • Checkmark

    There is no preset credit limit, so the amount you can spend adapts based on factors such as your purchase, payment and credit history.


  • The $250 annual fee could be hard to justify if you don’t take advantage of the card’s annual credits and transfer partners.

  • Unlike some competing premium rewards cards, it doesn’t offer lounge access or travel protections.

  • Points are worth less than 1 cent when you redeem them for statement credits, limiting your long-term earning potential.

Why you might want the American Express Gold

Foodies with an appetite for travel will find it hard to beat the Amex Gold’s inclusive bonus categories, excellent rewards value and generous annual credits toward dining and hotel activities.

Rewards: Top-shelf value across comprehensive categories

Out of all American Express cards, the Amex Gold provides the greatest point-earning opportunities (especially for frequent diners) with categories that reward everyday spending. Few cards carry bonus categories for restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and offer dining credits at once. The American Express Gold further sets itself apart by offering one of the highest rewards rates for these categories. These factors make the Amex Gold one of the best cards for restaurants as well as one of the best for groceries, especially if you plan to transfer points to travel partners.

When you redeem your Membership Rewards, the most valuable options include booking travel or transferring points to American Express travel partners (usually at a 1:1 value, but varies by partner) are the most valuable uses for your points. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeeming for flights or upgrading your airfare class through the American Express Travel portal, and just 0.6 cents apiece when redeemed on other options.

However, Amex Gold’s lucrative transfer partners are one of its key strengths. Bankrate estimates American Express Membership Rewards points are worth around 2.0 cents each on average when you transfer your points to transfer partners. Amex also offers limited-time bonus promotions with various partners throughout the year, which can add significantly more value.

Perks: Some of the richest dining perks available

The Gold Card is one of American Express’ premier travel cards, and it doesn’t disappoint with its excellent benefits for foodies. The major benefits include monthly credits for participating restaurants (including Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly,, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations), Uber rides and Uber Eats orders and eligible experiences at The Hotel Collection properties. Just the dining and Uber credits nearly make up for the annual fee, but taking advantage of all three would more than offset the annual fee without eating into your rewards spending.

The Hotel Collection can earn you $100 back on qualifying dining, spa services, resort activities and more (depending on the property). You may squeeze value from the dining and food delivery credits more frequently, with the monthly Uber Cash the most flexible perk since it can also go toward rideshare travel if your card is linked to the Uber app. This provides rich, ongoing value and makes the American Express Gold one of the best cards for Uber

Welcome offer: Good head start on your next trip

As a new cardholder, you can earn an impressive 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in purchases within your first six months of card membership. Based on Bankrate's latest point valuations, this welcome offer could be worth around $1,200, which gives Amex points a value of around 2.0 cents per point on average when transferred to a high-value travel partner. Even redeemed through American Express, it could still be worth an impressive $600 at 1 cent per point.

This is a solid welcome offer, but the spending requirement is quite high compared to some competing cards. For example, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has an equally valuable welcome bonus (75,000 miles), requiring spending $4,000 in your first three months. However, the Amex Gold gives you more time to reach the spending requirement. 


Bankrate Insight

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). You can also earn a referral bonus (up to 55,000 points per year) when someone you refer applies to and opens any American Express card.

Why you might want a different travel card

The Amex Gold can certainly be worth its weight in food-focused monthly credits and rewards rates. However, the annual fee may be intimidating, especially if you expect comparable travel perks you’d find with other premium cards.

Rates and fees: Charges a sizable annual fee

Although the Amex Gold card packs plenty of annual credits and reward opportunities, the hefty $250 annual fee may give some applicants second thoughts. Whether the American Express Gold is worth it depends on how much you plan to use the card and if you can take advantage of the perks that come with it. 

If you plan on traveling in the future and spend in the bonus categories often, the value of the perks and rewards can offset the annual fee, especially if you transfer points to get more value. In fact, our ongoing value estimates show that the average spender may not have much trouble offsetting the $250 price tag. But making up for the annual fee could be more challenging if the monthly dining credits don’t fit your usual dining plans. It can also be tiring keeping track of your rewards to ensure you’re justifying the cost of the card.

