Some rewards cards are better than others for racking up travel rewards, and one such card is the American Express® Gold Card.
To see how an actual Amex Gold cardholder is benefiting from the card, we interviewed Matt Bundrick, co-founder of BankBonus.com, who uses the Amex Gold for its everyday benefits and to fund his family vacations.
As a reminder: Amex Gold highlights
- Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within six months of account opening
- Rewards rate: 4X points on restaurant (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), Uber Eats in the U.S. and U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points); 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel; 2X points on rental cars booked through American Express Travel; 1X points on all other purchases
- Annual fee: $250
- Regular APR: 16.74 percent to 23.74 percent (variable)
Great rewards in everyday categories
Bundrick loves that the Amex Gold lets you earn more in everyday categories, such as 4X points on purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. He says, “If someone is going to have one primary card, I’d say [Amex Gold] would be at the top of my list.”
To get a better idea of the rewards you’d earn on restaurant and U.S. supermarket spending, let’s take a look at a spending example. Say you spend $500 per month on groceries and $350 per month on takeout. That’s $850 per month and $10,200 per year. At a rate of 4X points, you’ll earn a total of 40,800 points. Of course, remember that this rate only applies for the first $25,000 in combined purchases per year. So, if you spend more than that on grocery and restaurant purchases, once you hit that $25,000 limit, your earning rate will go down to 1X points.
Card pays for itself if you take full advantage of its benefits
According to Bundrick, the perks associated with the card offset its high annual fee. For example, the Amex Gold offers up to $120 in Uber and Uber Eats credits ($10 per month) and up to $120 in dining credits ($10 per month) at approved dining locations. To access the Uber credit, simply add the American Express Gold card to your Uber account to receive the monthly credit. The card also comes with up to a $100 hotel credit with The Hotel Collection, which can be used on eligible dining, spa and resort activities, among others.
This card also includes an incredible welcome offer. You’ll receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 within the first six months of account opening. In terms of redemption, you can transfer those points to an Amex travel partner or use points for merchandise, travel, gift cards and more. However, you’ll get the most value out of your points if you transfer to one of Amex’s travel and hotel partners.
Great points redemption for travel
Bundrick frequently uses his points to fund vacations. In particular, he uses his points for airlines. “Many people think they need to use [an airline card] to earn miles, but those cards typically earn at a worse rate than Amex Gold,” he says. “So I use the Gold card and transfer over as needed to book flights.”
American Express has a number of transfer partners, so you won’t have any trouble finding an airline that accepts the points. Remember, you can earn 3X points on all flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, 2X points on rental cars booked through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases.
On top of being a great card for travel rewards, the American Express Gold Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S. Plus, you can earn 4X points in approved categories abroad—like restaurant purchases—which make it a great companion card for your international adventures.
American Express cardholder benefits
Having the Amex Gold Card allows you to access the perks of being an American Express cardholder, and there are quite a few of them. Benefits include payment flexibility, purchase protection, fraud protection and more.
Amex Pay It Plan It and Pay Over Time
American Express offers two flexible payment programs: Pay It Plan It and Pay Over Time. With Pay It Plan It, you can quickly pay for small purchases (under $100) and split up any large purchases (over $100) into a fixed-fee monthly payment plan. With Pay Over Time, you can carry a balance and pay it off with interest.
Amex offers 90-day purchase protection against accidental damage or theft. Eligible card purchases are covered for up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per card per calendar year.
Amex keeps an eye on your account and lets you know if it sees any unusual activity. You can rest easy knowing you have a team of experts keeping you and your account safe.
Other Amex travel benefits include car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance, trip delay insurance and access to the Global Assist emergency hotline.
Exclusive event access
On top of those more practical benefits, American Express offers exclusive access to some of the best experiences in live music, sports, theater and more, both virtually and in person, through American Express Experiences.
The bottom line
The Amex Gold Card is an incredible rewards credit card, and it tends to be a personal favorite for card users like Bundrick. Despite its higher $250 annual fee, the card offers numerous benefits to cardholders that make the card worth keeping in their wallet.
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.