Travel benefits: Competing cards have stronger features

It’s worth noting that this card focuses more on food-related features than travel. The 3X-point travel category only rewards flights booked directly with airlines or through the American Express Travel portal, and the other travel perks are unremarkable.

The perks can still be worth the annual fee, but you won’t receive some popular travel benefits that you’ll find on other premium cards.

First-year value vs. ongoing value

Your first year with the Amex Gold is undoubtedly where you’ll see the most value because of its generous welcome offer — $600 value. However, the perks and rewards could provide enough value for many spenders to make the annual fee worthwhile. Generous offers from American Express add plenty of value with credits for dining, Uber and hotel experiences. These three perks could be worth up to $340, which would more than help offset the $250 annual fee.

The card’s ongoing rewards potential should also give you plenty of chances to offset the annual fee. The average spender will earn about $492 in yearly rewards value, but it only takes spending at least $521 across your two 4X-point categories each month to break even on the annual fee if you redeem your points toward Amex air travel. However, you can whittle your monthly 4X-point category spending down to about $249 if you transfer your points to a travel partner with a redemption value of around 2.0 cents per point.

To make your research easier, we’ve calculated the Amex Gold card’s first-year and ongoing value based on our card scoring formula, a $22,500 annual spend and the baseline 1-cent value through Amex.

Benefits and Costs First-year value Ongoing value (no welcome offers)
Yearly rewards +$492 +$492
Welcome offers +$600 value (60,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership)
Perks (of monetary value)
  • +$120 (Uber Cash provided as $10 monthly credits that expire at the end of the month)
  • +$120 (Dining credits per year on eligible purchases)
  • +$100 (Experience credits with The Hotel Collection offer when you book two consecutive nights or more through the Amex Travel Portal, experience credit varies by property)
  • +$120 (Uber Cash provided as $10 monthly credits that expire at the end of the month)
  • +$120 (Dining credits per year on eligible purchases)
  • +$100 (Experience credits with The Hotel Collection offer when you book two consecutive nights or more through the Amex Travel Portal, experience credit varies by property)
Annual fee -$250 -$250
Total value $1,182 $582

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

Bankrate credit cards writer Ryan Flanigan uses his American Express Gold card for groceries and restaurants to rack up tons of points for travel.

I never go grocery shopping without this card. Membership Rewards points are very valuable to me and this card earns a lot of them. I easily offset the annual fee with Uber and GrubHub credits, which I use regularly. This is as high of a return as you can get with groceries and restaurants, so it’s a great choice for those frequently used categories. This card is my main vehicle to generate tons of Amex points, which helps me go on all sorts of great travel adventures using all of Amex’s different travel partners.

— Ryan Flanigan, Writer, Credit Cards

How the American Express Gold Card compares to other travel cards

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 other options could provide a more rewarding experience, especially if you’re looking for luxury travel perks or want better value for your travel rewards. 

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Annual fee


Intro offer

60,000 Membership Rewards® Points

Rewards rate

3X - 4X

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Bankrate Score
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Annual fee


Intro offer

75,000 miles

Rewards rate

2 Miles - 10 Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
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Bankrate Score
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Annual fee


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points

Rewards rate

1x - 5x

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)

Best cards to pair with the American Express Gold

It’s worth pairing the Amex Gold’s bonus rewards for travel only cover airfare, a hotel rewards card could help you rake in a lot of bonus rewards on hotel 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 categories.

However, you could also complete the Amex trifecta if you want to maximize your Membership Rewards and aren’t worried about offsetting annual fees.

Who is the Amex Gold right for?

The Amex Gold is one of the best options for dining available. It’s a great choice for foodies who like to travel, especially people who like to use Uber and Uber Eats.

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

The American Express Gold Card is a great choice if you’re looking for travel rewards for airfare and everyday expenses like restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases. Add in the annual 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. 

However, it’s not as versatile as other travel cards, as some travel cards offer stronger travel perks and more flexible rewards. 

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express , please click here.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

How we rated this card

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We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

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Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Writer, Credit Cards

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, he joined the and Bankrate teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

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